We just returned from our first Disney trip as a family. Several friends told us to go with the Polynesian or the Contemporary for the easy access to Magic Kingdom. We went with the Polynesian because we thought it would be more kid-friendly. Our initial experience at check-in was bad. We arrived an hour before check-in and we told we'd have to wait for our room to come available. However, we ended up waiting over two hours while load after load of people checked in and got rooms. Then, when we were finally checked in, there was no bellman available to cart our luggage to our room (far away!). After glaring at anyone I could for several minutes, someone finally found a bellman to take us to our room. And that brings me to the layout. The Polynesian is spread over a pretty large area and the scenic, winding walkways from one place to the next are confusing at best. It is very easy in some spots to come to an intersection of four walkways, take what appears to be the logical one, and end up somewhere you completely didn't intend to end up. Nighttime compounds the issue. I carried the resort map in my pocket for the first 4-5 days any time I left the room. Sure there are signs pointing toward the main building and the monorail but good luck getting back to your building at night!
Regarding the rooms, they are...okay. They were not bad by any means but certainly nothing special. Think well kept Holiday Inn Express redone in a tropical theme. But our room was clean and housekeeping always did a great job. I was a little letdown by the lack of a microwave but I guess they want you to spend that money at their restaurants!
Food, on the other hand... was...meh. Their marque restaurant, the Ohana was ok-ish but kinda different. We ate there for one of our table service meals. We have kids and they asked for items off the kids menu, which we were assured would be no problem. Only...they never came. We doled out the adult food to them as it came but they weren't satisfied with it. Honestly, neither were we. I'm not familiar with Hawaiian style dining but the restaurant experience was similar to a Brazilian steakhouse, where endless skewers of meat are paraded to your table. However, even though I watched the flames searing the meat no more than 20 feet away, it always was, at best, lukewarm by the time it got to our table. Most of the time, it was just plain cold. And honestly, except for the chicken, the meat was all pretty tough and tasteless. We did get a great basket of rolls...once... The only saving grace was a very nice bread pudding for dessert. It's certainly not a restaurant I would beg to go to again, if I had to pick. And the lines/wait were crazy. The entire week we were at Disney, we never arrived later than ten minutes prior to our reservation time. At Ohana, we were not seated until at least 20 minutes AFTER our reservation, though.
Captain Cooks, the quick service free for all was like some weird off brand fast food joint. Basic sandwiches, salads, flat breads, and kid options. They also had a bakery counter for your desert options. All these deserts were visually enticing but a real letdown when you actually ate them. They were typically a bit tough and flavorless. As for the main "entrees" at Captain Cook...they were standard Disney park fare. I literally ate the same burger and fries at 8 different locations throughout the week.
As for the Kona, I didn't bother because it was always so crowded I couldn't even approach that side of the second floor of the "Great Ceremonial House." What ever they were selling must have been a LOT better than the other two joints.
The saving grace of Polynesian is the Monorail access. If you have kids that want to ride all the rides, you need to get a head start and being at the monorail helped. We actually stayed at the far end of the resort, closest to the TTC, so that we could get to the express monorails to Magic Kingdom and Epcot quicker. For the other parks without monorail access, you have to take the Disney buses. The bus stop is not at the "Great Ceremonial House" but a good deal off from it. We ended up finding it no problem, but again, it seemed like one more unnecessary hurdle.
All in all, its not a bad place to stay. If you are a first timer on a family trip, its worth your while for the easy access to the parks. We only used our car once during the whole week we were there, and that was to grab drinks from the nearest Wal-Mart because we were tired of the long hike to get refillable drinks. By the end of the week, after we'd figured out the general layout of everything, we reasoned we could probably stay somewhere off property next time and get along fine. But all in all, no regrets...
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Disney's Polynesian Resort is a relaxing tropical paradise, featuring lush vegetation, thatched roofs, koi ponds and white-sand lakebeaches and offering a warm, welcoming world that celebrates the spirit of the South Pacific and ensures "Ho'Onanea"—the passing of time in languid tranquility. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Polynesian Resort Disney
- Disney Polynesian Hotel
- Polynesian Disney
- Polynesian Hotel Disney
- Orlando Polynesian Resort
- Polynesian Hotel Orlando Fl
- Disneys Polynesian Hotel
- Polynesian Resort Orlando
- Disney Polynesian Resort World
- Disneys Polynesian Resort