Disney's Polynesian Resort Review
About Disney's Polynesian Resort
"Mahalo," Tom, the resort's gate attendant, says as we drive up to the entrance. He checks the guest register then adds: "Welcome cousins." By the time we've turned over our bags to the bell staff, checked in, and made our way past the colorful orchids and coconut palms on the way to our room, we've heard "mahalo" and "cousin" enough times that my 6-year-old son thinks we have relatives here. I explain that these are the things cast members (Disney's term for staff) do to make people feel at home in this Polynesian themed place. And by the end of our stay, he is saying "mahalo" to people as well.
The 847-room Polynesian Resort was one of Walt Disney World's firsts, opening in October 1971 (along with the Contemporary Resort), to coincide with the debut of Disney's first Florida theme park: Magic Kingdom. The Grand Floridian followed in 1988, Wilderness Lodge in 1994. Now all four make up what is considered the Magic Kingdom area resorts. While all are in close proximity to Disney's flagship park, each has it's own distinct vibe.
The Polynesian is earth-tone casual to the crisp white (and slightly formal) elegance of Grand Floridian; warm to the Contemporary's cool; and spread out across 11 longhouse buildings instead of off one central soaring lobby as is the case at Wilderness Lodge. And speaking of spreading out, at 409 square feet, the Polynesian's standard guest rooms are the largest of all the Disney resorts (Wilderness Lodge standard rooms, for example, are 340 square ft.). While parents will appreciate the resort for its spaciousness, kids love the Polynesian for its volcano pool, meandering pathways and streams, (where you frequently spot lizards, rabbits, and ducklings), and sizable soft-sand beach.
Disney's Polynesian Resort Reviews
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