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Review: Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort



By Dave Shute

OVERVIEW: DISNEY’S POLYNESIAN VILLAGE RESORT

Note: guests at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort are eligible for Disney World’s Early Entry program, for early access to its paid individual system for access to certain rides, and for its Extended Evening Hours.

Disney's Polynesian Village Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

Our most recent stay in January (my seventh stay here out of my more than 160 stays in Disney World) confirms what this site has recommended since the day it was launched: for those who can afford it, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, a monorail resort, is the best place for first time family visitors to stay.

Review Disney's Polynesian Village Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

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.

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

(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

ACCOMMODATIONS AT DISNEY’S POLYNESIAN VILLAGE RESORT

Floor Plan Disney's Polynesian Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

Note: rooms in the Polynesian re-opened in July 2021 with a new Moana theme. The basics of the rooms are similar.  I will update this review with images from them after I stay in one of these rooms!  In the meantime, there’s more on these new Polynesian rooms on the Disney Parks Blog here.

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 “Theme Park” (Magic Kingdom) views the most expensive.

Concierge rooms and suites are also available.

Also here are Studios and Bungalows–part of the Disney Vacation offering, 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 are marvelous.

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

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 restaurants 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 VILLAGE 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.

It 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–especially 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 (about 45% more)…the image is of Happily Ever After from the balcony of my theme park view room.

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

What used to be the best longhouse options–Pago Pago, Tokelau, and Moorea–are now DVC rooms. Anyone can book these three longhouses–you don’t have to be a DVC member–and their location and the studios in them have some real merit. A photo tour of a Studio at the Polynesian is here.

Among the rest, the most conveniently located is Rarotonga–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 Rarotonga 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 is Samoa.

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

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.

The long-time travel agent partner of this site, Kelly, can book you a room at the Polynesian Village or any other Disney World hotel. Contact her using the form below.

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THEMING AND ACCOMMODATIONS AT DISNEY’S POLYNESIAN RESORT

This review continues here.

TOPICS IN THIS REVIEW OF DISNEY’S POLYNESIAN VILLAGE RESORT

OTHER KEY PAGES FOR WHERE TO STAY AT DISNEY WORLD

 

 

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116 comments

1 Patricia { 03.11.14 at 1:54 pm }

Hi. Coming to Disney and staying at the Polynesian second week of May 2014 for our honeymoon! Will the construction make it worth staying here? Want to be sure it is the place to be for this special celebration! Please advise what unit we should try to request to still have the best location and if this will affect the monorail going to the Magic Kingdom. Thank you for any tips and comments about our stay in May!

2 Dave { 03.12.14 at 6:03 am }

Patricia, there will be construction then. The monorail and pools should be fine–although there’s some minor pool work that will be going on whose schedule is unknown. The overall look and feel, especially on the west side of the resort, should be fine. If you don’t like construction, don’t stay there…Tokelau is still the best longhouse, but Raratonga has some of its advantages but is further from the construction. The west side longhouses are even more isolated from the construction–but also further from transport.

3 Candice { 03.19.14 at 7:34 pm }

Hi, Just wanted to thank you so much for your site. I used it to schedule our trip. We visited the Poly the first week in March, it was great. 1st visit for us and Lilo and Stitch is our family Fav so it only made sense:-)The construction was not a big deal at all, didn’t really notice. The monorail schedule didn’t make a difference. I wouldn’t have had it any other way, sure makes it easy to take a sleepy 2 and 10 year old back “home” quickly by the monorail. We stayed at Tokelau. It was a good location for us, the standard room was perfect , larger than I had expected for the four of us. Ohana was awesome at dinner. We almost couldn’t get a reservation because I didn’t make it soon enough. I got a tip from the cast member taking my phone reservation to try again 2 days before I want to make a reservation and there are always people who make changes and an opening will come up. It worked! We watched the MK fireworks through the window from our table while enjoying our meal, Awesome! My only regret is not hanging out more at the resort by the pool. Next time! Thanks again!

4 Dave { 03.20.14 at 7:57 am }

Hi Candice, and thanks for the follow up! I’m so glad the site helped, and it sounds like you had a wonderful trip…

5 Ginger { 03.21.14 at 3:26 pm }

Hey Dave,
We are going to Disney last week of April. We have a club level room (is this worth the food)booked at the Rara Tonga. I will be taking my three children (5, 3, 14mos) and wanted something close to MK. As I have been reading your site I am second guessing my plans and thinking about changing our reservations? I visited three years ago with my two year old and one on the way, we stayed at the Caribbean resort. I did not like how long it took to get back and forth to the park due to us leaving for naps. I was thinking of the pools at the poly would be a great resource during my one year old’s afternoon naps, but if they are under construction I might try to book another resort.
So my question is pay club level( we are not doing meal plan) and stay there or go to the art of animation , even though it take longer to get to the parks?
Pool and RaRa Tonga rooms under construction?
Thank you so much for your site!

6 Dave { 03.22.14 at 2:42 pm }

Hi Ginger! A couple of responses. First I thought that all the club level rooms were in Hawaii, and the views from Hawaii are the most affected by the construction. Second, major pool construction won’t start til late July at the earliest–though there’s always the chance of minor rehabs. Third, if you decide no Poly, I’d go to the Contemporary as an alternative, not AofA. The Contemporary is even more convenient to MK than the Poly…

7 Joy { 05.19.14 at 8:38 am }

We are planning to go to Disney in Sept 2015, and are considering staying at the Polynesian Resort. We want a Standard Room, and would like to know what building would you recommend. We would like to be in the middle of everything if possible, with a amazing garden view with balcony. Thank you so much for your help.

8 Dave { 05.19.14 at 11:51 am }

Joy–2015 right, not 2014? There’s a lot of construction going on at the Poly between now and March 2015. Check back with me much later this year and I’ll have a better point of view…

9 Steve { 07.29.14 at 4:55 pm }

Great site Dave. June 2015, 3 kids b/t 2 & 7 yrs old. 7 days. 1st but not last visit to WDW. Poly or AoA suite? Split? Thanks!

10 Dave { 07.30.14 at 7:00 am }

Steve that’s a really tough call. AofA has more kid friendly theming and much more and more livable space. Poly wins on convenience and dining. I’m a fan of split stays–I’d start with the Poly and and the MK and Epcot focused part of your trip, then AofA and the rest of the parks.

11 chris { 07.30.14 at 6:24 pm }

my family of four kids ages our 9,11 to disney and want to stay at the polynesian restort in may 2015 for four days this will be our first time my kids love disney i know construction will be going on do you know what will be closed off and restricted at that time and what room would you recommend with out a lot of walking with two kids will they still have the dinner entertainment g0ing on thank you

12 Dave { 07.31.14 at 1:32 pm }

Chris, by then the construction should be largely complete. For those dates I’d recommend Samoa and Niue

13 Andreas { 08.22.14 at 10:59 am }

Is this also your recommended Hotel for couples or mainly for families? We are planning for the second half of 2015 coming from Germany and we are just getting started 😉 Love your site.

14 Dave { 08.22.14 at 11:50 am }

Hi Andreas–it’s a fine choice for couples, but not number one. For couples I’d put the Epcot resorts higher for many, especially the BoardWalk Inn and the Beach Club. See this: https://yourfirstvisit.net/2012/02/16/the-epcot-resorts-at-walt-disney-world/

15 Denise { 09.13.14 at 11:37 pm }

Thinking of planning first family trip with 2 girls (5 & 8) either sept or oct 2015 . Suggestions on where to stay in poly. I went there when I was a kid about 25 years ago.

16 Dave { 09.14.14 at 6:56 am }

Denise–Raratonga, Samoa, Niue!

17 Janet { 10.17.14 at 11:13 pm }

Hi Dave! Love this site! I had never really considered staying at the Poly for our next trip. I’ve been to WDW many times but this is our first time with a child, who will be 2 when we are there. I’d like to stay at an on-property resort that has a separate room for our toddler to sleep in. Since she’ll need a nap and a much earlier bedtime than us, I’d much rather her have her own room so my husband and I aren’t prisoners in the dark silence of baby bedtime. Is there something at the Poly that fits this description? Before now I had been thinking about the Bay Lake Tower at the Contemporary. I’d love your advice!

Thanks,
Janet

18 Dave { 10.18.14 at 8:56 am }

Janet, not really. As you suspected, a One Bedroom Villa at Bay Lake Tower is the closest fit to what you are seeking. It also has the advantage of being a short walk back and forth to the Magic Kingdom.

19 Amy { 02.02.15 at 11:42 am }

You may have mentioned it before but can you list which buildings have been renovated? We check in on 2/7 and have never stayed at the Poly. I wanted to be sure to request a building where the rooms have been renovated.

20 Amy { 02.02.15 at 1:28 pm }

I just re-read the description on your site and saw that all rooms renovations have been completed. Which building would you suggest then for a family traveling with 2 small kids, ages 5 & 2? We would like to be close to the lobby and the walk-way to the TTC? I assume the walk-way is still opened and not affected by the construction.

21 Dave { 02.03.15 at 6:38 am }

Amy, Rararatonga. The walkway still exists, but has been moved to the front of the resort while the buildings it used to go through are being converted to DVC.

22 Peggy { 02.12.15 at 10:56 pm }

Hi, I have 3 children, but two of them are grown. My Daughter is 11, and my boys are 19 and 20. My daughter loves Disney, and we also like Disney, but also want to see Universal Studios. My concern is that with older kids, we should stay somewhere less kid oriented? What is your opinion on this? We are kind of food snobby, and will probably spend a lot of time away from the Hotel. Thanks for any advice. I’m so happy to have found this page! 🙂

23 Dave { 02.13.15 at 8:09 am }

Hi Peggy! First, on your Universal days, stay at a Universal hotel. You get special privileges from that– see this https://yourfirstvisit.net/2009/12/17/where-to-stay-during-your-visit-to-the-wizarding-world-of-harry-potter/ (Note that much of my other Universal stuff is out of date–this page is OK, and I plan to fix the rest by the end of the month.)

For your Disney days, with the ages I’d check out the Yacht Club or Beach Club. Links to reviews of them are here: https://yourfirstvisit.net/2010/04/26/walt-disney-world-resort-hotel-reviews/

There’s some pretty good dining at WDW. See the right column here: https://yourfirstvisit.net/planning-your-first-family-trip/where-to-eat/dining-alternatives/the-comprehensive-guide-to-walt-disney-world-dining/

24 Nadeem { 02.24.15 at 1:29 am }

Hi Dave ,

Me and my wife have planned a vacation in Disney world with our 6 year old twins. Our travel dates are 2nd May to 12th May and we have booked in Disney Polynesian resort. After reading the current negative reviews in trip adviser , I am concerned and confused whether it is a good decision. I still have the option to cancel the booking and take up Disney Wilderness lodge. This is the first time we are staying in the Disney resort and since Polynesian was the most recommended I had decided on this. But with construction , the main pool being closed , I am beginning to doubt , need you advice.

Looking forward to your reply.

25 Dave { 02.24.15 at 2:30 pm }

Nadeem, in general my advice is if you have doubts, switch.

26 Stephanie { 04.21.15 at 8:19 pm }

Hi Dave!
We are staying at the Poly November 16-21.
You have already given me great advice! Next question is not sure which long house to request .
My kiddos are 6 and 4, and would love to have a castle view!! We booked a lagoon view, but not sure what is what there right now! Can you offer your advice on what is the best option? We would like to be on the quiet side if possible…
Thanks for this amazing site!!!

27 Dave { 04.23.15 at 8:04 am }

Hi Stephanie and thanks! You want “Theme Park View,” in Tuvalu!!

28 Stacy { 04.28.15 at 2:31 pm }

Hi Dave, Thanks for this amazing site. My family is heading to the Poly the last week of August. A room with a balcony is important to us and I’d like to be close to the lobby. Which longhouse would you recommend that would not be overlooking the East Pool construction? Thanks 🙂

29 Dave { 04.28.15 at 7:35 pm }

Stacey, all the all-balcony buildings are now in the DVC buildings. Of the regular buildings, Fiji and Aotearoa are closest without being near the east pool. Right at the 60 day mark, get onto on-line check in and request both the building and a balcony–or just book a DVC studio for cash in Pago Pago

30 Holly { 04.29.15 at 10:47 pm }

Love this site! We’re traveling in Nov. 2015 with our kids who will be 4 and 2.5. Is the Kids Club firm on the age minimum? I think the kiddos would love the Club but If you MUST be 3, we may have to go with in-room babysitting versus the Kids Club.

31 Dave { 04.30.15 at 4:06 pm }

Holly, I don’t know but suspect so. See this: http://allears.net/pl/childfaq.htm

32 Debbie { 05.09.15 at 2:05 pm }

Hi, we are about book a club level room at the Poly and had some quick questions. What type of breakfast is included in the ‘Club level price’? Will it be like cereal or like waffles, will it hold us over until lunch? Next, we have a specific room we want to be in in, how can we suggest the room. Lastly, what other perks are included in the club level? Thanks a lot.

33 Dave { 05.11.15 at 6:55 am }

Debbie, from Tikimanpages.com: “(Morning service) 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. offering muffins, croissants, bagels, tropical fruit, cereal, oatmeal with brown sugar, granola and dried fruit to top it off with, milk, orange juice, pineapple guava juice, ice tea, coffee drinks and hot chocolate from the new coffee machine, glass bottles of water, and toasters are available. Yogurt available as well as other items by request. Just ask at the counter.”

For more on perks see this.

34 Tammy { 06.28.15 at 9:57 pm }

Hi Dave,

This will not be our first trip to Disney World with our kids. We went four years ago and stayed off property and then went last August and stayed at Art of Animation. We are planning our next trip for September of 2016 and our kids will be 8 and 6. I am completely torn on where we should stay. I considered returning to A of A, but in a standard room this time. I am also considering Port Orleans – Riverside and upgrading to a preferred room in Alligator Bayou, Wilderness Lodge and finally The Polynesian. My husband wants this trip to be far more relaxing and less “rushed” than our previous Disney vacations ( he and I have been several more time as well). What are your thoughts on what the best choice would be? Thanks!

Tammy

35 Dave { 06.29.15 at 12:48 pm }

Tammy “more relaxing and less rushed” is hard to interpret in the context of a hotel. But think about a Bay Lake view room at the Contemporary Resort. The view is relaxing, and–since you can walk back and forth to the Magic Kingdom–you are freed up a bit from some of the complexities of getting around.

Also worth considering is a savanna-view room at the Animal Kingdom Lodge–another setting that really rewards sitting on your balcony.

36 Joanna { 06.30.15 at 11:31 am }

Hi Dave,
My husband, myself and our 2 boys (6 & 2 1/2) are staying at Poly for the first time! We want to be close to lobby/pool but not super close to East pool construction. What lodge do you recommend requesting? If we request Tonga/Aotearoa how long of a walk is to TTC? Or is Figi better? Any help would be greatly appreciated. 🙂

Thanks,
Joanna

37 Dave { 07.01.15 at 7:58 am }

Joanna, all Tonga is suites only. The other two are both close. The TTC walk is 10 to 15 minutes

38 Tiffany { 08.09.15 at 6:47 pm }

Hi Dave,
We are planning a quick trip Jan. 14-18th. If we can get a room discount we want to stay at Poly for the first time. (I have been dreaming about staying at Poly since I was a little girl.) If not we will have to go with AoA Family Suites which we have stayed in before. As far as booking our resort would it be best to go ahead and book Poly hoping to get a discount and then switch to AoA later or book AoA now and with to Poly if a discount does in fact come available?

39 Dave { 08.10.15 at 4:57 pm }

Tiffany, booking before the discount neither helps not hurts getting a deal, as if/when one comes out you compete with everyone else for whatever inventory Disney makes available for the deal. So your best move is to book now what you are sure you can afford, then try to jump on the Poly if/when a deal comes out, cancelling AofA if successful.

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