One of the original and most fabulously themed of Walt Disney World’s Deluxe Resorts in Orlando, Florida, Disney’s Polynesian Village combines all the Tiki goodness of a vintage Hawaiian vacation with the fun of visiting Disney parks. It is located right on the shores of the Seven Seas Lagoon, just a monorail’s ride away from all the action!
Hotel Review: Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
Disney’s Polynesian Village is one of two original hotels that opened with the Magic Kingdom in 1971 (the other was the Contemporary Resort). So I can understand when people describe it as having that kitschy, Brady-Bunch-Goes-to-Hawaii 70’s vibe! But I loved the vintage look and feel of the place. Here’s why.
More than 45 years after opening, the Polynesian’s tropical motif has proven to have a timeless appeal. Over the years, Disney has done an amazing job adding modern amenities that being a deluxe resort demands (upgraded décor, wi-fi, a spa tub at the pool). But the charm that made this resort so popular in the first place has been preserved!
Themed to reflect the style and culture of the South Pacific, the resort’s rooms are divided among several ‘longhouses’ and the newly renovated Great Ceremonial House, which serves as the resort’s main reception area. With a 3-story high atrium, rich tropical interior and themed music, the Great Ceremonial House will instantly transport you to another world. It houses many of the resort’s restaurants and shops. The theming continues outside with white sand beaches on the shores of the Seven Seas Lagoon, Tiki torch-lit walkways and lush green landscaping.
What Works for Families
- Monorail stop onsite, as well as boat and bus service to the various parks and attractions.
- Supervised children’s activity center, Lilo’s Playhouse
- Fabulous pool area with volcano water slide and daily pool activities
- “Movies Under the Stars” play nightly on the beach
- Character breakfast onsite at ‘Ohana Restaurant
- Spirit of Aloha Luau and dinner takes place nightly
- Tropical theming throughout the resort
What Doesn’t Work for Families
- As a deluxe resort, Disney’s Polynesian Village is pricey.
- There is no food court, just one small counter service restaurant on site.
Disney’s Polynesian Village Rooms
Disney’s Polynesian Village has a variety of rooms and suites available, including the enviable new over-the-water Bora Bora Bungalows. These DVC properties have a private boardwalk to access each unit and a private deck with views of the lagoon and Magic Kingdom. I can only imagine those decks are the perfect spot for watching the fireworks and Electrical Water Pageant at night.
But alas, the bungalows are too rich for my blood! We stayed in a garden view room in one of the longhouses. Standard rooms are just over 400 square feet, which is a nice size, with two queen beds and a spacious bathroom. Like all the deluxe resorts at Walt Disney World, bathrooms are stocked with high-end soaps and lotions that smell just yummy! Most rooms include an outdoor space, either a deck or patio, so you can relax outside at this tropical oasis.
Rooms have flat screen televisions with convenient audio and video inputs. Other amenities include a mini-fridge, wall safe, coffee maker, iron/ironing board and hair dryer.
Dining Options at Disney’s Polynesian Village
The first time I visited the Polynesian it was not to stay, but just for dinner. (And then of course I wanted to come back for a stay!) For many people, Disney’s Polynesian Village is a destination just for the food! From Dole Whips to Aloha pulled pork, here’s a round-up of all the great places to eat.
Disney’s Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show is held in an open-air theater located in Luau Cove. The show is everything you’d expect from a traditional luau – plus a little Disney magic – with music, fire, and dances of the Tahiti, Samoa, Tonga, New Zealand and Hawaiian cultures. The food is an All-You-Can Eat, a traditional buffet of Aloha pulled pork, Polynesian beef ribs, roasted chicken, salad, vegetables and delicious desserts. Children’s favorites such as corn dogs, pizza and chicken are also available. And of course, you’ll want to indulge in a fruity cocktail for the full experience!
Captain Cook’s is a quick service eatery located on the first floor of the Great Ceremonial House. The resort’s only counter service restaurant, it is adjacent to the pool which makes it the perfect spot for a casual lunch or evening meal.
Pineapple Lanai is new to the resort, part of the Polynesian’s recent renovations. You see, Dole Whips were so popular, Disney decided to dedicate a whole space just for them! The stand is located in a small courtyard outside the lobby, next to Captain Cook’s by the pool. Pineapple Dole Whips are available along with vanilla soft-serve and the popular Dole Whip Floats. They are also available in a souvenir tiki bowl. I recommend buying one before the nightly Electrical Water Pageant and enjoying them on the beach while you watch!
Kona Island is a casual café, open for breakfast and dinner only. It is located off the lobby.
‘Ohana is among the most popular restaurants at the Disney resorts. For breakfast, Lilo and Stitch host their own character breakfast. At dinner, meals are prepared in a huge open-pit and served family style. Guests also get to participate in a coconut race.
Healthy Tip for This Destination
Disney’s Polynesian Village and the Grand Floridian have an interconnecting jogging trail which is approximately one mile in length. Enjoy views of the Magic Kingdom and Seven Seas Lagoon as you walk or jog along this beautifully landscaped pathway.