Polynesian, excellent choice. It was a bit too expensive for me this last visit to WDW but I did go there every other day it seemed. We were in Disney World for 13 days spanning from the end of July to the middle of August.
So, let's see....
So I have got 10 nights booked at the Polynesian Resort at Disney World with 4 nights booked at the Hard Rock Hotel at Universal. Has anyone got any experience of staying at these hotels and can they give feedback.
Can't help you on the Hard Rock Hotel, never been there, but maybe someone else has. I can help on the Polynesian though. What is it you would like to know? Room size? Amenities? Hotel services offered?
First stop: I would check out this link here to get an idea of what you're in for:
Explore that one a little bit. That's the public site for the WDW parks and resorts. I wish I could get you into the Travel Agent site as we have access to 360 degree views of the rooms and other neat resources. But I can't do that so this is your best bet.
If you have some specific questions about the resort after checking out that link I'd be more than happy to help answer them.
Now, as for my overall impression of the Polynesian:
BEAUTIFUL property. It's one of the two original Disney hotels that opened with the Magic Kingdom in 1971. The attention to detail is impressive and the property just recently got a new "mascot" as well which you will notice when you arrive.
If you have a rental car, the first thing you will see of the Polynesian resort itself will be the entrance gate which is themed after Polynesia and if I remember correctly there's some tikis at the gate. At the entrance to the resort is a covered drive area where you can temporarily stop to unload your luggage. Proceed forward to the main entrance of the hotel. As you look towards the doors, on either side of you will be very dense tropical vegetation, pools, etc, very lush and beautiful.
Enter into the Lobby and you'll be hit, first off, with a blast of cold, dry air. Which will be VERY welcome considering how humid Florida is. The lobby is gorgeous, real lava-rock has been used to enclose an area of tropical vegetation and a waterfall in the center of the lobby. And everywhere is the atmosphere and architecture you would expect from the Hawaiian hotels of old. It really is beautiful.
The lobby area, also called the Great Ceremonial House, is two stories tall. You can take an elevator to the second level and up there are two very nice eating places. The first, my favourite, is the Kona Cafe. You'll have to put your name on a list if you just show up to eat, but it's worth the wait. The food is delicious and you will notice that at the dessert counter is a big, all-chocolate sculpture of Lilo & Stitch. We met the creator of that sculpture and he said it took some 72 hours to create. Hopefully it will still be there when you go.
Service is extremely friendly. Food is pricey, but not alarmingly so. The desserts are of the quality you would find in a 4 star restaurant.
The other eating area in the Great Ceremonial House is "Ohana", and this place, you NEED to make reservations for a day or more in advance. It's very popular and very interactive. Basically, all of your food there is cooked in an open pit fire on skewers. Waiters will come around and display for you the food they have, and you can pick and choose what you want. It's all-you-can-eat. And there are no menus. It's about 25 dollars to eat a meal there but it's worth it imo. They also have delicious pineapple bread which you have to try! Try and save up for it and do "Ohana" once for dinner. You'll love it. They also have someone who goes around singing hawaiian songs as you dine too.
Now about that mascot I mentioned.....it's Stitch. the Polynesian Resort has adopted Lilo and Stitch as their official mascots. Which means that, quite a bit of Polynesian Resort souvenirs feature Lilo and Stitch on them. And in the main lobby area you will find a surfboard with the two of them on it as well. So, if you don't like Stitch, consider this a fair warning. If you do like Stitch, then that will be one more pleasant element to add to what is an outstanding property.
As far as rooms go, spacious and some offer a daybed as well. I can get you more detailed info if you require it. Keep in mind that you may have to walk a small distance from your room to eating places at the hotel. also note that by the Pool is Captain Cook's Snacks, basically a burger place but convenient if you're staying in one of the more distant rooms.
the grounds are breathtaking. Tropical vegetation and lanscaping an a fake sandy beach for you to relax on as well. And yes someone did have a bonfire going on the beach once while I was there too. I wouldn't have thought they'd do that there but they did.
But the most wonerful thing is the Luau. They have an AUTHENTIC Luau at the Polynesian, which you have to purchase tickets for (at about 40-50 dollars a person) which I think is wonderful. Well....the first part is a bit tacky but once they get into the cultural dances it's worth all the money you paid. The food is delicious, they serve that pineapple bread there too. Towards the end of the luau they bring out the fire dancer. He's amazing. When I attended the audience was simply captivated by this guy "playing with fire" as it were.
Please look into the Luau if you think you can afford it. It's worth the admission. Note: They do play some songs from the Lilo and Stitch soundtrack there. Another fair warning if you dont like stitch, or a heads-up if you do.
My opinion is that the Polynesian is the most beautiful, atmospheric and culturally rich property at Disney World. I'm biased of course because I love the whole "Hawaiian" thing, but I don't think you will be disappointed. It's one of Disney's best properties.
The price is high but it is a deluxe property. So you're getting a lot more here for your money than you would at a Disney Value resort like Pop Century or All Star Resorts (Sports, Music, Movies.)
My accomodations were at Disney's Port Orleans Riverside Resort, from July 29-Aug 3, and at Disney's Pop Century Resort from Aug 3 to Aug 10.
Opinion of these two: Riverside had beautiful grounds. Restaurants were only okay. Architecture was very impressive. Biggest drawback: the mansions are a maze. You can get lost very easily.
Pop Century was easier to get around but the grounds were only so-so. Instead you have giant icons from each decade which was really interesting. Walked under the big wheel at midnight. The big wheel is about 3 or 4 stories tall. It's by the '70s building. Rooms were smaller than Riverside and not as nice. HOWEVER, the maid service at Pop Century, and the food courts, were consistently better than PO
Riverside. The maids actually left fun towel designs behind in the room, like towel animals and mickey ears and such. That didn't happen at PO
Riverside. And if you have plushies in the room the maids may just arrange them so that they're watching TV
on your return. Pop Century was overall a friendlier, more fun property.
That's probably irrelevant to your stay, however.
If you have questions I can help answer just ask. In the meantime this may also interest you:
[Edited 2004-09-03 12:36:32]