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  • Writer's pictureAnna Wildish

10 Reasons Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort is the Best

Updated: Aug 25, 2023

This year was going to be the year of epic Wildish Magic Vacations. We planned several trips to Disney World, a Disney Cruise, and was going to hit up Universal Studios. Because, when in Rome right?

Then COVID hit and all that went out the window. (Damn you COVID!!)

Luckily, we were able to get two of the trips in before things blew up. Especially our huge family Disney World vacation in January.

For this trip we stayed at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, a deluxe level resort. I had always wanted to stay at a deluxe level resort, and this was our first time doing so.

Was it all I had imagined? YES!

Here are 10 reasons why we loved our stay at the Polynesian Village Resort.

Bonus, I’ve sprinkled in tips to consider when planning your family’s next Disney vacation.

Many Transportation Options

You don’t have to settle for one mode of transportation when you stay at the Polynesian. You have ALL the choices.

There is the bus, which is the only no-cost way to get to Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, and Disney Springs.

There is also the monorail, which can get you to both the Magic Kingdom and Epcot.

If you are fan of the water, you can take the water taxi to the Magic Kingdom. This is a great option at the end of the day. The crowds after the fireworks show is insane.

The lines for the water taxis are typically shorter than the ones for the bus and monorail. Being able to escape that huge crowd is worth the price of the hotel alone.

There are also Minnie Vans, which you can use for a fee and book via the My Disney Experience app.

Its Proximity to Magic Kingdom

If going to Magic Kingdom is your top priority of your trip, this is the hotel for you.

It is located right across the Seven Seas Lagoon from the Magic Kingdom. You have a perfect view of Cinderella’s Castle, and even Space Mountain, from the hotel’s beach. It’s a gorgeous sight lit up a night.

View of Magic Kingdom from the Polynesian at Night

It’s easy to get back and forth from the Magic Kingdom and the Polynesian. There is only one monorail stop between the Polynesian and the Magic Kingdom. Not counting how long you wait for the monorail (it varies), it’s a quick 10-minute ride.

Views of the Lagoon and Magic Kingdom Fireworks

There is a clear view of the Magic Kingdom fireworks show from the Polynesian’s beach. They pipe in the music for you and everything.

Okay, watching the fireworks show from a distance is not the same as seeing it with the castle right in front of you. But it’s a fun way to end a relaxing day at the resort.

Tip: About 20 minutes before showtime, grab a drink from one of the hotel’s bars or restaurants. Then head to the beach to enjoy the fireworks show.

Most nights there is also an electrical water pageant on the lagoon. It will float right by the hotel beach, so be sure to catch that as well.

The Fantastic Pools and Water Play Area

There are two pools at the Polynesian. The main pool is the Lava Pool, which is near the lobby, the biggest, and has the most extras.

The pool features a towering volcano that has a waterfall and 142-foot water slide built into it. The pool itself has a zero-depth entry point, making for easy entering and exiting.

The younger kids will love the splash and play area that is also located at the Lava Pool. It has water spray jets, bridges to climb on, and a smaller water slide any young keiki can enjoy.

If you are looking for more relaxing pool time, head over to the Oasis Pool. This is a great alternative if the main hotel pool is a bit too crowded or rambunctious for you.

Both pools are heated and can be enjoyed year-round.

Oh, I forgot to mention the hot tubs! Yeah, they have those too, not to worry.

One of the boat rentals

All the Extra Activities

There are TONS of extra activities you can take part in without leaving the resort.

During the day you can rent a motorized boat and cruise the Seven Seas Lagoon. Or book a guided catch and release fishing trip. There is also the beach to enjoy, volleyball, and a jogging trail.

Movie Night on the Lawn

My favorite activity is the free movie nights. On any given night they set up a giant movie screen on the lawn and play your favorite Disney movies. Grab some snacks and stake out a spot on the lawn to enjoy the movie. Perfection.

They also roast marshmallows around a campfire.

Tip: Be sure to build in at least one rest day during your stay. Then you can enjoy the fantastic pool and all the rest of the amenities the hotel has to offer.

Large Sized Rooms

We booked a standard view room. In other words, the cheapest room category possible.

Our view was standard for sure (we looked right out onto the walking path and another building). But our room was spacious and comfortable.

Tip: A standard view room is very standard. If you want to look out to lagoon or pool, be sure to book the rooms with the upgraded view.

We are a family of five, so a standard size hotel room usually feels cramped to us. Not at the Polynesian! There was plenty of room for us to maneuver around and keep our things organized.

My husband and I slept in one queen bed, my two sons shared the other, and my daughter used the twin-sized sleeper. The sleeper was plenty comfortable and big enough for my 5-year-old. It could also sleep a smaller sized adult. If you are on the taller side though, it would be a bit too cramped for you.

The bathroom was huge, with a shower/tub combo, double sinks, and a large vanity. Multiple people could be getting ready in there at the same time and have no problem with space.

The room has two built in closets, a mini-fridge and coffee maker. There is also a big dresser, which the flat-screen TV sits on.

We brought our single Bob jogging stroller for the trip. The room was big enough that we did NOT have to fold up the stroller. It fit in the room and we could all walk around it with no problem. A huge plus.

Our room was on the first floor of the Niue building. One thing I noticed was there was not an elevator in our building. I am not sure if most of the other buildings that housed hotel rooms had one, but few did if any.

TIP: If you are planning to bring a stroller request a first-floor room.

The Restaurants

There are a bunch of restaurants and bars to choose from at the Polynesian. Ten to be exact. They include table service restaurants, bars, quick service restaurants, and pool-side snack counters.

Yummy Breakfast at 'Ohana

One of Disney World’s most popular restaurants, ‘Ohana, is located at the Polynesian. ‘Ohana serves dinner but is most known for its character breakfast. Here you can dine family style on eggs, sausage, fruit, Hawaiian bread, Mickey waffles, and more. While dining Mickey, Pluto, Lilo and Stitch visit with you. We had the pleasure of enjoying breakfast here and it was delicious.

At night you can check out the resort’s luau, Disney’s Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show. There is hula dancing, fire dancing, and an all-you-can-eat tropical feast. You’ll feel like you are in Hawaii instead of the East Coast.

Tip: Request a room close to the Great Ceremonial House, especially if on the dining plan. That way you can get coffee or tea in the morning before heading to the parks. Plus, the bus and monorail stop are right there.

It’s Near the Transportation and Ticket Center

The monorail runs to both Epcot and Magic Kingdom. But you must stop at the Transportation and Ticket Center (TTC) to switch trains to get to Epcot. So, if you caught the monorail at the Grand Floridian to Epcot, for example, you would first need to ride to the TTC. Once there you get off that monorail and get on another one to head to Epcot.

But not when staying at the Polynesian! It’s only a 5-10-minute walk to the TTC. You can make the short walk to the TTC and get directly on the Epcot monorail instead.

This is a big deal when you are traveling with a stroller. The less you must wrestle with the stroller the better. It’s also amazing at the end of the day when everyone is tired and wants to get to bed.

The Theming and Glorious Aroma to the Lobby

The South Pacific is the Polynesian’s theme. There are palm trees and tropical vegetation everywhere. The building’s architecture mirrors that of ancient Polynesia. There are tikis and tiki torches all over the property.

The restaurants serve Polynesian inspired dishes and cocktails. There is a pleasant plumeria aroma to the hotel lobby.

I grew up in Hawaii and the scent of the lobby alone transported me back to the islands. They did a great job of capturing the essence of the islands with this gorgeous hotel.

All the Disney Resort Hotel Perks

The main reason of staying at any Disney resort is the special perks you get for staying in the Disney bubble.

You know the drill. There is free transportation around the Disney World resort. Free transportation between the resort and Orlando airport. You get extra-magic hours at the theme parks, can book all your FastPasses 60 days in advance, and more.

(MagicBands will no longer be free in 2021. But they will still be available at a discount to Disney resort guests.)

One of my favorite perks is being able to send your theme park purchases back to your hotel room. That way you don’t have to carry them around with you all day.

Tip: If you want to take advantage of sending your purchases to your room, be sure to do it towards the front of your stay. They can only send purchases to your room if you have two or more days left in your stay.

Bonus tip: If you are like me and buy Christmas ornaments every visit, get those early and sent back to your room. Not having to carry those fragile items on Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is a major plus!

I highly recommend staying at the Polynesian Resort when visiting Disney World. You won’t be disappointed.

Have you stayed at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort? Share your favorite thing about the hotel in the comments.

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