Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort vs Disney’s Polynesian: Which is Better?

Disney's Grand Floridian Resort vs Disney's Polynesian Village Resort

Head to Head: Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort vs Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort

If you’re planning an upscale vacation to Walt Disney World and you want to stay in the Magic Kingdom Resort area, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa and Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort are two likely candidates to consider.

If you’ve narrowed your search to these two Walt Disney World resort properties, you can’t really go wrong. In this post I’ll try to help you out with a head-to-head comparison between these two classic Walt Disney World Deluxe Resorts.

Let’s begin…

Disney's Grand Floridian Resort Fact Sheet

Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa: at-a-glance.

Disney’s Crown Jewel takes on Disney’s Island Paradise
Which One is Best for You?

Cost

From a cost perspective — when comparing similar rooms at each resort — Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort is going to cost you more. There isn’t a massive difference in cost (relatively speaking), but the additional cost of a room on a nightly rate will add up over the course of a week (likely in the range of an extra $500 to $1,000, depending on the room type).

If budget is a significant factor, then you may want to focus more on Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort.

Location

Both Resorts are located on the Magic Kingdom monorail loop and have boat access on Seven Seas Lagoon. They both have bus access as well to other destinations within Walt Disney World. So Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort are fairly comparable when it comes to location. However, the Grand Floridian is only one stop to the Magic Kingdom by monorail, compared to the Polynesian’s two stops, and it is also more direct on the return trip by boat (again, one stop). So Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort has a very slight edge in this respect. For example, you may prefer the Grand Floridian if you have very young children and you want to be as close as possible to the park.

On the other hand, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort is within walking distance of the Epcot monorail line (the only resort in this area that can claim that), so that is a plus for the Polynesian.

All of this adds up to say that both properties are well positioned and each has a slight edge in one respect. It all depends on what is more important to you and your family.

Cinderella Castle from the grounds of Grand Floridian

Cinderella Castle in the background as seen from the marina area of Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort.

Shopping

The shopping category is really no contest. Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort is the clear and easy winner when it comes to onsite shops and shopping. In fact, it is the clear winner in this regard across the entire Walt Disney World Deluxe Resort category.

So if having an abundance of upscale shops to browse within your resort is important to you, chalk one up for Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort, which has more than twice as many shops as Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort.

Dining

Again, no contest here. When it comes to onsite dining options within the Resort itself, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort is the undisputed champion across the entire range of Deluxe Resorts (and by a pretty big margin). You will find a complete range of dining here, from a AAA Five Diamond rated restaurant (Victoria & Albert’s), to fast and easy quick-service dining (Gasparilla Island Grill), and everything in between. In fact, you could dine onsite at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort every evening on your vacation and never eat at the same restaurant twice. Now that’s variety.

None of this is meant to discount the dining options available to you over at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. Kona Cafe is a very good casual table-service option and ‘Ohana is worth a visit as well. Captain Cook’s — the quick-service offering — has improved in recent years and is now a worthwhile spot for quick casual fare.

Overall, however, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa takes the prize when it comes to onsite dining options.

Disney's Polynesian Village Resort at-a-glance.

Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort at-a-glance.

Ambiance

Ambiance at both Resorts is fairly even. Both Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort do an excellent job with their theming and the resulting ambiance is quite nice for what they each represent.

This one is a draw and it really comes down to whether you prefer the more casual island feel of Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort or the elegant Victorian ambiance of Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa. If you’re the kind of person who likes to hang out in the lobby and have a drink, then Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort is the runaway winner for you.

One thing I should point out is that Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort is sometimes framed as not being kid friendly. This is simply not the case. For more on that subject, read my blog on why I believe Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort is the most kid-friendly property at Walt Disney World. So don’t let that falsehood sway your decision in any way.

Overall, we’ll call this category a draw, as it really comes down to which theming you prefer.

Early Morning from Disney's Polynesian Bungalow

Early morning at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, from the private deck of a Bora Bora Bungalow.

The Disney Factor

Finally, there is the Disney factor — meaning which of the two Resorts does a better job of incorporating that special sense of Disney magic. Even though Disney magic is somewhat unquantifiable, we’ll attempt to measure it nonetheless.

I’m going to call this category a draw as well. Both Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort and Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort manage to do a very good job of incorporating Disney Magic into their unique themes. Mickey and magic have an upscale feel at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort (e.g. elegant marble inlays in the lobby floor) and more of an island vibe at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort (aloha Mickey will greet you at character dining).

So you will feel the special Disney magic equally at both of these properties, just in different ways that reflect each respective theme.

And the Winner Is…

This battle really comes down to a question of cost and themes.

As mentioned at the outset, if cost is an issue, then Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort will be more attractive.

However, if you love the Victorian theme and the idea of spending time in ultimate Disney luxury — or if you simply want to stay at the Crown Jewel of all Walt Disney World Resorts — then it won’t be too much of a stretch to see yourself in Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa.

You really can’t go wrong either way as both of these properties are first-rate Walt Disney World Deluxe Resorts.

Learn More About Walt Disney World’s Deluxe Resort Properties

If you have any questions or would like to learn more about staying at any of Walt Disney World’s Deluxe Resort properties, please do not hesitate to reach out.

As a Luxury Travel Advisor, I specialize exclusively in Deluxe Disney vacations and have extensive experience with Club Level accommodations and luxury VIP experiences at Walt Disney World and other Disney vacation destinations. If you are considering a Walt Disney World Luxury Vacation and would like assistance with your options and itinerary, please feel free to contact me.

My services include recommendations on Disney Deluxe Resort hotel accommodations, Disney dining, special events and activities, and your Walt Disney World itinerary, to name just a few. With nearly 50 years of Deluxe Disney travel experience, it would be my pleasure to assist you. You can also use my convenient online Disney travel quote request form to get things started.

Mike Belobradic: The Finer Side of Disney Travel
Luxury Travel Advisor – Deluxe Disney Vacation Specialist