SOUTH PACIFIC TROPICS ARE RE-CREATED at this Deluxe resort, which consists of two- and three-story Hawaiian longhouses situated around the four-story Great Ceremonial House, which contains restaurants, shops, and an atrium lobby with slate floors and many species of tropical plants. Buildings feature wood tones, with exposed-beam roofs and tribal-inspired geometric inlays in the cornices.
Spread across 39 acres along Seven Seas Lagoon, the resort has three white-sand beaches, some with volleyball courts. Its pool complex likewise captures the South Pacific theme. There is no dedicate fitness center, but guests are welcome to use the Grand Floridian’s facilities, just a quarter-mile walk or 2-minute monorail ride away. Landscaping is superb— garden-view rooms are generally superior to equivalent rooms at other resorts.
The Polynesian Village’s Moorea, Pago Pago, and Tokelau buildings have moved into Disney’s time-share program (described in the next section). Rooms here comprise studio accommodations with kitchenettes. The conversion of some hotel rooms to DVC units has left the Poly with fewer than 500 standard hotel rooms, so nabbing that reservation may be a little more difficult.
Except for the aforementioned Moorea, Pago Pago, and Tokelau, the resort opened with the Magic Kingdom in 1971. Periodic refurbishments keep the Poly generally well maintained, although a Clayton, Ohio, family found instances of room for improvement:
Most rooms have two queen beds, a sofa, a reading chair, a large dresser with plenty of shelf space, and a wall-mounted TV. A minifridge and coffeemaker sit between two large closets near the doorway and opposite the bathroom area. The dresser includes two horizontal shelves above and below the TV for extra storage capacity. The closets are spacious and light. Lighting throughout the room, including that for the desk and beds, is among the best on Disney property.
Seafoam-colored walls are offset by the dark wood of the desk and beds and by lighter woods used as accents on the remaining furniture. The color scheme is brightened with white bed comforters. Straw headboards and carved-wood tikis provide texture. Some rooms in Fiji, Rarotonga, and Samoa have king beds. All are categorized as garden-view rooms.
The Poly’s bathrooms are among our favorites in Walt Disney World, even if they’re on the small side. Two large sinks offer plenty of counter space. A spacious bath and shower (with curved shower rod) have excellent water pressure, and the cool tile floor feels great on your feet after a long day in the parks. The sink and shower share a door that separates them from the rest of the room. On one hand that makes the bathroom area feel larger, but on the other it means that only two people can get ready at the same time.
The Polynesian Village’s on-site monorail station is within easy walking distance of the Transportation and Ticket Center. Easily accessible by monorail are full-service restaurants at the Grand Floridian and Contemporary Resorts, as well as restaurants in the Magic Kingdom. Bus service is available to other Disney destinations, as well as boat service to the Magic Kingdom. Walking time to the bus and monorail stations from the most remote rooms is 8– 11 minutes. The Poly’s transportation options are a major draw for some.
The Polynesian Village has two lounges, with Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto being the more themed. Modeled after the famed bar of the same name at the Disneyland Hotel, Trader Sam’s serves whimsical (and potent) cocktails and tasty appetizers, along with interactive art and “artifacts” stuffed into every available inch of space.
The Polynesian Village’s 11 guest-room buildings, called longhouses, are spread over a long strip of land bordered by the monorail on one side and Seven Seas Lagoon on the other. All buildings have first-floor patios and third-floor balconies. The older buildings, comprising more than half the resort’s rooms, have faux balconies on their second floors. (The newer buildings offer full balconies on both the second and third floors, and patios on the first.) A small number of patios in the first-floor rooms have views blocked by mature vegetation, but these patios provide more room than do the balconies on the third floor. If view is important and you’re staying in one of the eight older longhouses, ask for a third-floor room.
The Great Ceremonial House contains most restaurants and shops, as well as the resort lobby, guest services, and bus and monorail stations. The longhouses most convenient to the Great Ceremonial House— Fiji, the Tonga suites, Rarotonga, Niue, and Samoa— offer views of the swimming complex, a small marina, or inner gardens (possibly with the monorail). There are no lagoon views except for oblique views from the upper floors of Fiji and Samoa, Aotearoa, and a tunnel view from Tonga. Samoa, however, by virtue of its proximity to the main swimming complex, is a good choice for families who plan to spend time at the pool. If your children are under age 8, request a first-floor room on the volcano pool side of Samoa.
You can specifically request a lagoon- or Magic Kingdom– view room at the Polynesian Village, if you’re willing to pay extra. The best of these rooms are on the third floor in Tuvalu and, if you’re staying in a Club Level (concierge) room, the third floor in Hawaii.
In addition to second-floor rooms in the older buildings (the ones with fake balconies), also avoid the monorail-side (south-facing) rooms in Rarotonga and Aotearoa. Garden-view rooms here are especially nice, but the monorail, though quiet, runs within spitting distance.
Many first-floor rooms in Hawaii (1501– 1518) were downgraded from theme park– view to garden- or lagoon-view rooms because their scenery is blocked by over-the-water bungalows. These rooms still offer a chance to see the evening fireworks, however, and are a little less expensive than similar rooms on higher floors. Tuvalu, Fiji, and Aotearoa are the most distant accommodations from the bus stop. For large strollers or wheelchair access, take the ferry to the Magic Kingdom.
Barefoot Pool Bar – Pool Bar
Captain Cook’s Snack Co. – Quick Service
Kona Café – Table Service
Kona Island – Table Service
Oasis Pool Bar and Grill – Pool Bar, Quick Service
Ohana – Table Service, Character Dining (Breakfast)
Pineapple Lanai – Snack
Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show – Table Service, Dinner Show
Tambu Lounge – Lounge, Table Service
Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto and Tiki Terrace – Lounge
Room Service – Table Service