We continue our comparison of Club Levels at the various Disney Deluxes with the offerings at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort.
Previously, we experienced the best views and the worst service at the Atrium Club Level at Disney’s Contemporary Resort in this post.
Then there was Stone Harbor Club at Disney’s Beach Club Resort. It was a nice open space with decent food, but nothing about the lounge experience was particularly memorable.
At the Polynesian, Club Level rooms and the King Kamehameha Club Lounge are all located in the Hawaii building, which you’ll find to the right of the main pool.
There’s a separate check-in line for Club Level guests inside the main building. After identifying yourself, you’ll be personally walked over to the Hawaii building where the full check-in process begins with cast walking you through the Club offerings and making sure you’re prepared to embark on your vacation. Throughout the trip, you can visit the concierge desk inside the Hawaii building with questions or you can even text them from your mobile device and get answers in real time.
Otherwise, the general idea with the Club Level Lounge is the same as the others that we’ve seen with Continental Breakfast running from 7am-10:30am. Then it’s snacks from 12pm-4pm followed by appetizers at 5pm and desserts at 8pm.
The 2-story lounge is a pleasant place to hang out with the floor-to-ceiling windows on the far side looking out at Seven Seas Lagoon and Cinderella Castle in the distance.
There’s a small seating section on the upper level with a television that your group can commandeer just in case you want to watch the Seahawks lose to the Jaguars. It’s quite a bit more private than the main level, though the bathroom to the left of the television brings in a little traffic. It’s otherwise nice to have a restroom near the Lounge for those guests that are down a long hallway or on the first floor. The Contemporary didn’t have a restroom nearby, while the Beach Club did.
Otherwise, the view from the Lounge is spectacular.
As the sun sets.
The only thing that could make it better would be the addition of a large balcony area. That will probably never happen.
The welcome literature advertises the view of the nightly fireworks, but only those extremely adverse to being outside probably want to see the show from the “comfort of the lounge.” The lights are dimmed a little, but the reflections in the glass make viewing a little muddled and it’s still bright inside the seating area. We did enjoy watching the Electrical Water Pageant go by, but views are undoubtedly better outdoors. If you do “luck” into one of the couple of tables closest to the window, you can be assured that more than a few kids are going to rush up at the last minute. Not the end of the world, of course, but you can expect them to talk and kick throughout the show. With five or six nights, you may elect to watch the show from outside once or twice and then sit back and relax inside the lounge on another.
The food and drink options are set up on the lower level towards the rear of the main seating area.
Since our stay was in December, the Lounge was tastefully decorated for the holidays.
The tree was particularly festive at night, but the hundreds of lights added to the reflection problem in the glass windows.
There’s a little bit of a pool view from the the sides of the lounge.
From a pricing standpoint, the least expensive Polynesian Village room on the least expensive date is $462 before tax. If you’re after a Lagoon View, then you’d need to add another $132/night. And from a Standard Room to a Theme Park View room with a view similar to the one offered at the Club in the Hawaii building, you’re looking at $203/night more.
Here’s Club Level Pricing:
Club Level accommodations are available in three view types. Club Level Garden View is actually less expensive than a regular Theme Park View room, while the cheapest Club Level room is also $173 more expensive than the cheapest regular room without the Club Level accommodations.
Here’s the view from our first floor Club Level Lagoon View room. With tax, the rack rate is $1,035/night. The least expensive room at the Polynesian on the same night was $630/night, while a regular Lagoon View room would have cost $808/night and a Theme Park View room would have cost $897/night.
In other words, Club Level costs about $200/night more than a regular room with a similar view. That’s about the same cost that we’ve seen at the other Deluxe resorts. And as in the past, the value you derive from the additional cost depends entirely on how much you take advantage of the benefits. One tip – try texting the cast members at the desk asking about additional FastPass+ opportunities. “We’re here at Animal Kingdom and unable to find an Expedition Everest FastPass+ that works before our dinner reservation at 5pm. Can you check to see if there’s any availability?” You should find an anytime, any attraction FP+ is added to your group’s account. Membership has its privileges as they say.
Kakahiaka or “Continental Breakfast” is served from 7am to 10am starting with plain and raisin bagels and honey wheat and white bread.
Cream cheese, peanut butter, jam, and butter.
Oatmeal along with brown sugar, raisins, and granola.
Cheddar cheese, Swiss cheese, grapes, roast beef, hard boiled eggs, plain and strawberry yogurt.
A variety of pastries, croissants, and such.
From the other side.
Raisin Bran and Frosted Flakes.
Fruit Loops and Special K.
2% milk, orange juice, skim milk, cranberry juice, chocolate milk.
Coffee and half & half.
An assortment of Twinings tea.
If you’re not terribly picky, the Lounge offers a good opportunity to quickly fill up and get going in the morning, particularly if you’re in the mood for a pastry. We thought the rest of the spread looked kind of gross and picked over – you don’t want to be the 37th person of the day to hit the jam bowl or the 92nd person disappointed to find oatmeal inside of the lone warmer. On the first morning, I grabbed a croissant, some cheese, and some roast beef and was happy enough. On the second morning, we split a Breakfast Burrito at Captain Cook’s.
The Auinala (Refreshment) spread served from 12pm to 4pm.
“Crudité” or celery, cherry tomatoes, carrots and broccoli with ranch. It was a slight bummer that the vegetables weren’t freshly cut – the carrots suffered from that really gross, soft, plastic-y feel and the broccoli lacked as much crunch as it did flavor.
Coconut, almonds, dried cranberries, and pistachios. This I liked and it was something that we haven’t seen anywhere else.
Dried papaya, macadamia nuts, and honeydew melon. Macadamia nuts are something like $20/pound so you could eat 20 pounds and find some value there. We ended up mixing a lot of these items together to make a sort-of trail mix.
Typically, the afternoon snack offerings are the weakest link, but I was impressed by the make-your-own shrimp lettuce wraps accompanied by shredded carrots, mango salsa, and two sauces. There was a real island vibe to the flavors and a couple lettuce roll-ups were a lot more satisfying than the handful of Goldfish crackers or a cookie that we’ve seen elsewhere.
The shrimp tart is not the most attractive bite that I’ve ever seen in my life, but it was another filling little snack with a crispy crust and a little bit of a cheesy sour cream filling. It tasted better than I’m describing it.
Sugar cookies and chocolate chip cookies.
Polynesian, potato, and wonton chips along with duck sauce, red pepper hummus, and more of the mango salsa.
Given the options that we’ve experienced at other Club Level lounges, I was most impressed by the afternoon offerings. The lettuce wraps and dried fruits and nuts all tasted really good.
Snack time also brings iced tea, lemonade, POG juice (passion fruit, orange, guava), and Natura filtered water.
Coffee and tea still available.
The “McDonald’s ice cream machine” of Club Level, the Nespresso was out of order throughout our visit.
Beer, cider, and sodas.
I was surprised to see the Hanalei Island IPA since it’s not as mainstream as the Longboard Island Lager from the same brewery. The IPA was much juicier than your typical IPA with guava, passion fruit, and orange juices covering up any perceived bitterness of the hops. It tastes more like a citrus-forward pale ale and was somehow both too tart and too sweet at the same time. You’ve also got Bud Light and Angry Orchard Crisp Apple Cider. Not the worst selection and I appreciated being able to grab a beer whenever I wanted beginning at noon.
At the Polynesian, the 5pm to 7pm time frame is known as “Ahiahi.” This is when the hot appetizers that change daily are served, in addition to the cheese, crackers, fruit, and vegetables that you’ll see each night.
More of the same crudité along with red pepper hummus and ranch.
The cheese is typically average grocery store quality.
But it at least “feels” like it doesn’t come pre-cubed.
An assortment of bread is available in addition to red pepper hummus, baba ganoush, and salted butter.
The fresh pineapple with caramel sauce was a nice touch along with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for the kids.
Four rotating appetizers are served each night.
On the first night, potstickers similar to the ones found at ‘Ohana were offered. These were pretty good – particularly after a half dozen Longboard Lagers. But one potsticker was served on each little tiny dish. So if you want three or four potstickers, you’re going to have to find something to do with three or four little dishes. Only about two small dishes fit on each small plate. It was a little awkward.
In this dish, you’ve got a little bite of tuna on top of seaweed salad. The tuna was tender and flavorful, but you’d have to take eight or ten little dishes to come away with the equivalent of two thin slices of Ahi.
The Sriracha fried chicken salad rolls weren’t quite working – too much dry, crusty bread stuffed with drier, overcooked, flavorless chicken. Each one of these was at least seven or eight bites though and one little dish worth would be plenty.
This was an odd little assortment of unidentifiable vegetables and mushy tomatoes. Nobody picked up a second.
I appreciated the Polynesian trying to do something that wasn’t served as a nugget, but the small portion sizes and teeny tiny dishes made it difficult to pick up more than one or two things on any given trip. We also hadn’t previously run into a problem where each person in our group didn’t like at least half of the stuff as was the case here.
On evening two, we have chorizo egg salad.
Chicken skewers with teriyaki sauce.
Cranberry cheese puffs.
The chicken was particularly chintzy and flavorless while the cheese puffs were doughy and overcooked. The shrimp salad was an off-putting color with a slimy texture and the lingering taste of old seafood. The egg flavor and texture were unfamiliar too. The first was okay to try, but I never saw anyone else pick one up.
There isn’t much of interest for the majority of kids either – most came away with a handful of cheddar cheese cubes and not much else.
The wine comes out at 5pm and stays through 10pm. Canyon Road is a mediocre $8 bottle – cheap, but enjoyable. The Charles de Fere Cuvee is a $9 bottle that also does the job at a low price point.
Hogue Chardonnay is a $7 bottle at Walmart. Again, drinkable, but far from anything special.
The Ku’ulei Punch is the first mixed drink that we’ve seen offered at a Club Lounge. It’s a mixture of sparkling wine, juice, and Sprite for the most part and is a nice, fruity, refreshing drink.
But it’s also so sweet and sugary that it’s difficult to drink much more than two. Some vodka might help.
Dessert, or Aumoe, is served from 8pm to 10pm, beginning with this guava cheesecake.
Peanut butter mousse.
Rice Krispy Treats.
Oatmeal raisin cookies.
Chocolate chip cookies.
“Cordials and Cognac” without the cognac.
Dessert was just fine for a couple of nibbles and a nightcap. Each dessert was in the vicinity of quick service quality, though on average, they were probably worse.
Overall, the food offerings were “just okay” for the most part with one 5pm service being particularly disappointing. We had better luck at the Beach Club and Contemporary Resorts and the Grand Floridian, which I’ll review next, hit it out of the park with the offerings over there.
I think the majority of Club Level guests pick up a little bit of a snack here and there throughout the day rather than hang around and load up as I tend to do. Hey, all of the pictures don’t take themselves! So from that point of view, the choices might be more positive. But to get eight potstickers back to the room, you’d have to clear the tray out and find something to do with eight tiny dishes. A heated buffet server with a set of tongs would have made things a heck of a lot easier for everyone involved, but this is the way that they’ve done it here for years.
At a cost of about $200 per room per night, I think it’s also reasonable to expect something higher quality than grocery store cheese and $7/bottle wine. A couple of years ago now, it was originally the Polynesian’s Club Level offerings that put me off of considering the upgrade. And if we had started our series of reviews with the Polynesian again, I’m not sure I would have gotten any deeper into the offerings elsewhere.
On the plus side, the upstairs seating area was quite pleasant with virtually nobody else around. The main floor was a little wild with kids running around, kicking tables, and screaming. The Beach Club and Contemporary Lounges were made up of smaller nooks and crannies where it wasn’t difficult to find a quieter spot. I also appreciated the Contemporary’s outdoor balconies which provided more privacy.
The Polynesian is a beautiful resort with a lot to offer. But I would probably put my $200/day to work elsewhere and book the least expensive view type available. If my choice was a Theme Park View room or a Garden View Club Level room for the same money, then I’d probably go Club Level. There’s something to say for waking up to Cinderella Castle across the water, but the Lounge inside the Hawaii building offers a similar view just down the hall. Plus all the Kona Longboard you can drink.
We’ll check out the Polynesian Village room next and then move over to the Club Level accommodations at the Grand Floridian.