The Polynesian Village Resort is a deluxe category hotel.
This resort is the third stop on the monorail from the Magic Kingdom. It’s also walking distance to the TTC which makes it really convenient for accessing Epcot.
Buses from the resort also stop at the Grand Floridian. This means that the bus is empty when you get on and the first stop on the way home, which is great when you’ve had a busy day at the parks.
The resort is based around the Grand Ceremonial House. This is where reception is based and the restaurants, bars and monorail can be accessed from here.
The Ceremonial House is a beautiful, open two storey space where a Tiki statue welcomes you with open arms. This is a favourite place for everyone to have a photo taken. On checking in everyone is given a Lei garland which adds to the theme of the hotel.
There are two table service restaurants, the biggest restaurant is Ohana, which is a signature restaurant. Ohana serves food ‘family’ style (Ohana means family). The food is based around meat or fish/shellfish skewers cooked on an open fire in the centre of the restaurant which the servers bring around carve at the table. There are Polynesian inspired accompaniments and great puddings. For the kids there are coconut races and island music and games. Ohana is one of the most popular dining venues at Disney World and advanced reservations are a must. Dinner at Ohana counts as two TS credits on the DDP.
Ohana also hosts a character breakfast with Lilo & Stitch and friends. While Stitch isn’t everyone’s favourite Disney character, he and Lilo are bang on theme and they are accompanied by Mickey, Minney, Goofy and Pluto, all wearing their Hawaiian outfits. Breakfast is served family style, so you get a skillet for the table featuring eggs, bacon, sausages, potatoes, Mickey and Stitch waffles, breakfast breads and fruit. It’s a bottomless skillet so they just keeping topping it up until you’ve had enough. They also serve fresh POG juice, (pineapple, orange and guava), which is delicious. For me this is one of the best character breakfasts, it’s not a buffet so you don’t have to worry that Mickey will visit the table just as your kids hit the buffet. It’s particularly lovely if you’re not staying at the hotel to enjoy this great fun and super delicious breakfast then hop on the monorail to Magic Kingdom afterwards. Breakfast is one TS credit on the DDP but you’ll need to book using advanced reservations.
The other table service restaurant is Kona Cafe, lots of people love Kona Cafe. The food is pretty good, again the style of the food is Polynesian but there are also influences from other parts of the world. I find Kona Cafe feels a bit like a food court or part of an airport. It’s on the first floor of the ceremonial house, it’s usually crowded and noisy and doesn’t have much of an ambience, I think there are better choices for a table service meal in other resorts and parks but there isn’t anything wrong with the food.
There is also a Sushi bar, open in the afternoons and evening and a coffee counter on the first floor called Kona Island.
Captain Cook’s is the quick service cafe at the Polynesian. It’s pretty good, especially for breakfast and food quality and variety is of a good standard. It has a nice terrace which overlooks the main pool which is a great place to sit and enjoy your food.
There is also a pool bar at both of the pools serving drinks and food.
The Polynesian has two bars, Tambu Lounge, which is the bar for Ohana and Trader Sam’s, both serve light bites. Tambu lounge has always had a good reputation as a great bar with interesting cocktails and as a place to hang out before or after Ohana or somewhere to chill. In 2015 a new bar opened at the Polynesian, a cocktail bar called Trader Sam’s, based on the west coast version at Disneyland. This bar is a unique experience on property and probably not like any cocktail bar you’ve been to before. It’s not cool! It’s Tiki. It’s a great place to go, even if you have kids, they are o.k. for kids to go into Trader Sam’s and they do great mocktails. It’s really interactive, the cast members create a great atmosphere and it’s one of those not to be missed experiences. The bar itself though is tiny and you can’t book but when you get there, if you go to the bar, they will give you a pager when space is available. Drinks are expensive, so probably, just stay for one then move outside to the Tiki Terrace, and sit outside often with live music and have a second, or third drink.
Last but not least is the Pineapple Lanai, serving the famous Dole whip, which for us Brits is basically a Pineapple flavoured Mr Whippy. Disney fans go mad for Dole Whip, if you google it you’ll see what I mean. Part of the mystique around Dole Whip is that it’s only available in two places in Disney World, in the MK at Sunshine Terrace, and at Pineapple Lanai at the Poly. I love it, my husband can’t see what the fuss is about. I recommend to try it as it’s a Disney tradition and it’s available on DDP snack credits. Make up your own mind.
The Polynesian has 484 Rooms in eleven, 2 or 3 storey longhouses. Ground floor rooms have patios, third floor rooms have balcony’s. Rooms on second floor have no balcony.
The longhouses at the Polynesian are all named after different Pacific islands, Aotearoa, Fiji, Hawaii, Nuie, Raratonga, Samoa, Tuvalu and the Tonga Suites. Bora Bora over water bungalows are available, for an eye watering rate, which sleep 8. There are 3 long houses which are dedicated to DVC members, (Disney Vacation Club), Rapa Nui, Tokelau and Tahiti. Club level rooms with a club lounge are also available.
There is lots of discussion about which is the best longhouse to stay in. Check out Tikiman’s website for all the information on the Polynesian, and the longhouses, there is detailed information on each one. I find they all have advantages and disadvantages and as you can’t guarantee getting your preference, though you can request it, I wouldn’t fixate too much about it. When we stayed at the Poly we got a room in a longhouse and in a position I wouldn’t have chosen, on the ground floor. That room turned out to be great for us as it was close to the Ceremonial House and the bus stops. Unless you pay for a lagoon or theme park view you take pot luck with what you get, most views are pretty and of the gardens, vegetation or the resort. Some rooms look out onto the monorail, a lot of people like these rooms, but if you’re not happy it’s always worth speaking to the check in desk, nicely, they can’t always move you but I find they do try to accommodate most requests, after all they want you to have the best holiday you can.
The Polynesian is one of the two original hotels which opened at Disney World alongside the Magic Kingdom (the other one was the Contemporary) That means it was part of Walt Disney’s original vision. It has an amazing history, John Lennon was apparently staying there when he signed the papers which ended the Beatles, and the theming and atmosphere is hard to beat. Sunrise and sunsets at this resort are stunning (Think you won’t be up in time to see sunrise as you’re on vacation, think again, to make park opening you’ll be up early and trust me, you want to make park opening).
Standard rooms at the Polynesian are large, they feature 2 queen size beds, though there are some king size bed rooms, which can be requested. Most also have a day bed so they can accommodate up to 5 family members. For a family of four the room size is great. Bathrooms are large with a double sink and shower over the bath. They are decorated in neutral tones with dark wood in keeping with the Pacific island theme. They have a TV, desk, fridge and closets. Free Wi Fi is also available.
2 pools are at this resort, the first and main pool, the lava pool has a water slide and children’s water play area as well as a hot tub. The lava pool is iconic, though it’s not the original volcano, having been remodelled in 2014. It has a waterfall and water slide built into it and it’s a great place for kids and adults alike to chill out after the parks. Like most Disney pools, though, there isn’t much shade so make sure you have plenty of sunscreen. There are usually plenty of sun beds and towels at the pools. The pools have life guards. The Lava pool has zero entry so it’s really good for little ones.
There is a second pool, Oasis pool, which used to be called the quiet pool so that will give you an idea of the style of this pool. It was completely redone in 2015 and a pool bar was added.
A feature show is held at the Polynesian called Disney’s Spirit of Aloha Show this is held in a separate area to the left to the ceremonial house and features a luau with Polynesian dancing and an all you can eat buffet.
As with most of the other Disney hotels there are a number of amenities available and they run Movies Under The Stars and toasting marshmallows nightly depending on the weather.
There is a launderette at the Polynesian.
Two gift shops are situated in the Ceremonial House, this is where you collect your purchases from if you use the complimentary service to send purchases back to your room from the Disney parks.
Pixiesuesi’s top tips for this hotel;
Get a hot chocolate or drink in your resort mug (part of the DDP) and watch the electric pageant and MK fireworks from the beach.
Don’t miss the toasted marshmallows.
The monorail is great for getting to the parks quickly, but on the way back it’s nice to sometimes get a boat, it’s less crowded than the monorail and really relaxing, the views of the lagoon and the Grand Floridian, it stops there first, are stunning.
Walk to the TTC rather than catching the monorail, it’s a 5 to 10 minute walk and works out quicker and easier than getting the monorail and changing, especially if you are at that side of the resort.