I booked the Polynesian for a quick surprise trip for friends. We stayed just three days. The overall experience was very relaxing. The nicest part was the view. The next best part was the location of my longhouse - just a 5 min walk out the side door to the Transportation and Ticket Center and, therefore, the monorail to Epcot.
Overall I think the Polynesian experience is a little dated with the "Tiki" phase from decades ago. You kind of need to be of a certain age and/or into this type of look to really find it charming today. This said, the location and water views of both fireworks and the lagoon "water electric parade" from your own balcony or porch at night can't be beat. I even had a little hammock right outside my sliding glass doors. Without a doubt, this was the most relaxing stay I've had at a Disney resort just from the atmosphere.
The room was quite large and easily slept five. The couch turns into a twin daybed in a flash that one of our party said was very comfortable. While the bathroom has a huge vanity with double sinks, it is a disadvantage for a mixed party that the sinks are in the same space as the bath and WC. Also, similar to the rooms at the Animal Kingdom Lodge, this bathroom has rather dim light which can be problematic in the makeup department.
In the area of "Mouse"keeping, the bathroom was spotless and we had plenty of towels, shampoo, and soap. On the other hand, the carving of the headboard in my room was quite dusty. I'm sure having such details in the room makes things problematic and that deep cleaning doesn't happen often, but it was a detail I noticed. An update to the room decor could fix this problem.
Service was, as usual, up to Disney standards. I used online checkin and, therefore, got the "concierge" check-in experience. I arrived before 9am due to an early flight and while Disney doesn't guarantee your room will be ready until 3pm. In spite of this, my room was ready to go when I arrived. I used the Disney express this trip as well and had not a problem at all with transport or baggage.
As previously mentioned, location is superior with regard to transportation. Not only does the resort have a monorail stop of it's own, but long-houses toward the east side of the resort also have a short walk on a marked and lighted walkway to the Epcot monorail at the Transportation and Ticket Center. This also means that if you have a dinner reservation at another resort, you can walk just a little more and catch a direct bus to anywhere on Disney property in a flash -- a benefit you won't get at another Disney World location. Another note, the resort has its own dedicated boat back and forth to the Magic Kingdom. As a result I had the fastest transit times to MK of any of the resorts I have stayed at so far (though I am sure the short walk from the Contemporary and/or Bay Lake Tower would be close).
Food and drink at the Polynesian was confined to quick service for my trip. The flatbread was quite good and others in our party said the pork sandwich was tasty. Everyone, of course, loved the Dole Whip station. We also had a few of the cupcakes and they got from good to wonderful on the rating scale.
A final note with regard to ratings below. I note a rating for the Spa. The Polynesian does not have its own spa but if you like you may make reservations at the Spa at Saratoga. If you do, they send a special car to pick you up instead of taking bus transport. When you're done with your appointment(s) they will have someone else come to pick you up and return you to the Polynesian. My experience at Saratoga for a mani-pedi was very good, and the transport was a real added bonus! I imagine that those staying at Polynesian normally go to the spa at the Grand Floridian, but it is currently under renovation.
Some might argue price on this resort and I couldn't disagree. I, once again, had the luck of an annual pass-holder price or I might not have tried this resort. Still, the location, extra magic hours for resort guests, the fabulous transport options, the extra little day bed, and the lagoon view were, for me, worth the price. Your milage may vary, but I would recommend the experience.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.