Disney's Polynesian Village Resort
Picture this: romantic views, beautiful white sand beaches, great pools, large well-appointed rooms, Luau’s, and a tropical atmosphere reminiscent of an island paradise. Have you arrived in Hawaii?
This is the Polynesian Village Resort at Walt Disney World- and it’s Dad’s favorite hotel in the world.
The Polynesian Village Resort is at the end of a big upgrade. Things are a little messed up in places (including the Polynesian East Pool, which is expected to reopen early 2016). It’s still Dad’s favorite.
The resort is located between the Transportation and Ticket Center and the Grand Floridian. It’s just across Seven Seas Lagoon from the Magic Kingdom. The Magic Kingdom monorail runs right past it, and it’s a short walk to the Epcot monorail.
What to Expect
The Polynesian was built in 1971. It’s part of the original plot that Uncle Walt himself designed.
The Great Ceremonial House is the heartbeat of the Polynesian Village Resort. When you arrive at the resort, you walk through tropical gardens complete with streams stocked with Koi (Japanese fishies). You’ll usually hear a welcoming Aloha.
When you walk through the doors of the Great Ceremonial House (a real Hawaiian Hotel would be open air, but this is Florida and it gets really hot), you are transported off to the islands. There is a beautiful open seating area with a tropical water feature in the center.
The Polynesian Village Resort is a Deluxe resort, and you will definitely feel like you are staying in the lap of luxury. Adults love the tropical island feel and kids love the volcano, waterslide, and zero entry pool. Everyone loves the view of the Magic Kingdom from the beach and the monorail that arrives right at your doorstep (not literally, but close enough).
The Polynesian has some of the largest standard rooms at Walt Disney World. The average room is around 415 square feet in size. Some of the rooms even have 2 sinks, one inside the tub area and one outside. The Poly has 484 rooms and suites (which are located in the Tonga Longhouse).
Most rooms have 2 queen size beds plus a day bed and sleep 5. Rooms are grouped into “longhouses.” Each longhouse has a name corresponding to an island nation in the Pacific Ocean and offers something special.
Prices for rooms are based on the different views. The main views are Standard (with views of the Garden, Pool, Marina, Monorail, or Parking Area), Lagoon (with views of the Seven Seas Lagoon), and Theme Park (with views of Magic Kingdom Park and The Seven Seas Lagoon.) The Standard rooms are the least expensive, and it just goes up from there. The Polynesian also has Club Level rooms and suites.
Below is a list of the furnishings in the rooms:
Two queen beds
A flat screen cable TV (the available channels favor Disney owned channels)
One table and 2 chairs
An alarm clock
Iron and ironing board
An in-room safe
Bathroom with a shower tub, or a roll in shower in the handicapped rooms
Refrigerator and coffee maker
Most first floor rooms have a patio
Most third floor rooms have a balcony
Yes, there is a hairdryerin your room.
All Disney World resort rooms include some nice extras, soap, shampoo, and hand lotion. Sometimes Mousekeeping even makes towel animals to amuse children.
Rooms are divided into longhouses and each is unique. They are different sizes and have differing numbers of rooms. Here’s a little information about each longhouse, which are named after islands in the South Pacific.
Aotearoa: The Aotearoa longhouse is the furthest west of the longhouses. This makes it a very long walk to the Transportation and Ticket Center, but it is a short distance to the Great Ceremonial House. It’s also very close to the Luau Cove. You might be able to hear the Luau from your room.
Rooms in Aotearoa are 415 square feet and have Standard, Lagoon, and Magic Kingdom views. They face either north or south. The south facing rooms have a garden view and a great view of the monorail as it arrives and departs from the Disney Polynesian Village Resort. The north facing rooms have either a Lagoon view or Magic Kingdom view. There is only one sink in the bathroom in all of the rooms in Aotearoa.
Fiji: North of Aotearoa is the Fiji longhouse. It’s the background for lots of pictures. Fiji’s proximity to the Great Ceremonial House, Luau Cove, and the marina make it very popular. It’s a long walk from the Transportation and Ticket Center.
All of the rooms in the Fiji longhouse are 415 square feet and have Standard views. Being close to the Luau Cove, the evening festivities may be heard from your guest room.
The rooms in Fiji face either east or west. The east facing rooms have a view of the marina. All of the bathrooms have one sink.
Tuvalu: The Tuvalu longhouse is the most remote of the longhouses a the Disney Polynesian Village Resort. It almost sits in the Seven Seas Lagoon. This is one of the smaller longhouses. It’s not too far from the Great Ceremonial House, but it’s a long way from the Transportation and Ticket Center. It’s also right next to the Luau Cove.
The rooms here are all 415 square feet and have one sink in the bathroom. The north facing rooms are mostly Magic Kingdom views, but a few have Lagoon views. The south facing rooms have Standard views.
Rarotonga: If you want to be close to the Great Ceremonial House, this is the long house for you. Located just to the east of the GCH, it’s also very close to the quiet pool, the laundry, and Lilo’s Playhouse. The bus stop is just to the south. Rarotonga has the best location of all the longhouses at the Disney Polynesian Village Resort.
All of the rooms in Rarotonga are Standard view rooms and are 415 square feet. The bathrooms have only one sink. There is a deck on the second floor that connects with the Niue longhouse.
Niue: The Niue longhouse is one of the smaller longhouses at the Disney Polynesian Village Resort, and is the only one without an elevator. (If you need an elevator you can go to Rarotonga and walk across the deck that connects with Niue.) There are 22 Standard view rooms in this longhouse that are 415 square feet each.
The Nuie has views of both the volcano and the quiet pool. It’s located just north of the Great Ceremonial House.
Samoa: The Samoa longhouse at the Disney Polynesian Village Resort is very popular because of its proximity to the pools, the Great Ceremonial House and the beach. If you get a first floor room on the Volcano Pool side, you can sit on your patio instead of fighting for seats at the pool.
All of the rooms in the Samoa are Standard view and are 415 square feet. There is only one sink in the bathroom.
Hawaii: The rooms in the Hawaii longhouse are Club Level rooms (meaning concierge). These rooms have Garden views, Lagoon views, and Magic Kingdom Theme Park views. The Club Level includes access to the lounge and the concierge desk. Robes are standard in all rooms.
The rooms in the Hawaii longhouse have only one sink and are the same size as the standard rooms (415 square feet). The Magic Kingdom view rooms are some of the most coveted on the property.
The Great Ceremonial House is a short walk, but the beach and the pools are both close.
Tokelau: The Tokelau longhouse is the largest of the longhouses at the Disney Polynesian Village Resort. The rooms here are a little larger than the Standard rooms at 476 square feet. Rooms in Tokelau are Standard view, except for 2 Lagoon view rooms on the northeast end of the building.
Tokelau is centrally located, convenient to the Great Ceremonial House, the pools, the laundry, and Lilo’s Playhouse and is just a short walk to the Transportation and Ticket Center. The bathrooms have only one sink.
Tonga: The Tonga longhouse is one of the smallest longhouses. It’s also the most unique. Tonga is the home to all of the suites at the Disney Polynesian Village Resort. Suites range from the small Honeymoon Suite (385 square feet) to the immense, 2-story, King Kamehameah Suite (1863 square feet). Tonga is centrally located just outside of the Great Ceremonial House.
The suites all come with access to the King Kamehameah Club. This is concierge service. It includes help with trip planning, robes in the suite, and access to the lounge area, which has great snacks and drinks available.
Honeymoon Suite: This is a great place to start a new life together. The suite has a king bed and only sleeps 2. It has a view of the marina and the Seven Seas Lagoon. No, you don't get an automatic free upgrade if you're celebrating your Honeymoon here.
Princess Suite: The Princess Suites come in one or two bedrooms. One-bedroom suites have 2 queen beds and a sitting area with a couch/day bed, a couple of chairs and a TV. The two-bedroom suites have a second bedroom and bathroom with two queen beds.
The Princess Suites sleep 6 to 10. The Princess Suites are all Lagoon Views and have 2 sinks in the bathroom.
Ambassador Suite: On the south side of the longhouse are the two suites (one on each floor) called Ambassador Suites. Both are considered Garden view, but the view is not very good. These suites are huge. They have two bedrooms and a living room area. The lower suite has a back yard. Both suites have 3 full bathrooms.
Kamehameha Suite: The Kamehameha Suite is the granddaddy of all the suites at the Disney Polynesian Village Resort. This 2-story suite has over 1850 square feet. It has 2 bedrooms, a living room, a kitchen, and 3 ½ bathrooms. You can add an Ambassador Suite and make a home away from home. This is the most expensive suite at the Polynesian and is favored by several Hollywood celebrities.
Looking for a little more room and a little more luxury? Disney’s Polynesian Villas and Bungalows are one of the most anticipated additions to the Disney Vacation Club. A little slice of Bora Bora with a view of the Magic Kingdom is all yours when you stay there.
The Disney Vacation Club longhouses include Tokelau, Moorea, and Pago-Pago. There are 360 deluxe studio villas as well as 20 bungalows situated over the water.
In the Great Ceremonial House there are several options for getting some good grub. Dad’s favorite Disney World restaurant is ’Ohana where you can get piles of good food. They even have character dining with Lilo and Stich for breakfast.
Kona Caféis a very good place to sit down for really good food in an casual diner atmosphere. The addition of Kona Island gives you the option to grab some good sushi and other appetizers in a relaxed atmosphere.
The fast food venue for the Polynesian Village Resort is Captain Cooks. You can get quick meals and even some packaged foods to take back to the room for late night, or early morning snacks.
There is a dinner show almost every night called the Spirit of Aloha. The show and food is very similar to what you’d experience at a luau in Waikiki.
Trader Sam, the infamous headhunter from the Jungle Cruise at the Magic Kingdom, now has his own watering hole, Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto. Inside this very quaint establishment, you will find great concoctions, yummy food, and an interactive atmosphere.
Tambu Lounge is located in the Great Ceremonial House, the Tambu Lounge features a full bar, tropical drinks, coffee, and Hawaiian-inspired appetizers.
Barefoot Pool Bar is where you can sip on tropical delights or have a snack at the base of Nanea Volcano by the pool.
Pineapple Lanai has one of the best snacks at WDW – pineapple Dole Whip soft serve, available by itself, in a float, or with a souvenir cup.
Room Service is available from 7:00 AM until Midnight.
Nanea (Volcano) Pool: Nanea means tranquil. Hmmm, might not be the best name for a swimming pool, but this one is pretty laid back. The smoking Volcano is over 40 feet tall and has a waterslide inside that’s 142 feet long.
Kids love playing in the waterfall that cascades down the side of the volcano. They can listen to island music playing UNDER WATER, and there’s even a wet-play area for the little ones. A nice feature of Nanea is the zero-entry end of the pool. Zero-entry means that you can walk right in to the pool. No steps or jumping are required. (Specialized water wheelchairs are available for those needing assistance.)
The whole family can sit at the pool, in the evening, and watch the fireworks over the castle at the Magic Kingdom- either from the side or in the pool. It’s a great view.
When you’re done with the pool, you can climb out of the water, walk over to the beach, and get a tan. Nanea is one of the best pools at Disney World. One quick note, in the summer time Nanea can be very crowded. Still, it’s worth it to check it out.
The Quiet Pool:T he other pool at Disney Polynesian Village Resort is a “quiet” pool. There are no water slides here, no diving boards, no cute fountains…Just a nice quiet place to have a cool drink and relax. (It just so happens that there is a pool bar by the quiet pool.)
This pool is usually not as crowed as the volcano pool and great for an evening swim. (Note: This pool is under renovations until early 2016.)
The Polynesian Village Resort used to have the best beach at Disney World. That’s Dad’s story and he’s sticking to it. However, since the addition of the Bungalows, what was once the largest and most beautiful beach at any Disney Resort has been reduced to about a quarter of its original size. The remaining part of the beach still exists; however, it is occupied by the Bora Bora Bungalows.
The area is still beautiful and there are still white sand beaches, a great view of the Magic Kingdom, and great places to sit on the beach and feel like you’ve been transported to one of the islands in the Pacific. It’s almost perfect.
Other great amenities you can enjoy include:
Seven Seas Marina (where you can rent all kinds of watercraft to zip around Seven Seas Lagoon)
Lilo’s Playhouse- a supervised activity center for kids 3 to 12
Movies Under the Stars - complimentary screenings of favorite Disney films on the beach
Laundry and dry cleaning services
If you are a hotel guest at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort you can park right at the resort free of charge! This is actually true of any Disney Resort Hotel. Most other hotels in the area that aren’t on property charge for this. So, yes, it’s a great added bonus!
The official address is:
Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
1600 Seven Seas Drive
Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830-1000
(407) 824- 2000
When you pull up to the resort, if you’re driving yourself, you have a choice…the first of many. You can choose to act rich… or, you can choose to act poor…Most of us normal people take a left turn and park our cars ourselves, unload our bags and start walking to the check-in counter.
Your other choice is to pull up under the huge overhang, throw the keys at the valet, tell the bellman to grab the bags (luggage, not human), and stroll snootily to the check in counter and announce your presence.
Yes, there is valet parking for the Polynesian guests as well as bell service. Valet parking is an additional fee per day and tips for parking and bell services are expec…appreciated.
Bell services and valet parking are all part of the first class services available at Disney’s Deluxe Resorts. Disney knows how to take care of their friends. Go ahead and splurge on valet, Dad won’t judge.
Didn’t drive to Florida? There are many transportation options other than your own car. These include:
Disney’s Magical Express is available if you are coming from MCO, Orlando’s airport. You can take the Magical Express right to your hotel. This is a free, yes FREE, service! Just make reservations for Disney’s Magical Express and let Disney do the driving.
The Monorail is right outside of the Great Ceremonial House on the second level. The Express Monorail will transport you to the Magic Kingdom.
Looking for adventure? Sail the Seven Seas…Lagoon that is, by boat from the Polynesian to the Magic Kingdom.
To get to Epcot you can take the Epcot Monorail from the Transportation and Ticket Center (TTC). To get there you will need to take the Monorail on the long and scenic route from the Great Ceremonial House all the way around to the TTC stop (in between The Contemporary and The Polynesian).
Or take Dad’s simple trip advice and enjoy the short walk directly from the Polynesian to the TTC and board the Epcot Monorail there.
Use Disney buses to get to Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Disney Springs, and the water parks. Buses can be found just outside the Great Ceremonial House.
Sure, the Polynesian already sounds like fun, but wait, there’s more!
At 9:00pm, you can watch the Electric Water Pageant, a timeless Disney classic, right from the beach! Plus, stick around for Wishes! They even pipe in the music so the only thing you really miss by not watching it from Main Street is the crowd!
Reserve Today and Get Ready to Say Aloha!
By now you know why the Polynesian Village Resort is Dad’s favorite. I bet you’re thinking, “Wow the Polynesian sounds AMAZING! I want to book a room now!”
Well, you’re in luck. Dad knows people. Good people. People that would be happy to help you book your fantastic vacation right now.
They’ll get you sorted with pricing. They always know all of the latest deals and will make sure you get the best price.
Dad's Bottom Line
By now you can see why Disney's Polynesian Village Resort is the best hotel in the world. Why not check it out on your next WDW trip? Whether you stay there, check out one of the restaurants, or simply stop by to take a look around, you'll be amazing by this vacation-within-a-vacation resort.