Hotel Review: Disney’s Polynesian Villas, Tips and Warnings!

Disney’s Polynesian Villas and Bungalows are a touch of the exotic wrapped in luxury at the Walt Disney World resort.  Disney Vacation Club added Villas and the over-the-water bungalows this year, making the Polynesian one of the hottest properties at Disney World.
Polynesian Hotel Lobby
Polynesian Hotel Lobby
We had the chance to stay in a studio villa at the Polynesian in June, and wanted to share our impressions.  There are four Disney Vacation Club (DVC) buildings at the Polynesian: Moorea (waterfront), Pago Pago, the newly-opened Tokelau, and of course, the Bora Bora over-the-water Bungalows.
All the main buildings have only studios (as opposed to other DVC accommodations that have studio, 1-,  2-, and even 3-bedroom configurations).  These were converted over from previous Polynesian hotel rooms.
Polynesian Moorea Building
Polynesian Moorea Building

Our studio was spacious, and comfortably decorated with Hawaiian-style art.  There was a murphy bed, pull-out sofa bed, and the main double bed.  Each studio can sleep up to five.
Polynesian Studio pano WM
Polynesian Studio panorama
One of the nicest  features was the double bathroom.  One full bathroom had a full size bathtub, sink, and toilet.  This was fully enclosed.
Polynesian Bathroom 1
Polynesian Bathroom 1 with bathtub
The second bathroom had a beautifully tiled shower and sink.  This makes getting ready in the mornings much smoother for many families!
Polynesian Bathroom 2 WM
Polynesian Bathroom 2 with shower
Trouble in Paradise: Boat Noise Ahead!
The biggest problem was the noise!  These buildings were retrofitted from the old Polynesian Hotel, so they were not custom-built for DVC.  In the large remodel project, I would have expected them to address the issue of constant boat noise from the Transportation and Ticket Center (TTC) boat dock next door.
Polynesian Boat Dock of the TTC
Boat Dock of the Transportation and Ticket Center next door!
The poor soundproofing was an issue.  During the summer months, the Magic Kingdom was open early and late.  The TTC boats would blow their horns every time they came or left the dock.  This meant constant, loud boat horns from 6 am until 2 am.  The horns were loud even with all the doors closed.
When I brought this up to the front desk, their comment was ‘it is a known issue’ (since before the extensive renovation into DVC Villas), and that the DVC members ‘complain more.’
Their solution was to move us from our lake view Moorea room to another building farther from the boat dock.  If you enlarge the map, the only other option was Pago Pago, since Tokelau wasn’t open yet.
(The map pictured was made by a cast member for front desk use in locating rooms on the Polynesian resort property).
Polynesian Hotel Building Map
Polynesian Hotel Building Map
This was very disappointing front desk customer service.  The buildings should have been re-built with much better soundproofing.
Polynesian Bungalows Sunset WM
Polynesian Bungalows at Sunset
We opted to forego sleep and stayed in the lake view Moorea room.  The views were amazing, especially the sunsets.  You could see the Grand Floridian to the left.  Looking forward, you see Cinderella’s Castle and Space Mountain across the lagoon.
TIP: ask for the top floor if you book a lake view room!
We were lucky to be on the third (top) floor.  In an impromptu balcony meeting with other guests on their balconies, they noted that the 1st and 2nd floor ‘lake view’ rooms had mostly views of the bungalows in front of them.  They really didn’t have lake views at all.


Here is my standardized rating of how Disney’s Polynesian Villas ranks with other hotels.

Hotel ratings: Disney’s Polynesian Villas, Studio. June 2015
6=exceptional (rare ranking)

NE = no experience

Price — 3
Hotel Location — 6
Front desk check in — 5
Polynesian Studio Murphy Bed and Living space
Polynesian Studio Murphy Bed and Living space
Room size — 5, large double bathroom
Room cleanliness / repair — 5
Style / design impression — 5
Bed comfort — 3, double bed for studio villas
Polynesian Studio Bed
Bath robe / slippers — no slippers
Quality of Toiletry amenities — 5
Views — top floor lake view rooms have great sunset and over-the-water bungalow views
Shower temperature/ water pressure — 5
Towels — fluffiness — 5
Towels — quantity — 5
Outlet plugs — 5
Sufficient Lighting — 5
Flooring type — c, w, t
  (c=carpet, w=wood, t=tile)
Lounge — for Concierge level Polynesian Hotel guests, there is the King Kamehameha Club in the Hawaii Building
King Kamehameha Club
King Kamehameha Club
King Kamehameha Club Food bar
King Kamehameha Club Food bar
Wifi — free
Food / restaurant — Ohana’s, luau, Captain Cook’s and the famous Trader Sam’s grotto
Staff Service — 3, front desk solution about boat noise
Pool — 5. Volcano rock pool with slide
Polynesian Pool with Play area
Polynesian Pool with Play area

The Main pool had a slide (closed for unexpected maintenance, so we didn’t get to try it).   You have a great view of the Magic Kingdom “Wishes” fireworks from the pool.

Polynesian Pool
Polynesian Pool
Parking — central lot
Polynesian lobby in Moorea building
Polynesian Upper lobby in Moorea building
Comments (and Tips!)

Just for my Blog readers, I have additional tips about the property that are not posted on other sites (Disney hotel reviews, TripAdvisor).

  • Sign up online for My Disney Experience.
    Have your Magic Bands shipped to your home.
    Do Online Check-In before arrival.
    You receive an email with your room number when your Villa is ready.
    Get your parking pass with the security guard at resort entry.
    Go directly to your room!  No need to stand in line at the front desk!
  • Problematic boat noise in all the DVC Buildings: Moorea, Pago Pago, and Tokelau, that are closest in the resort to the Transportation and Ticket Center boat dock.
  • Poorly soundproofed old buildings (mentioned above) now remodeled as DVC studios.  However, we toured the Bora Bora Bungalows, that are even closer to the water and the boats than the studios, and did not hear a single boat the entire time we were inside.  These were new construction, and properly soundproofed.
Polynesian Pool 2 WM
  • Another note: the resort is large, and it is quite a walk to the main ‘Ceremonial House’ building where all the restaurants are.
  • While the Polynesian is on the Magic Kingdom monorail route, from the DVC villas, it is closer to walk to the TTC boat dock and take the boat in to the Magic Kingdom.
  • Remember to ask for the top (3rd) floor room if you booked a lake view.  Otherwise, you’ll be looking at the Bora Bora bungalows.
  • See my review of this property posted on Tripadvisor (Level 5 Contributor)!

Have you stayed at the Polynesian?  What is your impression of the resort and rooms?

Please leave a comment below!


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