RESORT REVIEW: Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort

 Disney's Polynesian Village Resort Review Traveling with Teens and Tweens

'Ohana means family and a quality family vacation is exactly what you can expect at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort.

We are slowly working our way through our resort bucket list, and the Polynesian Village Resort was at the top for both families.  Themed after the South Seas Islands, we knew we would enjoy the resort, but were surprised how much we would yearn to return.

THE PLAN - ARRIVING AT POLYNESIAN RESORT

This trip was a surprise Spring Break Trip.  The kids knew we were going to Disney, but we kept the details hidden.  The Two Scoops Girls didn’t even know the other would be there.   So we thought a scavenger hunt would be a fun reveal, and it bought  some extra time as each family got in place for the big reveal at the fabulous Lava Pool!

 Disney's Polynesian Resort Family Scavenger Hunt

We each worked off the same set of clues, just in reverse order so we wouldn’t accidentally run into each other. It allowed us to see a bit of the resort, and in the end, be reunited with our besties.

 Tween Scavenger Hunt at Disney's Polynesian Village Resort

Once reunited, we changed into swim suits and hit the pool while we waited for our rooms to be ready.  

TWO SCOOPS TIP:  Sign up for Disney’s online check-in and you will get a text when your room is ready.  We make the most of our waiting time by leaving our luggage with bell services and enjoying some pool time.

POLYNESIAN RESORT ROOM SPECS

Of its 847 rooms, 360 suites are reserved for Disney’s timeshare members(DVC).  Prices can vary greatly, but plan on spending a minimum of $500 per night.  You can save some serious change by renting DVC timeshare points from a third-party retailer like David’s Vacation Rentals - and get a studio room that sleeps 5.

The Polynesian offers a variety of room choices:

Standard Room - 2 queen beds, or 1 king bed, 1 twin day bed, mini fridge and coffee maker

Club Level Standard Room - 2 queen beds and a daybed, mini fridge and coffee maker

Club Level 1 bedroom suite - 1 bedroom, 2 queen beds and a daybed, kitchenette with mini-fridge, sink, microwave, coffee maker

DVC Studio Villas - 1 queen bed, sleeper sofa, daybed.  2 showers, 1 tub, 2 separate vanities, one toilet, kitchenette with mini-fridge, sink, microwave, coffee maker

DVC Over-Water Bungalow - 2 bedrooms, 1 king bed, 1 queen bed, 1 twin daybed, 1 queen sleeper sofa, 1 twin sleeper chair, 2 full bathrooms, 1 powder room, full kitchen

Each room type offers upgrades for view, from the standard garden view, to a lake view and finally, the piece de resistance - a Theme Park view. 

OUR ROOM PICK

Being Vacation Club Members, we stayed in a DVC Studio Villa.  These rooms work great for our families because they have separate sleeping spaces for the teen siblings - one on the Murphy-Twin and one on the sleeper sofa.  No sibling cooties to deal with.

The kitchenette is the perfect amount of room to make a quick pre-park breakfast or enjoy a late night cocktail.  It offers a mini fridge, which will hold at least a case of water, milk, juice and other breakfast essentials.  It does not have a true freezer, so we wouldn’t recommend ordering any frozen treats for your room.  There is a full-size coffee maker with Joffrey coffee products.  However, these are not replenished so we recommend bringing your own caffeinated treats.  The bar-sized sink is great for washing water bottles and resort cups.

 Thanks to YourFirstVisit.net for this amazing floorplan! (Copyright YourFirstVisit.net)

Thanks to YourFirstVisit.net for this amazing floorplan! (Copyright YourFirstVisit.net)

What the Studio Villa does NOT have is family-sized dresser space.  There are two large drawers under the queen bed.  And the coffee table opens for storage, but we found that inconvenient to use for clothes (better for blankets and pillows from the sleeper sofa - and rogue stuffed animals).  

So how did we stay organized?

We are huge packing cube proponents.  (These are my favs!)  But due to lack of drawer space for this trip, and because we brought full-size suitcases to Disney (thanks to Southwest Airlines free baggage - wee haw), we hung all our outfits on hangers.  

Melissa is a pro at this type of packing, but it was my first time and honestly, I was a little uncertain.  I mean, it goes against everything Rick Steves has taught me about packing!  But this is Disney, people, not Europe, and I must admit, I’m a fan!  

At home, I simply hung complete outfits on a slim hanger, folded them in half to fit in the suitcase, and when we arrived at the room all the hangers went into the closet.  Easy peasy! Packing cubes containing undergarments went in the under bed drawers for parents, and the kids used the drawers in the bathroom for their ‘unmentionables’.

THE BATHROOM

As I write this, I’m reminded that I swoon over bathrooms in almost every post.  I swear I’m not obsessed with the ‘loo’!  If you travel with a family, a bad bathroom layout can be enough to ruin a trip.  Isn’t that the case for everyone - or is it just my potty-obsessed family? 

In any case, the Polynesian DVC Villas have you covered with two, yes TWO bathrooms.  There is  a full bathroom with tub/shower, single vanity and toilet.  The second bathroom has a luxurious walk-in shower with a single vanity.  Makes getting ready for dinner a breeze!   

For a fantastic room review - check out Disney Tourist Blog’s review.  They are our first stop when planning any trip to WDW.

THE POOL AT DISNEY'S POLYNESIAN RESORT

The Polynesian has two pools, a quiet pool and the Lava Pool.  We spent all our pool time at the Lava Pool.  

The tween girls loved the zero-gravity entry which allowed for slightly submerged sun-bathing.

Our teen boys raved over the fast and dark 140-foot water-slide that curves through the inside of a volcano.

 Disney's Polynesian Resort Lava Pool

The adults in our group relaxed pool-side enjoying the delicious concoctions from the Barefoot Pool Bar. 

TWO SCOOPS RECOMMENDATIONS:  Big Island Iced Tea, the Frosty Pineapple, and Rose Gold Margarita - not all at once, of course.  Check out their entire cocktail menu here.  

The Lava Pool also has a toasty infinity-edge hot tub built into the rocky area.  This was our favorite place for loosening up those tired muscles after a long day at the parks.

The Lava Pool also has an imaginative toddler splash pad area complete with their very own tiki treehouse. (Spoiler:  it’s so entrancing that our teens ended up in there on more than one occasion.)

POLYNESIAN EATS

For years, we have come to the Polynesian Resort simply for its multitude of dining options. The Poly offers it’s guests not one, but 10 culinary options.  We have in our group carnivores, omnivores, a vegetarian and a gluten-free tween.  As with all Disney dining, each person receives individualized attention from the staff and chef who guarantee they enjoy the dining experience.  If you have a food allergy, relax!  Disney's got you covered.

We could write an entire post about the dining offerings, and maybe we will get around to that soon.  We {heart} Disney Food Blog for their detailed dining reviews and follow their advice exclusively when it comes to eating at Disney.  Please learn from the Masters and pick what is best for your family:  here’s their must-read post on Polynesian dining

This trip, we couldn’t swing reservations at our favorite restaurant, 'Ohana.  Melissa, being the amazing travel planner she is, signed us up for 'Ohana’s Twilight Feast.  It was AH-mazing!  All of 'Ohana’s best delivered right to our room!

Imagine...sitting in your PJs...enjoying a warm slice of caramel-banana bread pudding.  (insert dreamy music)

Okay, I'm back.  Not only was 'Ohana's Twilight Feast convenient, but it saved us tons of money as well.  It can be expensive to dine in-restaurant with tween/teens because they are considered a Disney Adult - which is code for full-price-meal.  Our tweens won't eat a full adult portion.  With 'Ohana's Twilight Feast, we could order just what we needed.  There was no shortage of food and we got a special allergy-friendly meal specially made for our GF-tween. 

TRANSPORTATION

The Poly enjoys a prime location on the Seven Seas Lagoon directly across from Magic Kingdom Park.  In addition to amazing views, this real estate has some of the most convenient transportation options we've experienced.

The monorail delivers you to the front steps of the Magic Kingdom in just 2 stops.  The same Resort Monorail line effortlessly transports guests to the Grand Floridian Resort, the Contemporary Resort and the Ticket and Transportation Center.

Just a short walk from the eastern edge of the Polynesian Resort property is the Ticket and Transportation Center, where you can jump on the monorail line to Epcot.

The Polynesian can also be accessed by boat transfer from Magic Kingdom, a beautiful way to end a pixie-dust-sprinkled day.

 Disney's Polynesian Village Resort Boat Dock Transportation

POLY RESORT LOVE

Despite knowing your body is in central Florida, the Polynesian Resort transports your mind and soul to the relaxed warmth of the South Seas.  The theming is imaginative without being kitchsy.  The grounds are impeccably maintained and well-lit.  Disney's little touches, like fire-dancers, koi ponds, and island music immerse you in the tropical vibe.

 Torch-lighting ceremony at Disney’s Polynesian Resort

One of our favorite experiences of this visit was sitting on the white-sand beach watching the Magic Kingdom fireworks show.  With the music is piped into the beach area, we didn’t feel like we were missing anything.   

If you get to the beach a little early (9:00 PM), you can experience Disney's Electrical Water Pageant in the lagoon.   You can also view the Water Pageant from Disney's Wilderness Lodge, the Grand Floridian Resort, Fort Wilderness Resort and Disney's Contemporary Resort.  But there's just something special about watching this vintage entertainment from the Polynesian's white sand beach.

 Viewing Magic Kingdom Fireworks from Polynesian Resort Beach

Overall, we love this resort.  The laid-back vibe made for a relaxing family vacation.  The smartly designed studios, multiple dining options and proximity to Magic Kingdom alone moves it into our 5-Scoop-Rating.  Our only disappointment is that the DVC Villas do not offer a 1 bedroom option.  Maybe Disney can add that to their "to-do" list?  

What are your favorite memories from the Polynesian Resort?

 Two Scoops Travel's Review of Disney's Polynesian Resort