Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort is one of, if not the most, desirable place to stay on Walt Disney World property and for good reason. Located along the monorail line in the Magic Kingdom hub, the Polynesian, or “Poly” for short, features spacious and welcoming accommodations with Disney-inspired décor, delectable eats and cocktails that seem like they’re straight from the Hawaiian Islands, and views of surrounding areas (including Cinderella’s Castle) that are unmatched and are only getting better as the Polynesian Resort expands.
There’s a reason why this resort most often has the highest price tag per night when staying on Disney property. Don’t let that sticker shock scare you away though because even without an overnight accommodation you are able to “resort hop” to this Pacific Island-themed resort to experience yet another side of Disney World that is a bit more relaxing and adult-catering than other spots on property.
The Poly is partially a Disney Vacation Club (DVC) resort so many of the rooms and areas have DVC amenities such as more spacious accommodations, wide patios & balconies off of the rooms, plenty of dining options, and grocery items available for purchase in the resort gift shop.
The theming of this resort is, of course, modeled after the Hawaiian Islands and Polynesian culture. Everything from the architecture of the buildings to the greenery and plant life that line the walking paths will have you truly believing that you’re finally taking that Hawaiian vacation you had always promised yourself.
Being a Hawaiian-themed resort, you can find a beach along Seven Seas Lagoon at the Poly complete with wooden Adirondack chairs and a view of Magic Kingdom and the park’s nightly fireworks.
Throughout the grounds you will find Polynesian idols and tiki torches that take the island lifestyle setting to another level when the sun goes down.
The main lobby of the resort is open to its two levels in the middle and features plenty of tropical aspects that offer pops of color among an island-wood frame. The fabrics of the seating areas are bright oranges and blues which pair well with the eclectic bulbs in fishnet above that create a grand chandelier for this space.
Much like the outdoor areas of this resort, you will encounter some mischievous tiki men throughout the resorts main indoor lobby area. Being an original Disney World resort, you will also find nostalgic nods to the days of early Hawaiian tourism with fun posters and Disney character props in the hallway that leads from the lobby to the quick service area.
On the first floor of the lobby is the check-in area, plenty of seating, and main gift shop. On the second floor you will find the two sit-down restaurants, ‘Ohana and Kona Cafe, access to the monorail, and another gift shop with grocery items and toys.
Speaking of the monorail, the Polynesian is a perfect location to access not only the Magic Kingdom, but also Epcot because of its location next to the Transportation & Ticket Center, (TTC). You can take the monorail to Magic Kingdom, the two other monorail resorts, and the TTC, which is where you can transfer onto a different monorail line to get to Epcot.
Because the Poly is right beside the TTC though, you can also walk to this spot to access the Epcot monorail. If the monorail isn’t your thing, there is a walkway from the Poly to Grand Floridian and Magic Kingdom. This walkway is a bit of a trek to the heart of the Magic Kingdom though so be prepared for a 20+ minute walk if you choose this option.
And if walking isn’t your thing, (hopefully it is because Disney is non-stop walking for days) you can take a boat from the Poly to Magic Kingdom as well. Due to this resort’s prime location, there are multiple methods of transportation to get you to where you need to go, including bus for the other two parks and Disney Springs.
The main pool at this resort is quite the sight with a volcano, waterfall, and a kids splash section. The seating at this pool is comfortable and if you set up camp in the right spot, you’ll find yourself graced with a view of the castle on the other side of the lagoon.
The main pool area also has a hot tub which is my favorite on property. This hot tub features a lava rock look and is set back from the heart of the volcano pool.
There is also a smaller, more relaxed pool at this resort that houses beautiful Polynesian bungalows to shade yourself from the hot Florida sun and a pool bar so that you can stay for the day without getting dehydrated.
Unlike all of the other DVC resorts, the Poly only has studios and bungalows available (as of right now). The studio rooms are one of the largest on property though with a long balcony or patio, beautiful decor, and two bathrooms!
That’s right- the DVC studio rooms have two bathrooms- one with a full three piece and the other with a sink and beautiful lava rock inspired rain shower.
Of course, this resort also has non-DVC rooms that include studios and suites. If you have an extra $3,200 to drop on a Disney stay, then you can opt for one of the over-water bungalows that have a Magic Kingdom facing deck with a plunge pool.
All rooms and accommodations on the Poly property feature bright oranges and blues with some subtle Disney theming from Hawaiian movies like Lilo & Stitch and Moana.
Throughout the whole resort you will find the consistent presence of that light and dark tropical wood, colorful flowers, and plenty of greenery to make you feel like you’re on a jungle island.
If you’re anything like, me you’ll find yourself drawn to the resort gift shop to take a piece of this Poly magic home with you.
I couldn’t talk about a Disney resort without hitting upon the food and dining options offered, and the Poly has some of my favorite dishes & drinks of anywhere on property.
At this resort you will find two sit down restaurants, a quick service cafeteria, a coffee & pastry bar near the monorail entrance, two pool bars, a hidden tiki bar, and the forever famous dole whip window.
Pineapple Lanai, located off of the main lobby between Captain Cook’s quick service area and the main pool, is solely dedicated to serving up that distinctly Disney pineapple dole whip that you’ve probably heard about.
At this window you can order the traditional pineapple dole whip as well as other fun flavors such as raspberry, lime, or coconut. There is also the option to swirl the dole whip with vanilla ice cream or, if you’re up for a boozy vacation, add coconut rum to create an alcoholic dole whip float.
On the second floor of the main lobby, you will find the two sit down restaurants for the resort, Kona Cafe and ‘Ohana.
Kona Cafe is the modestly-priced option of the two and features dishes like chicken & shrimp stir fry, turkey bahn mi, and sushi for lunch and dinner and their famous tonga toast- a banana stuffed French toast with strawberry compote- at breakfast time.
Don’t miss out on the cocktails and drinks available throughout the resort, especially the lapu lapu- a tropical rum drink served in a hollowed-out pineapple. You can find this specific drink at both sit down dining locations at the Poly.
Rightfully more popular than Kona Cafe is ‘Ohana, a family style restaurant with character encounters during breakfast and Hawaiian music ambience during dinner. The two dishes that any Disney fan will tell you you have to try when dining here for dinner are the ‘Ohana noodles and ‘Ohana bread pudding.
At dinner you will have a family style serving of Polynesian grilled chicken, teriyaki beef, shrimp, pork dumplings, noodles, and bread pudding. Everything here is delicious and all-you-can-eat. Make sure to save room for that bread pudding dessert though because it’s the true star of the show topped with vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce.
For breakfast you will find the same family style serving method with fruit, eggs, sausage, bacon, ham, potatoes, waffles, biscuits, & pineapple coconut bread. You will also encounter some fan-favorite Polynesian Disney characters such as Lilo & Stitch and occasional appearances by Mickey & Pluto in their Hawaiian gear.
The best place to grab some appetizers and very strong drinks at the Polynesian though is at Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto. This well hidden tiki bar is located right next to the quick service area in the hallway that connects the lobby to the Grand Floridian facing side of the resort.
Trader Sam’s isn’t just your average tiki bar though- it’s full of tiki gods and goddesses, tricks, and surprises that will keep your party laughing throughout your time there. Each signature drink on the menu creates some kind of chaos when ordered which makes for a fun and immersive cocktail hour.
Disney fans know this place well and flock here on a daily basis to get a table (or sinking bar stool). Trader Sam’s opens at 3 pm every day and the walk up line opens at 2 pm, so get here early to experience one of the most fun non-park locations on property.
The recreation at this resort seems to be turned up a notch from others with the inclusion of the beach area. From here you can watch the nightly Magic Kingdom fireworks with other resort guests while enjoying the pumped in music from the park.
Occasionally you will find Disney characters dressed in their Hawaiian best for meet and greets on the lawn area that also serves as the movie under the stars section.
There are also nightly campfires with marshmallows and smores, boat rentals, fishing, and the always-loud-yet-charming Electrical Water Pageant that makes its way around Seven Seas Lagoon after the fireworks. Between all of the activities, pools, dining, and monorail access, you certainly won’t be bored when staying here.
While the Poly is almost 52 years old, the resort is not going anywhere anytime soon. A DVC tower is currently being built between the existing Polynesian resort and Grand Floridian. This tower will most likely become the area of the resort with one, two, and three bedroom accommodations with a stunning view of the rest of the resort and Magic Kingdom.
This tower is taller than you’d think it is when looking at pictures and has me wondering how much a night the rooms on the top two floors will be since they’re sure to have prime Magic Kingdom fireworks views. Set to be completed in late 2024, the Poly Tower will provide an extension to the WDW original resort that is sure to bridge that nostalgic Disney feel with the future of vacationing to the Most Magical Place on Earth.