We recently returned from a stay at Disney’s Polynesian Resort, our first since the rooms were revamped. And we were impressed! Overall, we felt the new room layouts and features offered maximized floor space, increased bathroom usability, more versatility, updated amenities, and more storage space. (And even the soundproofing seemed much improved!)
My wife and I went with our daughter, son-in-law, and 3 granddaughters: 2 people in one room, 5 people in another. We had adjoining rooms, which were identical except for one thing: our bathroom had a tub with a great shower head/handheld fixture; theirs had a walk-in shower.
You’ve seen all the pictures of the new room décor: Moana, Maui, and Heihei all play a role.
But what about functionality? I hadn’t read any article that told me about the little things: the things I fret over while packing. My worry list includes: how much closet space is there? How many drawers are there? Do I need to bring a multi-port plug so I can charge two watches, two phones and two iPads at the same time? You know, things like that. Little things most of my friends don’t think about, let alone fret over.
And while there are pictures aplenty online everywhere (including here) what was it like to actually STAY in the room and LIVE with the updates for a week?
Well, when we arrived, let me tell you: we were pleasantly surprised by the answers to all these questions.
The old layout had two closets with two doors each that pulled open. One had the luggage rack in it, the other had 3 shelves, the safe, and iron, and a high shelf with extra bedding.
The new layout has three closet doors: two are soft-close with lights that come on automatically when you open them and shut off when they close and one that pulls open.
From left to right in our room, the first door (pull open) houses five shelves (the safe sits on one). The second door slides open and houses a high shelf with extra bedding for the pull-down bed, a hanging bar, and two deep drawers below. The third door pulls open and has another high shelf, hanging bar for longer items, luggage rack, and a bit of space on the bottom for shoes. Without actual measurements to compare old vs. new, it’s hard to say if closet space was diminished. But we didn’t think so. While the linear footage may be reduced just a little, in our opinion absolutely nothing was lost. Plus, we found the wider drawers really useful.
The old coffee bar had a coffee maker on a countertop with a mini-fridge and a tiny shelf and two tiny drawers next to it below, all hidden by two cabinet doors. The new coffee bar has handy upper shelf, the coffee maker countertop, a drawer under the countertop, and a glass door mini fridge below. For our money, no counter space was lost and extra usable – and welcome – drawer space was gained.
The old “bureau” had six drawers: two across and three down; ample counter space and the TV above. The drawers were not very wide, which made them less useful to us. The new “bureau” has three drawers as wide as the countertop. Way more useful than the old layout in our opinion.
Now, for those who are still with me, here’s where things get interesting!
The new rooms have 8 USB ports built into the outlets; in addition, there are four USB-C ports (if I didn’t miss any). No need to bring along my multi-port plug. Greatly appreciated and wish I had known this ahead of time! All ports are placed in great locations: next to the bed on the nightstands and under the TV on the bureau.
Speaking of nightstands, the old middle nightstand had a drawer and two-door cabinet. The new one is essentially the same (Gideon Bible included). But the old one had a clock radio, while there is none in the new room – because with smart phones, who uses one anymore?
Another big improvement: “benches” at the foot of each bed. The provided additional seating, were easily moved to create a conversation area, and provided a great place to tuck shoes away after a long day in the parks.
And another big improvement: the beds are on raised platforms, which means you can put suitcases under them instead of shoving them into a corner; this maximizes available/usable floor space. And since, at 415 square feet, the Poly already has some of the largest rooms in WDW, this is a BIG plus for larger families like our daughter’s. Even with the sofa turned into a bed, our daughter’s family never felt crowded in their room.
The sofa provides seating for 3, two can fit comfortably on each bench, one person can sit in the corner chair, another on the ottoman – and one of our grandkids even used the smaller of the two room tables as a stool. Versatile seating, if ever there was!
And one more big improvement: the flooring. It’s now luxury vinyl plank instead of carpeting, a welcome update from a cleaning standpoint.
I haven’t mentioned how much better the bathroom is! It now has a pocket door which helps maximize usable floor space. The toilet has moved into its own closet with an auto on/off fan, a towel bar, and shelves across from the “throne.” This new layout allows two people to take advantage of the facilities with increased privacy for both. Also new: a lighted magnifier mirror on the wall and a soft glow nightlight built into the bathroom wall switch. The new shower has glass sliding door enclosures, a great improvement over the old tub with its shower curtain.
Besides the clock, was anything else lost in the remodel?
Counter space in the bathroom. The old bathroom had an expansive countertop with two sinks, two towel bars in front and two large lighted mirrors. While the new layout retains two sinks, the towel bars were lost, countertop space reduced, and a narrow but long shelf added above the main countertop. Several narrow shelves were added below the counter. The change was necessary in order to make space for the new separate toilet closet, something I’d trade for any day.
We missed hooks on the door. We couldn’t figure out where hooks for robes or towels could be placed, especially given the new pocket doors, but we missed them.
Also lost: the desk area in the with a little pull out “table.” It was replaced by two different sized “mushroom” tables that sit by the sliding glass door to the balcony (one of which can double as a stool).
Big loss? We didn’t think so.
Overall, the improvements were terrific. And we can’t wait to stay there again.
What are your thoughts about the renovations for the Polynesian rooms? Let us know in the comments.