My Disney Top 5 - Things I Love About Disney's Polynesian Resort

by Chris Barry, staff writer

Welcome back to another Disney Top 5. Recently on MousePad, MousePlanet’s very own discussion board, I engaged myself in yet another healthy debate. This particular discussion was centered on which resort to stay in when visiting Walt Disney World—the Polynesian or the Grand Floridian. Some problems we Disney fans have, deciding which deluxe resort to stay in, right? Granted, not everyone who’s traveling to Walt Disney World has this concern. The high cost of each resort certainly limits their appeal to a large portion of travelers. But if you can afford it, or you’re interested in splurging on a resort, it would be hard to find two better choices.

So which side of the debate did I land on? I suppose if you’ve read the title of this article, you’ve guessed that one of Walt Disney World’s first hotels, the Polynesian, has won me over. After this past summer’s stay, it’s become our favorite hotel on Walt Disney World property and we can’t wait to go back. As far as the aforementioned debate is concerned, I have to disclose the fact that we have not actually stayed at the Grand Floridian. As far as the Deluxe category goes, we have stayed at Disney’s Yacht Club and Disney’s Wilderness Lodge in addition to the Polynesian. We’ve dined and spent time at the Grand Floridian and to be totally honest with you, the place kind of turns me off. It’s certainly beautiful. The main lobby is stunning. The grounds are meticulous. Some of Disney’s best restaurants are there. That all said, there’s just something about the place that makes me feel…uncomfortable. My wife and I have both felt the same way each time that we’re there. But I digress. This isn’t the Top 5 Things I Don’t Like about Disney’s Grand Floridian. It is however, the Top 5 Reasons I Love Disney’s Polynesian Resort.

5 – The Room Size

The view from our Fiji room. Photo by Chris Barry.

We have 5 people in our family and space is pretty important to us. We’ve done just fine at Port Orleans Riverside with the trundle beds. The Yacht Club added a balcony and a daybed and several square feet. But the rooms at the Poly are downright spacious, and as I understand it, they are the largest standard rooms on Disney property. The 5 of us had plenty of room. It’s certainly spoiled us. It would be hard to go back to a smaller room.

4 – The Monorail

The monorail glides over the Seven Seas Lagoon. Photo by Chris Barry.

This was our first monorail resort and it really changes everything. I don’t mind the Disney busses. Actually, I find them to be an integral part of the whole experience. Being able to hop on that monorail to get to and from the Magic Kingdom is really amazing, especially with kids. Add the ride to Epcot in there and you’ve got such an efficient way to get around. Besides all that…let’s face it…it’s just way cool to ride the monorail.

3 – Location, Location, Location

The nearby Grand Floridian. Photo by Chris Barry.

Factoring in the monorail, the proximity to the Magic Kingdom, being able to walk to the Grand Floridian for a meal, being able to walk to the Transportation and Ticket Center, and having The Contemporary and the Wilderness Lodge nearby equals one super convenient resort to stay in.

2 – The Volcano Pool and the Beach

The empty beach at the Polynesian. Photo by Chris Barry.

Obviously, if you’ve ever seen the Yacht and Beach Club pool—Stormalong Bay—you’ve seen Disney’s best pool complex. The Volcano Pool at the Poly is not as enormous, but the kids love it; and what was even better was the adjacent beach. My wife and I were able to sit alone on the beach, sipping drinks with umbrellas in them while the kids were less than 100 feet away safely playing in the pool. It seemed like we were a world away from the chaos and noise of the pool, but we were literally right next door sitting side by side on beach chairs staring at Cinderella’s Castle off in the distance, and we pretty much had the whole beach to ourselves.

The view of Cinderella's Castle from the Polynesian beach. Photo by Chris Barry.

1 – The Atmosphere

A garden pool in front of the Polynesian. Photo by Chris Barry.

Strolling around the grounds of the Polynesian, you can’t help but get caught up in the tropical feel of the resort. Amazing flowers and gardens surround you. The Seven Seas Lagoon is spread out in front of you. The winding pathways between all of the longhouses invite you to explore the grounds. Whether it’s my wife’s morning run through the grounds, a stroll out to Sunset Pointe with the kids to watch the ferries plying back and forth in the afternoon, or the torches guiding me at night for a walk over to the Great Ceremonial House for late night snacks, the whole place is just teeming with atmosphere. I know I’m not really in Polynesia, but as far as I’m concerned I might as well be in Tahiti or Hawaii…only better…the Magic Kingdom is only 5 minutes away!

My son Casey and a tiki. Photo by Samantha Barry.

There are so many things we all loved about the Polynesian…the awesome gardens and waterfalls, the Tonga Toast, the tikis in the gift shop, watching the fireworks on the beach, sitting on our balcony at night looking out at the lagoon, taking the boat across the Seven Seas Lagoon to the Magic Kingdom…and that's without even eating at ’Ohana or seeing the Spirit of Aloha show.

Mickey, Minnie, Morty and Ferdie in Polynesian garb. Photo by Samantha Barry.

It’s become our favorite place to stay. We can’t wait to go back. It’s safe to say that we’ve joined the loyal ranks of the many, many others who call the Poly their home away from home at Walt Disney World.

That's My Disney Top 5 for today. What's yours? Click on the "Discuss this article on MousePad" link below and share your list!


  1. By CBFETT

    Absolutely love this Top 5 and couldn't agree more! We love the Poly for all of these reasons and now our favorite resort as well. We stayed there last year and had the best time. It is just a real relaxing resort, spacious rooms (we are a family of five as well), the Volcano pool and views were just outstanding! We would be there again this year except we got the deal of Free Dining with our upcoming stay at Port Orleans Riverside which we've stayed at before and liked. Just couldn't pass up the free dining. Definately will be staying at the Poly again soon!

  2. By dlfansx4

    We stayed at the Poly for 10 nights last August and I agree with your Top 5 completely!

    We loved everything about the Poly from the food, to the atmosphere, to the location, to the pool (I couldn't stop my son from going down the volcano slide over and over and over again). It was so easy to just hop on the monorail and go. And going to sleep at night watching the castle change colors was truly magical!

    We still can't hear the music from Pirates without remembering those warm summer nights spent watching the fireworks from our balcony.

  3. By cbarry

    Disney is infectious as it is, but staying at the Polynesian just seems to increase the magic even more so.

    I'd love a castle view room next time, but one of the great things about the Poly is that my room with the view of the marina and the lagoon, that you see in the article, was considered a garden view and was therefore cheaper. Factor in the 40% off pin code we had and that room was actually a great deal.

  4. By CBFETT

    We had a monorail view room and it was awesome! Love sitting there watching the different monorails zoom past! Also, can't say Poly without Tonga Toast! And when you ride the Volcano waterslide after dark it glows red like lava. Too Cool!

  5. By kiminil

    I love the Poly! However, now that my husband and I are DVC members, it's hard to justify using our points there when it's so much cheaper (pointswise) to stay in a DVC villa. My hope is that eventually the Poly will get its own DVC villas so we can stay there again. After all, the Grand Floridian is getting DVC, maybe the Poly will be next. That would be enough to get me to consider adding on some points.

  6. By Andree

    My husband and I LOVE the Polynesian Resort. We first stayed there April 2009 for the simple reason that if I wanted my husband to come on the trip with me it had to be a hotel with the least bus transportation to the parks. He just didn't want to spend time traveling so to the Poly we went and oh boy NO REGRETS!! When I booked for last dec. for my nephew, his girlfriend and us I had to discuss with them where to stay. My nephew' girlfriend wanted to stay at the Animal Kingdom Lodge at first but we won them over with the 'lesser bus traveling time and having the monorail in your own backyard and the view of Cinderella Castle across the lake'. What another great time we had at the Poly AND plenty of space for 4 adults in one room! Next trip, hopefully in dec. again, we might stay at a resort on the boardwalk but I will try to sell the advantages of the Poly again. What I most love about this place is all the lush greenery all around and the quietness of the place. AH warm feeling just thinking about it! Thanks Disney and the Poly!!

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