Construction at Disney's Polynesian Resort Through 2015
Disney's Polynesian Resort is undergoing significant remodeling through 2015, affecting the entire resort including the Great Ceremonial House, pools, buildings, beaches, restaurants, child care, and more. If you've not been to the Polynesian before, we recommend not booking a stay until the construction is done. Here's a note from a reader who visited in June, 2014:
I didn't appreciate from your description the extent of the refurbishment of the Polynesian resort. With the lobby, Captain Cook's, the East side of the resort and soon to be pool all shut down there is little left to enjoy. You should strongly encourage people not to stay here. We checked in on Saturday and I was very disappointed how much of the resort is under construction. I don't feel like I am in Hawaii, I feel like I am in the middle of a construction zone.
While the Poly's main pool is closed (through Spring 2015), guests staying at the Poly will have unlimited access to Disney's Blizzard Beach water park, including complimentary transportation and towels. A special entrance has been set up at Blizzard Beach for Polynesian guests, and Poly guests will use their Magic Bands to enter the water park. Polynesian guests who've purchases a refillable resort mug can also use the mug at Blizzard Beach. Thanks to WDWMagic.com for the details.
Disney's Polynesian Resort Overview
The South Pacific tropics are re-created at this Deluxe resort. The Polynesian consists of 11 two- and three-story Hawaiian “longhouses” situated around the four-story Great Ceremonial House. Buildings at the Polynesian feature wood tones, with exposed-beam roofs and tribalinspired geometric inlays in the cornices. The Great Ceremonial House contains restaurants, shops, and a rainforest atrium lobby with a rocky waterfall and more than 70 species of tropical plants. 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. The Polynesian has no on- site fitness center, but its guests are welcome at the Grand Floridian’s facility a short quarter-mile walk or 2-minute monorail ride away. Landscaping is superb, with periodic refurbishment, so garden-view rooms are generally superior to garden- or standard-view rooms at other resorts.
Although the Polynesian is one of Disney’s oldest resorts, periodic refurbishments keep it well maintained. Refurbishments started in 2013 include new paint, carpet, headboards, soft goods, and bathroom designs for all rooms. The new rooms have light-green walls and white bed comforters with green-and- brown tropical-print coverlets.
Some readers wouldn’t stay anywhere else, as a family from Summerville, South Carolina, attests:
Polynesian was WONDERFUL. We were in the Tahiti building and could walk to the Transportation and Ticket Center to get on the buses to Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom without getting on the monorail. From now on, we will ONLY stay at the Polynesian. Well worth the extra $.
A family of four from Portsmouth, New Hampshire, writes:
Loved the Polynesian. Room was clean, and “mousekeeping” was always done before noon. The pool was fun, and having the monorail in the hotel made getting to the Magic Kingdom and Epcot very easy. The bus service to the other parks did seem rather slow, though—we waited 20–25 minutes for buses on at least three occasions.
A Maryland family of four found the guest-room soundproofing somewhat lacking:
Connecting rooms at the Polynesian were noisy. We took towels from the pool and stuffed them under the door to deaden the noise coming from the other room.
How Disney's Polynesian Resort Compares to Other Disney Deluxe Resorts
The major advantage of Polynesian is that is a short boat or Monorail ride to Walt Disney World's flagship theme park, Magic Kingdom. The same Monorail can be also be used to ride to the Transportation And Ticket Center, here guests can tranfer to another Monorail and ride to the front gate of Epcot. At 415 square feet, Polynesian's rooms are some of the largest in all of WDW. These factors come at the cost of a high nightly price. Rooms at Polynesian fall in to the upper end of all the other WDW deluxe resorts. There is no on- site fitness center, but its guests are welcome at the Grand Floridian’s facility.
Where To Check-In, Get Theme Park Tickets, and Make Dining Reservations
A security gate guards the entrance to Polynesian's grounds. If you arrive by car, you'll need to provide photo ID at the gate; it's not necessary to provide your reservation number or paperwork. A dedicated parking lot across from the lobby serves as temporary parking for those who need it while checking in.
Check-in time at Polynesian is 3:00 PM, and check-out time is 11:00 AM. Polynesian participates in Disney's Online Check-In program, which allows you to you provide name, address, and credit card information up to 60 days before your arrival. If you've done this, look for an Online Check-In sign near the Registration Desk. You'll be routed to one of the Online Check-in staff and should be on the way to your room in a few minutes.
If you've not registered online, look for signs pointing you to the Registration/Check-In area. You'll need to provide a government-issued photo ID and credit/debit card when you register. While parents are completing the paperwork, kids can unwind in a nearby play area decorated with child-sized furniture, and a television showing classic Disney animated films.
Disney's Polynesian Resort's registration staff can provide MagicBands for your stay, if you don't already have them. Get theme park tickets and dining reservations at the Concierge Desk, to the right of the Registration Desk. If you need to check in and obtain theme park tickets, you can save some time in line if one adult gets in line for tickets just after another adult starts the registration process. The Concierge Desk can also make Disney dining reservations, and you can avoid a wait there by making them online prior to arrival.
Disney's Polynesian Resort's Rooms
Most of the Polynesian rooms are 415 square feet, which makes them the second largest standard rooms in Walt Disney World (after Grand Floridian's 440 square foot rooms), and have two queen-size beds, a daybed, and a table with two chairs.
King beds were also added to some rooms in the 2013 update and can be booked directly instead of having to make a request. We’re told that only some longhouses have the king beds, so your view may vary.
Each Disney's Polynesian Resort room is furnished with the following:
- Two queen beds
- Dresser with 4 small drawers
- Table with 2 chairs
- Nightstand digital alarm clock
- Full-length mirror (on bath door)
- WiFi wireless Internet access
- Flat-panel TV
- Mini fridge
- Coffee Maker
- Ironing board and iron
- Hair dryer
- Digital thermostat
- In-room safe
- Tiny bottle of H2O-brand shampoo, and bar soap
The mini-fridge is a dorm-style unit that sits under a counter or desk. It's more like a beverage chiller than a refrigerator in that it'll keep drinks cool, but you're not going to freeze popsicles or make ice cubes in it.
Polynesian's bathrooms are well designed, albeit somewhat small. The 2013 redesign put in dual sinks for the old singles and added more open space to the whole bath. Shelves above and below sinks allow plenty of storage. Outward-curving shower rods add substantial elbow room without increasing its size. The bath’s light fixtures are great.
Water pressure in the shower is average - probably less than what you get at home, but still enough to get your hair clean. Eventually.
A separate dressing area next to the bathroom includes two sinks, and enough counter space to fit most of the toiletries you would need. There are also two shelves under the sink that provide a small amount of storage. A 1500-watt, wall-mounted hair dryer is provided, but it's not very powerful; bring your own if you've got lots of hair. The dressing area includes a sliding door that separates it from the sleeping area. Combined with the bathroom, this means that 3 people can get dressed at the same time.
Polynesian Concierge Level Rooms
The concierge level of a deluxe resort can also be referred to as club level. Each one throughout the property has a name for their concierge level. At the Polynesian it is called the The King Kamehameha Club and it’s located on in the Hawaii building. Here guests willing to pay a premium are treated to special services including a lounge, complimentary food and drink, and personalized service. There are about 108 King Kamehameha Club rooms most of which are similar to regular rooms throughout the resort, but there are also suites available. Club level prices can be over $100 more than standard rooms at the Polynesian
Upon arriving to Polynesian, concierge guests are taken to an exclusive area to be checked in and taken care of. Once guests are brought to the club level they will be introduced to the cast members on hand at two desks set up to be the resource for any special services they may need. These CMs are there to help folks with whatever they might need including ADRs, park tickets, and transportation options.
Another special service provided to concierge level guests is a nightly turn down. Housekeeping cast members come to your room in the evening to prepare your bed for you to fall into it after a long day in the parks and leave chocolates.
A more exciting benefit to staying in The King Kamehameha Club is access to free food for most of the day. The breakfast offerings are relatively light so don’t expect to fuel up for a full day here. Later in the day snacks are available along with an assortment of drinks including soda, hot drinks like coffee, and beer. In the late afternoon/early evening the menu changes but appetizers are put out for guests to enjoy before they begin their evening. Wine and liqueurs along with desserts area served throughout the evening as well.
The selection of food and drink is laid out in the lounge only accessible to club level guests. There are several tables and chairs set up for folks to you use throughout the day. The area is busy a breakfast time, but can be a quiet place to relax and maybe even get some work done if guests happen to be business travelers. There are also a few couches in the mix where friends can gather to chat. Kids have their own area here with child sized table and chairs and a TV running cartoons and other Disney favorites.
Handicap-Accessible Room Options
Disney's Polynesian Resort have around 66 handicap-accessible rooms. Some feature roll-in showers, while others include assistive hearing devices. A subset of these rooms have been converted to comply with Florida's Accessibility Code, with changes to everything from bed, counter-top, and dresser drawer height, to door widths, wheelchair ramps, and more.
Some accessible rooms have the standard setup of 2 queen beds; all rooms with roll-in showers have 1 king bed, and a small number of roll-in shower rooms have both 1 king bed. Use our hotel room finder to see which rooms have which feature
Theme Park Views, Lagoon Views and Garden Views
Disney knows that some hotel rooms are better than others. Most people want something pretty to look at from their hotel room window. To capitalize on this, Disney categorizes all of Polynesian's hotel rooms based on what you see from inside the room.
Here's the system Disney uses:
- Theme Park View: The view
from your window for the most part includes good views of Magic Kingdom. But some rooms may be partially blocked by a large tree.
- Lagoon View: At the Polynesian any rooms facing the Seven
Seas Lagoon, that don't have a view of Magic Kingdom, are tagged with the
Lagoon View. Most rooms have a view of the lagoon. Some rooms have several trees blocking the view. There are a couple of Lagoon
View rooms where you can see Magic Kingdom if you crane your neck.
- Garden View: Garden View rooms don't have views as good
as Theme Park or Lagoon View rooms, but you'll still see some nice scenery.
Most rooms have view of landscaping, the resort's pool, or other buildings. In some rooms you may catch a glimpse of the Monorail.
Polynesian Resort has 2 pools. The largest, Nanea Volcano Pool, sits in a courtyard between the Samoa, Hawaii, Tokelau and Rarotonga buildings. The pool features a towering volcano and a 142 foot-long waterslide. There is also a hot tub, kiddie pool and water player area.
The other smaller pool, the Polynesian East Pool, is located between the Samoa Building and resort's marina. Polynesian East Pool is considered a "quiet pool," meaning that loud play and splashing around are discouraged.
Polynesian's pools range in depth from around 3 feet 6 inches/1.1m to 4 feet 9 inches/1.4m. Pool are open every day, including during winter. The pools are heated to 82°F/28°C throughout the year. We've swum in temperatures as cold as 40°F/4°C; the water was fine, but getting out was a shock. Polynesian also has a hot tub located near Nanea Volcano Pool.
Beach Pool has one water slide that all ages are free to use. Guests can find showers, storage lockers, restrooms, and laundry facilities. Pool hours are at least 10AM to 10 PM, extending to as much as 8 AM to 12 AM during busy times. Feature Pool will have lifeguards during the pools' operating hours.
Infants and children in diapers are welcome in all of Polynesian's pools, as long as they're wearing swim diapers. Water wings are allowed at all Disney pools, and every pool has free life vests in a variety of sizes:
- Infant/child: Weight less than 30 lbs.
- Child: Weight 30-50 lbs.
- Youth: Weight 50-90 lbs.
- Adult XS: Weight more than 90 lbs., Chest size 31-34 in.
- Adult S: Weight more than 90 lbs., Chest size 34-37 in.
- Adult M: Weight more than 90 lbs., Chest size 37-40 in.
- Adult L: Weight more than 90 lbs. Chest size 40-43 in.
- Adult XL: Weight more than 90 lbs., Chest size 43-46 in.
- Adult XXL: Weight more than 90 lbs., Chest size 46-48 in.
- Additionally, there may be a small supply of even larger vests. Inquire at your resort.
You may need to bring your towels from your room to use at the pool - Disney sometimes stocks extra towels poolside, and sometimes they don't. Our advice is to send someone down to the pool to check the towel situation before you go. If you end up using your room towels at the pool, just call Housekeeping when you get back and request more.
Pool toys are permitted in Polynesian's pools, including "pool noodles," and basic toys that would be appropriate for water use such as rubber duckies and bucket & shovel sets. Some of us will occasionally bring something like a whiffle ball for playing catch in the pool. As long as you’re not disturbing other guests, you’ll be fine. Also note that kids with pool toys become very popular with other kids in the pool who want to play too. If you’re traveling with an only child and want him to have some age cohort interaction during your vacation, a nice strategy is to bring some extra toys. Chances are he’ll make a buddy.
Wheelchair Accessibility at Polynesian's Pool
Polynesian's Courtyard Pool has a chair-lift device that can lower guests in wheelchairs into the shallow end of the pool. Check with any lifeguard for assistance on using the lift.
Restaurants and Dining
Polynesian has a number of excellent dining options, including one dinner show, two counter service restaurants and two table service restaurants.
Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show
Formerly the Polynesian Luau, this show features South Seas-island native dancing followed by an all-you-can-eat "Polynesian-style" meal. The dancing is interesting and largely authentic, and the dancers are attractive though definitely PG-rated in the Disney tradition. We think the show has its moments and the meal is adequate, but neither is particularly special.
Despite the name change, not much else differentiates this show from the old Polynesian Luau. The revised show follows (tenuously) the common "girl leaves home for the big city, forgets her roots, and must rediscover them" theme. The performers are uniformly attractive ("Stud muffins!" said an Unofficial femme when asked about the men), and the dancing is very good. The story, however, never really makes sense as anything other than a slender thread between musical numbers. Our show lasted for more than 2 hours and 15 minutes.
The food does little more than illustrate how difficult it must be to prepare the same meal for hundreds of people simultaneously. The roasted chicken is better than the ribs, but neither is anything special. We conditionally recommend Spirit of Aloha for special occasions, when the people celebrating get to go on stage. But go to the early show and get dessert somewhere else in the World.
A well-traveled couple from Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, comments:
Spirit of Aloha was a beautiful presentation, better than some shows we have seen in Hawaii! The food, however, lacked in all areas. Better food has come out of Disney kitchens. During our visit, the fruit platter was chintzy, the honey-roasted chicken was a bit fatty, and the pineapple cake was dry.
'Ohana, which means "family," gets high marks from our readers. The food is good but not superior, but if you love meat and you go hungry, it's a great place to fill up. The method of service and the fact that it just keeps coming make it all taste a little better. Insist on being seated in the main dining room, where the fire pit is.
A large open pit is the centerpiece of the room. Here the grilled foods are prepared with flair - as well as flare: from time to time the chef will pour some liquid on the fire, causing huge flames to shoot up. This is usually in response to something one of the strolling entertainers has said, evoking a sign from the fire gods. At any given moment, there may be a hula-hoop contest or a coconut race, where kids are invited to push coconuts around the dining room with broomsticks.
Skewer service is the specialty here-there's no menu. As soon as you're seated, your server will begin to deliver food. First comes bread and a green salad, followed by honey-glazed chicken wings, pork fried dumplings, pineapple-coconut bread, and fresh pineapple. The main course is steak, pork loin, chicken, and grilled peel-and-eat shrimp, accompanied by stir-fried vegetables and lo mein noodles placed on a lazy Susan in the center of the table.
During breakfast hours (7:30 AM to 11 AM), 'Ohana is a character meal with Mickey, Pluto, Lilo and Stitch.
The casual Kona Cafe has a postmodern decor, with arched railings and grillwork on the ceiling. If you want to escape the Magic Kingdom for a quiet lunch, hop on the monorail or take the resort launch to the Polynesian. This isn't a fancy dining room, but the food is on a higher plane than your average java joint's.
House Specialty for breakfast is the Tonga toast, a decadent French toast layered with bananas. For lunch we recommend stir-fried Asian noodles, barbecued-pork taco, and sticky wings. For dinner try the pomegranate barbecued pork chop, ginger-crusted rib-eye with tamarind jus, and sustainable fish.
Kona island Sushi Bar is very casual, imitating the tones and textures of Kona Cafe but placed in an area of high traffic for the Polynesian. the small eatery seats about 20 diners but accommodates many take-out orders. When eating in, guests can sit right at the bar and watch as the sushi chefs work their culinary magic, or be stationed against a glass wall with views of the resort's monorail stop, tropical gardens, and the ceremonial lighting of the torches on most nights.
This is often a good option for last-minute dining plans, lending itself to class and convenience. For diners who shy away from raw fare, cooked items are available on the menu (such as the Kona Crab Cake roll, Shrimp tempura roll, and California luau roll). Also, because Kona island Sushi Bar shares a kitchen with Kona Cafe, any item on the Kona Cafe menu can be ordered from the bar.
Capt. Cook's is Polynesian's counter service eatery. You'll find Tonga toast, flatbreads, chicken sandwich, pork sandwich, turkey club, salads, baked goods. You can also get a serving of Dole Whip!
Capt. Cook's participates in Disney's Rapid Fill refillable mug program, where you purchase a souvenir plastic mug once, and get free refills for the remainder of your stay. The cost varies depending on how long you're staying at the resort:
- $8.99 for 1 day
- $11.99 for 2 days
- $14.99 for 3 days
- $17.99 for length of stay (4 or more days)
The break-even point for the refillable mug program seems to be around 3 visits on the 1-day plan; 4 visits on the 2-day plan; 5 on the 3- day plan; and 6 visits for stays of 4 or more days. Keep in mind that if you buy a regular $3 fountain soda at any meal, you get unlimited refills during that meal. So for the refillable mug program to make sense, you'll need to drink soda with at least 3 separate meals on the 1-day plan, or 5 separate meals on the 2-day plan. In those cases, it would be hard to get too far from a bathroom, let alone all the way to the parks.
Restaurants at Polynesian participate in the Disney Dining Plan; meals cost 1 credit at 'Ohana, Kona Cafe, and Capt. Cook's, and 2 credits at Spirit of Aloha. Tables in Wonderland cardholders are eligible for a 20% discount at all resort gift shops.
Pizza delivery is available to your room from Disney's own delivery service. Besides pizza, chicken wings, desserts, beer, wine, and sodas are also available. However, delivery can take up to 90 minutes, and the food quality is often below average. You're probably better off either walking to the food court or calling Domino's. Pizza delivery hours are 4 PM to midnight daily. A medium (16") cheese pizza costs around $14 and a pepperoni around $16. Minimum order is $15, and Disney will tack on an 18% tip, $3 delivery charge, and 7% sales tax. Thus, a $30 pizza order will cost you $40.50 delivered.
Tambu Lounge is located on the second floor in Polynesian's Great Ceremonial House, next to 'Ohana. Mizner's has indoor seating and a full drink menu, with several beers, wines, and a selection of spirits. The Barefoot Pool Bar is located adjacent to the Nanea Volcano Pool at the Polynesian. It also has a selection of beers, wines, and cocktails. Barefoot Pool Bar also has a few non-alcoholic selections such as the Lava Smoothie with Raspberry Puree and Piña Colada Mix.
Transportation to and from Disney's Polynesian Resort
Driving Your Own Car Disney's Polynesian Resort is just off of I-4 in Lake Buena Vista. Take I-4 Exit 67 - Epcot Center Dr. and you'll end up on World Drive. Take World Dr. for about 2.1 miles, and turn left on Seven Seas Drive. After .4 miles, turn right and Polynesian will be on your right.
Disney's Polynesian Resort's GPS address and location are:
Disney's Polynesian Resort
1600 Seven Seas Drive
Orlando, FL 32830
Latitude: 28.401090 North, Longitude: 81.579452 West
From Orlando International Airport If you're arriving at Orlando International Airport, Disney's free Magical Express bus service will take you and your luggage directly from the airport to Disney's Polynesian Resort, then back to the airport when it's time for your flight home.
From Sanford International Airport It's about a 40-minute drive from Sanford to Disney's Polynesian Resort. If you're not renting a car, be aware that Sanford's airport offers fewer transportation options than Orlando's, and Sanford's options are generally much more expensive. A taxi from Sanford International Airport to Disney's Polynesian Resort will cost between $120 and $150, depending on traffic. Mears Transportation offers 3-passenger towncar service to Disney's Polynesian Resort for around $140 each way, plus tip; 5-passenger SUV service or 10- passenger van is around $190 each way. That means round-trip transportation will run you somewhere between $240 and $380, plus tip, between Sanford and Disney's Polynesian Resort. At those prices, it may be less expensive to rent a car and park it at the hotel.
Getting to the theme parks, water parks and Downtown Disney Disney provides free bus service from Disney's Polynesian Resort to Disney's Hollywood Studios, Disney's Animal Kingdom, Blizzard Beach, Typhoon Lagoon, and Downtown Disney/Disney Springs. Disney's Polynesian Resort's bus stops sit along the front wall of the lobby, between the lobby and check-in parking lot. Each theme park has its own bus stop somewhere along the wall. Animal Kingdom's bus service is shared with Blizzard Beach, while Downtown Disney/Disney Springs and Typhoon Lagoon also share a stop and service.
The Polynesian Resort is served by the Magic Kingdom monorail and is an easy walk from the transportation center. At the center, you can catch an express monorail to Epcot. This makes the Polynesian the only Disney resort with direct monorail access to both Epcot and the Magic Kingdom. To minimize your walk to the transportation center, request a room in the Rapa Nui, Tahiti, or Tokelau guest buildings. You can also catch a Monorail on the second floor of the Great Ceremonial House. The Monorail will make a stop at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort, and then the Magic Kingdom. The same Monorail also makes stops at the Contemporary Resort and the Transportation and Ticket Center.
Disney's Polynesian Resort's Bus Schedule
Ask a Disney Castmember about Polynesian's bus schedule, and they'll tell you that buses run about every 20 minutes. In reality, Polynesian's bus schedule varies considerably depending on the time of day and where you're headed.
For example, if you're headed to the Animal Kingdom between 8 AM and 11 AM, you'll wait around 15 minutes, on average, for a bus to arrive. The bus schedules for Disney's Hollywood Studios are about the same early in the day, with a bus arriving every 8-17 minutes, on average. Bus schedules to the water parks and Downtown Disney are a little less frequent, and you could wait anywhere from 20 to 30 minutes for a ride.
Buses run a little slower from around 11 AM to around 4 PM, when most people are already in a park. Disney's evening buses are scheduled around the theme parks' closing times, where most of the fleet is deployed to get guests back to their hotels. Your waits to return to your hotel from a theme park should average out to around 30 minutes under most circumstances.
If you've got your own car, it's faster to drive yourself to Disney's Animal Kingdom, the Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach water parks, and Downtown Disney. Disney's bus service is faster to Disney's Hollywood Studios. We evaluate Disney's Polynesian Resort's bus service annually, and the latest transportation times can be found below.
Getting to another hotel from Disney's Polynesian Resort If you've got dining plans at another Disney hotel, the cheapest option is to take a Disney bus from Disney's Polynesian Resort to Downtown Disney (or an open theme park), then take another bus from there to your destination hotel. Do the reverse to get back to Disney's Polynesian Resort. While that's free, it can take anywhere from 90 minutes to 2 hours each way. If your destination is one of the other Magic Kingdom monorail resorts, and the Magic Kingdom is still open hop on the Monorail (to the Grand Floridian and Contemporary), or take a boat (to Fort Wilderness, the Wilderness Lodge, and the Contemporary). We suggest you still allow at least an hour for that.
The fastest option, however, is almost always a taxi from Polynesian to wherever you're going; it's generally not more than a $20, 15-minute cab ride to get to most Disney hotels from Polynesian, and often less. Taxis are available outside the lobby; if a taxi is not already sitting out front, the bell services desk also serves as a taxi stand, and they'll call one for you.
To Universal Orlando If you're staying at Walt Disney World and don't have a car, Mears Transportation will shuttle you from your hotel to Universal and back for $18 per person. Pickup and return times are at your convenience. A one-way taxi ride is around $36, and may be the cheapest option if you have three to five people.
Shopping, Recreation and Things to Do
Polynesian Resort's beach is a great place to watch Magic Kingdom's fireworks show, Wishes. We recommend you find a spot on the beach at least 15 minutes before show time to guarantee a spot.
Polynesian has no spa or fitness center, but guests are allowed to use the facility over at Grand Floridian. It is open 24 hours a day but attendants are only available from 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM.
Watercraft Rentals are available for use in Seven Seas Lagoon 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Kayaks, sailboats, pedal boats, and Sea Raycers can be rented. Prices vary. All rentals can be purchased in a booth near the Great Ceremonial House.
Polynesian has a number of gift shops, including Samoa Snacks. Samoa Snacks sells basic pharmacy items such as sunscreen, aspirin, allergy and cold medicine, baby diapers and formula, shampoo, and the like. Samoa Snacks also has Disney-branded cookies, chocolate, coffee tins, and similar items, if that's what you're looking for. Prices for these items are considerably higher - about double - than what you'd probably pay at home.
Trader Jacks sells an assortment of Disney merchandise. As you'd expect from a Disney gift shop, Trader Jacks has a decent collection of souvenirs ranging from small trinkets such as keychains and pens, to embroidered jackets and Disney princess dresses. Prices for these items are about what you'd pay in the theme parks or Downtown Disney.
Other shops include BouTIKI, it features men's and women's apparel and some Polynesian-branded merchandise.
Walkers, joggers and runners can find a jogging trail. The trail is a 1-mile jogging path located near the resort's marina. The trail starts at the Polynesian Resort and ends at Grand Floridian.
Disney's Polynesian Resort Babysitting and In-Room Child Care
Polynesian's on-site child-care center is the Never Land Club, which is the most elaborate of WDW's child-care centers. Kids ages 3-12 may take part. Services vary, but children generally can be left between 4:30 PM and midnight. Milk and cookies and blankets and pillows are provided at all centers, and dinner is provided at most. Play is supervised but not organized, and toys, videos, and games are plentiful. Guests at any Disney resort or campground may use the services. The rate for ages 3-12 is $12 per hour, per child (2-hour minimum).
All the clubs accept reservations (some six months in advance!) with a credit card guarantee. Call the club directly, or reserve through Disney at 407-WDW-DINE. (If you call before 4 PM, call the club directly using the number shown below.) Most clubs require a 24-hour cancellation notice and levy a hefty penalty of 2 hours' time or $22.50 per call for no- shows. A limited number of walk-ins are usually accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.
|Hotel||Name of Program||Ages||Phone|
|Animal Kingdom Lodge||Simba's Clubhouse||3-12||407-938-4785|
|Dolphin and Swan||Camp Dolphin||4-12||407-934-4241|
|Polynesian Resort||Never Land Club||3-12||407-824-1639|
|Yacht and Beach Club Resorts||Sandcastle Club||3-12||407-934-3750|
|Wilderness Lodge and Villas||Cub's Den||3-12||407-824-1083|
Two companies provide in-room sitting in Walt Disney World and surrounding areas. They're Kid's Nite Out and Fairy Godmothers (no kidding). Both provide sitters older than age 18 who are insured, bonded, screened, reference-checked, police-checked, and trained in CPR. In addition to caring for your kids in your room, the sitters will, if you direct (and pay), take your children to the theme parks or other venues. Neither service will transport your children in private vehicles or give baths. Both offer bilingual sitters.
|Kid's Nite Out||Fairy Godmothers|
All WDW and Orlando-area hotels
All WDW and Orlando-area hotels
Men and women
Mothers and grandmothers, female college students
Base Hourly Rates
1 child, $16
2 children, $18.50
3 children, $21
4 children, $23.50
Base Hourly Rates
1 child, $16
2 children, $16
3 children, $16
4 children, $18
Transportation fee, $10; starting before 6:30 AM
or after 9 PM, +$2 per hour; additional fee for holidays
Transportation fee, $14; starting after 10 PM,
+$2 per hour
24 hours before service when reservation is made
3 hours before service
Form of Payment
AE, D, MC, V; gratuity in cash
Form of Payment
Cash or traveler's check for actual payment; gratuity in cash
Things Sitter Won't Do
Transport children in private vehicles,
take children swimming, give baths
Things Sitter Won't Do
Transport children, give baths; swimming
is at sitter's discretion
Coin-operated washers and dryers are in laundry facilities located near the Never Land Club. Cost is around $2 per wash, and another $2 per dry cycle. The machines take quarters, and a change machine is provided. A small selection of soap, fabric softener, and dryer sheets are also sold, for around $1 each. A typical wash cycle takes 20 to 30 minutes, and a typical dry cycle takes 40 to 50.
If you lose something during your stay, contact Disney's Polynesian Resort's Lost and Found department by calling (407) 824-2000.
DVC Coming to the Polynesian
Disney has announced, that the Polynesian will be the next resort to get a Disney Vacation Club addition, starting in late 2013. The addition includes 15 three-bedroom Grand Villas, built on stilts and sitting just offshore of Tahiti in Seven Seas Lagoon. Expect noise and other impacts on the resort. Check tikimanpages.com, an unofficial website dedicated to the Poly, for more details.
Blog Posts About Disney's Polynesian Resort
|Hotel||Definitely (+/- since last year)|
|Disney's Polynesian Resort||75% (-7%)|
|Average for WDW hotels||76% (+0%)|
|Average for off-site hotels||57% (+0%)|
|Hotel||Definitely (+/- since last year)|
|Disney's Polynesian Resort||95% (+3%)|
|Average for WDW hotels||92% (+2%)|
|Average for off-site hotels||79% (-7%)|
Good (and Not-So-Good) Rooms at Disney's Polynesian Resort
The Polynesian’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 the buildings, except for the more recently added Tahiti, Rapa Nui, and Tokelau, were part of the original hotel, which opened with the Magic Kingdom in 1971. All buildings feature first-floor patios and third-floor balconies. The older buildings, comprising more than half the resort’s rooms, have fake 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.
Within the Great Ceremonial House are most restaurants and shops, as well as the resort lobby, guest services, and bus and monorail stations. Longhouses most convenient to the Great Ceremonial House (Fiji, Tonga suites, Rarotonga, Niue, and Samoa) offer views of the swimming complex, a small marina, or inner gardens. There are no lagoon views except for oblique views from the upper floors of Fiji and Samoa, Aotearoa, and Tokelau, and a tunnel view from Tonga (suites only). 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 Nanea Volcano Pool side of Samoa.
You can specifically request a lagoon- or Magic Kingdom–view room at the Polynesian, if you’re willing to pay extra. The best of these rooms are on the second and third floors in Tahiti, the third floor in Tuvalu, and, if you’re staying in a concierge room, the first and third floors in Hawaii.
One family’s experience in a concierge room proved advantageous:
The view was spectacular. Every night the Electrical Water Pageant was pulled across the lake right in front of our room. My kids loved it. Then, after the parade, we had a perfect view of the fireworks over Cinderella Castle.
There are some quirks in the way Disney categorizes room views at the Polynesian, and it’s possible to get a view of the castle and fireworks while staying in a garden-view room. Second- and third-floor rooms in Tokelau (Rooms 2901–2913, 2939–2948, 3901–3913, and 3939–3948) offer you the best shot at sideways views of the castle and fireworks, though readers say taller palm trees may block even these upper rooms. First-floor rooms (1901–1913 and 1939–1948) may also have landscaping blocking some of the Magic Kingdom views, but the patio provides more room to move to find a better spot, too.
In addition to second-floor rooms in the older buildings (the buildings with fake balconies), also avoid the monorail-side rooms in Rarotonga and the parking-lot side of Rapa Nui. Garden-view rooms in Aotearoa are especially nice, but the monorail, though quiet, runs within spitting distance.
If you plan to spend a lot of time at Epcot, Tahiti and Rapa Nui are within easy walking distance of the Transportation and Ticket Center (TTC) and the Epcot monorail. Even if you’re going to the Magic Kingdom, it’s a shorter walk from Tahiti and Rapa Nui to the TTC and Magic Kingdom monorail than to the monorail station at the Great Ceremonial House. Tuvalu, Fiji, and Aotearoa are the most distant accommodations from the Polynesian’s bus stop. For large strollers or wheelchair access, take the ferry to the Magic Kingdom.
Good Rooms in Tonga Building
Tonga is home to some of the resort's suites. Rooms facing south look out on to vegetation, but you may catch a glimpse of the Monorail. Rooms facing North have a view of the resort's Marina. If you squint you may be able to see Magic Kingdom. With all that being said, none of the rooms in Tonga have what we would consider bad views.
Good Rooms in Aotearoa Building
Aotearoa Rooms facing south look out on to vegetation and landscaping. The Monorail is also visible but this may cause higher than usual noise levels. Rooms facing North have a view of landscaping and foliage. But there are a hand full of Lagoon and Theme Park View rooms. However, we wouldn't call these the best Theme Park View rooms as Magic Kingdom is quite far in the distance.
Good Rooms in Fiji Building
Aotearoa Rooms facing west look out on to vegetation and landscaping. Rooms facing east look on to the resort's marina, but this may cause higher than usual noise levels.
Good Rooms in Tuvalu Building
Aotearoa Rooms facing north have mostly unobstructed views of Magic Kingdom, Seven Seas Lagoon, and the Grand Floridian. Rooms facing south look on to foliage and landscaping.
Good Rooms in Hawaii
The Hawaii Building is home to Polynesian's Club Level rooms. Rooms facing north have mostly unobstructed views of Magic Kingdom, Seven Seas Lagoon, and the Polynesian's beach. Rooms facing south look on to foliage, landscaping, and the resort's Nanea Volcano Pool.
Good Rooms in Samoa
The Samoa Building the Nanea Volcano Pool and the East Pool. Because of the pools these rooms may have higher than usual noise levels.
Good Rooms in Niue
Rooms in Niue have views of landscaping and foliage. The major advantage of this building is that it's next door to the Polynesian's lobby, the Great Ceremonial House.
Good Rooms in Rarotonga
Rarotonga is also next door to the Polynesian's lobby, the Great Ceremonial House. Rooms in Rarotonga have views of landscaping and foliage. Some rooms have a view of the Monorail.
Good Rooms in Tokelau
Rooms in Rarotonga have views of landscaping and foliage. The building is next to the resort's East Pool, but most views of it are blocked by large plants or trees.
Good Rooms in Tahiti
Most rooms in Tahiti facing north are Theme Park View. However, there are a few that are technically Lagoon View, but you can also clearly see Magic Kingdom. Another great thing about these rooms is that the Polynesian beach is practically right outside the balcony. Rooms facing south have views of landscaping and foliage.
Good Rooms in Rapa Nui
Rapa Nui has the least amount of good views thanks to rooms facing southeast that look on to a parking lot. The other half of the rooms face landscaping and foliage. The major advantage of this building is that it is a short walk to the Transportation and Ticket Center. At the Transportation and Ticket Center you can catch a Monorail to Epcot, Magic Kingdom, Grand Floridian Resort, and the Contemporary Resort.
Resort Exploring Vol 7 - The Polynesian
|Relaxed and casual ambiance||Overly large and confusing layout|
|Ferry service to Magic Kingdom||Walkways exposed to rain|
|Romantic atmosphere||Noise from nearby motor speedway and ferry|
|Exotic theme that children love||Front-desk inefficiency|
|On Magic Kingdom monorail|
|Epcot monorail within walking distance|
|Transportation and Ticket Center adjoins resort|
|Redecorated rooms, among the nicest at WDW|
|Child care, children's programs, and character meals|
|Beach and marina|
|Excellent swimming complex|
Disney's Polynesian Resort Dining
- 'Ohana (Table Service)
- Barefoot Pool Bar (Bar or Lounge)
- Capt. Cook's (Counter Service)
- Kona Cafe (Table Service)
- Kona Island (Counter Service)
- Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show (Table Service)
- Tambu Lounge (Bar or Lounge)
|Park||Commuting Times||Resort Transportation|
|Magic Kingdom||11 min|
|Hollywood Studios||19 min|
|Animal Kingdom||19 min|
|Quietness of Room||B|
|Shuttle to Parks||Yes|