RESORT REVIEW: Disney's Polynesian Village Resort

The Polynesian was the very first resort opened on Disney property, so besides being a beautiful place to stay, it also has that sentimental value. It has recently been renovated and renamed Disney's Polynesian Village, which was its name when it first opened decades ago.

The resort sits directly opposite the Magic Kingdom, so the Polynesian beach is an ideal spot for viewing Wishes, the MK’s fireworks show. Polynesian paintings, sculptures and flickering torches line the walkways that connect all the longhouses that make up the resort. You’ll also find well-placed hammocks and swings around the beach.

the longhouse where we stayed

Not surprisingly, the rooms also continue the tropical theme, with islandly decor throughout, not to mention the views of the lush grounds below. The room had a great theme, but we found them to feel a bit old and in  need of a renovation. Fortunately, that's exactly what Disney is in the process of doing, along with adding villas. We can wait to try staying there again after the construction is finished.

The resort pool is very cool, with a volcano and waterfalls cascading down the sides. We didn't take advantage of the pool while we were there (we spent our time in the quiet pool) so I can't properly review it. It was impressive looking though.

One great thing (among many) about the Polynesian is its proximity to the Magic Kingdom. You can get there by monorail or by boat. It’s also an easy walking distance to the Ticket and Transportation Center, which is where you can catch a monorail to Epcot.

This resort definitely sweeps you away. You can feel yourself relax when you get here. They have gentle luau music playing softly as you roam the grounds, and all the guests are given leis upon arrival (most guests wear them throughout their trip). Even though this is an incredibly popular resort, it still manages to maintain a relaxed feel despite the busy crowds.

The Polynesian is home to one of Disney’s dinner shows, the Disney Luau, where guests can watch a traditional luau complete with hula dancing and fire along with a delicious savory meal. I’d say this is worth doing at least once.

There’s also Ohana and Kona Cafe, both of which we’ve tried and enjoyed. Lilo and Stitch are the stars of the character breakfast at Ohana. We went there for dinner and watched the MK fireworks from our table.

The Polynesian experience doesn’t come cheap, as you might have guessed. It’s the second most expensive resort at Disney, falling in the Deluxe category. We stayed here for half of a trip in 2006. It was our last visit to WDW before our son was born, which is why we splurged. (We split our stay on that particular trip between the Boardwalk Inn and the Polynesian). We stayed there again in 2011 when our flights back to Bermuda were cancelled due to a hurricane (Oh, darn!)

Another thing we discovered on a more recent trip was that you can now get one of our favorite WDW snacks - a Pineapple Dole Whip - at the Pinapple Lanai quick-service (food) at the Polynesian. Otherwise, they're only available at Aloha Aisle in Adventureland inside Magic Kingdom. We stumbled upon this happy discovery and have since gone back to the Polynesian just for this reason. There's rarely a line here, which is the complete opposite of Aloha Aisle, inside Magic Kingdom, where lines often wrap around the side of the building in the hot Florida sun.

We like the Polynesian. It's such a "Disney" place to stay in that it takes you to another place, a friendly other place you don't want to leave. All in all I’d say if you can afford it, the Polynesian is a fabulous choice.

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