First Impressions Of The Polynesian Resort Club Level

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In March when I went down for the Princess Half Marathon, my son and I stayed at the Polynesian Resort – Club Level.   Having stayed at the Polynesian several times, I’m a big fan. When hard pressed, would say the Polynesian is my favorite Disney resort.  After vacationing there for a week last summer, I was excited anticipating the outstanding service we would have.

When staying club level you check in at the Valet Desk outside in the carport.  You are then taken by the Polynesian golf cart to the Hawaii Longhouse where you are given your room keys, welcome packet and your leis.    When we arrived they didn’t have anyone to take us back to the Hawaii longhouse–we must have caught them between shifts.  They seemed a little flummoxed, but it’s wasn’t a problem, we were willing to walk. 

When we got to Hawaii, the staff was great. Super friendly. Wonderful.   

They checked us in, gave us our leis and sent us down the hall with our golden keys.  Upon entering the room, you would normally find a note with your name on it and a lovely chocolate with a picture of the Poly on the front.  We had neither.  I waited a day hoping the chocolate would appear.  When it didn’t, I asked if they had discontinued the chocolate due to the economy.  They apologized and said no and they were so sorry.  They reached in the drawer and handed me the chocolate.  Not quite the same as finding a surprise when you walk in your room.  It’s still nice and Tyler and I enjoyed it.

After we checked in, we went to the Lounge on the second floor for dessert. 

There was about an hour left in the dessert service.  When we arrived most of the trays of desserts were empty.  The girl in line in front of me had loaded her plate with the last cupcake, cookie and tart.  I asked if they had more in the back and they told me no.  There was an hour left in the service, I was paying an exorbitant amount of money to stay there, I know Disney service and that wasn’t it.  I think the cast members working the dessert service wanted to clean up and get home.  If that was my first impression, I’d never stay there again. 

Because I was there for the Princess Half Marathon, I didn’t spend a ton of time in the parks.  Tyler and I enjoyed vacationing at the Polynesian.  We checked-out old movies from the concierge.  It was such a treat being able to get snacks, water, coffee etc.  from the lounge.  It was so convenient.

Had my March trip been my first experience staying at the Poly Club Level, I would have been a little disappointed to say the least; the rest of the stay was stellar.  I will go into more detail in the next chapter of the Polynesian Club Level Chronicles.  Is staying Club Level worth the added expense?  The cost is roughly over $100 per night more expensive compared to non-Club rooms — no matter what discount you have.   What do you think?

Special thanks to Steve Seifert of Tikimanpages.com for the photos.

 

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Posted on April 9, 2010

34 Responses to “First Impressions Of The Polynesian Resort Club Level”

  • Wow, that sounds terrible. You can excuse one or two little bobbles by the concierge staff, but your account has multiple incidents that to me add up to a very negative pattern. I would have asked to see a manager when the cast member told me there was no food left an hour before service was set to end. (I’m pretty sure the food at concierge level isn’t offered “while supplies last.”) I hope that there are some redeeming anecdotes in the next post, or I would say that the Poly Concierge Level is a skip.

    • by Caroline Baggerly on April 9, 2010, at 12:50 pm EDT

      Hi Amy,
      That was my thought exactly. I’m pretty sure there was more dessert back there. That particular cast member wanted to leave. I wish I had gotten her name. Tyler and I had to settle for “gummy sharks” that night. I did let the staff at the desk on the first floor know. It didn’t happen again. Thanks for reading:)

  • The concierge at Poly is the epitome of what concierge service ought to be at other resorts. I love the dedicated building and actual kitchen they have for just concierge guests and there’s at least sodas and chips available 24/7.

    • Matt,
      I love listening to your podcast, it’s entertaining and informative. (I guess I’m making an assumption that you are THAT Matt Hochburg. How many of you could there be?!)

      I just have to say that $100 would sure buy a lot of chips and soda… and what good is a dedicated kitchen if they don’t restock the food for the last hour of service? I’ve stayed on concierge level in multiple hotels, and there just has to be enough in a cost/benefit analysis to justify the added expense. Your experiences at the Poly must have been more positive. Hopefully Caroline’s experience thus far is an exception to the rule. I’m looking forward to the rest of her report, until then I’m withholding my final opinion.

      In my hometown 24/7 access to chips and soda is called QuickTrip, not concierge. ;)

    • by Caroline Baggerly on April 9, 2010, at 6:49 pm EDT

      Hi Matt,
      I totally agree. In the next chapter, I discuss how they redeemed themselves. They not only have 24 hour coke but coffee beverages too.;)

  • I’ve never stayed Club Level anywhere, but that’s mostly because we don’t get any use out of the food in the lounge. ;-) We prefer eating in Disney’s restaurants and spend the extra $100 per night there.

    Would love to hear other perks of staying concierge that don’t include free food or booking/trip planning services. Are there other reasons to stay Club Level besides those?

    Looking forward to the rest of the posts in the series Caroline!

    • by Caroline Baggerly on April 9, 2010, at 6:50 pm EDT

      Hi AJ,
      Thank you for reading. In the next chapter I go into some of the other benefits of Club Level.

  • Very informative article! But, I would have asked for the manager re: the desserts. There is NO excuse if there was an additional hour for desserts being served. I would have gracefully complained about that! And, they should have left a chocolate every single night for the price you probably had to pay. I have never stayed at the Polynesian, and I would still like to even after I read this!

    • by Caroline Baggerly on April 9, 2010, at 6:51 pm EDT

      Hi Kris,
      Thank you for reading. I still love the Polynesain even if they did mishandle our first night there.

  • We’re staying on the club level at Animal Kingdom Lodge this June, our first time taking that extra jump in cost. Assuming the experience is analogous, I look forward to the rest of this series.

    • by Caroline Baggerly on April 9, 2010, at 6:52 pm EDT

      Hi Dave,
      Thank you for reading. Once you’ve comet to terms with the cost, you’ll enjoy Club Level. ;)

      • Well, my wife (who was a travel agent in a former life) did the booking, and she’d already posited a chunk of change to guarantee that we’d have a savanna-facing room (which we loved last time we stayed at DAKL), which meant that the incremental bump to Club Level wasn’t actually all that much more.

  • We had a similar experience at the Poly during the princess half marathon weekend. Having stayed club level at the Wilderness Lodge, Boardwalk, Yacht Club and Grand Floridian, I expected more from the Poly. It made me feel petty to complain about things being just okay, but we were paying signficantly more for the club level. Our best club level experiences were years ago at the Yacht Club, where the concierge chatted with us about my daughters loving Tower of Terror – and arranged a completely unsolicited VIP pass! I’d still consider club if the price was right, but I’d lower my expectations.

    • by Caroline Baggerly on April 9, 2010, at 6:54 pm EDT

      Hi Helen,
      I would have loved to meet you. Who knows, we may have been next door to one another. I agree, it made me feel petty to complain. I didn’t like being put in that position. For the money, they need to be on it. Thank you for reading.

  • Great job, Caroline! Club level at the Poly is one of my favorites in WDW (along with the AKL). Great job on the photos, too!

  • Our family stayed Polynesian club level 1/23-1/30 of this year. We did not receive the personalized greeting or the chocalate postcard in or room, either. Didn’t even know to expect it or we would have asked too. We stayed at the Poly in a regular garden view room in ’06, ’08, and ’09. We decided to stay club level this year for somewhat of a different experience. Was it worth the added expense? For us, yes. The lounge offererings and the added living space the lounge afforded more than made up for the added cost. Loved eating breakfast with a view of the castle. Watching Wishes from the lounge with dessert and a beverage was such a wonderful experience. The service was not outstanding, but that was not a deal-breaker for us. For many; however, it would be. It would probably be in Disney’s best interest to address this.

    • by Caroline Baggerly on April 10, 2010, at 10:05 am EDT

      Hi Louise,
      I’m sorry you didn’t get the chocolate. Had I not stayed there before, I wouldn’t have known. I feel very much the same as you regarding the experience. Thank you for taking the time to read and reply.

  • We had a similar problem staying club level at the Grand Floridian. When we got off the bus, we were supposed to be greeted by a concierge cast member — we weren’t, but had to go look for someone to help us. The greeter asked if he could help us and we explained that we were staying concierge and someone was supposed to be meeting us, he told us to wait and he would get someone. Ten minutes later a club level CM finally appeared, said she “had been busy” and walked us to the GF Sugar Loaf building. So my impressions of the “flagship” resort and their club level is very poor. On the other hand, on our last two visits, we stayed club level at the Poly and loved it. Once was a garden view room, in the Hawaii building, and the other was a lagoon view room. The Poly club level service was fantastic. Although the food in the club level for the evening offerings was not to my taste, but that is me, I’m not into that type of food. But the breakfast, afternoon snacks and night desserts whenever we did get a chance to use the lounge, were great.

  • by Barry Fort Lauderdale on April 11, 2010, at 9:27 am EDT

    I’m a Florida Resident and go to Disney often. I think Disney does a really great job of “suckering” people into staying in their hotels promising some grand experience. I’ve stayed at most of them including the polynesian, the Grand Floridian, and most recently the contemporary. They call their staff at these hotels “cast Members” as if it is part of the show but the truth is… its not. The server sucks, the staff is quite rude, and the accomodations are substandard. At the disney hotels they herd you in like cattle and you get no special treatment! You are part of the masses.
    BUT, I have discovered the best secret on disney property! The Swan and Dolphin hotel!! Right next to Epcot!
    You get all the same entitlement to transportation, the proximity to the Parks but you actually stay in Luxury and best of all you get treated like a valued guest (unlike the disney owned and operated hotels)!

  • This article is a God-send. We’ve booked a Polynesian Magic Kingdon View regular room for the week starting June 14th, 2010. Over the past 48 hours, I’ve been reading all I can about the Polynesian. (The wife makes fun of me saying I take all the fun out of vacations with my research.) Tikiman’s website peaked my interest in the Club Level Rooms. This evening I started researching the Club Level, which brought me to your blog.

    We’ve done the Grand Floridian with a regular room and a Magic Kingdom View before and decided to give the Poly a try for something different. I’ve seen the question bounced about whether the Club Level is worth the extra money. Let me throw another one out there. Since I’m already paying the extra, any opinions whether I should keep the Magic Kingdom view (requested Tihiti) or spend basicly the same money and take a Garden View Club Level Room? The business had a good year so the extra money allows us the special treat. We could always up from Magic Kingdom View Regular Room to the Magic Kingdom View Club Level but is that worth it if you can watch that spectacular view of the Magic Kingdom from the lounge? Looking for any and all educated opinions. Thanks in advance.

    RJ

    • Our first club level room at the Poly was a Garden View and any night that we were at the hotel at fireworks or Electrical Water Pagaent showings, we always watched from the Club Level Lounge. We were there in December, so we stayed warm in the lounge, enjoying a latte, well I had latte, my husband had beer along with a dessert. The CMs dim the lights in the lounge and the music soundtrack is piped in, so it’s almost like being in the park. I actually prefer watching from the lounge because when Tinkerbell makes her flight, she looks so tiny, just like the old (I’m giving away my age here) Walt Disney Wonderful World of Color opening. She is spotlighted when she makes her flight, so you can’t miss it.
      Personally, I would take the Garden View club level room as opposed to the Magic Kingdom theme park view in Tahiti.
      Although the view is great, you have to weigh the fact that the only thing you are getting for this price is that — the view. With club level, you getting the breakfasts, snacks, warm appetizers in the evening and desserts at night. There is fresh fruit available most of the day as well as some snacks, like the cookies. You have 24 hours access to the cooler with the sodas, I’m not sure about the coffee machines because we didn’t use those after hours. You also have the pre-planning services of the concierge before you arrive, they are great if you want ADRs at hard to get restaurants. The other thing I loved about club level was having Evian bottled water — all you had to do is ask the lounge CM and they gave you as many as you want.
      Another thing to consider is that depending on any overbooking, you might get upgraded upon check in to a theme park or lagoon view room. It has never happened to me personally,but I do know of other’s experiences who did get these magical upgrads. On our last trip, we stayed Club Level with the Lagoon View and I loved it, but wouldn’t necessarily pay more again for it.

    • While I haven’t stayed at club level, my husband and I stayed at the Poly for our honeymoon in 08. Another thing to consider, particularly where you’ll be there in June, is that you can also see the fireworks from the beach outside. If hearing the music isn’t important to you, you can always grab a snack and head out early to catch a swing or lounge in a beach chair and watch them there. We did that one night and found it very romantic and relaxing.

  • Hi RJ,
    Our Jan. 2010 Poly Club Level Garden View room worked out great for our family. We would definitely book Garden View again. We preferred spending most of our down time in the lounge versus our room. This affords plenty of opportunites to take in the view of Cinderella’s castle and the lagoon. We didn’t find ourselves noticing the view from our room as much, because we didn’t end up opening the curtains until everyone was dressed and ready i.e. right before we left for the parks. After our nightly visit to the lounge for desserts, beverages, and sometimes Wishes, we headed to our room for a little downtime watching T.V. and then showers and bed. Again, the view from the room was not that important.
    In my opinion, you would have the best of both worlds staying Garden View Club Level. You’d have the beautiful view, albeit from the lounge, and all the wonderful Club offerings.

  • Thank you to everyone for all the information. You have all been most helpful. I’m close to being sold on making changes to our accomadations. Still not 100%. I am anxiously awaiting further chapters of the Polynesian Club Level Chronicals. Caroline, I’m awaiting updates, anxiously. ;)

    • We stayed Club Level in the Garden View room in 2008 and loved it. It didn’t matter that we didn’t have a Magic Kingdom view as we would sit in the beach or in the pool and watch Wishes from there.

    • by Caroline Baggerly on April 13, 2010, at 5:21 pm EDT

      Hi RJ,
      Thank you or reading!!! I will continue the chronicles next week. ;)

      • Caroline,

        When is the next update of your Poly Club Level blog coming out? I’ve been researching, but I am waiting for your update before making a change from the Regular Room, Magic Kingdom View. Under 45 days until Disney…

        • by Caroline Baggerly on May 4, 2010, at 4:48 pm EDT

          RJ,
          I promise I am on it. Tyler had surgery last week and it put me behind schedule.
          Thanks a ton for reading.
          Caroline

  • We stayed at the Poly club in late August 2009. We chose the club over free dining because we received a 40% pin. Price would have been about the same for a group of 5, which limits us to the deluxe resorts.
    With a 6 and a 3 year old the club worked out great. The breakfast was good enough for them, the free water, which we took back to our room, and filled up containers for the parks was a great plus. Watching wishes from the lounge with a cocktail was a nice ending, since my 3 year old does not enjoy the noise of fireworks.
    Not really worth the price, but a nice experience.
    This was our 3rd trip to Poly and is our favorite resort.

  • Fun article. I too found something similar and Good last week.

  • I wasn’t that shocked at the experience that you had seeing as I have stayed at the Floridian’s club level before and had some other bad experiences, however, the concierge staff took care of the issue, and having someone there to talk to during regular hours is comforting. My most recent trip was for business and it was booked too close to my arrival for my travel docs to be sent to my home. Docs were sent to the hotel instead, and after further inspection of the docs, other than the “key to the world”, the dates were all wrong and would not have been accepted. After speaking to the club level concierge, I had new docs, and upon returning to the room I noticed a new bag on my bed. Inside the bag were all kinds of disney snacks from pretzels and trail mix to bottled water and oranges. I was told that they “pixidusted” to make up for their blunder. I must say that while yes Disney can make some mistakes, they know how to make up for it, because the last thing they want is an un-magical experience for their guest.

  • We are trying club level at the Polynesian and I am wondering other than desserts what food is offered in the evening?

  • Catherine, there r appetizers before dinner and they r very good. My only complaint is the lack of bottled water in the fridge. Just soda. There should also be some bottles of kid friendly beverages too. There is nothing like that in a bottle, so you have to use a glass which is a pain if u want to bring a snack back to the room which many families do like when dealing with small children.