Five Reasons to Stay at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort

5 reasons to stay at Disney's Polynesian Village Resort

Island Ambiance on the Shores of Walt Disney World’s Seven Seas Lagoon

Ideally situated on the shores of Seven Seas Lagoon across the water from Disney’s Magic Kingdom Park, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort has been a popular Walt Disney World guest favourite ever since it first opened its doors in October 1971. Originally known as the Polynesian Village, over the years the Polynesian has gone through its share of growth and change, but has still managed to maintain its unique, enduring charm and inviting island ambiance. Sure, there are some things that we miss or that we wish had not been changed, but all in all, this property is as appealing today as it was so many years ago.

Five Reasons to Consider the Deluxe Accommodations of Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort

If you have never stayed at the Polynesian and have wondered if it’s worth considering as your Deluxe Disney property of choice, here are five great reasons to consider staying at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort at Walt Disney World.

Magic Kingdom Fireworks from Disney's Polynesian

Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort is well positioned, including offering an excellent location to watch the Magic Kingdom fireworks from outside the park.

1. Location

When it comes to location, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort has a lot of great things working in its favour. First of all it sits on the shores of Seven Seas Lagoon directly across the water from the Magic Kingdom. This prized location—with a direct view of the park in the distance—makes it a very popular spot from which to view the nightly fireworks display and the nightly Electrical Water Pageant as well (which was originally created to celebrate the opening of the Polynesian Village in 1971 and has been running nightly ever since).

The Polynesian is also conveniently located on the Magic Kingdom monorail loop, only two stops from the Park. Or, you can take a non-stop boat ride to get to the Magic Kingdom (with one stop at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort on the return trip). Speaking of the Grand Floridian, there is a great paved pathway that connects the two resorts and this walkway makes for a leisurely afternoon or early evening stroll along the water past the Grand Floridian Wedding Pavilion area (also worth exploring). The convenience of this resort’s location does not stop there. Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort is also an easy 10- to 15-minute walk to the Transportation and Ticket Center, where you can catch the monorail to whisk you away to Epcot.

Disney Polynesian Resort Plants

The lush plant life and vegetation at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort.

2. Lush Island Ambiance

For many guests, one of the main attractions of Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort is the theming of lush tropical ambiance. Back in the day (in the 1970s) the resort grounds felt pretty tropical, even though the plantings were new and smaller. Now—some 40+ years later—the gardens and plant life have grown and matured to the point that the grounds of the Polynesian really feel like a lush island paradise.

Walking the winding pathways of this property filled with mega-sized greenery and inviting waterways is a big part of the appeal of this resort. It is in sharp contrast to the harder and more linear designs of both Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Disney’s Contemporary Resort, its two close neighbours on Seven Seas Lagoon and the monorail loop.

3. Deluxe Property, Casual Feel

There is a noticeable and distinct difference between the ambiance of Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort and those of both Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Disney’s Contemporary Resort. This goes beyond the landscaping alone, although that does play a part in the overall experience. If a more casual hotel environment appeals to you—but you still want the amenities and experience of a Disney Deluxe Resort—Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort will not disappoint. The layout of the hotel has a much more cozy feel than its neighbours (a series of longhouses in close proximity to one another give the feel of an island village) and the beach area near the Volcano Pool is basically an extension of the pool deck, which further ties it all together. All of these things combine to give Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort a very comfortable and casual feel—one that kids in particular really tend to love.

Disney Polynesian Resort Guest Room

Guest room at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort.

4. Rooms

As one of the original two Walt Disney World hotels, the room sizes at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort are more generous than what you will find at most other resorts at Walt Disney World. In addition, there is a fairly wide range of options at the Polynesian when it comes to room views and rates, thanks mainly to the many longhouses and their placement around the property. It is possible, for example, to get a decent view of Seven Seas Lagoon from a room that is officially categorized as Standard or Garden View. Furthermore, the resort underwent a major refurbishment not too long ago and the décor of the rooms and longhouses is now refreshed in a great way. It still maintains the tropical theming, but without feeling dark and dreary in terms of an overabundance of darker wood tones, as was the case with the previous design.

Overall, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort offers good value in terms of what you get for your dollar at this Deluxe Resort.

Disney Polynesian Resort Sandy Beach

The white sand beaches at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort are among the best at Walt Disney World.

5. White Sand Beaches

Seven Seas Lagoon may not be the South Pacific, but it can sure feel like a tropical setting when you’re relaxing in the sun on a white sand beach at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. Even though much of the beach area has been lost to the Polynesian Bungalows—and swimming and water access are no longer allowed in Seven Seas Lagoon and Bay Lake—that hasn’t dampened the feeling of staying at this beachfront paradise.

The Polynesian still has a couple of great beach sections from which to choose: from the more active area nearby the Volcano Pool, to more remote and quiet locations along the pathway to Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort. All of these beaches are covered with soft white sand that was originally discovered at the bottom of the lagoon during the excavation of the area in the late 1960s.

Long-time Disney people will remember that back in the early days of the Polynesian Resort a wave machine was installed on the small island facing the property in order to truly mimic the effect of ocean waves on the shoreline. Unfortunately the waves worked so well that they quickly became a nuisance in terms of beach erosion and so the machine was retired and eventually removed. But it was a great idea by Disney Imagineers nonetheless. The beaches at the Polynesian also played host to some of the earliest luaus at the resort and those are some of my best early memories of the Polynesian (which included use of the wave machine at one point). All of this was before the current luau buildings were erected in later years. All in all, today the beaches at Disney’s Polynesian Resort are still among the best you will find at Walt Disney World and make a great spot for photos or relaxing in relative peace on a lazy sun-drenched Disney afternoon.

Disney's Polynesian Village Resort Sign

Is Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort on Your Must Do Disney List?

Are you a fan of Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort? Why would you recommend staying here? What are your most favourite and least favourite things about Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort?

Be sure to read my Guide to Planning A Walt Disney World Vacation and my post on the Five Golden Rules of Walt Disney World Vacation Planning.

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Mike Belobradic: The Finer Side of Disney Travel
Luxury Travel Blogger – Deluxe Disney Travel Specialist
The Finer Side of Travel™ #LuxuryDisney