By the co-author of The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2018, the best-reviewed Disney World guidebook series ever.

Available on Amazon here.





Review: Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort



By Dave Shute

OVERVIEW: DISNEY’S POLYNESIAN VILLAGE RESORT

Disney's Polynesian Village Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

With the opening of the Oasis Pool (formerly the East Pool) in April 2016 Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, a monorail resort, has completed a multi-year refurb. (The word “Village” was added back to the name in 2014.)

Review Disney's Polynesian Village Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

For Polynesian news, see Steve’s Tikiman Pages website and his Facebook page.

Anyway, our most recent stay in July 2016 (my sixth stay here) confirms what this site has recommended since the day it was launched: for those who can afford it, Disney’s Polynesian Village 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.

Disney's Polynesian Village Resort from yourfirstvisit.net (6)

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.

(It also suggests that first time visitors should avoid the moderate resorts, while noting that these resorts are wonderful for visits after the first. See this for why.)

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.)

This review of Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort includes

ACCOMODATIONS AT DISNEY’S POLYNESIAN VILLAGE RESORT

Floor Plan Disney's Polynesian Resort from yourfirstvisit.net
Standard rooms at Disney’s Polynesian Resort are particularly nice.

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. A photo tour of one of these rooms begins here.

Bed Side Disney's Polynesian Village Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

King bed rooms are also available. These rooms come with several view options, with “Standard” (e.g. parking lot) views the least expensive, and Magic Kingdom views the most expensive. Concierge rooms and suites are also available, as are Studios and Bungalows–part of the Disney Vacation offering here, but also bookable by anyone.

More on accommodations at the Polynesian Village is here.

THE POOLS AND BEACHES AT DISNEY’S POLYNESIAN VILLAGE RESORT

Beach Disney's Polynesian Village Resort from yourfirstvisit.net (2)

Both of the two pools here have had recent refurbs and emerged magnificently from them.

The Pool at Disney's Polynesian Village Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

The main Lava pool (above) includes a hot tub, water slide and kids play area, and the smaller Oasis pool (below) has a bar and grill.

Polynesian Village Oasis Pool from yourfirstvisit.net

The refurbs bring these pools to among the best at Disney World. There’s more on the pools and beaches at the Polynesian here.

DINING AT DISNEY’S POLYNESIAN VILLAGE RESORT

The Polynesian Village has three table service restaurant and several bars (including the remarkable Trader Sam’s) and quick-service options. More great dining is a monorail ride away.

DSC00289

I’m not keen on the Luau, but the much-loved ‘Ohana has strong family-friendly dining, and Kona Cafe, while not wildly distinctive, is one of the better Disney World dining venues.

There’s more on dining at the Polynesian Village here.

KID APPEAL AND CONVENIENCE AT DISNEY’S POLYNESIAN VILAGE RESORT

Resorts are ranked on this site for first time visitors based first on their kid appeal, and then on their convenience.

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. 

Kid Appeal.

The kid appeal of the Polynesian Resort comes from its sense of exotic adventure.

Disney's Polynesian Village Resort from yourfirstvisit.net (2)

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,  etc.

Convenience.

Disney’s Polynesian Resort is the most convenient of the Disney Resorts–at least for trips centered on the Magic Kingdom and Epcot, as they are on most first visits.

It is one of three “monorail resorts” on the Magic Kingdom resort monorail line.

TTC Monorail and Disney's Polynesian ResortIt is more convenient than the other two because it is also the only resort within easy walking distance of the Epcot and express monorails.

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.

Boat Dock at Disney's Polynesian Resort
There’s also a boat from the Polynesian to and from the Magic Kingdom. Shared with the Grand Floridian, it’s more fun than fast.

BEST PLACES TO STAY AT DISNEY’S POLYNESIAN VILLAGE 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.

Wishes from a Theme Park View Room at Disney's Polynesian Resort 2 from yourfirstvisit.net

That said, theme park views at the Polynesian are worth the money if you can afford them…the image is of Wishes from the balcony of my theme park view room.

Map of Disney's Polynesian Village Resort

Rooms in Disney’s Polynesian Resort are found in eleven 2 or 3 story “longhouses,” each with an elevator (or access to an elevator in a nearby building). (See the map.)

What used to be the best options–Rapa Nui (now Pago Pago), Tokelau, and Tahiti (now Moorea)–are now DVC rooms.

Among the rest, the most conveniently located is Raratonga–close to the Great Ceremonial House and its restaurants, pool, and resort monorail, to the quiet pool, to the bus stop, and to the walkway to TTC and the Epcot monorail. Like the rest of the non-DVC longhouses, second floor rooms at Raratonga don’t have balconies.  First floor rooms have patios, and third floor rooms have balconies.

Luau Cove Beach Disney's Polynesian Village Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

Next best are Niue and Samoa.

Ideally, you’d request a third floor room for the balcony, better views and more quiet.

Disney's Polynesian Village Online Check-in from yourfirstvisit.net

BEST FOR:

Any first time family visitors who can afford it.

WORST FOR:

Families too large to fit into even its 5 person rooms. See this for more on large families at Walt Disney World.

ACCOMMODATIONS AT AT DISNEY’S POLYNESIAN RESORT

This review continues here.

Kelly B Can Help You Book Your Trip

Follow yourfirstvisit.net on Facebook or Twitter or Pinterest!!

RELATED STUFF

114 comments

1 Jen { 09.12.15 at 2:42 pm }

We are visiting week of October 22, 2016. Will East Pool renovations be complete by then? Any other renovations slated for that time period? I’ve checked tikiman’s website but didn’t see this info. Also, we plan to book a standard level room. Can you recommend a longhouse and / or a specific floor or room for a family of 5, (kids ages 13, 12 and 9)?

2 Dave { 09.14.15 at 6:47 am }

Jen, I do expect that the East Pool will done well before then. No more renovations are known… Aim for Raratonga–views will be so-so, but it’s the most convenient.

3 Jennifer { 09.15.15 at 8:58 pm }

Hi, I’m going to polynesian this November 2015 with my husband and two daughters (5 and 2). . I’m kinda bummed to learn about the east pool construction but wanted to get your opinion on where to request to stay. I really don’t want to be affected by construction too much . Thanks !!!

4 Dave { 09.16.15 at 11:34 am }

Jennifer, request a western longhouse–Tuvalu, Fiji, or Aoetearoa.

5 Bob { 09.21.15 at 1:43 am }

My family will be coming for the first time around November 5, 2015. I have a reservation for a standard Polynesian Villa, which I understand are DVC rooms. Any recommendation on standard rooms with a view ? Any guesses on how far along the East pool construction will be by then and/or heard when the pool is slated to be complete? Finally, should I cancel the Villa room and try and wait for an opening for a non-Villa room? I really appreciate any advice as we really want this to be special.

6 Dave { 09.21.15 at 7:07 am }

Bob, the East pool will still be under construction then. Moorea will have the best views among the Poly DVC studios, so request it.

7 Lisa { 10.26.15 at 10:21 am }

Hi Dave,

We are staying at the Poly in November for the first time with our 7 and 11 year old sons. We have booked a standard room. We’d like to be away from construction and have a decent view (ideally not a parking lot or monorail)….but not too far a walk from the main building/lobby/restaurants and transportation. Which building and floor do you recommend? Do you recommend a balcony or patio for extra room for any of the options?

Thanks!

8 Dave { 10.27.15 at 9:28 am }

Lisa, Fiji best fits your criteria, then Tuvalu. I’d strongly suggest a balcony or patio!

9 Jackie { 11.17.15 at 11:18 am }

Hi, we are trying to plan a trip for 2 adults, 5 teens and 2 younger kids. What room at the Polynesian would you recommend? We would like to be cost effective here but don’t want to skimp on the experience

10 Dave { 11.17.15 at 11:33 am }

Jackie, there’s no room at the Poly that will fit your group. You could try for connecting rooms. There is a huge price difference for the various views (and even the least expensive are very expensive. You can see prices here.

11 Ed { 12.15.15 at 3:24 pm }

Hi, I love the website and all the advice you’ve given over the years. My question – my wife and I, and our 3 kids plan to go to Disney for 2 weeks in July/August 2017 (ie 18 months time). It’s our first time. When we go, our kids will be 11, 8 and 8. Do you know when we can first book? Which rooms (and views) you would suggest and any other tips (eg early bird discounts, restaurant bookings etc)? I know it will be expensive and I’d prefer to pay more to ensure that it was ‘the best holiday ever’. Many thanks, Ed

12 Dave { 12.17.15 at 7:51 am }

Ed, you can book 500 days in advance–see this. All my advice on where to stay, where to eat etc., is linked to from the home page

13 Benita { 12.31.15 at 2:38 pm }

Dave, do you think the east pool construction will be completed by 5/1/16?

14 Dave { 01.01.16 at 7:39 am }

Benita, it’s possible. There’s no officially announced end date, but it’s expected to be done in the spring.

15 Beverly { 01.16.16 at 5:14 pm }

Planning a trip in August and there will be three adults. Need a suite or two rooms, where do you suggest one older person age sixty and a married couple in there thirtys stay (same resort, separate rooms)? Looking for alternatives to deluxe rooms due to finances.

16 Dave { 01.17.16 at 8:52 am }

Beverly, the next price level down is the moderates, whihc are around a third the cost of the more expensive deluxes. You can’t go wrong with any of them, but for adults I recommend Port Orleans French Quarter becasue of its compactness and loveliness, and Coronado Springs for its higher level of amenities than the other moderates.

17 Kristen { 02.10.16 at 4:55 am }

Coronado Springs, in my opinion, has strong kid appeal. The pool and dig site are both amazing!!

18 Dave { 02.10.16 at 4:51 pm }

Agree, Linda! I just think it has less than some other options…

19 Sarah { 02.24.16 at 9:22 am }

Hello Dave,

We are just about to book our first and only trip to disney. We are traveling from the UK with 2 kids (10 and 8).

The dates we are planning are 31st march to 14th April.

Any advice spring to mind?

Your site is fabulous and I will definatley be making great use of it. Thanks for creating it.

20 Dave { 02.25.16 at 8:27 am }

Sarah, if you are thinking 2016 I suspect you might have some trouble finding rooms, but otherwise those are OK dates. The parks will be quite crowded through April 1, but will be fine after that.

21 Rachael { 03.31.16 at 9:36 am }

My partner and I are considering Disney for honeymoon in 2017, probably around the end of November/start of December, for approximately two weeks (we will be visiting Universal at the same time). Would we be better off staying in Disney for the whole stay or split the accommodation between Disney and Universal? Can you recommend which resort for us may be best? We like convenience, good food, and some peace and quiet at the resort when away from the parks. A little touch of romance wouldn’t go amiss either. Thanks for your help.

22 Dave { 04.01.16 at 2:43 pm }

Rachael, yes I would do a split stay, see this. It’s hard to recommend a resort without knowing your price options, as none share the first two points except at high price levels. The Poly or the Wilderness Lodge would fit…

23 Cat { 02.20.17 at 3:00 pm }

Thank you for all the info. I keep coming back to your pages as they are so chock-full even for us not exactly first-timers. We are planning our first full family trip for Thanksgiving/beginning of Dec. It’ll be myself and hubby along with a 7yo, 5yo, 4yo and newly turned 2 year old. We like the Poly for all the reasons listed but while we would technically fit do you think it would be way too tight? (It would be in a DVC studio.)

24 Dave { 02.21.17 at 6:47 am }

Cat, it’ll be close to being too tight, especially during nap times or if your posse goes to bed/wakes up at different times. The space is short on great spots for a crib when the otehr beds are folded out, with the only obvious position being at the connecting door.

That said, hundreds of thousands have done just this.

There are both more expensive and less expensive options that would give you much more space, but none at the Poly. More expensive would be one of the One Bedroom Villa at one of the DVC villas that sleeps five in one bedroom (not all the DVC 1BRs do), e.g. Bay Lake Tower. Less expensive would be a family suite, e.g. at Art of Animation.

Something else you could do is start in the Poly studio, and then mid-stay shift to a bigger space. Do it in this order as the excitement of the first few days means you won’t much care about the room, but by the middle of your trip you will be appreciating/needing more the opportunity to relax in it, whereas the posse might moan if you shift from a larger to a smaller space.

25 Donna A. { 03.05.17 at 8:45 pm }

Hi Dave! I could not get 5 consecutive nights at the Poly, so we are doing a split stay at the Beach Club. We will check out of the Beach Club at 10am, give our luggage to concierge, and head to AK. What is the likelihood that our luggage will be at the Poly when we arrive there at 4pm?

26 Dave { 03.06.17 at 8:33 am }

Donna, that should work!

27 Kris { 03.12.17 at 3:01 pm }

Hi! What foryou thk of the figi rooms?

28 Dave { 03.13.17 at 11:28 am }

Sorry, Kris, not sure what you are asking…

29 Donna A. { 04.26.17 at 9:55 pm }

Hi Dave. Wanted to say thank you for your website and all the info. you gave me via email. Got back from our trip last week and 3rd time was indeed a charm. More importantly your advice on Tokelau was spot on. They gave us 3rd floor too. It overlooked the pool and it was the ideal centralized location. Only down side was the walk to do laundry was a bit far, but who cares about laundry when on vacation :). I could even use my rapid refill mug at the Oasis pool from 7am-10pm, i did not have to walk to Capt Cooks which was a nice surprise. Only disappointment was the Volcano pool. It was like a water park within the resort. Crazy crowded. Disney really should have made it bigger to accomodate all the guests. Thank you again for recommending Tokelau. It really made our trip magical.

30 Dave { 04.27.17 at 8:40 am }

Great, Donna! So glad to have helped!

31 Christa { 01.19.18 at 1:29 pm }

Going right after Feb break – wondering what room to request at Poly – we have a standard room. We are going with a 6 year old and was hoping we could sit outside the room when he goes to bed and have a good view of something. We have touring plan and will try too request a room and longhouse – wondering what you suggest? I like the look of FIJI – but wondering of the night activities are TOO loud for our 6 year old? Probably the only trip we will ever get to take to disney so any advice is GREATLY appreciated. We are only staying at Poly because we got an ex militaryt dicount.. :)We don’t mind walking and definitley do not want views of the monorail or parkinglot

32 Dave { 01.20.18 at 6:38 am }

Christa, I recommend rooms on the eastern side of the resort, as these have the shortest walks in total to the Magic Kingdom monorail, Resort monorail, Epcot monorail, and bus stop. Of these, Niue and Rarotonga are quietest–although half of Rarotonga looks out over the parking lot (although greenery makes many room views not bad.) So request a third floor room (second floor rooms don’t have balconies; first floor rooms have patios–OK if you like such) in Niue, or on the Niue side of Rarotonga.

33 Eric { 01.19.18 at 3:56 pm }

Christa, Rarotonga, third floor. Was just there, very happy with it. Had same goals as you. Enjoy!

34 Dave { 01.20.18 at 6:38 am }

Eric, great minds think alike…

35 Liza { 02.28.18 at 3:14 pm }

For the DVC rooms do you recommend a standard or a lake view studio room? Also, which DVC room buildings are recommended? I do not see the Tokelau building labeled on your map.

36 Dave { 03.01.18 at 9:15 am }

Hi Liza, yes I need to update my map! For standard studios, I recommend Tokelau, then Moorea, then Pango Pango. I’m not too keen on the lake view rooms at the extra price (~$200 a night) as many of them are less than a football field away from the blaring horns of the ferry boat dock.

37 Arielle { 03.07.18 at 8:36 pm }

Your website and information is amazing! Thank you! Based on your information, we are deciding between the Polynesian and Art of Animation. We are a Cars-fanatic family and love the thought of separate sleeping spaces to have extra kid space and privacy. But we could probably afford the Polynesian and convenience to the parks is a high priority. My question is about the bedding and mattresses. Is there a difference in mattress and pillow quality between deluxe and value resorts? We don’t plan on being in the rooms other than sleeping or getting ready to leave.

38 Dave { 03.08.18 at 9:28 am }

Hi Arielle, and thanks!! On the beds and bedding, there is a difference, but it is not huge. It’s not wildly better in the Poly. The choice between the two is either easy or hard–flip a coin to make it easy.

Alternatively, if your trip is long enough, consider a split stay–with a reservation for part of your trip at each hotel. Disney will take care of your luggage transfer, so the only “cost” is an extra round of packing and unpacking–which is annoying if you are in town only a couple of nights, but less so if you are there longer. Focus your MK and Epcot days on when you are in the Poly, and your HS and AK days at AofA.

Leave a Comment | Ask a Question | Note a Problem

My response to questions and comments will be on the same page as the original comment, likely within 24-36 hours . . . I reserve the right to edit and delete comments as I choose . . . All rights reserved. Copyright 2008-2018 . . . Unless otherwise noted, all photos are by me--even the ones in focus--except for half a dozen from my niecelets . . . This site is entirely unofficial and not authorized by any organizations written about in it . . . All references to Disney and other copyrighted characters, trademarks, marks, etc., are made solely for editorial purposes. The author makes no commercial claim to their use . . . Nobody's perfect, so follow any advice here at your own risk.