Top 5 Things to Love about Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort

Several years ago I was lucky enough to spend a few days at Disney's Polynesian Village Resort (when it was still known and just the Polynesian) and I instantly fell in love. We're talking LOVE at first sight. In the years since that first stay I've returned several times for dining or drinks, and I'm still enamored by this resort.

Top 5 Things to Love about Disney's Polynesian Village ResortTop 5 Things to Love about Disney's Polynesian Village Resort

The first time I stayed at the Poly (I'm still going to call it that because quite frankly the new name is way too long), it was the smell of the lobby that pulled me in. Remember it? That musty-tropical water and plant smell? OK that description doesn't make it sound as great as it was, but trust me the smell of the lobby was the stuff of legend.

Thanks to the total refurb of the lobby a few years ago the smell is gone as is 1970s-era waterfall and tropical foliage, but I still love the lobby.

Relax in the lobby at the Poly!Relax in the lobby at the Poly!

So first on my list of things I love about the Poly is the lobby. When you walk in to the Great Ceremonial House on the ground floor you're greeted with an open area with ample seating. If you enter on the second floor from the monorail you're basically at eye level with the beautiful glass balls (that are meant to resemble fishing floats) hanging from the ceiling. These are my favorite design aspect from the refurb. You still get that tropical vibe, even without the waterfall and plants.

Love this design aspect in the Poly lobbyLove this design aspect in the Poly lobby

The second thing I love about the Poly is the location. Having stayed in many of the resorts on property, I'm a big fan of being really close to the Magic Kingdom. I might be a grownup but that's still my favorite theme park and if I'm just a Monorail ride away from the gates I'm a happy Mouseketeer.

I also love that you can hop on the Monorail and head to the Grand Floridian or the Contemporary or take a short walk over to the Transportation and Ticket Center to take the Monorail to Epcot. And let's not forget that you can see the Magic Kingdom's fireworks from the beach at the Poly. Plus if you're at the Magic Kingdom and you're looking for a respite from the crowds, hop on a boat for a ride to the Poly!

The marina at Disney's Polynesian Village ResortThe marina at Disney's Polynesian Village Resort

One thing I love to do whether I'm stay at the Poly or somewhere else is make an early morning visit to Captain Cook's for the best breakfast on property. Yes, I'm talking about Tonga Toast, which is the third thing I love about the Poly.

If you aren't familiar, Tonga Toast is banana-stuffed sourdough bread that is battered and deep fried and dusted with cinnamon sugar. Basically it's heaven on a plate. I have been known to take a bus from another resort to the Magic Kingdom and hop on a boat to the Poly JUST to eat Tonga Toast for breakfast. It is THAT good. Want to make Tonga Toast at home (who doesn't??)? Check out this recipe from our friends at the Disney Food Blog.

Tonga Toast - breakfast of champions!Tonga Toast - breakfast of champions!

Speaking of restaurants, the Poly is home to several great spots including Captain Cook's, Kona Cafe (the other spot for Tonga Toast), and 'Ohana. The great dining locations are the fourth thing I love about the Poly. 'Ohana is one of the must-do restaurants for first time visitors and it's a fan favorite for regular visitors too.

Breakfast at 'Ohana is a super-fun character meal with Lilo and Stitch, and it's a great way to start the day. Our friends at the Disney Food Blog even added it their #OnTheList series! Dinner is served family style and includes grilled meats, to-die-for noodles, pot stickers, and chicken wings. My favorite part of dinner at 'Ohana is the bread pudding - make sure you save room for it!

'Ohana Bread Pudding'Ohana Bread Pudding

If you're not looking for a full meal but you still want to enjoy some bread pudding you can order it at the Tambu Lounge, which is conveniently attached to 'Ohana. The lounge is also the perfect spot to enjoy a Lapu Lapu. This tropical drink is the only drink served in a pineapple at Disney World (fun fact). The drink is a mix of Myer's Original Dark Rum and fruit juices served in a hollowed out pineapple topped with Bacardi 151. It's an iconic drink that you just gotta try. I promise you'll be hooked!

The Lapu Lapu is a must!The Lapu Lapu is a must!

Speaking of pineapple, the number five spot on my list is all about pineapple - the Pineapple Lanai to be exact. This fun spot opened back in 2014 and it's the home for Dole Whip at the Poly. (Back in the day there was a self-serve Dole Whip machine at Captain Cook's but alas, it no longer exists). The Pineapple Lanai is outside the Great Ceremonial House, and there are some spots to sit while you enjoy your Dole Whip.

The selections here are simple: you can get a Dole Whip or a Dole Whip Float. Or both. ;-) I love that you can get a Dole Whip without needing a theme park ticket. And really, there's no such thing as too many Dole Whips.

Dole Whip Float for the winDole Whip Float for the win

And there you have it - the five things I love most about Disney's Polynesian Village Resort. I'm headed to Trader Sam's Grog Grotto next month so I'm sure I'll be adding that spot to this list! What do you love most about the Poly? Let us know in the comments.

Many thanks to the Disney Food Blog and Disney Hotels Fans for use of their photos.

What do you love about Disney's Polynesian Village Resort?What do you love about Disney's Polynesian Village Resort?

Kristin Cooke wrote on Mon, 02/06/2017 - 13:46:

Kristin Cooke's picture

My favorite thing about the Poly now is Trader Sam's Grog Grotto. I could hang out in that place for hours.

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