Aloha! Welcome to one of the original Walt Disney World hotels in the Polynesian Resort. In April of 2015, Disney opened the doors to the Disney Vacation Club (DVC) portion of the historic resort. The resort was the last monorail resort to receive the DVC portion, with Bay Lake Tower coming first, then followed by the Grand Floridan. Alright, we just got our text and it looks like our room is ready. Let’s head over to Disney’s Polynesian Resort Villas for our DVC Duo resort review.
Stepping into the Polynesian Resort is like stepping in your favorite old school sitcom. In all the best ways. Hear us out. Whether you grew up with the Brady Bunch, Full House or even Saved By The Bell, they all have that Hawaiian vacation episode. You know the one. The quintessential tropical getaway. That’s the Polynesian in a nutshell.
Themed after a 1950’s feel of the South Pacific, the resort transports you to a time where all your stresses disappears and you feel the need for a deep exhale. All that’s missing is a Tiki drink in your hand, but we’ll get to that!
Passholder Insights: The Polynesian Resort is one of the only deluxe resorts where there are no guest rooms attached to the main building. The other is Old Key West.
With 380 villas the Disney Polynesian Resort Villas is spread between 3 buildings and 20 over the water bungalows. The resort is the most unique DVC configuration at Walt Disney World and across all DVC resorts worldwide, as the resort only has two room types. Three of the buildings, along with the bungalows, are dedicated DVC rooms. The buildings are, Moorea, Pago Pago, and Tokelau. Below are the room options:
- Deluxe Studio – Similar to an oversized hotel room with one queen-sized bed, one queen-sized, 1 single pull-down bed, one walk-in shower, one full bath with a tub/shower combo. Sleeps 5 people.
- Bungalow – A standalone building over the banks of Seven Seas Lagoon that includes a kitchen, laundry facilities, living room, and larger deck with a private hot tub. The master bedroom is made up of a king bed, jacuzzi tub, and walk-in shower. The second bedroom consists of a queen bed and a pulldown twin bed. In the living room, you’ll find a queen pull out bed and a pull-down twin bed. Sleeps, 8 people.
We’ve stayed in the studios at the Polynesian Resort. In our option, what this resort different than almost any of the other DVC Resorts is that all the studios have two showers and sinks. This makes getting ready super easy!
Passholder Insights: If you’re looking for a larger room that is not a Bungalow near the Magic Kingdom both Bay Lake Tower and Boulder Ridge Resort are great options.
Arriving at Disney’s Polynesian Resort
Rolling up to the Disney Polynesian Resort either by the Disney Magical Express, car, taxi, or rideshare you’ll be dropped off at the entrance to the lobby. Bell services will greet you for any of your luggage needs or if you’d like to valet your car. Stepping through the front door you’ll want to head to the right for guest services and room check-in.
Depending on the time of day (before check-in time) we would recommend having bell services hold your bags so you can enjoy the magic. Of course, you could always take advantage of the Magical Express Luggage service and save yourself the hassle of lugging luggage as we do!
Passholder Insights: We’re usually big fans of checking into our room online, however, at the Polynesian, it’s worth checking in at the front desk for your lei.
The Lobby Area
Oh, the Poly lobby. It just rolls off the tongue. Setting through the doors to the lobby you can’t help but see the castle in the distance. That’s right, the resort is so close to the Magic Kingdom you can see the castle across Seven Seas Lagoon. Looking around the two-floor lobby you’ll see a gift shop off to your left filled with Hawaiian inspired treats and apparel. On the second floor is where you would pick up the monorail, as well as find another gift shop and two of our favorite dining spots, but we’ll get to that in a second.
Passsholder Insights: Fun fact, Disney decided to move the Polynesian pool ten feet to the right to ensure guests would see the castle when walking into the lobby. It required a whole refurbishment of the pool area.
The Pools and Recreation
Speaking of that pool that moved. Off the back of the infamous Poly lobby, you’ll find the main pool area for the resort, the Lava Pool. The centerpiece of the pool area is the active volcano that erupts throughout the day. Wrapping around the volcano is a 142-foot slide that drops you into the 120,000-gallon zero-entry pool. Heated of course! The pool is fully equipped with in-pool chairs and underwater music. Circling the pool area you’ll find an ample amount of lounge chairs, a whirlpool and a variety of private cabanas. The cabanas are available for $25 for a half-day and $40 for the full-day.
Beyond the main pool, there is a quiet pool nestled within the garden area. It’s the perfect spot for relaxing or taking a nap.
Outside of the pools, the Polynesian Resort offers a variety of recreation activities including, boat rentals, volleyball, fishing, movies under the stars, and activities throughout the day. The most notable activity is the Torch Lighting Ceremony that takes place by the Lava Pool Tuesday through Saturday. It’s definitely worth checking out if you’re in the area. Check with the front desk for the time.
Passholder Insights: Nightly from the Poly beach you’re able to see the Magic Kingdom fireworks as well as the Electric Water Pageant.
From top to bottom the Polynesian Resort has some of the best dining spots at Walt Disney World. The resort offers a range of options from quick service to sit down restaurants and even a dinner show. For quick service check out Capt Cook’s, by far one of the best quick service options on property. Other quick service options include Kona Island, the Barefoot Pool Bar, and Nate’s favorite spot Pineapple Lanai. Dole Whip anyone?
The resort offers a variety of sit down restaurants. Below is the breakdown of options:
- Kona Cafe – Located on the second floor of the lobby the restaurant offers Hawaiian and South Pacific dishes. A DVC Duo all-time favorite. Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Kona Cafe is a single meal credit if you’re on the Disney Dining Plan. For a full review of the restaurant check out our DVC Duo restaurant review.
- ‘Ohana – Located on the second floor of the lobby this infamous dining spot is a can’t miss in the DVC Duo house. Open for breakfast and dinner, the restaurant offers character dining in the morning an all you can eat Hawaiian feast at night. A single meal credit if you’re on the Disney Dining Plan. We would highly recommend making an advanced dining reservation for this one. For a full review of the restaurant check out our DVC Duo restaurant review.
- Twilight Feast – when staying at the resort you’re able to order room service from ‘Ohana. It’s called the Twilight Feast and served once a night. Usually, one order of the twilight feast can feed two.
- Spirit Of Aloha Dinner Show – Located at Luau Cove is the twice a night dinner show. Weekly on Tuesdays through Saturdays, you can sit down for an all you can eat Hawaiian Luau. Two meal credits if you’re on the Disney Dining Plan. Advanced reservations are required.
Beyond the restaurants, the Polynesian has two of the DVC Duo’s favorite lounges in Tambu Lounge and Trader Sam’s. Both tend to be more popular options for an adult timeout. You can’t go wrong with either option if you’re in the mood for a tropical drink.
Passholder Insights: We like to kick-off our unofficial Monorail Crawl at the either of the two lounges within the resort.
Looking to sneak in a vacation workout? The Polynesian has got you covered. The resort shares a gym with the Grand Floridian Resort and is situated between the resorts. It has everything you’ll need for a solid vacation workout. Additionally, the resort area has a jogging path along Seven Seas Lagoon.
We love it! By far one of our top places to stay at Walt Disney World is the Polynesian Resort. If you’re someone who enjoys the more laidback island type feel, then this is your spot. For us, it’s perfectly located as we can easily jump on the monorail to head to the Magic Kingdom and Epcot. The best part is the studios with two showers. Once you have two showers it’s definitely hard to go back. With that our Polynesian review is complete and there is only one thing left to do. That’s right, it’s time to start our monorail crawl!