Aloha, dreamers! As part of my installment of reviewing Walt Disney World Resorts, our next destination is Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort! I always refer to it as the Polynesian and was so lucky to get to spend my last Disney vacation there in December! Here’s something to chew on – I’ve been going to Disney for 18 years, always staying on property, and this was my first time staying at the Polynesian. You could say a visit was long overdue!
Now even though this was my first time actually staying at the resort, I have visited it countless amounts of times. One of its pluses is that it is a part of the Magic Kingdom Resort Area and easily accessible from the Resort Monorail! In this post, I’ll give you the inside scoop on what the Polynesian has to offer in terms of atmosphere, food, amenities, and more!
The theme behind Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort is pretty much what it sounds like – it is Polynesian! Tropical plants, bright colors, and Pacific-inspired architecture create an atmosphere that is carefree and relaxing as if you are being transported to your own tropical paradise! One aspect of the atmosphere I enjoyed was the open lobby with bright skylights and an authentic totem-like statue as its center. I will say, the lobby is somewhat underwhelming in terms of grandeur, but it sure isn’t my least favorite to look at.
I absolutely LOVE walking through the actual resort area. There are several different structures for rooms, so there is so much open air between each building, with gorgeous plant life. You feel instantly relaxed! The resort also sits right on the Seven Seas Lagoon with a sand beach that enhances that tropical paradise feeling! My family and I almost always visit Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort when we go to the Magic Kingdom, whether it’s just to walk and avoid the lines for the monorail at the Ticket and Transportation Center or to grab lunch somewhere, like Captian Cook’s.
My room was in the Moorea house, which happened to be nestled behind the bungalows on Seven Seas Lagoon. From what I found in the room, it definitely earned its place as a more upscale/moderate Disney resort, but the only thing I found truly special and extraordinary was the view from our balcony, over the Seven Seas Lagoon, straight to Cinderella Castle. Yes, it was magical and I freaked out when we got to the room door for the first time and realized that was going to be our view!
BUT not everyone is going to have that and honestly, we just got lucky for getting it! If we hadn’t had the view, I don’t think I would have liked the stay as much. Everyone has their own personal preferences and don’t get me wrong, the resort is beautiful!
Our room was a standard studio size and I loved the colors and authentic decor! It’s never fun sleeping on a pull-out couch, but I guess you have to make the sacrifices to have more vacation points. It also had an adorable pull out bed under the TV stand with a painting of Lilo and Stitch on the other side to brighten your day 🙂
Another comment on the Moorea building – I loved that it felt really secluded, as it was towards the edge of the Polynesian property, but it was right next to the ferry boats with extremely loud horns early in the morning and late at night! It wasn’t the worst thing in the world and I certainly wouldn’t have foregone the view to escape the boat noise, but it is just something to keep in mind for the Moorea house specifically!
Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort has several food options with a really nice range of cost and style! I’m going to address the main ones that I have eaten at/heard about the most to show you that the options are fairly well-rounded and enjoyable.
Captain Cook’s — Captain Cook’s is the quick-service option for food at Disney’s Polynesian Resort and I actually love stopping here for a quick bite. Way before our actual stay at the Polynesian, my family and I have been coming to this restaurant for lunch on our way to the Magic Kingdom! There’s lots of variety for a quick-service venue, with both classic dishes and some more experimental and cultural options for those who want all those tropical flavors! And of course, the bakery area always has me wanting a chocolate chip cookie.
Kona Cafe — I’ve dined at Kona Cafe once for breakfast and I overall enjoyed the experience. For me, there were a few bumps and I wouldn’t put it as one of my favorite middle-of-the-road restaurants for a couple of reasons. I couldn’t find much on the menu that appealed to me, both because it was small and it was definitely more authentic to Polynesian culture. Of course, that is a great thing, but I would have liked to see a bit more in terms of options for a restaurant that is going to be more expensive than a quick service! It was pretty loud which wasn’t that bothersome, but we got seated right by a pole that blocked the whole dining area to us! So other than being a bit claustrophobic, I enjoyed the open and bright atmosphere. The windows let in so much light and although I didn’t get to eat as much as I wanted because of my pickiness, the food I did eat was delicious!
Ohana — Ohana is a character dining experience that I believe I’ve been to, but not for a very long time. I’m mentioning it because I have always heard wonderful things and I definitely want to go back, plus it is one of the main food attractions at Disney’s Polynesian Resort!
Luau — Although technically a dining experience, I wanted to put the Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show in the extras category because it is much more than just food! I have not had the opportunity to participate in the luau because it is on the pricier side, but I think this is one of the most exciting things that sets Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort apart from other resorts and gives it uniqueness! If you have the opportunity to attend, let me know how amazing it is 🙂
Boat Service — One of the perks of being on the Seven Seas Lagoon means you can take a boat to the Magic Kingdom or any of the other resorts on the lagoon! I always enjoy taking advantage of the different modes of transportation offered because it just immerses you even more in the world that Disney has created in Lake Buena Vista. Plus, there’s a marina at the resort for individual water access if you want to rent a boat!
Pineapple Lanai — This is when I wish I wasn’t a picky eater! The Magic Kingdom has famous Dole Whip and so does the Polynesian at Pineapple Lanai! You can find the Pineapple Lanai next to the back entrance of the Great Ceremonial House, nestled as just a service counter in the wall! I think it is so fun for resorts to have their own trademarks and the Dole Whip has definitely become the Polynesian’s.
Monorail Access — Boat access in this case also means monorail access! Like I said, I’ve been going to the Polynesian for years and years without having stayed there just by using the monorail or walking! This is a definite perk for getting to the Magic Kingdom and getting to the Grand Floridian or the Contemporary for some resort-hopping fun!
Kona Island — I’m throwing this one in because it is one of my dad’s favorites for a coffee! Right next to Kona Cafe is Kona Island, a coffee shop/bakery/mini food place. I can’t exactly put it into one food category, but the coffee is there all day and there are extras that change throughout different meal times! Don’t hesitate to check it out, especially for the pastries!
What Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort does so well is that it takes you out of “Disney Mode.” What I mean by that is lots of times when I’m vacationing at Disney, I get caught up on hitting every park and getting on every ride I want, whereas at the Polynesian, walking around in its serene atmosphere allows you to take a step back and enjoy the moment, be outside, and be present with your family.
Overall, I enjoyed my stay at Disney’s Polynesian Resort. I will say, though, that I do have other resorts that are in the same price range as the Polynesian that I enjoy more in ways that are hard to explain! There are just some Disney World resorts that one has a better connection with, whether it is based on the amenities offered or the theme/atmosphere of the resort. Although I would probably put my DVC points elsewhere for future stays, I’m so happy I got the change to enjoy the Polynesian Village Resort as a guest and not simply a visitor!
Have you stayed at Disney’s Polynesian Resort? Do you have a favorite resort at Walt Disney World? Let me know in the comments!
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