Review: Disney’s Polynesian Resort
DISNEY’S POLYNESIAN RESORT
- Room renovations, which should be mostly completed by the end of this summer
- Multi-stage additions of Disney Vacation Club rooms, which may begin construction this year
- Related and other work: addition of a new pool, re-do of the Great Ceremonial House, and perhaps other changes–which I see as being a ways off, e.g. in 2015 or even 2016.
Most of what I know about the room renovation and DVC comes from Steve’s Tikiman Pages website dedicated to the Polynesian (that’s where most of the links in the bullets above go). Also check out his Facebook page for more frequent news, and this podcast for even more detail on his DVC scoops.
(Steve and I were at the Poly over the same weekend during my last trip in May 2013, but despite multiple tries couldn’t find a way to get together–but thanks, Steve for trying, and for running such a great site!)
Anyway, our most recent stay in one of the newly-refurbished rooms confirms what this site has recommended since the day it was launched: for those who can afford it, Disney’s Polynesian Resort is the best place for first time family visitors to stay.
You can have a wonderful visit at any Walt Disney World resort hotel.
However, this site recommends that first time visitors to Walt Disney World who can afford it should stay at Disney’s Polynesian Resort, a deluxe resort, and that those who can’t should stay at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, a value resort.
Compared to other Walt Disney World owned and operated resorts, the deluxe resorts are distinguished by having (on average) the most amenities, nicest views, best dining options, best transport options, largest rooms, best service, and highest prices.
(See this for much more on resort distinctions by price class–value, moderate, deluxe, etc.)
STANDARD ROOMS AT DISNEY’S POLYNESIAN RESORT
They come in two sizes–the floor plan for the smaller of the two, which is the more common, is above.
(See below for the larger room.)
The rooms sleep five–two each in two queens, and a fifth on the couch, which converts into a daybed. You can add to this capacity of five a child younger than three who sleeps in a crib.
More on the new rooms later in this review!
DISNEY’S POLYNESIAN RESORT FOR FIRST TIME VISITORS
On this basis, Disney’s Polynesian Resort, a monorail resort, is far and away the best resort for first time family visitors to Walt Disney World.
- Three of the deluxe resorts–the Wilderness Lodge, Animal Kingdom Lodge, and Polynesian Resort, in that order–have spectacular kid appeal.
- None of the moderates do.
- All of the value resorts–Disney’s All-Star Sports, All-Star Music, and All-Star Movies, and its Pop Century Resort and Art of Animation Resort–have strong kid appeal.
The kid appeal of the Polynesian Resort comes from its sense of exotic adventure.
The architecture of the resort recalls the villages of the South Pacific, and is reinforced by touches such as flaming torches, spectacular gardens, leis-festooned staff (and guests!), hula lessons, a volcano-themed pool, etc.
Convenience. Disney’s Polynesian Resort is the most convenient of the Disney Resorts–at least for trips centered on the Magic Kingdom, as they are on first time visits.
It is one of three “monorail resorts” on the Magic Kingdom resort monorail line.
This means that the Magic Kingdom is two stops away when going there, via the resort monorail, and one stop back, via the express monorail.
This better than either of the Contemporary (4 stops to, 1 from) or Grand Floridian Resorts (1 and 4), the other two resorts on the resort monorail.
Moreover, at the Contemporary and Grand Floridian, going to Epcot means taking the resort monorail to the Transportation and Ticket Center (TTC), and then the Epcot monorail.
From the Polynesian, you simply walk to the TTC and the Epcot monorail.
There’s also a boat from the Polynesian to and from the Magic Kingdom–that’s what you see in the image at the top of this page. Shared with the Grand Floridian, it’s more fun than fast.
BEST PLACES TO STAY AT DISNEY’S POLYNESIAN RESORT
This site suggests that first time visitors stay in standard rooms, not preferred rooms. This is because they won’t be spending much time in their rooms. The single exception is visitors to the Animal Kingdom Lodge, who should always pay for savanna views.
Of these, the three newest longhouses, Rapa Nui, Tokelau, and Tahiti, are the best choices.
These longhouses are
- The only longhouses that have the largest standard rooms at the Polynesian (see below for the floorplan)
- The only longhouses where every room has a patio or balcony, and are also
- Most centrally located between the resort monorail stop, bus stop, and Epcot and express monorail stops at the TTC.
(Floor plan of larger rooms courtesy of TikimanPages.)
My order–which emphasizes convenience–puts Tahiti first, then Rapa Nui, then Tokelau. A focus more on views would reverse the last two.
Steve reports that Tahiti will be converted into DVC, and Rapa Nui, at some point, taken down, also as part of the DVC expansion.
This suggests these two longhouses may not get the room renovations–though I suppose that depends on how long from now this phase of the DVC addition kicks off…more on that on a later page of this review. But Tokelau will get you a renovated room!
Ideally, you’d request a third floor room for both better views and more quiet.
You can request any longhouse, and request a balcony (handy for the older longhouses)…but not the third floor…maybe because some of the longhouses have only two floors…
Any first time family visitors who can afford it.
Families too large to fit into even its 5 person rooms. See this for more on large families at Walt Disney World.
PHOTO TOUR OF A REFURBISHED ROOM AT DISNEY’S POLYNESIAN RESORT
This review continues here.
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