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“Good for a first timer but location is its best asset” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Disney's Polynesian Resort

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Disney's Polynesian Resort
4.0 of 5 Resort   |   1600 Seven Seas Drive, Lake Buena Vista, Orlando, FL 32830   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #94 of 329 hotels in Orlando
Vicksburg, Mississippi
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
“Good for a first timer but location is its best asset”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 28, 2012

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...

Room Tip: Buildings closer to the TTC will help you get to the monorails faster.
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (348)
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982405
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 27, 2012

The Pros: Great location; beautiful landscaping; room large enough to sleep 5.
The Cons: Stayed in the Hawaii building. The room smelled musty. I took off my shoes and stepped in a pool of water on the carpet in front of the refrigerator. Apparently the cabinet isn't vented so the fridge overheats and melts and pours water on the floor. I took off my socks and went into the bathroom for a towel and stepped on something sharp. Toenail clippings from a previous guest! The safe didn't work. The lightbulbs were not just out, but missing. The ornate dark Tiki-style wood furniture was covered in dust.

We stayed in the Hawaii building and the concierge gave us $50 credit (which Disney STILL hasn't given me according to my credit card and several phone calls to Disney). The Concierge status gives you access to a snack room. Fruit, cereal for breakfast (no eggs or anything enough to make a real breakfast out of it). Afternoon snacks and evening dessert and beer/wine. Sodas, water and coffee are available all day. Be prepared for other people's children to go in line by themselves, touch or cough on all of the food (since it is often unattended by a host), and proceed to load up their plates and then throw 90% of it in the trash while you stand, wishing you had been able to grab one of the last pieces of fruit.

After check-out a staff person told me that the Hawaii building is long overdue for a renovation. I can't speak to the other rooms, but I would avoid that building like the plague until the reno is complete. As for the concierge snack room, I think for the money you'd be better off purchasing your own snacks from one of their restaurants.

Room Tip: Avoid Hawaii building until after renovation.
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, Illinois
Top Contributor
93 reviews 93 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
28 helpful votes 28 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 26, 2012

This is one of the best resorts I've stayed at in Disney. The rooms are top notch but the location and atmosphere are the best. You can see the castle from across the lake and you could walk to the Magic Kingdom. The monorail runs right through the hotel which you can take to the Magic Kingdom or Epcot. It's the perfect and fastest transportation. Also, Ohana, the restaurant in the resort, is one of the best.

  • Stayed December 2011, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Virginia Beach, Virginia
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 25, 2012

Our family stayed at the Polynesian Resort and had a great time. My grandsons loved the pool area and had a good time with the two young people who did the games with them at the pool. The staff there were great and very helpful, everyone was friendly.
The rooms were nice and accomodating. Everything was within walking distance as far as the Disney transportation system. Would definatley go back.
My only regret was that we were unable to book the luau for all 8 of us while there. We learned from this trip what to do and what not to do.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MIchigan
Senior Contributor
32 reviews 32 reviews
26 hotel reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
40 helpful votes 40 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 25, 2012

This was our first vist to Disney resort. Most of the information provided already by previous reviewers. There are several free standing housing facilities and one needs to walk to main complex . Good news - landscaping and trails are well preserved and walking is never to far. Transportation to a hotel as well as on departure ( if prepaid) is well organized. Other good news. The staff is very friendly and helpful. Rooms and public area are maintain clean. Now , not so good news. The hotel facilities are old and definitely needs of remodeling. Some of reviewers already stated - for a price of a 5 star hotel you barely receive a red inn standart. We prepaid for a food service in a fast food facilities including places in park . Very uneven services and quality of food. Captain Cook at Polynesian - average. Disney management is frugal ( cheap). Not even for a Thanksgiving Day was any special food available in thous e places.
So call option for a free refills of drinks relates ONLY to a hotel facilities. By prepaid to pay almost triple for everything else at Disney World and especially in a hotel shops. The marketing must be working. Visitors are buying this staff and not only for a children. I'm not big fun of a Disney brand, but my grandson seems to be enjoying it and especially a breakfast with a "character" at Ohana restaurant. I enjoyed the most resting on artificial, but well done and clean beach.

Room Tip: Tahiti. Somewhat far from "ceremonial Hall " ( lobby) but quiet and close to transportatio...
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Green Bay, Wisconsin
Top Contributor
51 reviews 51 reviews
35 hotel reviews
Reviews in 37 cities Reviews in 37 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 25, 2012

Usually stay at the Polynesian Resort when heading to Disney. The rooms are large with two pools. The kids like the volcano slide in the main pool and then we head to the second pool to escape the crowds. The resort is on the monorail line to Magic Kingdom and a short walk to the TTC to ride the monorail to Epcot. Save up your $$ and stay at the Club section.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Minneapolis
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 25, 2012

pros:
Location!!
on the monorail!!
larger rooms (or at least larger by disney standards)
elevator (sounds silly, but staying at the port orleans and hauling everything up all those stairs isn't exactly fun with little ones)
rooms are newer
not sure if it goes for all character breakfasts, but we were seated immediately with no reservation



cons:
walkways are confusing and there aren't enough signs (or any signs) to help find your building (by the end of your trip you will have them down though)
rooms were dark (personal preference)
Staff wasn't properly trained/given accurate information regarding hotel/room specifics
eating options on property are limited (wait until you get to the park for your coffee or breakfast)
transfer busses were packed - didn't matter the time of day
exceptionally long check-in (45 minutes.... at almost midnight)


We arrived late at night, I had previously confirmed numerous times there would be a pack-n-play in the room when we arrived and there wasn't. when it finally arrived (I had to call and ask for one when we finally got to our room. It took housekeeping 35 minutes), it was stained and smelly.

If location is what you're after, stay at the contemporary or grand floridian

Room Tip: ask for a room closer to the main building
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  • Stayed May 2012, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Disney's Polynesian Resort

Also Known As:
Polynesian Resort Disney
Disney Polynesian Hotel
Polynesian Resort
Polynesian Disney
Disney Polynesian Resort
Polynesian Hotel Disney
Polynesian Hotel Orlando Fl
Orlando Polynesian Resort
Orlando Polynesian
Disneys Polynesian Resort
Address: 1600 Seven Seas Drive, Lake Buena Vista, Orlando, FL 32830
Location: United States > Florida > Central Florida > Orlando
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#7 Romantic Hotel in Orlando
#29 Luxury Hotel in Orlando
#80 Family Hotel in Orlando
#94 Spa Hotel in Orlando
#94 Top resorts Hotel in Orlando
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Disney's Polynesian Resort 4*
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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