Staying in a Disney Hotel or Resort provides one of the best perks of a memorable visit to the Magic Kingdom. Now, one of Disney World’s original and most beloved properties, the tropical Polynesian Village Resort, has undergone a fabulous make-over. Anyone who enjoyed the resort in past will find the improved version even better.
Disney’s 20 new luxury bungalows at the Polynesian have become the choicest place to stay in Orlando. Think Bora Bora meets Disney World. The individual lodges hover over the water of the Seven Sea Lagoon and command prime views of Cinderella’s Castle and the nightly fireworks show. While I assume the fish I saw swimming in the lake were real, you can never be sure when Disney Imagineers are fooling you.
Each two-bedroom, two-bath bungalow incorporates authentic South Pacific styling and provides privacy for up to eight guests. You’ll find a full kitchen with coffee maker, microwave, toaster, stove, oven, refrigerator, dishwasher and volcanic rock-inspired countertops.
The comfy high-beamed living room sneaks in a queen-size sleeper sofa, one pull-down bunk-size bed and glass doors that open up to the back deck with a side extension that incorporates two hanging wicker chairs. I’d call it the ideal environment to kick back in from a long day at the theme park.
The master bedroom contains a king-size bed and enormous (and gorgeous) bathroom with a very cool in-mirror TV. Where else but Disney could you look up while brushing your teeth and watch Frozen’s Elsa and Anna dance on the mirror?
The second bedroom presents a queen-size bed plus a pull-down bunk-size bed. The additional bathroom is separated into two sections so one can act as a powder room and the other a full tub/shower and vanity facility.
The back deck is my favorite spot with tropical hanging lanterns that span the space. The best part: a plunge pool. Yes, your very own little pool to sit in, rest those tired feet and watch the kingdom go by. When it’s fireworks time, the patio speakers are designed to play the soundtrack in sync with the Magic Kingdom Show.
The resort’s re-imagined look also included the lobby of the Great Ceremonial House with a large welcoming Tiki statue. Designers also renovated the main swimming pool. As with all Disney properties, informal and fancier restaurants are available onsite. A long running favorite, Disney’s Spirit of Aloha Show, will continue to enchant family members with luau cuisine and authentic Polynesian dancing.
Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto, based on the character from the Jungle Cruise, opened with instant success. You’ll likely have to wait for a table or sit on the adjoining outdoor patio. The themed lounge serves handcrafted Tiki cocktails in souvenir mugs, as well as small plate snacks. The bewitching specialty of the house, the flaming Uh-Oa cocktail, slides down very easily. However, beware: The Tiki Goddess of disaster looks down upon those who guzzle in the Grotto.
The resort longhouses have an additional new 350 deluxe studio rooms, some not yet completed. The rooms can sleep up to five with a queen bed, pullout sofa bed, and fold-down twin bed. A kitchenette with mini-fridge and microwave is handy and saves time for breakfasts and quick meals. The resort also includes traditional hotel rooms with island-themed decor.
The studios and bungalows are part of the vacation-ownership program, but you don’t have to be a member of the Disney Vacation Club to book them. Before making reservations, however, beware of the nightly rates on the bungalows. For those who can afford the Disney vacation, may all your wishes come true.
Debi Lander was hosted overnight by Disney World at their Coolest Summer Ever Premiere.