Disney’s Polynesian Resort-A Brief Review

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There is perhaps no other resort as iconic as Disney’s Polynesian Resort. With the waterfalls adorning the lobby, palm trees swaying in the evening breeze, tiki torches lighting the paths, and cast members greeting guests with a simple “Aloha” you truly step into a different world when you enter the Poly.

One of Walt Disney Worlds original resorts, The Polynesian has carved out a place in hotel history. On a recent trip I was lucky enough to spend 6 nights within the pacific themed walls of this resort. I am here to tell you all about this resort; the good, the bad, and the ugly.

I have been truly blessed in that I get to plan peoples Disney vacations for a living. Because of this I make several trips to Walt Disney World each year (It is actually between 8-10 trips a year!)  so that I can keep up with current trends, test out different resorts, and observe new shows and experiences. Prior to this trip I had not stayed at the Poly, opting instead for the less expensive Wilderness Lodge or staying closer to Epcot at The Beach Club.  I had visited the Poly many times; watched the fireworks on the beach, eaten dinner at ‘Ohana, and just walked the grounds to take a break from the theme parks. I had also been lucky enough to see several rooms there as part of an Agent Education Program. Since the Polynesian is slated to become the newest DVC property, I really wanted to stay there before the face of this resort legend was forever changed.

To say I was excited about this stay was an understatement, that is why I am sure you will be shocked to find out that at 11am on the first morning of our trip (we checked in at 9pm the previous night) I was asking about switching to the Grand Floridian!

We were assigned to Rarotonga, which is a pretty great building to be in. It is next to The Great Ceremonial Hall and only a few short steps to both the Volcano pool and the quiet pool. The room was HUGE. We had  king bed and the couch converts into a very comfy twin sized bed as well. The views from the balcony included peeks of wishes as it played over the Magic Kingdom.  How could I possibly be disappointed, right? Well, let me explain. Everything just looked tired. The room was just worn with some evidence of past water damage, broken light fixtures, and even dirty linens. The hallways were grungy and over all I just was not feeling the love.

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Beyond that I really did not like the pools! First of all that Volcano pool is small. When it got warm and hit mid day break time people were shoulder to shoulder in there. The quiet pool was just that, quiet and I actually really liked this pool a lot. I did miss having a hot tub though. I thought it was something I could do without, but really I am paying for a deluxe resort on the monorail and I want my hot tub. I think the new DVC section of The Polynesian will bring along a hot tub; at least that is my hope!

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I talked my concerns over with the concierge staff, who were amazing, and they offered me a switch to either The Grand Floridian or the Contemporary. I was ready to pack my bags when my husband said that he was actually enjoying the resort and wanted to stay. So stay we did. The end result, I actually really liked the resort! Its charm grew on me and I began to forgive its age spots. Lets face it; being on the monorail is the bomb. Another plus for the Poly is that you can walk to the TTC which means you basically have direct monorail service to Epcot as well. This was a wonderful perk.

The landscaping is gorgeous and they really do a great job of keeping you inside the story.  I also really loved being so close to some of my favorite restaurants. We ate breakfast at Ohana and dinner at Kona Cafe. I highly recommend both of these dining options. I got into both with only 24 hours notice. I also absolutely adore the Wyland Gallery. I could look at those paintings for hours. Another cool thing was the constant entertainment in the lobby; from kids games to hula dancing there was always something going on.

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Captain Cook’s is the quick service location at the Poly and was also the only place I encountered cast members who didn’t seem to be in the spirit of the resort. Captain Cooks is functional and has offerings that will certainly curb your appetite, but it is not my favorite resort quick service. Sure, you can get self serve dole whip, but beyond that there really is not a ton of variety. It is a small area and gets quite busy and crowded at peak times.

So here is the bottom line: If you want a real resort feel to your stay and you are with a larger family this is a great choice. If you really want to get your money’s worth stay on a room discount or a free dining discount. If I had to choose a monorail resort Grand Floridian still gets my vote. It was a lovely time and I am glad I got to experience this resort. Have you stayed here? What were your impressions?




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