Alternatives to Disney’s Polynesian Resort During Construction



By Dave Shute

Polynesian Alternatives from yourfirstvisit.netMany have written with concern about the ongoing and expected upcoming construction at the Polynesian, wondering if another resort is a better choice.

Known construction issues at the Polynesian are

  • Construction activity in the lagoon and around Tahiti related to Disney Vacation Club work
  • Major work in the Great Ceremonial House that began in 2014
  • Rehab and closure of one of the two pools (and the larger and more fun of the two) from late July 2014 into spring 2015. (To keep up with this, check TikimanPages.com and its Facebook page.)

Despite the construction, I’m still keen on the Polynesian for first time visitors, as the construction will only moderately diminish its combination of kid appeal and convenience—which is what this site ranks resorts on.

But sensible people differ on this, so here’s some thoughts on the next most highly ranked deluxe resorts.

After the Polynesian, the next three highest-ranked deluxes for first time family visitors who may never return are, in order

  1. Wilderness Lodge
  2. Animal Kingdom Lodge
  3. Contemporary Resort

The differences among these three are stark:

Disney's Wilderness Lodge Standard Room Floor Plan from yourfirstvisit.netWilderness Lodge kid appeal is spectacular, convenience is moderate, and rooms are small—fitting only four.

Prices are low—at least for a deluxe!

Uzima Springs Pool at Night Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge from yourfirstvisit.net (2)

Animal Kingdom Lodge kid appeal is almost as strong as that of the Wilderness Lodge, but convenience is low.

Like the Wilderness Lodge, rooms are small—fitting only four.

Because at the Animal Kingdom Lodge you should always get a “Savanna View,” prices are higher than standard-view rooms at the Wilderness Lodge.

Floor Plan Disney's Contemporary Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

Contemporary Resort kid appeal is moderate, but its convenience is high, and it’s the only one of these three on the monorail.

Prices are high but the rooms are large and sleep five, on two queens and a daybed.

So what’s best for your family?

  • If you need to sleep five—or three beds—pick the Contemporary
  • If a smaller room works for you, and convenience is important, pick the Wilderness Lodge
  • If a smaller room works, and convenience doesn’t matter, pick whichever of the lodges has the theme that appeals to your family more.

For other deluxe options see this, and for more on pros and cons of the deluxes see this.

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24 comments

1 Matt { 01.21.14 at 4:03 pm }

Tikiman’s Facebook page is now reporting that the Volcano feature pool will not be worked on until some time in August.

2 Dave { 01.22.14 at 7:36 am }

Thanks Matt!!! I updated the page…

3 Brandi { 02.05.14 at 10:10 am }

You would recommend the Wilderness Lodge over the Beach Club? I’ve never stayed on Disney property before and am having a hard time deciding!

4 Dave { 02.05.14 at 3:00 pm }

Brandi, for a Magic-Kingdom focused trip, WL absolutely. Beach Club is great for an Epcot or Epcot/HS focused trip. The theming of BC is lackluster, but the pool is great and location–for those two parks–can’t be beat!

5 Rick { 02.14.14 at 12:49 pm }

I keep hearing the rumors of the pool closing and it seems to be getting later and later. Going to be at the Poly starting August 5th. With 4 kids the pool is a huge part of the trip. Do you think I’m safe?

6 Dave { 02.15.14 at 9:39 am }

Rick, I do. Even if it closes then, the Poly has a second pool, and it’s very likely that Poly guests will also be welcomed at the pools at the Grand Floridian, in walking distance…so it’ll be a visual blot, and a bit of an inconvenience, but not “no pool…”

7 Stacey { 03.20.14 at 2:38 pm }

Hi Dave-
We took your advice for our first visit 2 years ago and stayed CL at the Poly and fell in love. The volcano pool was a huge hit in the afternoons, the quiet pool will be a let down in my opinion. We loved the convenience of breakfast and snacks and being so close to the pool. I was all set to book the same accommodations for our trip in mid October 2014 but the construction is a major bummer. We will be doing majority of touring in MK so we like the monorail resorts…GF and Contemporary CL are cheaper for us than WL because we are a family of five. GF is a little cheaper- (sugar loaf ), would you still recommend Contemporary because of location?

8 Dave { 03.21.14 at 8:23 am }

Stacey it’s a tough call. GF has a lot going for it…but once you’ve walked to or from MK from the Contemporary it’s hard to stay anywhere else! Something you can always do is split your stay between the two…

9 Keith Hartman { 05.11.14 at 10:26 pm }

11/01/14 to 11/08/14. First trip in 22 years plus a big 50 th birthday for me. Want to stay at Polynesian but scared of construction. Can any buildings be requested that will definitely be away from the mess?

10 Dave { 05.12.14 at 7:49 am }

Keith it’s forecast that both the pool and the great ceremonial house will be under construction then. So while longhouses on the western side of the Poly won’t see much direct impact, you will still see a lot of construction over your visit…

11 Lynn { 10.23.14 at 9:56 pm }

I just booked a family trip for the beginning of March 2015. Will there still be lots of construction?

12 Dave { 10.24.14 at 7:26 am }

Lynn, current guesses are that the pool won’t have re-opened then.

13 dave { 01.31.15 at 2:13 am }

Dave, great info. Planning June 2015 trip. What are the odds that volcano pool will be finished. And is there any work planned after the feature pool is finished.

14 Dave { 01.31.15 at 9:37 am }

Dave, the current betting line is that the feature pool will be done in April. After that, the smaller pool to the east will go under the knife for rehab…

15 Lisa { 01.31.15 at 1:02 pm }

Dave, need your advice please. Will be booking to go for 7 days with two toddlers. We will only be going to the park two days so the majority of our time will be at the resort. Looking to do half of the time at art animation and other half at cabins ft wilderness or Polynesian. I am scared of the construction at Polynesian though as we will spend a lot of time at the resort. What are your thoughts and any other recommendations for our circumstances (toddlers majority of time at resort but don’t want it to be a pain to go to park for the two days)

16 Lisa { 01.31.15 at 1:03 pm }

Going at the end of March 2015 if that helps

17 Dave { 02.01.15 at 5:28 pm }

Lisa, I wouldn’t do either the Poly or the cabins. The main pool at the Poly still won’t be open then, and the Cabins are wildly inconvenient. Suggest the Wilderness Lodge–see http://yourfirstvisit.net/2014/01/07/review-disneys-wilderness-lodge-2/

18 Kristen { 02.15.15 at 4:24 pm }

Dave, We are staying at Poly April 26-28 (we hope pool will be open but think convenience on monorail outweighs pool). We will return our rental car on the 26th at Car Car center early morning. How much time do we need to get from Car Car Center to Poly to store luggage and then take monorail to be at Epcot for rope drop? I believe there is comp shuttle to resorts from car center? P.S. thanks for your informative and detailed site!

19 Dave { 02.16.15 at 8:13 am }

Kristen, the car car center is just down the road–less than a mile. So “how long” is a matter of how long it takes to drop the car off, and for the shuttle to get you back. This I dunno–but you can find out at the Poly during your trip, or by calling the car care center before.

20 Michael { 02.20.15 at 3:18 am }

Great site. We’re planning our first visit the last week of May. We wanted to go during Star Wars weekend. My cousin is a trip advisor or something planner for Disney and she said her suggestion is the AoA. 2 adults 2 kids girl 8 boy 14. Any other advice or suggestions would be welcomed. Like best play for Jedi sightings

21 Dave { 02.20.15 at 8:15 am }

Michael if you are looking for low price I concur with AofA!! I don;t have anything to offer on Star Wars weekends. My friend Josh has good stuff, but from 2014, here: http://www.easywdw.com/worth-2/star-wars-weekends-2014-strategy-characters-hoopla-crowds-merchandise-etc/

22 Michael { 02.20.15 at 11:02 pm }

Thanks. Very helpful

23 Cindy { 02.22.15 at 12:00 am }

General recommendation of wilderness lodge vs AoA suites with 2 boys in June. Suites are bigger for sure, but lodge looks nicer. Focus is convenience and kid appeal..

24 Dave { 02.22.15 at 10:29 am }

Cindy, I’d go with the Lodge in a heartbeat, particularly if your trip is focused on the Magic Kingdom.

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