Disney’s Polynesian Resort
(Originally Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort)
Here is the first of a weekly resort review. One of the major decisions in my family is always where we are going to stay. Sure, I could make it easy and just stay at Monica’s favorite, I mean, our favorite. But we like to stay somewhere different every time, or at least try! I have done this growing up and I want my family to experience all the wonderful resorts Disney has to offer. Each resort is different and creates wonderful memories that stay with you forever.
So I choose my favorite resort as the inaugural resort review… the Polynesian. The wonder of this resort starts as you pull up and the Polynesian Resort sign amongst the palm trees and turn towards the guard shack and see the monorail pass by. The resort is situated on the Seven Seas Lagoon opposite of the Magic Kingdom, and they have a beautiful point that jets out a little called Sunset Point. It is an ideal location to get married. Trust me…I did!!!
As you enter the Great Ceremonial House, which serves as the landmark of the hotel and main reception area, you enter the world of a rainforest. In the lobby, an island native presents you with a lei, and the sounds and smells of a tropical paradise. At check-in, you are given your longhouse location and name. The resort’s motto is “Aita Peatea,” which means “There will be another day tomorrow just like today.”
The resort is comprised of 11 different longhouses which are 2 or 3 stories tall. The resort has a marina, 2 pools, a luau, 3 restaurants, 4 shops, and a monorail stop on the Magic Kingdom loop. The resort longhouses are named after Polynesiannesia islands and are laid out so that if you compared the resort map to a map of Polynesian Islands, they are roughly in the correct geographical location.
The longhouses are as follows starting from closest to the Grand Floridian: Aotearoa, Fiji, Tuvalu, Tonga, Samoa, Niue, Hawaii, Rarotonga, Tokelau, Tahiti, and Rapa Nui. Tonga is directly across from the Great Ceremonial House and houses the suites. The views vary in each longhouse, but generally are either garden view (including landscaping, monorails, parking lot), lagoon view (including pool, lagoon, other resort, limited park view), and theme park view (Magic Kingdom). The club level has the same view options.
Room rates, based on 2 adults in a room (kids 17 and under are free) range from $405 per night for a garden view room in January up to $3200 per night for the 2 bedroom King Kamehameha Suite during the week of Christmas. From time to time, Disney offers room only and package discounts and of course there is typically an annual passholder rate which is lower.
If restaurants are what sway your decision in a resort, then look no further. The Polynesian has one of the top three restaurants on property, in my opinion – ‘Ohana. The restaurant offerings are as follows: Captain Cook’s Snack Company, Kona Cafe, ‘Ohana, and The Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show. Captain Cook’s is the 24 hour snack location. This is where you can get your resort refillable mug, which is included in ALL vacation dining packages for 2012. Captain Cook’s is a quick-service dining location, the food is very good, and it is located on the first floor of the Great Ceremonial House. Kona Cafe is a table service restaurant and is located on the second floor of the Great Ceremonial House. It is home to the famous Tonga Toast. If you haven’t tried it…what are you waiting for! It is a giant banana stuffed French toast served with strawberry compote. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. Kona is open for all three meals of the day. Kona also has a side sushi and coffee bar that has a great spicy tuna roll. Now…drum roll…’Ohana! I rate this restaurant in the top three on property. It is an all-you-care-to-eat restaurant and the food is served family style. You are greeted as you enter by your “cousin” and they explain the restaurant and the feast you are about to indulge in. The proteins are cooked on an open fire pit and the kids love watching it. The food is top notch and service is impeccable. Save room for desert, it is bread pudding a la mode with bananas and caramel sauce… can you taste it? Yumm! The last restaurant option is the Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show. There are two shows nightly, weather permitting at 5:15 p.m. and 8 p.m. The food and entertainment are authentic and it is an all-you-care-to-enjoy feast. Of course, room service is always available and the menu options are large. There are two locations to get adult beverage, they are The Barefoot Pool Bar which is located next to the Nanea Volcano pool and Tambu Lounge which is located adjacent to ‘Ohana. The Tambu lounge is home to the Lapu-Lapu drink, my personal favorite!!
The resort has two pools, the main themed pool is Nanea Volcano pool and there is a quiet pool also. The themed pool is a zero entry pool, has a waterslide “hidden” in the volcano, offers a terrific view of the castle (great firework location while swimming) and has private cabanas available for a nominal fee. The Samoa longhouse is adjacent to the pool along with the Hawaii longhouse. The quiet pool is your standard big pool and is located between four longhouses (Samoa, Hawaii, Tokelau, and Niue). Both pools are heated and music is piped into each for your underwater listening pleasure. There are no Jacuzzis or hot tubs at the resort.
The Polynesian does have a marina that offers boat rentals throughout the day, which are very fun! Along with the Marina, the Polynesian has 4 shops that are unique and open. The first one is BouTIKI, located on the first floor of the Great Ceremonial House, which offers a variety of merchandise from keychains to ladies sundresses. This is where you can purchase Polynesian logo merchandise. Trader Jacks, located on the second floor of the Great Ceremonial House, sells character merchandise and other gifts. Samoa Snacks, located on the second floor of the Great Ceremonial House, sells sun protection, liquor, film, and snacks for your resort stay. The fourth is Wyland Gallery, located on the first floor of the Great Ceremonial House, which sells incredible artwork and jewelry. There is also a pin trading cart located outside of Trader Jacks.
Another great feature is that the Polynesian Resort is on the Magic Kingdom monorail loop with connecting service to EPCOT. This is a very convenient mode of transportation. Bus service to the other parks and Downtown Disney is offered and the bus stop is outside nearest to the Rarotonga longhouse. Boat service is also offered to the Magic Kingdom and the Grand Floridian. Once at the Magic Kingdom you can catch a boat to Fort Wilderness, Wilderness Lodge, and the Contemporary also.
Hopefully I’ve been able to offer some keys points of the Polynesian Resort. It is hands down my favorite resort on property. I love the atmosphere and relaxing feeling I get while walking around the resort. Oh and one other not to be missed event is the nightly torch lighting. It is incredible watching the Polynesian dancer as he lights the torches leading to the Great Ceremonial House. If you’d like more information on the resort, please feel free to email me or leave a comment in the section below. Love the Mouse Travel and I can assist you in staying at this tropical resort paradise. The room are so relaxing, you’ll never want to leave!!!
So remember, aloha and a ho’i a’e au… good-bye and until we meet again!