This past summer, we visited Disney World in Florida for the 4th time (see some of our previous adventures here). This visit, we stayed at the Polynesian Village Resort and it was one of our favorite resorts- EVER! The Polynesian is one of the original Disney resorts, opening in 1971. The 39 acre South Pacific themed resort includes over 800 rooms across several “Longhouse” buildings (named after Polynesian isles), one and two bedrooms suites (including “Club” Level suites), Disney Vacation Club suites that opened in 2015, almost a dozen dining options, two pool complexes, retail shops, and tons of daily activities and programs. This week, we’re sharing ten reasons why we love the resort and why it’s a great place for everyone!
Note: Disney World is constantly changing policies, promotions, and upkeep to its parks and resorts. While the information we’re sharing is up to date as of fall 2022, it’s always best to check any important details closer to your visit.
- Direct Monorail access: Located inside the Great Ceremonial House, The Polynesian is one of only three resorts with direct monorail access (the Contemporary and Grand Floridian are the other two resorts). The monorail will also stop at the Magic Kingdom (two stops from the Polynesian) and the Transportation Center for Epcot (one stop before the Polynesian). The Transportation Center is also a very short walk from the Polynesian- very convenient. Note: The monorail typically runs 30 minutes before the parks open and one hour after the parks close. However, if guests ride the monorail before the parks open, the monorail will not let guests off early- be sure to check with a cast member when you’re on property.
- Boat Launch: The Polynesian Resort also has a boat launch that rotates amongst the Polynesian, Grand Floridian, Magic Kingdom, and Fort Wilderness every day starting 30 minutes before the Magic Kingdom opens until one hour after the park closes. The launch is located on the beach near the main Lava Pool. Note: In addition to monorail access and the boat launch, buses also stop at the Polynesian resort on continuous loops.
- Front row viewing for nightly entertainment: The beach of the Polynesian provides the best views for both the nightly Electrical Water Pageant (which lasts about 15 minutes and occurs first) in the Seven Seas Lagoon and the nightly Disney Enchantment fireworks over the Magic Kingdom (which lasts about 15 minutes). The synchronized music is piped in through speakers on the beach.
- The massive pool complexes: The main Lava Pool complex is located right behind the Great Ceremonial House and was renovated in 2015. The main pool has four to five foot deep areas, zero entry areas, a tubular slide, a separate children’s splash pad area, and plenty of lounge chairs, umbrellas, and chairs. There is also a separate hot tub area with views of the Seven Seas Lagoon. The quieter Oasis Pool area has a zero entry and opens as early as 7am. Both pool complexes have lifeguards, attendants for poolside food and drink service, and walk up snack bar service
- Scavenger Hunts and gifts from the Concierge: Make sure the kids (and kids at heart) stop by the concierge desk in the Great ceremonial House for flower leis, scavenger hunts, and the Polynesian’s version of Hidden Mickeys.
- Tons of food options: The Polynesian offers everything from fine dining to quick service to snacks. Here’s a complete list:
- ‘Ohana: The (arguably) the most popular spot on property, Ohana is open for breakfast and dinner, with family style feasts with a Polynesian themed menu. Lilo and Stitch visit guests during breakfast service and there is live music during dinner service. Located on the second floor of the Great Ceremonial House and reservations are strongly recommended.
- Kona Cafe: Full service restaurant for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Located on the second floor of the Great Ceremonial House. The Cafe just went through a renovation and is set to reopen in November 2022.
- Kona Island: Quick service pastries and coffee in the morning (and open early for rope droppers!) and snacks, salads, sushi and drinks later in the day. Located next to the Kona Cafe on one side and the entrance to the Monorail on the other side.
- Captain Cook’s: Quick service open 24 hours a day for meals, snacks, and refillable mug stations. Located on the first floor of the Great Ceremonial House with easy access to the Lava Pool complex and plenty of outdoor seating.
- Pineapple Lanai: Quick service spot serving the Dole Whip and other desserts. Located outside the Great Ceremonial House with outdoor seating and opening around lunchtime through the evening.
- Barefoot Pool Bar and Oasis Bar & Grill: Located at the pool complexes, offering drinks, snacks, and single serve meals, typically from 11am-8pm.
- Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto: Serves great drinks and a limited bar food snack menu. There is both indoor and outdoor seating and live entertainment. Best for the adult crowd, but children are welcome until 8pm nightly.
- Daily activities: The resort offers a wide variety of activities, including daily lava pool parties, lawn games, camp fires, and crafts. There are large signs throughout the resort that display the daily schedule. The resort also features sand volleyball courts, jogging trails, and boat rentals (additional fees apply).
- Beautiful grounds: The Polynesian Village is beautiful- it truly transports guests to the South Pacific. Disney is known for their attention to detail and it shows at the Polynesian. There are also several amenities that adults will appreciate (in addition to what we have mentioned in this post)- see the full list here.
- Well appointed rooms: The Polynesian offers a variety of rooms, suites, studios, and bungalows that can fit up to eight people; however, a majority of the rooms and suites are designed for up to five guests. In addition to queen beds, each room has a couch, sitting area, closets, and full bathroom. There is plenty of space to store luggage, hang clothes, and lock valuables in a safe. When we visited (summer 2022) housekeeping services were offered every other day, but guests can call the front desk anytime for additional supplies and toiletries. We stayed in the Rarotonga building and LOVED the close proximity to the Great Ceremonial House on one end of the building (literally 10 steps door to door) and to the bus pick up depot on the end of the building (literally 12 steps to the path).
- Shopping: Gifts shops in the Great Ceremonial House include Bou Tiki and Moana Mercantile, which sell a wide variety of apparel, jewelry, souvenirs, home decor, snacks, and drinks.
Looking for other adventures at Disney World? See our posts featuring the Contemporary Resort, Disney Springs, and Disney Dining. And follow along on our adventures on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.