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Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort received a major upgrade in 2015 with a redesign of the lobby, upgrades to the pools and dining, and addition of the Disney Vacation Club (DVC) villas and bungalows.
I had the pleasure of staying at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort recently, and here’s my review of all that’s new at the resort!
If you are interested in a review of one of the amazing new DVC Studio Villas at the Polynesian, check out this post!
Disney Polynesian Resort Map
Here is the updated Polynesian Resort Map. A few of the longhouses have been renamed so if you visited years ago they might not be as you remembered!
Here is a map that shows the location of the new DVC Studio Villas.
We stayed in one for less than $200/night thanks to renting DVC points from an owner. This saved us 60% compared to Disney’s prices! Learn how you can rent DVC points and save at Disney World here.
Disney Polynesian Resort Review: Pools
The pool scene at the Polynesian recently received some major upgrades. The feature Lava pool now has a zero-entry side, a 142-foot long waterslide, an expanded pool deck area, a hot tub with an infinity edge, and a kids water splash play area.
I consider myself a Disney pool aficionado, and I LOVED the Lava Pool area. The zero-entry side of the pool is huge, so it doesn’t get too crowded like it can at other resorts. The pool is large and there was plenty of room for everyone, even during spring break.
The waterfall feature is lovely, and I like that you can access this part of the pool from under the volcano! There are restrooms located under this part of the volcano as well.
The new “infinity” hot tub offers a spectacular view of the beach and Grand Floridian. Watching the monorail and boats come and go while relaxing in the tub is about as magical as it gets for me!
I have nothing but praise for the new Kiki Tiki’s kids splash play area. I had to go up in it with my daughter (for research purposes, of course) and it was SO much fun. Kids could spend hours in this area and still complain when it is time to leave!
My only complaint about the feature pool was that it didn’t open until 10 am, even during one of the busiest times of the year. That is the latest pool opening time I’ve seen and I’m hoping it isn’t becoming the norm at other resorts. This could cramp your style if you are opting to stay at the resort all day instead of visiting the parks.
That is the latest pool opening time I’ve seen and I’m hoping it isn’t becoming the norm at other resorts. This could cramp your style if you are opting to stay at the resort all day instead of visiting the parks.
A second leisure pool was added next to the Tokelau longhouse in 2015 as well. The Oasis pool is lovely and has a unique edge that is on the same level as the pool deck. It features a large hot tub. I love that the Poly went from zero to two hot tubs with this remodel!
I am happy to report that at least this pool is more accessible during the morning hours and opens at 7 am.
Fences were added around the beach last year and I think they look natural and don’t detract much from the views. We enjoyed playing on the beautiful beaches and taking in the views of Seven Seas Lagoon.
Next, I’ll share details about the recent upgrades and additions to the dining options at the Polynesian. You can view menus from all of these locations at AllEars.net.
There were many additions to dining options during the 2015 remodel. First is a refreshed Capt. Cook’s, the main quick service option at the resort. After ordering you’ll be given a disc that Cast Members use to locate you and will deliver your food to you when it is ready. They can even find you on the large patio area, which now overlooks the Kiki Tiki water play area.
After ordering you’ll be given a disc that Cast Members use to locate you and will deliver your food to you when it is ready. They can even find you on the large patio area, which now overlooks the Kiki Tiki water play area.
The interior dining area has a new, airy feel and features fun travel posters from around Polynesia.
If you are lucky, you might even find a Moana cupcake at Capt. Cooks! A Cast Member said they aren’t always available so we were thrilled that we found this beauty in the dessert case.
If you are an Annual Passholder, don’t forget that you receive a 20% discount at Capt. Cooks through the end of September 2017! We used it extensively and both my daughter and I were able to eat dinner for less than $14 total thanks to the discount.
Down the hallway from Capt. Cooks you’ll find the unassuming entrance to Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto. The animated lounge opens daily at 4 pm. and though we didn’t experience it on this trip, I’ve heard that it’s a fun spot for a drink.
If the Grog Grotto is filled to capacity (which it often is), you can still get one of the famous drinks at the outdoor Tiki Terrace. There is ample seating on the terrace, which also serves as overflow for Capt. Cooks.
Another dining location is the Pineapple Lanai, located right outside of the Grand Ceremonial house close to Capt. Cooks. It is the only location I know of in Disney World (outside of a theme park) where you can get a famous Dole Whip!
Here’s a little tip: if you want to share a Dole Whip, you can ask the Cast Member to split it between two cups. This makes it possible to share one serving between two kiddos!
The last new dining location is the Oasis Bar and Grill at the Oasis leisure pool. It offers a few quick service meals and is only open during peak times. We found it closed at 7 pm on a Monday during spring break, so I wouldn’t count on it to be open when you want.
I thoroughly enjoyed our brief stay in a studio villa at the Polynesian. You feel like you are in the middle of the magic at the Poly because you are! The Magic Kingdom is a short monorail or boat ride away, plus you can quickly get to the other monorail resorts to enjoy their atmosphere and dining options.
My personal favorite resort is Animal Kingdom Lodge, which has a decidedly different vibe. I enjoy being away from all of the hustle and bustle there and I feel like I have really escaped to a remote wildlife preserve.
If you are like me and want to be able to escape the excitement, then the Polynesian might be overwhelming to you for more than a few nights.
You can’t escape the fireworks noise and there are boats and monorails almost constantly on the move all around you. For some, this would be thrilling, but it might be too much stimulation for others.
I love that the theme for the resort comes from Walt’s own fascination with the “Tiki culture” prominent in the States in the 1950’s. I feel Walt’s vision at the Polynesian more than any other resort, and that is part of the magic of staying there for me!
Interested in staying at the Polynesian? Get a free quote from Siera at Destinations in Florida who can help you plan your trip! If you have any questions, just leave a comment below or send me a message on The Frugal South’s Facebook page!