Our 7 Favorite Things at Walt Disney World’s Polynesian Village Resort

The Polynesian Resort, located on beautiful Seven Seas Lagoon at Walt Disney World, holds a special place in many park-goers’ hearts. This is a resort that pretty much has it all: a storied history (this was, after all, the location where John Lennon signed the paperwork to formally disband The Beatles), a wholly immersive theme (set to approximate the look and feel of a tropical South Seas beach community), and the best location of any deluxe resort on property, with its own Magic Kingdom monorail stop (and mere feet away from the Transportation & Ticket Center, the nerve center for the entire Walt Disney World resort).


Walt Disney World is always changing and adapting for the needs and desires for the ever-changing guest, and the Polynesian is no different. This year, a whole host of new features and experiences have been added to the tried-and-true Polynesian formula. Everything from the enhanced Lava Pool (don’t worry, there isn’t any actual lava) to the deluxe Bora Bora Bungalows, this new version of the Polynesian is, somehow, even more lovable and unique. We recently got a chance to explore the newly-unveiled, completely reimagined areas of the resort and wanted to rundown our favorite things about the resort that will have us hankering to say “aloha” again—sometime very, very soon.


1. The Polynesian’s new/old name.
Disney's Polynesian Village Resort
When the Polynesian opened in 1971, it was called the Polynesian Village Resort. But after two lengthy and expansive overhauls, first in 1978 and again in 1985, the title of the resort was shortened to the Polynesian Resort. (Those with an affinity for the resort often just refer to it as “The Poly.”) The name stuck, from 1985 to 2014, but when the first stage of the refresh came to pass, the Polynesian Village Resort title returned! Thankfully, the old-school logo and signage also remained, giving the resort the feeling of a classic Walt Disney World resort while featuring cutting edge technology and amenities.


2. The TV mirror in the bathroom of the new bungalows.
Polynesian Bungalow Bathroom
One of the more magical, hidden amenities in the new Bora Bora Bungalows, which hang over the crystalline waters of the Seven Seas Lagoon (part of an ambitious expansion of the Disney Vacation Club presence at the resort), is a secret TV built into the bathroom mirrors that are constantly playing Disney movies. This is so secret, in fact, that we assumed the mirror was just a mirror. But no. There’s a little extra Disney magic in there too.


3. The Electrical Water Pageant pull-down bed.
Polynesian Bungalow Pull Down Bed
One of the more overlooked treasures at Walt Disney World is the Electrical Water Pageant, similar in theme and tone to the Main Street Electrical Parade, that floats across the Seven Seas Lagoon each and every night (weather permitting). This was supposed to be a throwaway gag: it first debuted in 1971, with the opening of the park, and was never conceived as being a longtime show. (From what we understand, the original floats were constructed with Christmas lights and chicken wire. Although this may be an exaggerated, apocryphal tale.) Over the years the floats have evolved, but one thing has remained: the Polynesian Village Resort is the ideal place to watch the pageant. Which makes this neon-y pull-down bed even more essential.


4. Easily accessible Dole Whip.
Pineapple Lanai at Disney's Polynesian Village Resort
Originally, Dole Whip, the tasty frozen treat that you can get either as a soft serve delight or a frosty float, was only available at the Disneyland and Walt Disney World resorts (in the Adventureland section of the parks). Now, however, the Dole Whip presence has expanded to places like Disney’s Hawaiian resort Aulani and (now) the Polynesian Village Resort! Thanks to the new Pineapple Lanai, you can get your Dole Whip fix without even entering the parks. This is both wonderful and dangerous. Mostly wonderful.


5. The magical touches at Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto.
Trader Sam's Grog Grotto
Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar, located at the Disneyland Hotel, quickly became a guest favorite, thanks to its lively atmosphere and inventive cocktails. Now the off-the-wall Trader Sam’s environment can be experienced at the Polynesian Village Resort, thanks to the recently opened Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto. And things are even crazier at this one, incorporating more references from classic Disney films and attractions (look out for that 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea nod). Everything in the bar seemingly comes to life, like a woozy version of the Enchanted Tiki Room. When you order an Uh-Oa!, be sure to look at the Polynesian goddess, who becomes fantastically animated. Other drinks trigger things like a volcanic eruption (viewable out of one of the bar’s many “windows”) while still others spring wilder things. Try ordering anything without something amazing happening. (For those stuck at home, you can learn how to make Trader Sam’s Shipwreck on the Rocks on our YouTube channel.)


6. The Re-imagined Great Ceremony Hall
Disney's Polynesian Village Resort: Lobby
The Ceremony Hall is the central building that all of the Polynesian Resort is focused around. And up until this recent renovation, it sported a rock fountain and a giant, cascading waterfall. The new lobby, by comparison, is bright and airy, with only a small fountain with a very big Tiki god (the official mascot for the hotel) sitting on top. While the lobby is an aesthetic triumph, it is, first and foremost, a utilitarian move. When even more Disney Vacation Club rooms open up, this space is going to be busier than Grand Central Terminal. Just with people wearing more leis.


7. The Nautilus.
NautilusThe references to 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea aren’t just in the abundant theming in Trader Sam’s. There’s also a drink, called the Nautilus (named after tyrannically obsessed Captain Nemo’s famous ship), that’s exclusive to the Grog Grotto. It’s big enough to share and comes in a ship-shaped glass that you get to keep. Other signature drinks (and, remember, these are the “trigger” drinks that bring things to life in the bar) include the Castaway Crush, Polynesian Pearl Tahitian Torch (try saying that five times fast), and the Dark and Tropical Stormy. No matter what your thirst, chances are Trader Sam’s will be able to quench it.

What’s your favorite thing about the Polynesian Village Resort? Tell us in the comments!

Posted 7 years Ago
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