During our December trip, we had the wonderful opportunity to stay in Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort.
No, not in the overwater bungalows…but we were still quite excited.
Even though we have stayed at the Contemporary many times, we have always wanted to try the Polynesian, but since it has a slightly higher room rate than the Contemporary, we always just chose the Contemporary…especially since you can walk to Magic Kingdom from there.
But December was special because we headed down to Walt Disney World to partake in several activities and meetings with the WDW Magazine staff that we work with. Since there were so many of us, we were able to get a SWEET group rate that had us saying “When can we pay?” before you could snap your fingers. We couldn’t pass it up.
We stayed in the Aotearoa building on the first floor. Don’t ask me how to pronounce it. I love staying on the first floor, especially with a stroller and two kids. The upper floors may have a better view, but I’d rather skip 249384 elevator trips during a week stay.
Luckily, we had just a short walk to the main building, so we felt close enough to everything, without any of the noise.
The room is pretty much the same as the Contemporary, with plenty of space for our family of four.
Right as you walk in, there are two closets and a coffee/fridge station.
Where the Polynesian beats the Contemporary hands-down is the bathroom. The Polynesian had a long countertop, with plenty of space to put our stuff. At the Contemporary, there are two large sinks and an itty-bitty counter between them. We end up only using one sink because we put all of our stuff in the other one.
The Polynesian tub/shower was much larger and I had no water temperature issues. At the Contemporary, you go from cold to scorching center of the Earth in 2 seconds without touching anything.
Since we were on the first floor, we had a little patio area with chairs. The kids, however, loved that we could see the monorail zipping by! They were quite entertained.
So much space to walk around in the main living area…
There are 2 queen beds, a sofa, and a sitting area…
And a desk area and drawers.
Since it might be a while before we head to Hawaii, Bora Bora, Tahiti, etc. it was nice to get the vibe of being there…minus the 18 hour flight with two young children.
I also loved coming back to this audience after mousekeeping took care of the room. We don’t always get our room cleaned during our stay, but it’s nice when they put some special touches in there for you.
Upon our arrival, we were greeted with leis. I was sad they were fake, but the kids thought they were the best things ever.
Even Sheepy got lei’d!
After we checked in and put our stuff in the room, we then went out to the beach to watch the fireworks at MK. It was so convenient! Even better was that it was a night of a Christmas Party, so not only did we get to watch fireworks when we wouldn’t have been allowed in the park anyway, but it was Holiday Wishes, with more perimeter bursts…definitely fun to watch from a bit further back than on Main Street.
Having the bungalows certainly creates less of a view for those watching from the beach. Before, people could spread out over the entire beach area…but now, there is just a small area to the left of the bungalows that everyone was standing around in. I think it would help if Disney trimmed the trees on the island in the middle of Seven Seas Lagoon in order to see the Castle and lower fireworks.
After the fireworks, we walked right upstairs to ‘Ohana for dinner. It doesn’t get much easier than that. And since we only had a short walk to the room afterward, we took advantage with these.
Ohana is a great place for kids. Trent is a bit picky, so he had a special plate of kid food brought out, with chicken tenders and macaroni and cheese.
Although, he did think the Polynesian noodles were fun…
Aubrey, on the other hand, will eat what we eat and chowed down on noodles, chicken, salad bits, and more. Now if only she would leave her hair clips in, she might actually be able to see what she’s eating.
Ahhhh, the best part indeed.
The kids each got a special cupcake…good, more bread pudding for me!!!
In addition to Ohana, they have Kona Cafe. We’ve eaten there before, but not this trip. The main dish that most people think of is the Tonga Toast, but we cheated this time and bought it for half the price in Captain Cook’s downstairs and ate it in our room!
Captain Cook’s was also good for grabbing a quick meal before heading to the park. There aren’t a whole lot of options, but since we only ate there a couple of times, I wasn’t bored.
The splash/pool area for kids is now our favorite in all of the WDW…yes, even over Art of Animation, which is everyone’s favorite, I guess. The Polynesian had slides, a portion that was deep enough to be a pool for the little kids, zero entry for the babies, water guns and more.
Aubrey dressed for the occasion in her pineapple swimsuit.
I even convinced Trent to go down the bigger kid slide. He screamed at me and fought, but a good mom pushes their kid to do stuff that’s scary, right? No? Oh well, he did it and was super excited about it…I even coaxed him into doing it again, but he stuck to the small slide after that lol.
As we enjoyed our time at the pool, Brett walked over and got us some Dole Whips so we could enjoy them while the kids played in the water. Yum!
The view from the pool area isn’t so bad, either.
At checkout, we called to have help with bringing our bags to the car, and for the first time ever, we were picked up in a golf cart and driven to our car! Now THAT is the kind of service I could get used to!
I love being on the monorail…on more than one occasion, one of us went to MK on our own or stayed at the park longer than the other. Brett even took the kids to the Grand Floridian for lunch one day. It’s just so convenient, especially when you have kids. One night, we arrived to a particularly long line for the monorail, so we walked to the TTC instead…it was less than 10 minutes…and would be even less for the people that are on that side of the resort (we were on the opposite side, but some people could see the TTC from their rooms –> however, I hear those are the people that also have to deal with hearing the Ferry horns all day/night too, so pick and choose what’s important to you there).
The walk to our room from the TTC at night was so calm and relaxing…looking at the new bungalows and the Castle lit up in Dream Lights….and sleeping babies haha.
The one downside to the location of the Polynesian is that you can’t conveniently walk to Magic Kingdom. You can walk to TTC and then take a Ferry or Monorail, but we LOVE the Contemporary more than any resort for this fact alone…you can walk to and from MK in less than 15 minutes. No waiting in monorail or ferry lines at the end of the night…there’s just a different feeling of freedom that comes with knowing you can come and go without considering what the crowds are doing.
We really liked the Polynesian and the kids LOVED their water area. We wanted to rent a small boat, but the weather wasn’t so nice that day, so we opted not to, but that would have been another fun thing to do. I would definitely stay there again, especially with a group rate! Ha!