Disney’s Polynesian Resort (Honest Review)

Prior to staying at this deluxe Disney hotel, my family and I placed the Polynesian Resort at the top of our bucket list for places to stay at WDW. Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort seemed to have it all – Hawaiian theming, an elaborate pool, and a premium location near Magic Kingdom.

Since we have two young kids, the Polynesian’s easy access to the monorail and ferry boats scored even more bonus points. Out of all the Disney resorts, the Polynesian Resort always seemed the most appealing. We couldn’t wait to stay there and were so excited when we finally got the opportunity to try it out!

So, did we think the Disney Polynesian resort was worth it? Continue reading below to find out! In this post, I will review the Polynesian Resort at Walt Disney World. The pictures you see and opinions you read in this article are based on my family’s most recent stay at this hotel. I will wrap up the review with our HONEST thoughts on whether or not we found Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort to be worth the expensive price tag!  

(This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of these links, I may receive a small compensation at no extra cost to you. Please see my disclosure policy at the bottom of this page for more details.)

Rooms at the Disney World Polynesian Resort

Since I went into an in-depth review of the rooms at Disney’s Polynesian Resort in a separate post, I won’t spend a ton of time discussing it below. In short, it’s important to know that TWO different hotels are located at the Polynesian. One of these is the Polynesian Village Resort and the other is the Polynesian Villas and Bungalows, which are part of the Disney Vacation Club villas.

Oasis Pool and daybed with text overlay Review of Disney's Polynesian Pros and Cons

Even though the property consists of two separate resorts, both the hotel and the villas share amenities and restaurants. Therefore, you don’t really notice that there are two separate resorts on property while staying at the Polynesian.

Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort

Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort is classified as one of the deluxe Disney resort hotels at WDW. This resort offers several different types of guest rooms for visitors that range from standard rooms to suites.

  • Regular Hotel Rooms – The regular hotel rooms at the Polynesian Village Resort offer either two queen beds or one king bed. Some of these rooms also include a day bed, which can allow for up to 5 guests in the room. When staying in a regular hotel room, you have several different options for room views: Garden View / Oasis Pool, Standard View / Parking Lot, Disney Theme Park View of Magic Kingdom Park, Marina View / Lava Pool, and Lagoon View. These regular hotel rooms have recently been renovated with Moana themed design.
daybed at Disney's Polynesian Villas
Pullout Daybed in Deluxe Studio
  • Suites – The Polynesian Village Resort now offers suites for guests to reserve, including the 1 Bedroom Suite, Ambassador Vice Presidential Suite, and King Kamehameha Suite. These suites offer views of the marina, gardens, or Cinderella’s Castle. Depending on the suite you choose to reserve, your room can sleep between 5-8 guests.
  • Club Level Rooms – The Club Level rooms at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort provide views of the marine, theme park, or lagoon. These rooms include Disney’s Club Level Service, which allows you to access a private lounge for snacks and drinks among other special amenities.

Disney’s Polynesian Villas and Bungalows

The second resort on property is Disney’s Polynesian Villas and Bungalows. Disney classifies this property as deluxe VILLAS rather than as a deluxe hotel. The Polynesian Villas and Bungalows offers two different styles of rooms.

bungalows at Disney's Polynesian Resort at Walt Disney World
  • Deluxe Studio – You can reserve a deluxe studio with either a standard view or a lake view of Seven Seas Lagoon. These rooms sleep up to 5 adults and include a queen bed, queen pull-out, and a daybed. The deluxe studios include two bathrooms, a small refrigerator, and a microwave.
  • Bora Bora Bungalows – The bungalows at Disney’s Polynesian Villas and Bungalows are super popular. If you have looked up pictures of the Polynesian, you have probably seen lots of photos of these over water bungalows. These two bedroom bungalows each feature a kitchen, a deck with private pool, and sleeping for up to 8 adults.
water bungalow at Disney's Polynesian Villas and Bungalows
Bungalow at Polynesian Villas

Disney Polynesian Villas and Bungalows Rates

If you are considering booking a room at Disney’s Polynesian Resort, you have probably checked out the prices. I’m sure you quickly realized that the Polynesian is one of the most expensive resort hotels in all of the Walt Disney World resort area. You will notice that the cost of a room is rarely under $650 per night.

Dave's DVC Points Rental

Even though the prices for rooms at the Polynesian tend to be on the high side, there are ways to work around the costs to make them more budget friendly. My family and I like to rent timeshare points from owners in the Disney Vacation Club. We use David’s Vacation Club Rentals to rent these points for cheaper rates on a stay at a deluxe hotel at Disney World.

David’s website is the best DVC rental site available as they make it super easy to price out your trip using their cost calculator. You can save hundreds of dollars on your trip by renting points from this trustworthy company! If you read my Polynesian room review, you know that during my family’s stay at the Walt Disney World Polynesian Villas and Bungalows, we snagged a room with a view of the Magic Kingdom fireworks for the price of a standard view!

We were able to listen to the Electrical Water Pageant show as well – right from our balcony! These were definite perks to staying at the Polynesian resort! Speaking of magical perks, if you are planning your first trip to Walt Disney World, you may be wondering:

Why is the Polynesian so expensive?

Disney’s Polynesian Resort sits in a prime spot near the Magic Kingdom resort area. The high cost of your room reflects the convenience of this ideal location. Disney’s Polynesian Resort provides super easy access to Magic Kingdom. You can easily walk, ride a ferry boat, or take the monorail right at the resort to arrive at Magic Kingdom within just a few minutes. 

Ferry to Magic Kingdom from Transportation and Ticket Center

You can also travel to Epcot quickly via the monorail access at the Transportation and Ticket Center, which is a super short walk from the Polynesian. Not only does the Disney Polynesian Resort provide simple access to two major theme parks, but it also allows guests to travel between other hotels.

Once on the monorail, you can stop at Disney’s Contemporary Resort or Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort. This means it’s fairly easy to enjoy dining options at multiple hotels during your trip. (If you are looking for tips on choosing the right Disney World hotel, join our Facebook group for personalized help on finding the best resort for your family!)

Disney Polynesian Restaurants

Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort offers several different dining venues that follow the hotel theme of the spirit of the South Pacific. In addition to bars like Tambu Lounge, some of the restaurants you will find on property include:

Captain Cook

outdoor seating at Capt. Cook's at Disney' Polynesian

Capt. Cook’s is the quick service restaurant located at the Polynesian Resort. This dining venue offers food and beverage options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The convenient location near the Marina and Lava Pool provides both indoor and outdoor seating.

Trader Sam’s

Trader Sam's Tiki Terrace

Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto and Trader Sam’s Tiki Terrace are also located near the Marina and Lava Pool. This dining option provides bar service and a selection of food items. You can often find live music at Trader Sam’s too!


O’Hana is a table service restaurant at Disney’s Polynesian Resort. It offers a character breakfast and a Polynesian themed dinner. The noodles at O’Hana are world famous and a must have if you are dining here!

Kona Cafe

Kona Café serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the Polynesian Resort. The food offered here includes sushi and other Asian style options.

Kona Island

Kona Island offers a small selection of foods and beverages for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. This includes grab and go sushi and desserts.

Pool Bars

Barefoot Pool Bar at the Lava Pool

The Polynesian Resort at Walt Disney World features a pool bar at each of its swimming pools. Barefoot Pool Bar is located at the Lava Pool while Oasis Pool Bar sits near the Oasis Pool. Both of these dining venues offer food and drinks, so you don’t have to leave the swimming area at meal or snack times.

Pineapple Lanai

If you’re looking for a refreshing snack while visiting the Polynesian, you can head over to Pineapple Lanai for Dole Whips. These frozen treats are super popular and a great snack option on a hot day!

Pools at the Polynesian Resort

With its sandy beaches and entertainment schedule, you can find all sorts of fun things to do at the Polynesian Resort. One of the most appealing activities, especially for families with kids, is the elaborate swimming pools at the resort. Disney’s Polynesian resort provides two separate pool areas for families to enjoy.

Oasis Pool

Oasis Pool at Disney's Polynesian

The Oasis Pool is often referred to as the quiet pool since it tends to be less crowded. While this pool doesn’t offer fancy water slides like the main pool does, the Oasis Pool provides plenty of space for swimming. It also features a zero-entry zone with small splash fountains that are perfect for babies and toddlers.

Lava Pool

lava pool at polynesian resort disney world

The Lava Pool is the main pool at the Polynesian. It provides a large water slide and plenty of swimming space for families. Like the Oasis Pool, the Lava Pool offers a zero-entry zone. Toddlers and babies can enjoy the splash pad area next to the Lava Pool as it has multiple SMALL water slides and fountains for little ones. Even if your toddler isn’t quite interested in the slides yet, they will love splashing around in the shallow water here.

Is Disney Polynesian Resort Worth it?

I began this review by explaining that the Polynesian Resort has always been my dream place to stay at Walt Disney World. So, did it measure up to my expectations? Is the Disney Polynesian Resort worth it? The short answer is – sadly no, it did not.

While we absolutely loved the location of the resort since it provided easy access to Magic Kingdom, I don’t think we would choose to stay there again. The Polynesian Resort didn’t really have a deluxe feel for us, and that was difficult to overlook with the hefty cost of staying there.

You can tell that the longhouses that hold the hotel rooms and suites were built quite a while ago. The hallways are really narrow, and the elevators are TINY. Although these cons aren’t necessarily deal breakers, the small spaces and dark decor made the resort feel dated and dreary.

I guess this shouldn’t feel all that surprising since the Polynesian Resort is one of Walt Disney World’s original hotels. But, the resort didn’t feel bright and magical like I had imagined. Note that we have stayed at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, which is also quite dark.

The difference is that the Animal Kingdom Lodge provides much larger hallways, elevators, and community areas with more natural lighting. The layout of the Polynesian was probably our biggest complaint. It is laid out much like a moderate hotel at Disney World. In other words, the main lobby (known as the Great Ceremonial House) may not be near your room.

splash pad at polynesian resort
Toddler Splash Area

This main building holds common areas like the gift shop and quick service restaurant, but the hotel rooms are spread out in separate buildings throughout the property. If you are in your hotel room and need to get food, grab something from the gift shop, or visit guest services, you have to walk across the property to the building where they are located. 

This is especially unpleasant when it is raining at Disney World. The hike isn’t a big deal if you are staying at a moderate resort since you know you are saving money. We love Disney’s Port Orleans hotels, which have a similar property layout. However, the Port Orleans Resorts don’t cost $650 a night. For that high price, you kind of expect a deluxe feeling.

Needless to say, we were relieved we had booked this stay through David’s Vacation Club Rentals rather than paying the full price listed on the Disney website because we just didn’t think the Polynesian Resort was worth the high price.

Final Review of Disney’s Polynesian Resort

Overall, we were really happy that we had booked a split stay during this Disney trip. (A split stay is where you stay at one resort for part of your trip, and then you move to a different hotel.) After spending a few nights at the Polynesian, we moved to our FAVORITE resort area at Walt Disney World: Disney’s Beach Club and Yacht Club Resorts.

Even though we gave up the convenient access to Magic Kingdom and the beautiful views of the Cinderella Castle, we felt much more at home at Disney’s Beach Club. (If you’re looking for more honest feedback about Disney resort hotels, don’t forget to join our Facebook group! Just post in our group for personalized help on finding the best resort for your family!)

Do YOU have a review of the Polynesian Resort at Walt Disney World? Comment below and share your thoughts with us!

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  1. Hello. We have always wanted to love the Poly as we love the theming, the location, the pool and the gift shop offerings. However, we have NEVER had a good experience with the service there, except for one cast member at the bar and one cast member at the gift shop. Everyone else (from the front desk woman who checked us in and barely acknowledged our children, didn’t smile, and didn’t seem to care about us at all) has seemed like they just didn’t care that much about us as guests, and some have even been rude. We once asked just for a glance into Trader Sams and they were not willing to let us even peek inside. I understand that there was a line, but not even to let us look inside? That seemed unnecessary and rude, and far away from what Walt Disney would have wanted, imho. Also, when we stayed there with two small children, there was a babysitting service that we hired, and the babysitter was downright rude. She told us that we stayed too far out (not our choice, it was where our room was assigned to us), and she hated walking there. She also was supposed to bring games and toys for our children to play with, and said “Oh, I didn’t do that”. We ended up feeling very uncomfortable with her, so we left our dinner early and went back to our children. She also lost our son’s shoe and didn’t seem to care at all about it. We would love to stay there if we felt the service could be improved, but we have no plans to ever stay there again based on all of our bad experiences. It’s sad because we LOVE the theming, although one of the best features (the fountain when you walk in) is gone. For reference, our best service ever was at the Grand Floridian, and although it’s costly, if you book it at the right time when there are good discounts, we found it totally worth it. The service there outshined other high end resorts we’ve stayed at outside of Disney. We are next staying at The Wilderness Lodge at Boardwalk Inn, both at discounted prices this summer. I’m hoping they can match the Grand Floridian in terms of service. I’m also hoping that the Poly will one day match their service to their high quality theming and location, and that they will make Trader Sams more accessible to everyone. I truly hope this helps anyone planning to stay there!

    1. Hi HJS,

      Thank you so much for taking the time to write such a thorough review!! I’m sure so many readers will find your information super helpful, especially when comparing the different resorts you mentioned. I really appreciate you sharing your insight! 🙂

  2. We stayed at the Polynesian the week of April 10, 2023. We were in Pago Pago (DVC) on the ground floor (which we requested). The room was definitely smaller than expected and a bit dated – we were hoping for the new Moana decor shown on the website – but we weren’t in the room that much. We still have no regrets, the convenience of the monorail alone was worth the extra costs for our party, which was my husband (67) and me (65), daughter, and two grandchildren (almost 3 and 6). We were able to get back to the resort easily in the afternoon to enjoy the pool (we loved the small pool with a toddler slide, the bigger one was also perfect for older grandson. Loved not having to fold the sit and stand stroller like you do on the bus – allowed the little one to catch a short nap. The large bathroom with a tub was perfect for the kids while the adults used the other with shower and sink. This was the last trip to Disney for my husband and me and it was definitely a splurge. I have bad knees and wanted to save my walking for the actual parks, so this was the best option for us. The only negative was the “patio” with two chairs, it was mostly dirt and bad landscaping with a view of the parking lot, but it was an easy walk from the opposite end of the building to the monorail transportation center going to Epcot. If you can swing it – and are only going to MK and Epcot – it’s perfect. We did take a bus to Disney Springs to eat at T-Rex and that was also very easy. Since it was all paid for in advance the only real expense while we were there were the character meals – which we loved. The housekeeping was outstanding every day. Oh and watching the fireworks over the castle from the beach was awesome! This was by far our best trip to WDW. I will cherish these memories forever.

    1. Hi Dee Dee,

      Thank you so much for taking the time to share this thorough review of the Polynesian Resort! I’m so happy to hear that you and your family had such an amazing trip. You really can’t beat the close proximity to Magic Kingdom and monorail. And the fireworks are icing on the cake!

  3. Hi Nikki,

    Thanks for reading this post on the Polynesian Resort. Like you, I tend to refer to the sleeping arrangement in the regular hotel rooms as a convertible (or pullout) couch. However, the official Disney World website uses the term “day bed” when referencing these sleeping areas. You are correct in stating that the day bed photo is from the DVC side, which is why I captioned the picture the way I did. Hope this clears up any confusion! Thanks so much for reaching out!

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