This is a hotel I dreamed of as a kid. When we would drive in for the day and take the monorail from the TTC (Transportation and Ticket Center) to Magic Kingdom I would stare longingly out the window as we whizzed by the Polynesian Resort. So when my husband and I visited for our 10th anniversary and Food and Wine Festival I jumped at the chance to stay there.
The Great Ceremonial House is the main building of the resort.
It’s where you check in, get the monorail, eat at Kona, Ohana or Captian Cooks, shop, or just relax and take in a deep deep breath of the smells of the Polynesian. Seriously, there is a smell of the place that just relaxes you. Etsy shops sell candles that claim to replicate it (I should know, I just ordered one while reminiscing for this post). Upon check in the Castmember noted it was our anniversary and had us place ceremonial marriage Leis on each other. I insisted we wear them out that night to Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto.
Some complain that with the remodel things have changed too much on the inside, but I still think it’s beautiful. For decor alone this is probably my favorite resort. I love the natural light streaming in on the dark wood interior.
Walking out the back entrance of the Great Ceremonial House you can go straight and reach the Lava Pool (the main pool), Kiki Tiki Splash area, or the marina where you can rent various types of sea vessels or dock where a Disney Transportation’s boats will take you to Magic Kingdom.
On either side are two and three story “longhouses” named for Pacific Islands which house your resort rooms. We were in the first building to the right, closest to the Lava Pool-Samoa. We walked easily to our room on the 3rd floor, which had a king bed and a couch that folded into a day bed.
The room was equipped with a flat screen TV, coffeemaker and coffee, hair dryer and small fridge. It had the usual soap, shampoo, etc, but also a small can of OFF mosquito repellent. Since people have become worried about the threat of the Zika virus Disney has started providing stations around the parks and Disney Springs with bug repellant and distributing cans in most hotel rooms.
There was ample space for clothing in the two closets and a balcony overlooking one of the quiet pools. I enjoyed my coffee on the balcony as the sun each morning. I was especially entertained by the duck who seemed to have taken up residence in the quiet pool. No matter what time of day it was he was there, splashing with kids or just floating along by himself.
There are plenty of places to eat at the Polynesian Village. Room service is available, which also includes the food from the Spirit of Aloha show at dinner, aka the Polynesian Twilight Feast.
Captain Cook’s is open 24 hours a day. They serve the infamous Tonga Toast in the morning, along with typical Disney offerings. At dinner and lunch they offer the Thai Coconut Meatballs with rice. I don’t know what is in that sauce, but I occasionally dream about it mixed with their rice. It’s sweet and savory at the same time, just delish. Kona Cafe is on the second floor and takes reservations. We’ve seen them have over an hour wait for someone with no reservation in the am, as well as we’ve been seated within 15 minutes when we decided at the last minute to grab breakfast. Kona Island is a coffee bar in the am hours and in the evening it serves sushi and other quick bites. Oasis Grill is out by the pool and serves burgers, wraps and fish tacos. Pineapple Lanai is the only place outside the Magic Kingdom you can get a Dole Whip. My favorite is the Dole Whip float, a great use of a snack credit!
‘Ohana is probably the most well-known restaurant at the Polynesian Resort. In the morning they serve breakfast family style, with the help of Lilo, Stitch and friends. In the evening they still serve family style with no character friends but with freshly grilled meats, shrimp, noodles and their well known pineapple bread and Ohana bread pudding. “Cousins”aka Ohana castmembers, sometimes lead games with the kids in the dining room and window seats have prime views for Wishes at the end of the night.
The bars are fitting for this tropical Oasis. Both the Lava Pool and the Oasis have bars adjacent-the Barefoot Bar and the Oasis Bar respectively. The Tambu Lounge is outside Ohana and fantastic place to grab a drink while you wait for a table, I highly recommend the Lapu Lapu. They also serve appetizers.
But the stand out bar at the Polynesian Village is Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto. They are only 21 and up after 8pm and it holds about 50 people. Prepare to wait for a spot and you may sit with friends you haven’t met yet. The drinks are pricey, but so much fun. The Castmemers here love their job and all the dramatics that comes with it.
BouTiki is where to go for resort-wear and souvenirs. They sell spa toiletries, picture frames and other resort specific items.
Upstairs is the Moana Mercantile that sells more toys, souvenirs and anything you forgot-like first aid ointment or a tooth-brush. They also have snacks, soft drinks and any other small items you may need.
The obvious choice to MK or Epcot (via TTC) is the Monorail, located on the second floor of the Great Ceremonial House. You can also walk to the TTC in about 5-10 minutes. Buses take you to all parks except Magic Kingdom, including Disney Springs and the water parks. Watercraft also travel to MK from the marina.
Polynesian Village does not have its own health club, but guests are welcome to use the Grand Floridian Resort health club. My husband made the short jog there daily.
If you are hoping to hit up Trader Sam’s but brought those pesky kids with you drop them off at Lilo’s Playhouse. Open from 4:30pm-midnight for potty trained kids ages 3-12. The activity program is supervised and includes dinner. While we haven’t used this one in particular my kids really enjoyed their time at Simba’s Cubhouse. Reservations are recommended and there is a discount for Annual Passholders. In room babysitting can also be arranged separately.
I would love to stay there again soon if there weren’t so many great resorts to explore. But if you are looking for relaxation and romance there is no better resort on property then the Polynesian Village Resort.