Disney’s Polynesian Villas review

Time to Rise” by Chad Sparkes licensed under CC BY 2.0

’Ohana means family.” If you or members of your family are fans of the Disney Classic Film Lilo & Stitch, you may already recognize that saying. At Disney’s Polynesian Villas and Bungalows cast members go out of their way to make your travel party feel like one of the family. From the minute you enter the grounds, you are welcomed with a friendly smile to this unique and exotic resort experience.

From the exterior, you will be able to recognize your resort immediately. For some, that is where the magic begins. The architects at Disney spared no expense when they began crafting a truly one-of-a-kind vacation experience that will transport you and your family members straight to the South Pacific. The large buildings feature bright island-inspired colors and decorations that will make you feel as though you have been transported to a tropical island paradise.

Enter the Great Ceremonial House, and you may feel a bit overwhelmed. The Disney Polynesian Villas and Bungalows wrap around the guest and cover them in a truly extraordinary experience. Look to your right and left and everything you see will make you feel as though you have traveled very far away from your normal home. 

Polished wood, surf boards, and tiki torches burn bright as you walk through the lobby and out into the rest of the resort. Inside the Great Ceremonial House the light will feel dark and intimate, but when you step outside to view the Lava Pool and Splash Pad areas, you will be drenched in warm tropical sunshine.

Beaches stretch throughout this part of the resort. As you head to your room, crane your neck, just a bit, and you will be able to spy the Magic Kingdom and Cinderella’s Castle. 

Click here to read more about the exterior of the resort and to see photographs.

Disney’s Polynesian Villas review

Let’s begin this review by discussing the room accommodations at the Polynesian Villas!

Room Accommodations 

When determining which Walt Disney World Resort Hotel is the right one for your family, there are many qualities to consider. Disney’s Polynesian Villas and Bungalows is one of the top Disney World Hotels year after year, and with good reason. It has many unique qualities that separate it from other hotels run by Disney, as well as the Good Neighbor Hotels located throughout the area. 

While some vacationers don’t mind pulling into a humdrum hotel that looks like the same thing they can find in their own hometown, most want something spectacular. They want something that is pleasing to the eye. They crave an experience that will be unforgettable. The Disney Polynesian Villas and Bungalows allow travelers to step into an island oasis and have a relaxing resort vacation that they cannot experience elsewhere.

Let’s begin in the rooms. The Disney Polynesian Villas and Bungalows feature the most spacious suites available on the Disney properties. There are two room options available at this location. (Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort is a separate entity.

While it is attached to the Great Ceremonial House and so much of this article will also pertain to it, the room accommodations and prices listed will differ. For more information on Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, click here.) 

The first room style available at the Disney Polynesian Villas and Bungalows is the deluxe studio. It includes one queen bed, one queen size sleeper sofa, and one pull down single bed. It is designed to accommodate up to five people. Based on my experience, I would say that this room can easily lodge a family of five, if some of the guests are children. 

If you are looking to secure housing for five adults, a deluxe studio will probably not be comfortable enough for you and your travel party. The queen size bed is quite nice, but I would not recommend guests weighing more than 150 pounds attempt to climb into the pull-down bed. Also, if you have guests in your party with back or neck issues, they will most likely not enjoy sleeping on the queen-sized sleeper sofa. 

It is an acceptable bedroom outfit for children, and since it will be in couch-mode most of the day, it will discourage little ones from jumping on the bed, but for guests who need more support to relax and unwind at the end of the day, this queen-sized sleeper sofa will not be helpful. 

Inside the deluxe studio, guests will also find many nice amenities. A microwave and mini-fridge are part of a small kitchenette. Paper plates and cups are also provided. Inside the deluxe studio, there are two separate bathrooms. One bathroom features a waterfall shower head.

My husband found this feature to be especially surprising. He felt like he was getting the true island experience by stepping under the rainfall- style shower. In the other bathroom, more traditional fixtures are present, but the décor is absolutely stunning. 

The countertops look as though they have been chiseled from volcanic rock. You may just take a moment or two admiring these bathrooms. Even though I thoroughly enjoyed checking out the lavatories, I was a bit disappointed because they took up the majority of the space in the suite.

If only one bathroom had been fitted into this area, the room would have opened up tremendously. It would have allowed for another “true” bed, as opposed to a sleeper sofa. So, while this experience is certainly intriguing, it may not be the most comfortable proportions for you and your crew.

When evaluating the deluxe studio, it should be noted there are two options. The first is a standard room. It rents for approximately $550 a night. With the standard room, you may find yourself looking out onto the parking lot, seeing other rooms, or catching a glimpse of one of the pool areas. If you are willing to upgrade and spend a bit more to get a better view, Disney’s Polynesian Villas and Bungalows offers a deluxe studio with a lake view. 

This will guarantee you a view of the Seven Seas Lagoon, the Magic Kingdom, and a nice spot to watch the Electric Water Pageant once the sun goes down for the evening. Upgrading to the lake view will cost you a bit more coin as the average price for this room is $720.

If you have someone in your travel party who must see the Electric Water Pageant, then progressing to the higher pay level will make sense. If you are satisfied with watching it from the shore or catching a portion of it as you leave the Magic Kingdom, then you don’t need to spend the extra money.

If you don’t think the deluxe studio will be large enough for you and your clan, you may decide to book a bungalow. (You may also want to book a bungalow because it is the most recognizable place to stay at the Walt Disney World Resort. You can see these homes on the water as you head into the Magic Kingdom theme park.)

The bungalow will truly provide your family with the most inimitable vacation experience at the Walt Disney World Theme Park.  Set directly on the Seven Seas Lagoon, the Disney’s Polynesian Bungalows will provide a spectacular view of the Magic Kingdom, firework shows around the resort, as well as the Electric Water Pageant. 

Inside the Disney’s Polynesian Bungalow, you can expect to find a miniature version of a household. The two-bedroom, two-bathroom lodging will feel very spacious, especially when you open the doors and walk out onto your very own deck. The Polynesian Bungalows are billed as lodging eight people. You will find one king-size bed, one queen-size bed, one queen-size sleeper sofa, and two pull down beds. 

As with my earlier recommendations, if you have guests in your travel party who would not be well-suited to sleeping in pull down beds or sleeper sofas, you may want to rethink this accommodation. If you elect to go ahead with this purchase, and you may because these bungalows are phenomenal, you must know that the price of this stay is approximately $2,700 per night.

Before booking a night’s stay, remember that check-in is at 4 p.m. while check-out is at 11 a.m. Most people want to stay more than one night in a luxurious island getaway such as this, so you will be multiplying nearly $3,000 a night by the number of nights you are vacationing in order to reserve this suite built for royalty.

Prices and Affordability

To review, the least expensive room at Disney’s Polynesian Villas and Bungalows costs approximately $550 a night and it will hold up to five party guests. The most expensive lodgings cost almost $3,000 a night and will accommodate up to 8 guests. The question now that must be answered is whether this is a good value for this resort. Disney’s Polynesian Villas and Bungalows are considered one of the top-rated hotels in the world. 

AAA has given this resort a rating of four diamonds. Amongst Disney’s own properties, this one falls into the deluxe resort category. So, before evaluating the price, you must remember that this is a high-quality resort. Now, keeping that in mind, it isn’t exactly affordable. Most people I know don’t set aside a $3,000 a night budget for their hotel rooms.

They may want to spend more like $1,000 for a full week. If that’s the case for you and your travel party, then the Disney Polynesian Villas and Bungalows might not be the way for you to spend your vacation money this year. (May I suggest one of the Disney Value Resorts? They are much more affordable, and they still offer the world-renowned traits that add up to a Disney Experience.) 

But wait . . . don’t wander away yet. While the regular priced stay at the Disney Polynesian Villas and Bungalows is a bit staggering, there are a couple of options you can take to help bring down some of those costs. The first way you can wiggle the best room out of your family’s budget is to check out the Disney Vacation Club point resale websites. 

I don’t endorse this method because I know that the Disney Vacation Club is trying to discourage its members from selling off their vacation points, but I also realize that these websites are still up and running. Moreover, you can get a phenomenal deal by purchasing someone else’s unused vacation points and selecting to use them at the Polynesian Resort.

If you are traveling during the off-peak season, using Disney Vacation Club points, you can secure a deluxe studio room for only 18 points. If you have managed to buy 100 of them, you could find yourself being easily able to afford a five-six day vacation. 

A second way to save a bit of green, but still feel like you are splurging on Disney’s Polynesian Villas and Bungalows is to take full advantage of the discounts and offers Walt Disney World sends your way.

If you haven’t already added your name to both the paper and the electronic Walt Disney World mailing lists, you will want to do so immediately. The best way to do this is by creating a My Disney Experience Account.

Click here to get started. Once you have an account, and more importantly Walt Disney World has your contact information, your inbox will be flooded with offers almost monthly. Some of my favorite discounts apply liberally to Disney’s Polynesian Villas and Bungalows. 

Because the Polynesian is in the Deluxe Resort category, at least twice a year, Walt Disney World will run a 40% off special. If you and your family can book within the window and travel in the specified time period, you can almost instantly make the Polynesian into an affordable locale. Another great offer that Walt Disney World extends to its valued customers at least once over the course of the year is the Disney Dining Plan plus the Resort Accommodations discount. 

If you are staying at a deluxe resort, like the Polynesian, Walt Disney World will give each member of your party their own Disney Dining Plan that will be serviceable throughout the entire length of your stay. (This means that each member of your party will receive one refillable resort mug, one quick service meal, one table service or character dinner experience, and two snacks each day.) With this option, you will be able combine your food and lodging budget, thus making the Polynesian now one of the most affordable places for you and your family to stay.

Things to Do at the Resort

Now that you are dreaming about your island getaway at the Disney Polynesian Resort, you may be wondering what you will do once you get there. The opportunities are endless. The Lava Pool and Splash Pad area are two of the most well-appointed water parks features you will find in the area. You can relax in a lounge chair on a sandy beach while your children play safely in a variety of pools and water slides. 

The main pool even features a water bucket that will empty about every fifteen minutes, making all the children squeal with delight. If you are not traveling with children, and you would prefer to find a little peace and quiet, there are many smaller pools throughout the resort. Each pool is filled with salt water to enhance the island-inspired theme. 

If lounging at the pool is not exactly your scene, but you would like to spend the day on the water, Disney’s Polynesian Resorts and Bungalows offer a variety of water sports and activities. You can rent a boat for a few hours and cruise along the Seven Seas Lagoon. 

For those who really just want and need to spend time in the theme parks, Disney’s Polynesian Resort is one of a select few that is adjacent to the Magic Kingdom. As a resort guest, you may board a bus, take the Monorail, or ride in a boat, all specially designated for Disney’s Polynesian visitors. With any of these options you will be delivered directly to the Magic Kingdom. 

If you’ve never been to the Magic Kingdom before, you might not know that getting into this park can take a little bit of time. If you drive your own car, you should budget about an hour for parking, riding the tram, and then taking the Monorail or the ferry on over towards the admission gates at the beginning of your day. At the end of the day, this process can take anywhere from an hour to two hours’ time.

But, if you are a guest at Disney’s Polynesian Resorts, you will only need about twenty minutes or less to accomplish both tasks. Disney’s Polynesian guests are taken from their resort and delivered directly to the front gates. This is just one of the perks you will experience while spending your vacation at this location.

When you get back from the parks, or you are just looking to take a break from the action, it is advisable to stroll around the Polynesian Resorts. The restaurants at this location are terrific. My favorite table-service restaurant is ‘Ohana.

Located inside the Great Ceremonial House, ‘Ohana serves a mixture of South Pacific-inspired cuisine and American fare. Before heading into the park one day, my family and I enjoyed the character breakfast at ‘Ohana

My kids got to meet Lilo & Stitch while my husband was able to enjoy some coconut and pineapple pastries. My youngest son is a very picky eater, but the staff was exceptionally accommodating. They cooked the breakfast sausage to our specifications and continued to bring it out for my son until he was full.

I would recommend going to this establishment for breakfast because it was a delightful way to start the day. Plus, since we ate so much in the morning, we weren’t hungry again until later in the day. That meant we had to make less frequent food stops while enjoying the theme parks. 

If you are just looking for a snack while staying at Disney’s Polynesian Resort then you will definitely want to make your way over to the Pineapple Lanai. This quick-service location is famous because it is the only spot located at a resort hotel that serves the pineapple Dole Whip. This is my absolute favorite snack. Whether we are in the parks, or at the hotel, my family and I have to stop and get at least one to share.

Most recently, this snacking hot spot has offered unique creations daily or on a weekly basis. Over the summer, they featured a Stitch-inspired frozen treat with blue ice cream and later in the summer, they offered a rainbow-colored ice cream cone. Getting a treat from the Pineapple Lanai will satisfy everyone’s cravings.

A Treasured Memory

Many people wonder where to stay in Disney World with kids in the travel party. Most of those same people find that the Disney Polynesian Villas and Bungalows fulfill all their family members needs, especially the kids. The proximity to the Magic Kingdom is the biggest selling point. It allows family members to easily come and go from the theme park without causing a major disruption in the day.

For instance, if you have a little one who needs to nap at some point during the day, you and your child can easily get back to your resort, relax in the hotel room for an hour or two, and meet up with the rest of your travel party back inside the theme park. The ease of this transition is remarkable. (Senior Citizens appreciate this aspect, too. When the park is just too hot or it is overwhelming, they can retreat to their air-conditioned hotel room and join the travel party back in the park later in the day.) 

On a scale of 1-5 stars, with 5 being my best rating, I would give Disney’s Polynesian Villas and Bungalows four stars. I love this resort and family enjoys vacationing there, but the cost is a bit of a deterrent and I always wish there were two complete queen-sized beds in the deluxe suite, instead one true bed and then a sleeper sofa. I want my kids to be just as comfortable as I am, and I always feel a little guilty when I get the plush bed and they don’t. 

When all is said and done, Disney’s Villas and Bungalows are wildly popular, so staying at this retreat, regardless of the time of year, is an exciting adventure. The resort will almost always be filled to capacity and the restaurants and attractions will be busy and fully-operational.

I like knowing that this hotel and resort is a popular place to stay because it makes me feel like I will always be surrounded with good company and the staff will always be operating in tip top shape. A vacation at Disney’s Polynesian Villas and Bungalows will without a doubt be a very memorable one for you and your family members.

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