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The Polynesian or the Pop? Which one should we choose?

by Justine

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“Hi Dad,

I came to you early in the year about travel dates and your advice was spot on! We’re in the planning stages for our trip in the Spring of course, I have more questions. Figured I’d better come back to the expert!

Last time was our first time at a Disney resort and now that I’ve had that experience – I don’t think we could go back to an off site hotel. We stayed at Port Orleans Riverside and it was wonderful. My kids loved the pool hopping option between there and FQ. We are a family of 4 that carefully budgets every detail to be able to make this annual trip. (I never went as a child so I especially enjoy every moment of the magic with my children.)

My question, is it worth a splurge for Polynesian? POR was perfect but we’re debating trying something new. My kids are all about the pools, I think they like the pools more than the parks! Would a Value Resort be equally nice?

It will take extra budgeting to fit a Deluxe in, even by renting DVC points. My son is now 5 and my daughter will be 9 so we are running low on the times that it will still be “real magic” to them. Although, I’m an adult and still feel like a child when I walk down Main Street.

We’re looking at the weeks of April 27, or May 4 bc we love the spring but fear the crowds. We went April 6 last year and got to celebrate my daughter’s birthday while we were there and every detail was amazing. The weather, the crowds, the laughs, it rained all day one of the days and that day holds some of the most magical memories of my life. Funny how Disney can do that!

Thank you!”

The Worth it Question

Pineapple Lanai is home of the Dole Whip

You might find Dad at Pineapple Lanai ordering a Dole Whip – Photo by Andy Sanchez


I’m so glad I was able to help on your earlier trip. Let’s see if we can do something to help on this trip.

When it comes to whether it would be “worth it” to splurge and go to the Polynesian, it’s a very personal decision. The real question is, is it “worth it” to you? Are you willing to sacrifice and come up with the extra money for a Deluxe Resort, or are you comfortable in a Value or Moderate?

Staying at a Deluxe Resort, like the Polynesian, is a big deal. It’s really expensive. It’s just about 4 times more a night for the Polynesian than it is the Pop Century. Looking at the times you want to go it’s over $400 per night more. That’s a lot of money.

Is it worth it? Let’s explore a little more.

The Pool Question

The Nenea Pool at the Polynesian

The “Volcano Pool” looks like a lot of fun – Photo by Cliff Wang

You talk about how important the pools are for the kids. I think that’s great. Let’s talk about the pool question for a minute.

There are two pools at the Polynesian Village Resort. The iconic Nanea Volcano Lava Pool looks amazing with a Volcano slide that’s 142 feet long. The Oasis Pool is the quiet pool and is very basic.

Dad’s Polynesian Village Resort page

Boutiki gift shop is something special

Things like Boutiki make the Polynesian special – Photo by Mike Billick

The three pools at the Pop Century are pretty basic, but just as iconic as Nanea. The Hippy Dippy Pool, the Bowling Pool and the Computer Pool are just cool. They just look like fun. They are colorful, big and have activities going on all day.

Dad’s Pop Century Resort page

The main difference between the Pop Century pools and the Nanea Pool at the Polynesian is the water slide. In fact the difference between the Value Resort pools and the Moderate and Deluxe Resort pools is the water slide. (Yes, I know that Stormalong Bay has a lazy river.) The Value Resort pools don’t have a water slide and the Moderate and Deluxe resorts do. Some of the water slides at the Deluxe Resorts, like the Nanea pool, are pretty elaborate.

But is a water slide worth $400 per night?

Other Factors

The Hippy Dippy Pool at the Pop Century

The Hippy Dippy pool is pretty plain, but a whole lot of fun – Photo by Judd Helms

So if it’s not the pool that makes a Deluxe Resort “worth it”?

Yeah, I know. It’s pretty obvious. The location is better, the rooms are bigger and nicer, there are more transportation options, there are better gift shops, restaurants, and adult establishments for the most part. If those kind of things are important to you then yes, a Deluxe Resort may be “worth it”.

But if you aren’t going to take advantage of those then why spend the extra money?

The Date Question

As to April 27 vs May 4, it’s really a tossup. I did look at prices and you might save a little bit of money on the May 4th date depending on which resort you pick (Pop was a little cheaper, Poly was not). Crowd wise I don’t think there will be much of a difference.

Dad’s April Disney World Crowds page
Dad’s May Disney World Crowds page

Flip a coin. It doesn’t really matter.

A Little Help

I would suggest you get in touch with our partners at Destinations to Travel and let them give you a little help making this decision. They can help you with options and work on finding what’s best for your family. They are pretty amazing.

Dad’s Destinations to Travel Page

Destinations to Travel

Dad’s Bottom Line

Justine, the bottom line about whether something is “worth it” on a Disney World vacation is a very personal thing. What’s best for you and your family might not be what my family would like. You have to figure out if spending all that extra money for a better pool is “worth it” for you or will you enjoy all the extras. It’s a tough choice.

I hope that helps.


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Comments for

Dec 03, 2018 Visit instead
by: Daniel

Hi Dad! Like you said the Polynesian is beautiful but also very expensive. We usually stay at a less expensive resort and go visit the Deluxe resorts. We are mostly in the parks anyway during our stay so why pay over 400$ extra a night for a bed… You can also go swimming at one of the water parks where the slides are fantastic!

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