Recently my clan and I stayed at Disney’s Polynesian Resort and we fell in love! Our only other experience with Disney Resorts was the Caribbean Beach Resort. While we enjoyed the Caribbean Beach Resort, and would recommend it, the Polynesian suited us much better.
You can ask anyone who has stayed at the Polynesian why they love it and you will get a multitude of answers. Some may agree with what I’m about to say and some may think I’m completely bonkers.
To give you some perspective, we are a family of five, three children 7 (at the time) and under. We spent most of our time at Epcot and Magic Kingdom. We did not visit the water parks. We utilized the Quick Service Dining Plan.
Now, let me gush about the Polynesian and why it’s so great!
- Tranquility. Even though you are very close to the hustle and bustle of the Magic Kingdom, the atmosphere of the Poly is laid back and relaxing. After an early morning in the parks, it was delightful to return to the Poly and grab a snack, a Dole Whip even, and relax near the pool or on the beach. I would say it was great to chill out in our room, but our experience with Mousekeeping was less than desirable. Our room was never ready before 2 pm, with one day being as late as 5 pm. When it was finally ready, however, it was nice to rest for a little while before returning for the evening events in the parks.
- Location, Location, Location. The ability to see the Water Pageant, Wishes and have personal space while doing so is fantastic. Nothing is like viewing Wishes from inside the Magic Kingdom, however, watching from the beach at the Poly gives a whole different perspective.
- Transportation. Having a dedicated boat service from the Magic Kingdom as well as Resort Monorail service is very convenient. Being able to walk to the Ticket and Transportation Center was fantastic for us. Of course, this can all depend on which Longhouse you are in, but we found it really wasn’t such a huge deal walking from any of the different Longhouses to the different transportation options.
- Wildlife. Anyone who has ever been to Disney knows that the birds, well, they stalk you. While staying at the Poly we saw Mama Ducks with her ducklings, rabbits, birds, reptiles, and squirrels, all from the comfort of our room. Oh, and there was this mischievous blue alien wandering around inside the Great Ceremonial House. I think he was always hungry because he practically lived inside the restaurant O’Hana.
- Cast members. The cast at the Poly are some of the friendliest, most helpful that I have ever met while on property. The only other cast member that has ever been more helpful is a young gentleman named Robert who works at Cosmic Ray’s. He literally saved the day for us by chocolate cake. So, Robert, thank you for helping my distraught son in May of 2012. We appreciated your small gesture more than you can ever know.
- Entertainment. We could have spent an entire day, or two or three, just participating in the entertainment offered at the resort. The torch lighting ceremony, fun games at the pool and on the beach, marshmallow roasting are just a few that we really wanted to do. Unfortunately we didn’t get to accomplish them all, but maybe next time we will.
- Volcano Pool. It’s a volcano, and a slide, what could be cooler? We didn’t actually take a dip in the pool, but it looked fun and the visual effect it gave the resort was pretty amazing as well. We did, however, play in the water spot off to the side of the pool and the kids had a blast with that.
- Room size. The room, for our family of five, was more than large enough to accommodate us. The sleeper sofa made a great bed for a rather expensive starspeeder that a certain little boy was aching for. It did feel quite comfy when I sat on it and the starspeeder had no complaints. The queen beds in the room were quite comfortable as well.
- Quick Service Options. While the menu isn’t very extensive, there was more than enough to please everyone in our party. We especially liked the gourmet cupcakes and Dole Whips as dessert options. The biggest plus was that it was open 24 hours, with limited but a variety of options, available beyond 11 pm.
- Crowds. Although it was not peak crowd levels when we visited, the crowd level was high. During the evening, the Great Ceremonial House could become quite crowded, but still very manageable. That was the only time it was clear just how crowded the resort was. The beach was never overly crowded, transportation never felt rushed, and even during “normal” dining hours, the lines for Capt. Cooks were fairly short.
While the Polynesian isn’t perfect, it’s won my heart. There are things that can definitely be improved, such as Mousekeeping and more options at Capt. Cooks, overall the resort is top-notch. While the price may not be worth it to some, for us, it’s worth every penny.
If you’re considering a stay at Disney’s Polynesian Resort, and being close to the Magic Kingdom and Epcot is a must, then the Poly would be fantastic for you. Eventually, we will test out the other resorts, one by one, but I have a feeling that our “home” will be Disney’s Polynesian Resort.
We’re beginning to think about our next Disney vacation, so I want to hear from you! What is your favorite Disney Resort and why? Is your favorite a hit with the kids? And finally, what is your least favorite resort, and why? Leave a comment below telling me why I should book a vacation at your favorite and why I should avoid the one you favor the least!
Lisa writes here at Chip & Co. as well as her blog Adventures in Mousedom. As a local to Disney World, she offers a different insight into visiting the parks. If you’re super cool like Chip, you should check it out. Okay, even if you’re not super cool like Chip, you should check it out. Trust me. What could go wrong?
- Review: Captain Cook’s at Disney’s Polynesian Resort (disneyfoodblog.com)
- Boating question/Polynesian Resort (passporterboards.com)
- Disney Hotels | Which one is best for you (pixievacations.com)