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Polynesian Resort -- Part Two

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.


Check-in Desk

Kid's Lounge

General-Purpose Lounge

General-Purpose Lounge

Volcanic Garden

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.


Monorail

Monorail

Monorail


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.


Water Taxi

Water Taxi


And finally, buses are available to take you to Downtown Disney, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Disney's Animal Kingdom, and the water parks.


Disney Bus


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.


Quiet Pool


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.


Volcano Pool

Volcano Pool


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.


Children's Play 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.


Private Cabana

Private Cabana

Private Cabana


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.


Polynesian Beach

Polynesian Beach

Polynesian Beach


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.


Poly Marina

Poly Marina


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.


Surrey Bikes

Moana Mickey’s Arcade


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.


Never Land Club

Never Land Club


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.


Laundry Room

Laundry Room


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.


Poly Room

Poly Room

Poly Room

Day Bed


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.


Chest of Drawers and TV

Poly Room

Nesting Desk


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.


Balcony

Balcony


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.


Tom


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.


Bathroom

Bathroom


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.


Entry Area

Entry Area

Entry Area

Entry Area


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 .

Comments (35)

Carrie:

Thanks for the Poly blog! We haven't stayed there before, but we have walked through several times when we have stayed at Shades of Green. I haven't seen the hidden Mickey while walking through the resort, and it turns out that we have a pin that looks just like it. My boys and I have made several guesses as to what the design was from and now we know.

Thanks again for the great description and helping us to solve a small mystery.

Josh:

hey jack
I absolutly love your blogs and videos. The polynesian resort looks absolutly beautiful. It really makes you feel like you are on a tropical island. can't wait for your next blog and as always keep up the great work.

Dennis:

Before we became DVC members, this was our resort of choice. We stayed there on our honeymoon over 30 years ago and have been back many times. I keep hoping it will somehow become a DVC resort.

keri:

I'm sad to see that the daybed is a proper couch that folds out now. Granted, it's been 10 years since I stayed in a room at the Poly, so of course the interiors would change some, but the old style daybed was one of the most comfortable hotel beds I've ever slept in - it was better than the regular bed in the room!

Valerie:

Thank you so much for this walk down memory lane. The first trip my family ever took we stayed at the Polynesian Village. That was way back when there were only 2 Disney Resorts. Since that time, every member of our family has stayed at least once at this hotel. The Poly and The Yatch Club are my favorite resorts!

Ethan Shuster:

Ever since my first visit to WDW, I've always visited the Polynesian and loved the place. But I've never stayed there because I can just never bring myself to pay the hefty price. Mostly because I feel like the main reason I go to Disney is the parks, and despite all the extra amenities at the Poly, I don't think I'd take advantage of them enough.

All that said, even visiting is a fun time.

Julie B.:

Jack,
We stayed in one of those "dreaded" rooms facing the parking lot on our first visit. i was disappointed for about 2 seconds when i heard this very, very faint "whoosh" outside. My first thought was it was the air conditioning coming on, but it was not that loud... We opened the window a few minutes later to see the monorail "whoosh" as it went by! My kids squealed with delight. After that, it did not matter that we were not facing the castle, or the lagoon. It was a great stay-and we really could not even see the parking lot at all. I would recommend that room as much as the others! What a great hotel, and the service was fantastic too!

Connie:

Aloha Jack
I have stayed at the Polynesian 1997 and again 2004 when they had the new volcano pool. I was unfortunately disappointed on both trips. I was sad to be disappointed because I LOVE both Disney and Hawaii. I think I was disappointed there was no jacuzzi. I could not believe a deluxe resort had no jacuzzi. Plus I did not find the bus stop location convenient. However,that being said, looking at these photos I may have to give it another chance. Very nice.
Aloha

Josh:

Hey Jack. Thanks for the Poly blog. After 20+ years of wanting to stay there, ever since my first visit at 6 years of age, I finally got to last March. It was great and my wife and I both can't help wanting to stay there any time we're back. Anyway, this is a bit off topic but the blog jogged my memory of our daily view of the MK. I never heard the wolf/coyote/dog howling at the Haunted Mansion like I always remembered in times past. Has this been done away with?

Thanks for the effort you put into these,
Josh.

Jack's Answer:

There is extensive construction taking place in the graveyard of the Haunted Mansion. This area is completed walled off from public view. I don't know if something new is being added or if this is just part of a standard rehab. Anyway, the howling dog comes from this section of the park. I'm fairly certain it will return when the rehab is complete.

Donna:

The Poly is our favorite resort and we have stayed in 6 of the 11 longhouses. Only two longhouses, Rapa Nui and Tahiti, have the double sinks in the bathroom. As you mentioned, these longhouses were added during the expansion in 1985.

The bathrooms in the other longhouses contain a single sink with less counter space and are smaller with a different layout. Not a problem, just wanted to make others aware.

Enjoy all your blogs, Jack!

Sarah:

Thank you so much for this blog and especially for the wonderful accompanying video. We'll be staying at the Polynesian for 10 nights this June and I'm even more excited now - I didn't think that was possible!

Tracy:

I was told that according to superstition, it is bad luck in Polynesia for 2nd floor rooms to have a balcony.

Jack's Comment: If that's true, then why did they include second floor balconies on the newer longhouses?

Vernon C.:

Have stayed at the Poly twice (2006 & 2009) and am going back this March. My family and I love this place. The rooms offer plenty of space for the five of us and the Kona Cafe is one of my favorite restaurants on the Disney properties. It is expensive but compared to some of the other Disney hotels that we've stayed at, the amenities, atmosphere and convenience of the Poly are well worth the extra money.

S. Davis:

We found 2 hidden Mickey's in the painting - one on the green foliage on the mountain/volcano at the top left, and another in the surf at the bottom right!

We stayed at Poly in 2008 with our 2 sons & we all loved it.

Jenny Sperandeo:

Thanks for Part 2 Jack! There is honestly nothing I don't love about this resort. It's perfect in every way. Ok, the pool does tend to get a little crowded, if I had to pick one negative. But, I honestly believe that's because people who are not guests of the resort come to use it. I wish each Disney resort property gave out pool wrist bands to all guests like the Y&B Clubs do. Looking forward to your next post...

Thanks again Jack,
My wife and I are coming down to DW within the next year and are torn between the Wilderness Lodge and the Poly. With everything considered, in your opinion what would be the best of the two resorts to stay at? I really like the WL and her vote goes to the Poly. Neither one of us have stayed at either resort, just have visited. The big draw to both is the location to the MK as we end up spending at least half of our time there.
Keep up the great work,
Terry

Jack's Answer:

Of the two, I think the Wilderness Lodge is the more dramatic resort. I really like the atmosphere here. The Poly is well executed, but WL is done even better. The WL also has two good restaurants and a boat to the Magic Kingdom. However, I feel the rooms are a little small for a deluxe resort.

The Poly is a monorail hotel. That means that the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, the Contemporary, and the Grand Floridian are just a quick ride away. Plus the rooms are larger. The Poly also has two good restaurants, but you MUST make advance reservations months in advance to eat at ‘Ohana.

This is a subjective question with no real answer. You will be happy at either resort.

For me it boils down to this. WL is the better resort but the Poly is a monorail hotel.

Daniel Diehm:

Great Blog (as usual) Jack,

Thanks for taking the time to write it and post the wonderful video.

Keep up the outstanding work - it seems like you have a fun "job". :)

Dan

p.s. Proofreading time again:

"The PAINING 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."

I think you meant "painTing".

Jennifer:

Thank you for sharing. I only ever stayed there once when I was 3 or 4 and my mom won a Pepsi contest to WDW. The only thing I remember are the lights on the water from the nightly show but I still have a shell necklace from the Luau. If I can ever afford it, I'd like to take my husband there one day since he's never stayed there. He loved it when we went there to eat at Ohana so I know he'd love to stay there.

marcia:

Hi, we stayed at the Poly in October and loved the juice at breakfast in Kona cafe and Ohanas' orange/pineapple/guava? Do you know the mixture I wanted to try to recreate it at home. Thanks, loved it there.

Jack's Answer:

Sorry. I have no idea. I guess you'll have to come back and ask your server. :-)

Reagan:

Jack,
Thank you for your great article and videos on the Poly. We love this resort. On our most recent visit we were fortunate enough to stay there. Whether we stay there or elsewhere, we always visit Ohana. The Poly always makes me feel like I'm really on a Polynesian island (except for the castle in the background)!

Pat:

Many years ago (when rooms at the Poly were about $70 a night!!!), we stayed in a first floor room that faced the Seven Seas Lagoon. One day our daughter was playing in the sand while we sat and watched and we were all so surprised when one of the Disney characters was water-skiing by and came right up on the beach by the kids. That was a highlight of the trip for our daughter! It was a beautiful hotel but we've not stayed there since that time. I'd love to try Wilderness Lodge one time. We just stayed at POFQ in a refurbished room and it was very nice, too.

Hi Jack,

You are an amazing individual.

Your video skills are better than ever.

We watched the whole 15 min. video and your attention to detail is outstanding!!!

I don't care what they say, I think you are getting better with age.

The Poly has always been a favorite of ours & your video brought back many memories.

Thanks Jack

Liz:

Thanks for featuring our favorite resort and highlighting the lush landscaping in your video -- one of the main reasons I love the place. I appreciate all the time and work that goes into maintaining it.

Did you notice there are at least two hidden Mickeys in the painting?

My son is ten and starting to do his own research for our trip this summer. He was intrigued by Wilderness Lodge so I asked him if he wanted to stay there instead of Polynesian this year. He replied, wide eyed, "No, we have to stay at Polynesian. But maybe we can go back next year and stay at Wilderness!"

Can't argue with his logic. :-)

Thank you so much for these videos. My husband and I are saving up for our first trip to WDW this next year and I get to research where to stay and what to do.
Question: How were you able to make this video with so few people in it?

Jack's Answer:

Taking videos of the resorts with no people is easy. Film the pool area in the morning while everyone is eating breakfast. Film the rest of the resort between noon and 4pm while everyone is at the parks.

Scott:

I am actually staying at Poly later this week. Do you have any advice on staying there? Should I try to request a specific building (if I can)?

Jack's Answer:

If you've paid for a Seven Seas Lagoon view, just take what they give you. If you haven't, then I would suggest staying as close to the Great Ceremonial House as possible. The Tonga, Niue, and Samoa longhouses are all good choices.

scott:

Jack,

Great detail again about another great part of WDW. We've been at the Polynesian twice, once getting a magical upgrade to the Hawaii concierge building!

Great relaxation and great theming here. Even being so close to Magic Kingdom, you could just stay there for a few days without going to a park.

Keep up the great work,

Scott

Bonnie:

I have been lucky enough to stay at the Poly MANY times as it was my parents favorite and became mine as well. I remember swimming in the Seven Seas Lagoon and was wondering what made it a "no swimming allowed" area in later years?

Jack's Answer:

I don’t know for sure, but here are two possibilities. First, if Disney allowed swimming in Bay Lake and Seven Seas Lagoon, they could be held responsible if an accident happened since they don’t have lifeguards watching these areas – even if they had a sign posted saying “No Lifeguard on Duty.”

Also, at certain times of the year, Florida lakes occasionally get an algae that is harmful to humans. Maybe Disney decided not to risk it and ban swimming year round.

Katherine:

Great work once again Jack!
I do just want to mention for saftey's sake:
When I was I kid I remember swimming in the lagoon too and loved it, BUT...
I would never even let my kids put their toes in now. Last year on the walk between GF and the Poly we saw a small aligator along the shore by the wedding pavillion. A couple days later my husband and 15yo saw another closer to the Poly. They did see cast members with a truck looking too that day. Maybe they called for removal? My husband had to alert a parent who had kids wading in the shallows by Tuvalu.
I've heard cast members state on several occasions that there aren't gators and they have ways of keeping them out, but it's not so. In 2009 my then 8yo and I (and a bunch of excited English tourists!) saw another one late at night swimming in the river close to the docks around Frontier Land. They may keep some out but definitly NOT all.

Jack's Comment:

Alligators occasionally find their way into the Disney waterways. When this happens, Disney takes immediate action to capture them and relocate them. This is a "way of life" in Florida. I have even seen an alligator in my backyard.

Bob:

Hey Jack, great as always! Having stayed at Poly a few times we were told that the reason they didn't have balconies on the second floor was that it was considered "bad-luck" in Polynesia.
Bob

Jack's Comments:

You're the second person to suggest the "bad luck" explanation. This could be true, I don't know. But if it is true, then why did Disney include second-story balconies on the three newer longhouses.

ellen Smayda:

Thank you Jack!
I really love the Polynesian resort because It seems to really reflect and represent his spirit. I will never forget my first stay at the Polynesian - It was a very large room facing the castle - It seemed much larger than the rooms I have stayed in since. All I remember is that it was to the left of the ceremonial house. I also remember a T.V in the bathroom? That was at least 20 years ago. I have had the privilege of staying in just about all of the resorts, but the Poly is my favorite because of the relaxed atmosphere, and because It feels like a place that was created out of Walt Disney's desire to make one feel as though they have been transported into a wonderful dream. Were going back in May. I booked the club level this time but wondering if it's worth the extra cost?
Best regards !
Ellen

Jack's Answer:

The rooms on the Club Level are pretty much the same as the other rooms. What you're paying additional for is the view and the extras "private" concierge service offers.

I don't remember TVs ever being in any Disney bathrooms. But I could be wrong.

Wendy Crober:

Hi Jack,

We just returned from a 10 night stay at POR with several meals at Poly so it was lovely to see your blog.

We love this resort and as you say if you can afford it you won't regret staying there. We love to visit for a meal even when our budget doesn't allow staying there.

Thanks so much for the great blogs and videos.

Wendy

Rebecca Keenan:

Yay!! Thank you, thank you, thank you Jack for doing a blog on the Poly!! I had wanted you to do one since you did the blog on the POR. We are staying at the Poly for the first time on our next visit this December for a week. I keep agonizing over which building to request :)

This will be our first stay in a
deluxe resort since I was a kid when I stayed at the Contemporary and the Disney Inn. When we have stayed at the Shades of Green in the past, we walked over to the Poly to eat some meals and board the monorail. I'm happy to see that the rooms are large and generally layed out the same as SOG since there will be myself, my husband and our 3 kids. I love the theming and can't wait to stay there.

Once again, love your blogs and look forward to reading them!

Stephanie:

Hi Jack,

I stayed at the Poly back in 1984 and the pictures I have of the volcano pool look really different from what it is now. Did they redo the pool?

Jack's Answer:

Yes. The pool was completely remodeled about 8 or 9 years ago.

Laurel:

Hi Jack,

We have stayed at the Polynesian twice since our littlest one grew too big for the five of us to fit in a room at the Wilderness Lodge. We were so disappointed when that happened. But, we have come to LOVE the Polynesian and it's convenience to monorail, buses, TTC and boats. The theme and the music makes us feel like we're in Hawaii when we're away from the parks! The kids love the food at O'hana and Captain Cook's and best of all, we are all so comfortable in our large room! Tahiti is our favorite longhouse, and if we're lucky we can watch the fireworks at MK and the electric water parade from our balcony.

Just showed the kids your video. They had huge smiles plastered on their faces and were giggling about how much they loved all the Poly spots on your video.

I think we'll let them watch it a few more times before we tell them Mommy and Daddy can't stand it....we're going to book a vacation there again this summer!!

Thank you for a great history and video on the Polynesian!

Cheryl:

Hi,
Loved both posts about the Poly. I am planning to go to WDW in late October. Have a 6 and 2 year old kids. I cann't decide between the Grand Floridian or the Poly. Poly seems nice, but afraid I will get a room far away from the ceremonial house...any advice. Poly seems like more fun for the kids...

Jack's Answer:

Unless you book a suite or concierge room at the Grand Floridian, you're going to be in one of the outer buildings. Although they're not as far away as some of the Poly longhouses, you still have to walk to the main building and the monorail.

I agree with you. The Poly is more kid-friendly -- and it's a little cheaper.

There are no wrong decisions. You'll have a fantastic time at either resort.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on February 8, 2011 5:00 AM.

The previous post in this blog was Polynesian Resort - Part One.

The next post in this blog is Disney Parks Souvenirs .

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.


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