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 here recently so here’s my Disney Polynesian Resort review.
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!
Disney Polynesian Resort Review: Pools
The Polynesian pool scene recently received some major upgrades!
The feature Lava Pool now has a zero-entry side, a 142-foot long water slide, 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 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.
Does the Polynesian Resort have a hot tub?
Yes, the Polynesian Disney pool area now features two hot tubs!
The new “infinity” hot tub located near the Lava Pool offers a spectacular view of the beach and Grand Floridian. There is a second hot tub located in the Oasis Pool area.
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.
My only complaint about the feature Lava 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.
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.
Is the pool at the Polynesian heated?
Yes, the Polynesian resort Disney pool is heated year round.
I estimate the temperature is kept around 82 degrees, making it still cool enough in the summer. I think Disney keeps it’s pools at the perfect temperature.
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.
Disney Polynesian Resort Dining
Next up in my Disney Polynesian Resort review is an overview of your dining options at the Polynesian. For more information check out my detailed Disney Polynesian Restaurants post here!
There were many additions to dining options during the 2015 remodel. First is a refreshed Captain Cook’s, the main quick service option at the resort.
The interior dining area has a new, airy feel and features fun travel posters from around Polynesia.
Down the hallway from Capt. Cooks you’ll find the unassuming entrance to Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto.
We checked it out on our most recent visit and it is now one of my favorite places in Walt Disney World! It’s a must do if you are staying at the Poly.
You can absolutely take your kiddos with you to Trader Sam’s. There are specialty alcoholic (and non-alcoholic) beverages available as well as small plates.
‘Ohana is definitely the most popular dining location at the Polynesian. And for good reason – the food is amazing!
There is a character breakfast with Mickey, Pluto, Lilo, and Stitch which is served family style.
Dinner is a popular meal and while there aren’t characters there are endless plates of fire roasted meat (chicken, steak, and shrimp on our last visit). There’s also bread and salad, appetizers (see above), and an incredible bread pudding for dessert.
And while you are waiting for your table at ‘Ohana be sure to get a drink at the Tambu Lounge – the Backscratcher is my personal favorite!
Kona Cafe is another excellent dining option at the Polynesian.
It is table service (1 credit on the Disney Dining Plan) and serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
The menu is Asian inspired and includes noodle bowls (such as this shrimp and veggie dish), sushi, steaks, and sandwiches.
Be sure to grab a Dole Whip at the Pineapple Lanai (just outside the lobby close to the pool). It’s a must do when visiting or staying at the Polynesian!
There’s also a dinner show at the Poly called the Spirit of Aloha as well as quick service food at the Oasis Pool bar.
I hope that gave you a decent overview of the food scene at the Poly – get more details on the Polynesian restaurants here.
DVC Polynesian Studio Villas
Three of the Disney Polynesian Resort longhouses were converted to DVC Studio Villas in 2015.
Some have water views of Magic Kingdom and others have views of the pool and grounds.
Here is a map that shows the location of the DVC Studio Villas at the Polynesian.
The Studio Villas have one queen bed, a full-size pull out couch, and a single pull-down Murphy bed.
In my opinion they are some of the nicest DVC Studio Villas at Walt Disney World.
This allows two people to get ready at the same time which is a huge help when you are trying to get to the parks in the morning!
To learn more about the DVC Studio Villas at the Polynesian, check out my full Disney Polynesian Studio Villa Review post here!
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: Transportation
Proximity to Magic Kingdom is one of the biggest selling points of the Polynesian! The monorail stops right outside of the lobby and in two stops you are at the entrance to Magic Kingdom.
However it is also very easy to get to the Epcot monorail from the Polynesian as well. Just follow the walkway to the Transportation and Ticket Center and in 5-10 minutes you can be on the monorail that heads straight to Epcot.
Bus service is available to Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom park as well.
Disney Polynesian Resort Review Summary
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!
My personal favorite resort is Animal Kingdom Lodge (check out my Animal Kingdom Lodge review here), 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 join the discussion on my free private Facebook group for The Budget Mouse.