This review is sponsored by DVC Magic Resales at www.dvcmagicresales.com (they used their DVC points to book the room and in exchange will also be posting this review and reviews of the other properties). If you’re looking to buy into the Disney Vacation Club or purchase more points for less than you’d pay Disney directly, they’re a great choice. They also take excellent care of those looking to sell their contracts independently.
- Saratoga Springs review is available here
- Old Key West is available here
- Wilderness Lodge is available here
- Beach Club is available here
- Animal Kingdom Lodge Jambo House 1-Bedroom is available here
- Animal Kingdom Lodge Kidani Village Studio is available here
- Vero Beach is available here
- The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa Review
Each of these reviews is a wide-ranging look at the resort and includes unique dining reviews, a look around the resorts, and a lot more.
The Polynesian Village Resort is perhaps the most immersive on property, transporting guests to the lushness of the South Sea Islands so long as Dole Whips are still just a step outside the lobby. As one of the first two on-site hotels, the Polynesian is even richer in history than it is in its plentiful array of amenities.
On paper, the Polynesian sports what may be the best lineup of restaurants, lounges, pools, and recreational activities of any resort on property. There’s an incredible number iof opportunities to sit back and relax on the beach or at one of the pools, in addition to options spanning from parasailing and bass fishing to all-you-care-to-enjoy buffets, luaus, and Hawaiian culture presentations. With a half-dozen stays and at least 50 visits over the years, I could still name a hundred things that I’ve yet to do here.
Recent additions, like the expansion of what is now known as the Oasis Pool and accompanying Bar & Grill, expand those offerings even more. How fun is the bright retro theming?
The resort map offers some insight into what’s offered and where it’s located:
We’ll cover each letter on the map as we move about the resort.
Under the Disney Vacation Club umbrella, there are only two room types and one additional view option, unlike most other DVC properties that have 1- and 2-bedroom options in addition to several view types on top of it. While the cash price on the Standard View Deluxe Studios and Standard View regular rooms are similar, purchasing a DVC Resale contract can see substantial savings over the cash price of booking either. And if you’re paying cash or able to rent points at a discount, you may prefer the room layout or color scheme of the Deluxe Studios over the Regular Rooms. We’ll take a look at both below.
At 465 square feet, Polynesian Village Studios are the largest on property, easily eclipsing the 390 square-foot Studios at Old Key West Resort and the 376 square-foot Studios at the Grand Floridian.
That’s also about 50 more square-feet than standard rooms.
Much of that space is taken up by a second bathroom, both of which are located along the hallway leading into the living area. Some Studios also have connecting doors inside, which is rare among Disney’s Studio offerings.
The main bathroom has the shower with small tub, sink, and toilet.
The second bathroom area has a sink, large mirror, and shower.
The shower is large and kind of fun with the bright blue tiling, seat, and overhead “rainfall” shower head.
Polynesian Studios sleep up to five people and if you have numerous members in the room with long prep times, the extra bath space may be a strong positive.
Studios feature the usual queen bed and full-size pullout sofa.
The table in the middle opens up to reveal storage inside.
The Murphy bed pulls down from the large piece of furniture underneath the television.
Unlike some of the other Studios, when pulled down, the bed doesn’t really interfere with the walkway in between the sleeping area and bathroom/hallway.
The Lilo and Stitch art adds some whimsy.
A table and two chairs.
I’m not sure what they charge if the lamp “goes missing,” but you might want to ask, “for a friend.”
Underneath the bed, there are a couple drawers, and there’s also some room under the bed to potentially fit a suitcase or something.
A small kitchenette area with refrigerator, coffee maker, toaster, sink, and microwave.
Glasses, mugs, paper plates and bowls, plastic cutlery, a roll of paper towels, a can and bottle opener, and corkscrew. Not the most exciting stuff, but the microwave can come in handy for popcorn or to reheat leftovers and you won’t have to search Google for, “How to open a bottle of wine when all you have is a t-shirt and the leftover stick from a Mickey Ice Cream Bar.”
While there is no dresser, there is a large closet ideal for hanging up striped polos.
In here you’ll find the safe, luggage rack, portable crib, ironing board, iron, hangers, and laundry basket.
Art on the walls above the couch.
The room vibe is quite a bit different than the “regular” rooms, pictured above.
You’ll also find two queen beds in the regular rooms, in addition to the one chair up close to the desk and the dresser underneath the much-smaller TV. There’s also just the one bathroom and no kitchenette.
And more of a day bed situation.
Overall, I personally prefer the aesthetic of the Studios with the bright bursts of color and playful retro tiki vibe. Obviously if you’re using DVC points then you’ll go with the Studio. But if you’d prefer the extra bathroom and like the couch instead of a second bed, then the DVC Studio may make more sense, whether you want to consider renting points or pursuing a contract.
The furniture in the common areas inside the DVC buildings are also a lot of fun.
You’ll otherwise find the DVC Studios in the Pago Pago, Moorea, and Tokelau buildings.
Most recently, I stayed in Tokelau room 1912 on the first floor, which was just a hop, skip, and jump away from the beach. It blended the convenience of being just a few feet away from the main pool area with the privacy of being hidden behind some large plants.
Activities and Things to Do
Recreationally, Polynesian Village Resort is probably best known for what is now called the Lava Pool.
And probably for good reason with the 142-foot water slide hidden inside the volcano and the picturesque location almost on top of Seven Seas Lagoon.
The DVC additions brought a hot tub.
And this water play area for the kids, which looks like a lot of fun.
I wish they had this sort of thing when I was a kid.
The Oasis Pool affords a much calmer, less crowded atmosphere away from the trivia and other shenanigans of the Lava Pool area. You can only listen to, “WHAT IS THE NAME OF THE BLUE FORGETFUL FISH IN FINDING DORY?” so many times.
Seven Seas Marina is located to the left of the feature pool and is home to all of your boat rental needs.
Options range from bass fishing to tubing to parasailing to trying-to-dodge-the-Magic-Kingdom-ferry-and-not-get-arrested-again-in-the-Sea-Raycer.
The Polynesian Village and Grand Floridian Resorts are connected by a path, which is apparently 1.8 miles round-trip.
For all guests, the resort offers movies and poolside activities.
Paid activities are available for the kids, in addition to “Polynesian Patio” cabana rentals at the Oasis Pool, the free nightly Polynesian Culture events, and more info on other activities.
Overall, Polynesian Village offers what is probably the best set of recreational amenities on the monorail with the highly themed pools and marina. The Stormalong Bay complex over in the Crescent Lake area probably eclipses the offerings for most people, but the Poly is perhaps more relaxing and it should be easier to keep track of the kids, if that’s an issue.
Location and Transportation
The Polynesian’s location is one of its strongest assets, both located on the Resort Monorail and within walking distance of the Transportation and Ticket Center.
A range of watercraft transport guests conveniently to the Grand Floridian Resort and Magic Kingdom as well.
While the introduction of the waterside Bungalows has decreased the amount of shoreline with a direct view of Cinderella Castle, you can still see the majority of the Happily Ever After bursts from most of the beach and there’s an area closer to the pool where the bungalows aren’t in the way at all.
One of my favorite things to do on property is to grab a pineapple drink and head down to the beach for the Electrical Water Pageant and Fireworks.
Dining is another major strength for the Polynesian with what may be the widest array of options of any Disney resort, though the Grand Floridian next door may come close to rivaling it. Above is the famous “Tonga Toast – Banana-stuffed French Toast rolled in Cinnamon Sugar and served with a Strawberry Compote and your choice of Spiced Ham, Bacon, or Sausage” available from Kona Cafe, which conveniently serves all three meals on the second floor of the lobby.
You’ll also find one of Disney’s better spots for sushi, which is also available to-go, at Kona Island.
Also on the second floor is ‘Ohana, the popular all-you-care-to-enjoy meal for breakfast and dinner.
The morning meal is hosted by Mickey, Pluto, Lilo, and Stitch and features eggs, bacon, Mickey Waffles, and more.
Dinner is all about the meat with shrimp, chicken, and steak delivered on skewers along with potstickers, chicken wings, noodles, and more.
Tambu Lounge is the upstairs bar, serving the popular Lapu Lapu drink inside of the pineapple that was pictured above.
You can also order a slice of ‘Ohana’s famous Bread Pudding, among other appetizers that include the popular potstickers and chicken wings.
Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto is the highly immersive indoor bar located near Captain Cook’s on the first floor of the Great Ceremonial House.
The “HippopotoMai-Tai – Coruba Dark Rum, Bacardi Superior Rum, Bols Orange Curaçao, Orgeat (Almond), Organic Agave Nectar, and fresh Lime Juice” served in a souvenir glass is one of my favorite cocktails though the “Dark and Stormy – Gosling’s Black Seal Rum, fresh Lime Juice, Ginger Beer, and Falernum” for around $9 is the best value on the menu.
Outdoors is where you’ll find Trader Sam’s Tiki Terrace, which offers the same food and drink menu as inside, in addition to pleasant patio seating among live music and waterfalls. The incredibly refreshing “Spikey Pineapple – Barbancourt Pango Rhum blended with Pineapple Dole Whip” is also available exclusively out here.
Captain Cook’s is the resort’s principal quick service, offering bright seating indoors and patio seating outside.
While it might not look like much, the “Pulled Pork Nachos topped with Onions, Cheese, Spicy Mayo, Tomatoes, and Pineapple Salsa” are among the most filling, satisfying meals or shareable snacks on property, particularly considering the price is under $10. A don’t miss.
The Pineapple Lanai is just outside the Great Ceremonial House about a minute away from the Lava Pool. This is home to Dole Whips and Pineapple Floats. It’s also the only location on property that ordinarily serves the Vanilla version, either by itself or swirled with pineapple.
Typically operating from 11am-8pm, the Oasis Bar & Grill is conveniently located inside the Oasis Pool Complex, serving specialty drinks and unique food.
Like this “Sashimi of Tuna, Salmon and Hamachi served with Wakame Salad.”
Here, the vibrant colors of the “Spinach and Watermelon Salad with Grilled Chicken served with Cashews, Radish and Honey-Lime Dressing” really pop. Everything is so fresh and the serving size is huge.
“Portuguese Doughnuts served with Passion Fruit Curd.” And because it’s behind a gate that requires a MagicBand to enter, there’s typically nobody waiting in line, making for an easy experience.
Grab & Go items and drinks are also available from the Barefoot Pool Bar at the Lava Pool.
One of Walt Disney World’s more unique experiences is the Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show, which blends 2+ hours of live entertainment with an all-you-care-to-enjoy meal served family-style.
I have a recent full review here.
With ten unique options, almost all of which are fantastic, Polynesian dining is well above average with plentiful and varied options. The only thing it’s missing is a signature restaurant, but you’ve got Citricos and Narcoossee’s just one monorail stop away at the Grand Floridian, in addition to Victoria & Albert’s. Transportation time over to California Grill at the Contemporary should only add about five minutes.
The resort offers an array of merchandise with the resort logo, in addition to some Hawaiian food items and coconuts that you can actually mail to friends, family, or me.
Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto apparel is available, in addition to some fun tiki mugs.
It’s worth checking out.
Polynesian Village has a lot of amenities to offer all of its guests, including one of the prettiest, most immersive themes of any resort on property. It’s virtually impossible to beat on location with the monorail and watercraft access, plus the ability to save some time by walking to the Transportation and Ticket Center for the Epcot Monorail. Dining isn’t the fanciest, but there are a lot of fun options and visiting either the Grand Floridian or Contemporary is convenient. The pools are extravagantly themed and the addition of the Oasis Pool and water play area expand the offerings further.
Specific to the Disney Vacation Club, the Polynesian offers the largest Studio accommodations on property with the addition of the second bathroom. The color scheme is also brighter and more playful than standard rooms and some guests may find benefit in the couch/sleeper sofa over a second bed, particularly if one bed is all that’s necessary. The Studios also sleep five better than most rooms with the size and location of the Murphy Bed.
Contact Rachel Thompson at www.dvcmagicresales.com for more information on selling or purchasing a DVC contract for the Polynesian Village Resort or any other Disney Vacation Club property. I don’t think there’s an agent out there who will take better care of you.