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By the co-author of The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2019, the best-reviewed Disney World guidebook series ever.

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Theming and Accommodations at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort



By Dave Shute

(For the first page of this review of Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, see this)

THEMING AND ACCOMMODATIONS AT DISNEY’S POLYNESIAN VILLAGE RESORT

There are currently 8 Disney owned and operated deluxe resorts at Walt Disney World. In the order I recommend them for first time family visitors, they are

  1. Polynesian
  2. Wilderness Lodge
  3. Contemporary
  4. Beach Club
  5. Yacht Club
  6. BoardWalk Inn

All of these except the Yacht Club in addition offer Disney Vacation Club studios and villas, which are also for rent to the general public–see this for more on the Disney Vacation Club resorts. The Polynesian offers DVC Studios and Bungalows. There’s more on DVC at the Polynesian here.

Disney's Polynesian Village Resort from yourfirstvisit.net (5)

Disney's Polynesian Village Resort from yourfirstvisit.net (3)

Disney’s Polynesian Resort is described on Walt Disney World’s website as “a relaxing tropical paradise, featuring lush vegetation, thatched roofs, koi ponds and white-sand lake beaches, and offering a warm, welcoming world that celebrates the spirit of the South Pacific and ensures “Ho’Onanea”—the passing of time in languid tranquility.”

The resort opened in October 1971, at the same time Walt Disney World was opened, and since has been expanded three times.

The latest room refurb was completed in 2013, and major other construction was completed in April 2016.

Disney's Polynesian Village Resort from yourfirstvisit.net (4)

The resort contains 11 longhouses. All of the longhouses have elevators except for Niue, which shares the elevator in Rarotonga.

See the map.

Tuvalu, Aotearoa, and Fiji are the westernmost (left on the map) longhouses, and are closest to the building where the “Spirit of Aloha” luau dinner show operates–noise from which can be annoying, and which itself is not recommended for first time visitors.

These buildings are the least convenient to the Epcot and express monorails at TTC.

The walkway to the spa and exercise area at the Grand Floridian, which Polynesian guests are welcome to use, can be found between Fiji and Aotearoa.

Tonga is next, just west of the Great Ceremonial house, and is where the five suites at the Polynesian are located.

On the marina side, these include the 2 bay, 5 person One-Bedroom Princess, the 3 bay, 9 person Two-Bedroom Princess, and the 6 bay, 8 Person King Kamehameha Suite.

On the monorail side, there’s two 4 bay, 8 person Ambassador Suites.

Also in Tonga is the “Honeymoon Room”–not a suite, but a 1 bay king bed space.  Until the Poly’s 2013 renovation, this was the only single bay space at the hotel with king beds.  After the renovation, other longhouses offer king rooms as well.

The walkway to Shades of Green can be found between Aotearoa and Tonga.

Four longhouses are just east of the Great Ceremonial House–in order of their nearness to it, they are Rarotonga, Niue, Samoa, and Hawaii. All these longhouses border the Oasis pool.

All rooms in Hawaii are club level.

Samoa and Niue are between the two pools–the volcano-themed Nanea Volcano pool, and the smaller Oasis pool.  As a result, these buildings can be noisy, but are the favorites of many families.

Disney's Polynesian Village Resort from yourfirstvisit.net (7)

The three easternmost longhouses–closest to the TTC–are Tokelau, Moorea (formerly Tahiti), and Pago Pago (formerly Rapa Nui). These longhouses, the most recently constructed, have all been converted to DVC Studios.

TTC Monorail and Disney's Polynesian ResortThe walkway from the Polynesian to the TTC is just east of Pago Pago.

The final area at the Polynesian is the DVC Bungalows in the Bora Bora area on the Seven Seas Lagoon. The Bungalows, which you can’t afford, come in “Ferry Noise” and “Boat Noise” options.

For more on the longhouses, see this.

All Disney World deluxe resorts have

  • Standard rooms with various names
  • Preferred rooms, also with various names–rooms similar to standard rooms, but for which more is charged, because of better views, closer proximity to a resort’s central services, or both
  • Concierge rooms, which Disney calls “club” rooms, and
  • Suites

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

At Disney’s Polynesian Resort, standard, preferred and club/concierge rooms sleep five, in two queen beds and a day-bed (some omit the day bed and sleep four. King bed rooms are also available).

Floor Plan Disney's Polynesian Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

The floor plan of a standard room is above; an image is below. A complete photo tour of a standard Polynesian room is here.

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

Preferred rooms include “Lagoon View” and “Magic Kingdom View” rooms. While this site generally recommends that first time family visitors should avoid preferred rooms (as the value is not there, since you won’t be in your room much) it makes an exception for the Animal Kingdom Lodge, where you should always pay for a savanna view.

Magic Kingdom view rooms at the Polynesian are also worth it, but only if you can afford the substantial extra cost–on average about 45% more per night.

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

The image is of the fireworks from my Magic Kingdom view room in July.

Club rooms–which the rest of the world calls concierge rooms–are not worth the extra cost for most first time family visitors, since they won’t be in their rooms much.

DSC00350

The image is from one of the evening offerings in the Club Lounge in the Hawaii Longhouse.

However, they may be well worth it for families intending to spend more time at the Polynesian than implied by this site’s itineraries. TikimanPages.com has a great discussion of the value of concierge rooms here.  Tom Bricker takes the other side of this argument here. Co-author Josh reviews a club stay at the Polynesian on easyWDW.com here.

Suites sleeping 5 to 9 people are available at Disney’s Polynesian Resort for families seeking a particularly comfortable visit–see this for more on suites at Walt Disney World.

(To each of the capacity figures above, you can add one more kid under 3 at time of check in who sleeps in a crib.)

Bungalows and Studios in the Polynesian Disney Vacation Club program are also available to the general public–see this for Polynesian Studio and Bungalow floor plans and photo tours.

Bungalows Disney's Polynesian Village Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

The DVC conversion has taken away what used to be the best longhouses at the Polynesian (although you can stay in one of the studios in these longhouses even if you aren’t a DVC member. A photo tour of such a studio is here.)

Of what’s left, Rarotonga would be the recommended longhouse as it is convenient to everything, and Samoa next.

PHOTO TOUR OF A STANDARD ROOM AT DISNEY’S POLYNESIAN VILLAGE 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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16 comments

1 Mike { 06.24.13 at 9:03 am }

Have you ever used the online check-in room request function. Seems less flexible then the standard room request taken by phone, when you can sa something like “as close to Great House as possible or near the TTC”, but conversely I have been frustrated with CMs or the “Disney computer system” constantly messing up or “losing” my room requests when I check back later. What do you recommend for room requests?

2 Dave { 06.24.13 at 5:28 pm }

Mike, I’ve been using the on-line form at the 60 day mark religiously this year. I find it MUCH better than the old online form, but still not so flexible as the phone. My advice is to do both!

3 Kristen { 01.22.14 at 10:01 pm }

Hi, I was just wondering if anyone knows if the beach closures at the Polynesian right now are preventing fireworks viewing at all? We are hoping to stay there at the end of Feb/ beginning of March but would reconsider if you lose the fireworks viewing advantage. Thanks so much!!

4 Dave { 01.23.14 at 7:28 am }

Kristen, the beach by the pool is still open!

5 Robbie { 06.28.14 at 12:34 pm }

I am planning a Disney trip to stay at the Poly. Do you think most renovations will be complete by mid June?

6 Dave { 06.29.14 at 8:50 am }

Robbie, yes, they should be largely complete by the end of March 2015. Schedules could slip, but not into June.

7 Bill { 07.22.14 at 1:17 pm }

In the Tuvalu, the sliding glass doors on the 2nd floor – which were designed so that the left panel or the right panel could be slid into the fixed center panel area – have been retrofitted with screws to prevent the rightmost panel from opening. Not a major problem, but given that the 2nd floor has no balcony it means if you are planning on sliding open one of those panel to watch the fireworks over the lagoon without glass in the way, it will have to be the leftmost panel (inconveniently by the couch) rather than the rightmost panel (by the bed). The Tuvali remains one of the better choices for watching the fireworks from one’s room, though. Yes, it is possible to remove the screws (there’s only two, one at top and one at bottom), but, I’d hate to have to pay for a new sliding glass panel if it fell off somehow, so best to leave it alone.

8 Dave { 07.22.14 at 5:37 pm }

Bill, thanks so much! The temptation hinted at in your last sentence indicates once again why us men can’t be let out alone…

9 Lara { 07.23.14 at 5:22 am }

Hi Dave
Thanks for answering my questions yesterday – you are wonderful!
Hey just wondering what you mean by using the on-line form by the 60 day mark for requesting where your room is? I missed this point before and would love to know how to do it??
Thanks
Lara

10 Dave { 07.23.14 at 6:53 am }

Lara, once you 60 day window hits, you can do online check-in via My Disney Experience.

11 Lara { 07.24.14 at 2:23 am }

Oh no, not another thing I have to do on the 60 day mark!! If I can do this also at midnight, do I give priority to getting my FP+ selections first or to doing online check-in?
What does online check in give me that is special – better room because I get in early to request it? And you say also to ring them too do I also do that at what time? I completely missed this important piece of information – help!!
🙂

12 Dave { 07.24.14 at 7:08 am }

Lara–from one of your other comments–if you have a travel agent, they can do this for you. The heart of online check in is that you can get your requests in early, and that when you arrive, check-in is faster.

13 Lara { 07.24.14 at 3:28 am }

Dave, can you please just tell me what we should request at our WDW hotels as I am swamped trying to sort out the FP+ rides at the moment and not sure I can bear researching anymore things right now!
At Wilderness Lodge (we have courtyard view rooms even though no pool sadly – have asked our agent to now change these to Woods view but have not heard back on this for a week now so assuming courtyard view it is)
Animal Kingdom Lodge (we have savannah view rooms).
Thanks so much Dave!!!!!

14 Dave { 07.24.14 at 7:11 am }

WL: high floor, near elevator.
AKL: third or fourth floor room, near lobby

15 Jenny { 04.06.19 at 11:30 pm }

Hello. I have a standard room booked but really want to be in Samoa. I’ve read that is a pool view….any idea if I have a chance to get in Samoa without a upgrade to pool? Thanks for the advice!

16 Dave { 04.07.19 at 9:10 am }

Jenny, it is possible, if all the standard view rooms are booked–ask when you check in.

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