Yesterday, I discussed the history of the Poly and some of its facilities. Today I will complete the tour of the grounds and discuss a standard room.
Besides shops and restaurants, the Great Ceremonial House also houses the check-in desk, a kid’s lounge, several general-purpose lounges, a magnificent volcanic garden filled with tropical plant and waterfalls and a not-so-hidden Mickey.
One of the best things about the Poly is its transportation options. First of all, it’s a “monorail” hotel. The resort’s station is located on the second floor of the Great Ceremonial House and provides easy access to the Magic Kingdom and Epcot. And if you find you’re lodging in the Tahiti or Rapa Nui longhouse, you might want to consider walking to the Transportation and Ticket Center if you’re heading for Epcot. The walk is comparable to that of the Great Ceremonial House and you can catch a direct train to Epcot rather than riding all the way around on the Resort Monorail and then transferring to the Epcot line.
Another transportation option is the cute little boats that transit between the Poly, Grand Floridian, and the Magic Kingdom. I love these boats as it’s a very peaceful way to get to and from the Magic Kingdom. The breeze off of the water feels wonderful after a stressful day in the park. If you’re in a hurry, these boats probably aren’t your best bet, but if you have the time, it’s worth the wait.
And finally, buses are available to take you to Downtown Disney, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Disney's Animal Kingdom, and the water parks.
The Poly has two swimming pools, the Quiet Pool and the Nanea Volcano Pool. The Quiet Pool is reasonably large and is meant to be used by adults and more mature youngsters. Lounge chairs and tables surround the pool, providing the perfect spot to relax, read a book, and nap in the sun. But don’t forget your sun block! This pool is surrounded on all sides by longhouses and gardens so there is no panoramic view to be found here.
On the other hand, the Nanea Volcano Pool, is meant for fun, not peace and quiet. As the name implies, a wonderful swimming pool is situated next to a smoldering volcano. Kids will love the water-slide that careens down its slopes and adults can enjoy the Barefoot Bar which sits in the mountain’s shadow. This pool also features a zero-entry area. Rather than steps or ladders, this section of the pool gently slopes from ground level down to deeper areas. This section is perfect for toddlers to splash around or for persons in specially designed wheelchairs to gain easy access into the pool.
Some guests have complained that this pool is entirely too small for the amount of use it gets. As I always use the Quiet Pool, I have no opinion, but I can certainly see their point as the Volcano Pool often looks crowded.
The Poly does not have its own spa. However, guests are welcome to use the one at the Grand Floridian.
Near the Volcano Pool, surrounded by plants, is another wonderful spot for young children. Jets of water randomly shoot out of the ground from a number of spouts. Kids never know which one will erupt next and it keeps them guessing as they run from fountain to fountain.
Besides the typical array of tables and chairs that surround the pool, there are two private cabanas that can be rented. These covered retreats feature a small refrigerator, flat-screen TV, radio (with iPod docking), chairs, tables, and lounges. The price is $110 for half day and $180 for all day.
The beach at the Poly is wonderful. It’s fun to walk barefoot and wiggle your toes in the sugary sand. Along the shore you’ll find lounge chairs, several bench-style swings, a volleyball court, and a number of hammocks strung between palm trees. Please note, there is no swimming allowed in the Seven Seas Lagoon and there is no lifeguard on duty in this area. However, children often sit in the shallow water and build sand castles.
When Disney first purchased the land that would become Walt Disney World, the Seven Seas Lagoon did not exist. It was just a swamp. As excavation began to clear away the muck, engineers found white, powdery sand beneath the decaying growth. This unexpected find was used to line the beaches of the Polynesian and Contemporary Resorts.
If the pools and beaches aren’t enough to keep you busy, you might think about renting a Sea Raycer. A Sea Raycer is the nifty little one or two man speed boat that you see people enjoying as you take the ferry to and from the Magic Kingdom. And if you’re looking for something with a slower pace or for a large group, consider renting a pontoon boat for a leisurely tour around Seven Seas Lagoon and Bay Lake. I especially like to get a “lunch to go” at Capt. Cook’s and spend an hour or so enjoying my meal out on the water. The watercraft can be rented at the Marina located near the Great Ceremonial House.
Fishing excursions and surrey bikes can also be rented at the Marina and an electronic game arcade, Moana Mickey’s, is available in the Great Ceremonial House. And for those of you who wish to stay in shape while on vacation, you can use the Health Club at the Grand Floridian at no additional charge. This health club is actually located between the two resorts so it’s more practical to walk than to ride the monorail. In addition, a 1.5 mile jogging course is offered. Ask at the front desk for a map.
The Poly offers a number of other activities. Some of these include: Volcano Pool Party, Island Arts and Crafts, Sandcastle Competition, and Hula Dance Lessons. Check the Recreations Activities guide provided at check-in for days and times. Also, be sure to check out the Torch Lighting Ceremony held Tuesday through Saturday near the entrance of the resort. For more details, click here to see the blog I wrote about this event.
The Never Land Club is located in the Tangaroa Terrace building next to the Great Ceremonial House. This child care facility (for ages 4 to 12) is open nightly from 4pm until midnight. As you may deduce from the name, the theme here is Peter Pan. Children enter the play area by climbing through the bedroom window of Wendy, John, and Michael. Here they can enjoy free arcade games, Disney movies, and arts & crafts. Dinner is served from 6pm to 8pm.
In this same building is the laundry room. In addition to the expected washers and dryers, a nice lounge with flat screen TV is available to pass the time.
Being one of the original Disney World resorts, the rooms here are some of the largest on property. Most rooms have two queen-sized beds and a day-bed. Five guests can be accommodated plus a child under three in a crib.
All of the rooms were recently refurbished. A south-seas influence is strong, but doesn’t overwhelm. In addition to the beds, you’ll also find a chest-of-drawers with a flat-screen TV above it, a desk, with a pull-out “nesting” desk underneath, a chaise lounge, and a drum table. Those rooms with patios or balconies also have two outdoor chairs and a small table.
One important note when booking your room: For some odd reason, the designers of this resort did not include balconies on the second floor of the original longhouses. So if a balcony is important to you, be sure to request one when you make your reservation and again when you check in. Disney will note your request; however, they cannot guarantee anything. For a complete list of which buildings do and do not have second floor balconies, check the Polynesian Fact Sheet on the Allears.net web-site.
The painting on the wall was done by Tom "Thor" Thordarson. Thor was a Disney Imagineer and was instrumental in the design of Tokyo DisneySea. Be sure to look for the hidden Mickey when viewing this picture.
The bathroom is spacious with one sink in the original buildings and two sinks in the newer longhouses and plenty of counter space. The only drawback is that there is no separate water closet.
The room’s entry area has two lighted closets and more counter space. Here you’ll find a small refrigerator, a safe that is activated by your room key-card or credit card, a coffee maker (with coffee) and an ironing board.
High-speed internet access is available for $9.95 for 24 contiguous hours. The nested desk (mentioned earlier) is built with laptops in mind.
With the exception of a few rooms that look out over a parking lot, most of the rooms have a decent view. If you’re not looking out at some portion of the Seven Seas Lagoon, you’re positioned to see the Marina, one of the two swimming pools, or garden areas. And even the rooms with parking lot views have a fair amount of foliage between the room and the asphalt.
This first video is of the room only. The second video features the entire resort and the room. Enjoy.
As a “deluxe” hotel, the Polynesian Resort carries a hefty price, but if you can afford it, you won’t be disappointed. Its spacious rooms, many activities, central location, and lovely grounds add up to a great place to while away the hours. The Polynesian Resort has a motto: Aiita Peatea, which means, "There will be another day tomorrow, just like today." It’s true. It’s always a pleasure to visit this resort.
The previous post in this blog was Polynesian Resort - Part One.
The next post in this blog is Disney Parks Souvenirs .