Resort Exploring: Vol. 7 – Polynesian

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I am not going to lie to you (normally I would)…I never quite saw the appeal of the Polynesian Resort. While it is true that I had not stayed there since 1984, I have spent a pretty fair amount of time at the tropical resort in the past few years. I spent that time walking around the grounds thinking “it’s nice, but nothing special.” Well, I recently got the opportunity to stay at the Polynesian and am not too proud to admit that I was horribly wrong.

As you should be aware (since you commit all of my musings to memory), I usually enjoy Walt Disney World’s Moderate category hotels if I am looking for an area to explore. I do not feel like the value resorts offer enough interesting details, as I outlined in my Pop Century exploring chapter (although I have not gotten out to see the Art of Animation as of yet). Deluxe resorts, while beautiful, are normally based around one very large building, which means that there are not a lot of outdoor areas to explore.

The moderate resorts are nicely spread out with lots of scenery, landscaping, and architecture in between all the buildings and are generally my choice for my (insanity driven, say most) sunrise walks. You may be able to see where I am going with this…the Polynesian blows this convention away.

The Polynesian combines the best of the deluxe and moderate resorts, with all the amenities and size you would expect in a deluxe room and the outdoor space that you would expect from a moderate. The grounds are filled with winding paths, tropical plants and flowers, and island-inspired buildings that are all extremely interesting.

The subtle colors and simple styles of the longhouses (or buildings, as you and I might call them) are wonderfully contrasted against the colors of the flora. As you approach the beach you begin to come upon palm trees, white sand beaches, and amazing views across Seven Seas Lagoon. Within about 20 minutes you can wander past a marina, through jungle vegitation, and appreciate a panoramic vista that includes the Contemporary Resort, Grand Floridian Resort, and Cinderella Castle. I feel comfortable in saying that there is nowhere else in the world that you can see all of those things so close together (although, in fairness, I have yet to fully explore Des Moines).

If you, like me, enjoy an early morning stroll around a Disney resort, there are tough decisions to make (and not just how to react to the blank, confused stares when you tell people that you wake up at 5:30am on vacation). The colors and fun little tikis along the paths of the Polynesian reflect morning light as well as anything, but the beach is the real place to be. Looking across the water, sand, and palms as the sun rises higher in the sky is an experience I would be happy to have every day for the rest of my life.

Since I am going on and on about the beach, I may as well mention another fantastic time to be there: during fireworks at Magic Kingdom. From the beach at the Polynesian, you are afforded an unimpeded view of the fireworks rising high above the castle. To make the experience even better, the music from the firewoks display is piped through the speakers. It is wonderful to see just how large the fireworks bursts actually are from this unusual vantage point. For an extra bonus, if you plan on seeing the fireworks from the beach, try to be there during the Electrical Water Pageant as well, which also glides right past the Polynesian beach.

While this may be a relatively short post, it is only because words do not adequately describe the aura of the Polynesian Resort. There are a few aspects that jump out as special: the beach, the landscaping, etc., but there is a strange feeling of calmness that is palpable at the Polynesian. Despite being able to see the Magic Kingdom, it feels removed. Despite its age, it feels timeless. Despite my earlier beliefs, it is amazing.

 

Other Chapters in My Resort Exploring Series

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Posted on November 13, 2012

9 Responses to “Resort Exploring: Vol. 7 – Polynesian”

  • by Anthony Salzano on November 13, 2012, at 10:56 am EDT

    A way too brief write-up on what is the very best resort at WDW. The sushi at the Kona cafe, grilled meats at Ohana, volcano pool, Spirit of Aloha dinner show are all not to be missed. Of course, the view from the Tokelou longhouse over the quiet pool is something to enjoy also.

  • A very funny and very true representation! Nice job :)

  • My family LOVES the Poly. For all the reasons above! Plus we love the dining and the Kona coffee.

  • by Debbie from Chicago on November 13, 2012, at 4:44 pm EDT

    Currently staying at the Poly and agree with your assessment; however it doesn’t give me the “I’m home” feeling that the Wliderness Lodge does. Also, this is just a small thing but, they’re not decorated for Christmas yet. This time last year, WL was magically decorated over night during our stay.

  • Poly is our favorite too. We’re going for again in Feb (third time at Poly). We stayed at Contemporary last year and it just wasn’t the same! The volcano pool is a hit with the kids.

  • The Poly was the first resort I stayed in way back in 1972 and it continues to be our favorite. Yes, it it old and some say “dated” but there is a special something that converted even my husband who doesn’t have my nostalgic associations for the place. He now won’t stay anywhere else. The concierge lounge is the best we’ve experienced at both WDW and DL. You captured many of the things we love about it – one more special, only at the Poly, experience: swimming in their amazing pool with the Castle in the background… (the volcano slide is pretty cool too!)

  • I am a true Polynesian fan, and after many stays there, I find it hard to stay anywhere else on Disney property. Your last paragraph pretty much said it all. Amazing it is!

  • We stayed at the Polynesian this week and fell in love with it. The pool, the Tonga Toast, the view, the fireworks, the flowers, the beach, the proximity. My daughter cried when we left this morning!!

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