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Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows [In-Depth Overwater Bungalow Review]

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Carissa Rawson
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Carissa Rawson

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Carissa served in the U.S. Air Force where she developed her love for travel and new cultures. She started her own blog and eventually joined The Points Guy. Since then, she’s contributed to Business ...
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I recently went on a trip with other members of the Upgraded Points team to check out Walt Disney World and all the many amenities it offers (who am I kidding, I go to Disney World even when it’s not a work trip).

Although our accommodations were taken care of during the work trip, I wanted to extend a few days — after all, who doesn’t love to spend more time at the Mouse House? That led me to the crown jewel of Walt Disney World Resorts: Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows. If you’ve ever been to Disney World, you’ve probably seen these accommodations — they’re the 20 or so overwater villas visible from Magic Kingdom.

With a little bit of magic, I was able to book a stay here for less than half the normal price. At that rate, how could I say no?

Read on to see how my stay went.

Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows Location

Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows is located inside the Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.

It’s actually located within Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort and shares all the same amenities, though the Villas & Bungalows section is where Disney Vacation Club members stay.

The Polynesian is 1 of 3 properties on the monorail line, which connects the hotel to Disney’s Magic Kingdom and the Transportation and Ticket Center (TTC), which continues to EPCOT.

If all this sounds like gibberish to you, don’t worry. Suffice it to say that the Polynesian is located very near the Magic Kingdom and boasts convenient links to the other 3 Walt Disney World parks.

Booking Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows

I’ve already referred to Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows as the “crown jewel” of Walt Disney Resorts. Predictably, this comes with a price tag. And long story short, these rooms are prohibitively expensive. Like, we’re talking over $3,500 per night expensive.

While they’re certainly nice, it’s almost impossible to justify paying so much money, especially since there’s really only 1 way to redeem points for a stay. They’re also almost impossible to book since there are so few of them and Disney Vacation Club owners get first dibs at reservations.

Polynesian booking unavailable
I couldn’t even find an available night to show you the price.

Such is why I’ve never even stayed at the Polynesian, let alone in a bungalow.

However, a casual perusal of room availability shortly before my trip led me to an astonishing find: 2 last-minute nights in a bungalow for half off using rented Disney Vacation Club points.

For those who are unfamiliar with Disney Vacation Club, it’s Disney’s timeshare system. To participate, one buys into the program and in turn has access to rooms at Disney resorts. However, if a member is unable to use their points for a booking, they can also opt to rent out or lend those points to someone else.

This is where I come in.

I used the DVC Rental Store to make this booking, which is one of many sites that offer DVC rentals. Since this was a confirmed reservation (you can also make requests), the process to book was fairly simple. I sent in the deposit, signed the contract, and paid for my stay. DVC Rental Store took care of everything on the back end.

Polynesian resort DVC booking
Image Credit: DVC Rental Store

My total cost came out to $3,808. I know that that’s a ridiculous sum of money for 2 nights. But in all fairness, I did score a 2-bedroom villa with 2 bathrooms, a kitchen, a living room, a private pool, and the ability to sleep 8 people.

I wasn’t sure how this booking would appear on a credit card. Is the DVC Rental Store coded as travel? To be safe, I used my Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card to pay the bill.

The card earns 2x Capital One miles on all purchases, which means I netted 7,616 miles.

We value Capital One miles at 1.8 cents each, so I earned roughly $137 worth of rewards by using my card.

Bottom Line:

I saved more than 50% on my booking by renting Disney Vacation Club points from a third-party service.

Checking In

Although I had booked the nicest room on the property, there wasn’t any sort of special area for check-in. Instead, I made my way down to the lower level of the lobby, where cast members with iPads helped me with the process.

Unlike other properties, Disney doesn’t allow check-in until 4 p.m. I mistakenly thought it was at 3 p.m. and showed up then. Although our room wasn’t ready yet, we still received our keys and registered our MagicBands so that we’d be able to get in once 4 p.m. arrived. We also got our complimentary leis.

Our room ended up being ready at 3:30 p.m., which was nice. Less nice was the fact that none of the keys or the MagicBands worked. Eager to enter, we used the digital key available on our phones to get into the room.

Amenities

I will freely admit that I spent almost no time using the Polynesian’s amenities. With my own private bungalow, why would I? That being said, there are some pretty cool things to check out if you’re interested.

Pools

There are 2 main pools at the Polynesian, one of which (Lava Pool) has a volcano and a waterslide.

Disney Polynesian pool
This pool was practically always busy.

The other (Oasis) was much smaller and oriented toward adults, which meant it was less crowded.

Disney Polynesian Oasis pool
Ahh, nice and quiet.

Beach

The Polynesian offers a man-made white-sand beach, and it’s quite pretty to look at. However, access to the adjacent lake is not allowed. Instead, there were many signs warning of alligators. This is probably the reason I didn’t see many people spending time on the sand.

Disney Polynesian beach
It still looked pretty, though.

Resort Activities

The resort offered a number of daily activities to partake in, which included s’mores making, movie watching, and pineapple painting.

Disney Polynesian daily activities
Again, I did none of these.

Resort Transportation

Since this is a Walt Disney World property, you’re probably wondering how transportation to the parks works.

The Polynesian has its own stop on the resort monorail line, which includes Disney’s Contemporary Resort as well as Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. It’s also smack-dab in the middle of these properties, which means you’ll always need to make at least 1 stop when using the resort monorail.

If you’re near the edge of the property, like we were, you can also use the walkway to reach the TTC. This allows you to take the express monorail to Magic Kingdom or EPCOT. There’s also a ferry.

If you’re near the main pool area, you can also opt to take the Polynesian’s dedicated boat service over to Magic Kingdom, though it does make a stop at the Grand Floridian.

Hot Tip:

Take advantage of the Polynesian’s boat service for an incredible view of the fireworks at night!

Water Activities

If you’re so inclined, you can opt to rent a boat and zoom around the Seven Seas Lagoon. You can also go for a fishing excursion if that’s your thing.

Parking

Those who are driving will be glad to know that parking is free. If you’re staying at the resort, you can also drive to any of the 4 theme parks and park for free there.

Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi is included with your stay for free.

Theme Park Benefits

It’s worth noting that Disney gives its best benefits to those who are staying at its resorts. In addition to some awesome theming, resort guests also get these exclusive park perks:

  • Early theme park entry
  • Access to the Disney Dining Plan
  • Early access to restaurant reservations
  • Complimentary access to Disney water parks (starting 2025)
  • Early access to virtual queues

The Bungalow

It’s difficult to exaggerate how much I loved this bungalow. I’ve spent my fair amount of time in great resorts and great rooms, but there’s just something special about staying in a Disney resort.

Disney Polynesian bungalow walkway
Getting to the bungalow involved entering a separate gate.

Objectively, the villa is absolutely overpriced, even though it has some nice features. However, the intangible benefits it provided made the stay worth it to me.

Disney Polynesian bungalow
Our villa was near the Ticket and Transportation Center.

The villa we ended up in was very near the TTC, which meant it was relatively far from the rest of the resort. So far, actually, that it was faster to walk to the TTC to grab the monorail than it was to head back to the main lobby and grab the monorail from there.

This was both good and bad — I appreciated that we had easy access to the express monorail to Magic Kingdom, but it also meant we missed out on some of the “magic” of staying in a monorail resort.

Note that there was a lot of technology in these villas, and if you’re like me, you may have missed the instructions for how to work everything on the first day. Take a screenshot of this guide.

Disney Polynesian bungalow user guide
This pamphlet proved to be very important.

Bedrooms

The bungalows at Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows will sleep 8 people total in 2 bedrooms. Sleeping arrangements include a king-sized bed, a queen-sized bed, a queen-sized Murphy bed, and 2 twin-sized pull-down beds.

The primary bedroom in the bungalow included a king bed, access to the deck, and an en suite bathroom. The tones throughout the resort were consistent with the Polynesian theme, especially the emphasis on dark wood.

Disney Polynesian master bedroom
The primary bedroom also had a desk.

Although the photos make it look pretty dark, there was more than enough light — especially when you factor in Florida’s sunshine.

Note that the bungalows are located very close to each other. Without the blinds down in the primary bedroom, I had a direct view into the windows of the neighboring bungalow.

The second bedroom had a queen bed and was located closer to the front of the bungalow, with its only window facing the front deck. This isn’t a problem in theory, but the inability to turn off the front deck lights at night meant that the room was never dark.

Disney Polynesian master bedroom
The twin-sized pull-down bed was under the TV.

It also seemed like the room’s plumbing system was in this room, or at least very near it. Several times we heard very loud vacuuming noises emanating from one of these doors, even at night.

Bathrooms

There were 2 bathrooms in our bungalow. One was attached to the primary bedroom and included a Jacuzzi tub, a separate shower, and a TV in the mirror.

Disney Polynesian bungalow master bathroom
The Jacuzzi tub filled up really fast, which I appreciated.

The second bathroom was located off the hallway and was accessible to other guests in the bungalow.

Disney Polynesian 2nd bathroom
This bathroom was a better representation of a typical Disney resort bathroom.

Since it was designed to be used by multiple people, the toilet and shower areas were separate.

Disney Polynesian 2nd bathroom
There was plenty of space in this bathroom.

Both bathrooms came equipped with Disney’s signature amenities, including lotion, mouthwash, shampoo, conditioner, a vanity kit, and a shower cap.

Disney Polynesian toiletries
People go nuts for this stuff.

Just outside of the second bathroom was the stacked washer and dryer, which is great for anyone who likes to pack light.

Disney Polynesian washer dryer
In-room laundry is always a plus.

Living Area

As you’ve probably already realized, these bungalows are big. Along with the 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, there was also a generously sized living room in addition to a kitchen and a dining room.

Disney Polynesian living room
The Murphy bed was behind the couch.

If you’re staying with a full contingent, you’ll likely also want to take advantage of the extra beds, including the pull-down twin, which was cleverly located just under the living room TV.

Disney Polynesian pull down bed
Comfier than you’d expect.

The kitchen was fully equipped, which is great for cooking during your stay. Since we had just 2 nights, we mostly ended up using cups rather than dishes.

Disney Polynesian kitchen
The dining room table was designed for 6 people.

Deck

There’s no denying that the deck is the pièce de résistance of these bungalows.

Disney Polynesian deck
Room for a party.

There was plenty of seating, including a table for 4, 2 sun loungers, and even 2 swinging chairs. Along with all the space, you also get, you know, your own pool.

Disney Polynesian bungalow pool
Featuring the world’s largest pool.

While this was really cool in theory, the pool wasn’t heated and didn’t feature much of a cleaning system. I dipped a toe in, but in February it was a little too cold to enjoy. By the second night of our stay, it also had a thin layer of dead bugs on top with no net for us to clear them.

All of these complaints pale in comparison, however, to the best feature of the deck: the view. It can be a little hard to tell from these photos, but the bungalows feature a flawless view of Magic Kingdom. And I mean flawless.

Disney Polynesian fireworks view
Don’t mind if I do.

How many people have you had to elbow while watching fireworks at Walt Disney World? Leave those memories in the past if you’re staying in one of these bungalows — you’ll get to enjoy the fireworks from the privacy of your deck. Even better, every deck has a speaker that pipes in the music for the show.

Be aware, though, that there’s not much noise privacy out on these decks. Since you’re over the water, sound carries — and that’s doubly true for the horn of the ferry, which blares every 20 minutes.

Food and Beverage

The Polynesian is home to a few fan-favorite establishments, including Trader Sam’s and ‘Ohana. For the sake of this review (kidding, I was actually just hungry), I tried most of them out.

Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto

If you haven’t heard of Trader Sam’s, you’re really missing out. This tiki bar is hugely popular and doesn’t take reservations. Instead, guests must queue up and put their names on a list to get inside.

Disney Polynesian Trader Sams
Lots of decorations.

Once inside, you can order a variety of different beverages, many of which offer collectible cups. There’s a lot of noise, a lot of music, and a lot of playing around from the staff. If you can get in, the experience is well worth it.

Trader Sams drinks
I only add the most flattering photos.

Trader Sam’s is open daily from 3 p.m. to 12 a.m.

Pineapple Lanai

How many of you have stood in line for a Dole pineapple whip? We need to talk about Pineapple Lanai.

Disney Polynesian Pineapple Lanai
Sooo crowded.

It’s the only place outside the parks where you can get a Dole whip. And guess what else? You can make them alcoholic.

Alcoholic dole whip float
Please don’t make me drink this Dole pineapple whip float with rum in it, I beg of you.

Pineapple Lanai is open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. each day.

‘Ohana

‘Ohana is the Polynesian’s most popular sit-down restaurant and another fan-favorite. I ate here for both breakfast and dinner, and can confidently say that the breakfast is better.

Disney Polynesian Ohana entrance
‘Ohana got pretty busy in the mornings.

Breakfast

At both meals, you get all-you-can-eat food served to your table.

During breakfast, however, you also get a chance to interact with Disney characters, including less-common faces such as Lilo and Stitch.

Carissa Joni Ohana breakfast
We were not prepared for this.

Since the food is served tableside rather than via buffet, you’ll just get a big pile of it. You can ask for more if you’d like.

Disney Polynesian Ohana breakfast
All of this was delicious.

The restaurant was crowded in the mornings, but everything was super fresh.

Meal prices at ‘Ohana are fixed: Breakfast runs $49 per adult and $30 per child. Opening hours are from 7:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. 

Dinner

Ohana dinner menu
You’d better believe I ordered a cocktail in a fresh pineapple.

Dinner at ‘Ohana is also all-you-can-eat, with wings, shrimp, broccoli, noodles, bread, dessert — everything you can imagine, really.

Disney Polynesian Ohana lunch
Very tasty.

If there’s anything additional you’d like, you can simply request that item specifically — you don’t have to get more of everything.

Disney Polynesian Ohana lunch dessert
Yes, I’ll have more, please.

If there’s 1 note I’d make about the dinner at ‘Ohana, it’s that it’s very sweet. I love sugar as much as the next person, but it felt like the entire meal was a dessert. I don’t necessarily want sweet broccoli …

Dinner at ‘Ohana runs $62 per adult and $40 per child. Opening hours are from 3:30 to 10 p.m. daily.

Captain Cook’s

Disney Polynesian quick service
It was almost never busy.

Captain Cook’s is the Polynesian’s quick-service restaurant. The food here was OK — I had nachos that were decent, but sweet (again).

The main draw for Captain Cook’s is that it houses the drink refill stations. Those who are interested can buy a resort-refillable mug for $20. These mugs can be used as many times as you’d like for 14 days after purchase, whether you’re drinking coffee, soda, or water.

Captain Cook’s is open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. each day.

Kona Cafe

I didn’t eat here, but the cafe/sushi menu certainly looked interesting. Here’s a look at the daily opening hours:

  • Breakfast: 7:30 to 11 a.m. 
  • Lunch: 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. 
  • Dinner: 5 to 10 p.m.

Tambu Lounge

If you’re looking for a place to have a drink but don’t want to wait for Trader Sam’s, Tambu Lounge is the place to go. It’s got much of the same food as ‘Ohana and much of the same drinks as Trader Sam’s, without the need to wait in line.

Tambu Lounge is open from 8:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. each day.

Service

I spent most of my time in my bungalow, so didn’t have a whole lot of experience with service at the resort. However, I’d like to note that the servers at ‘Ohana were incredible and it was clear they take a lot of pride in their job.

I also had a weird experience in the lobby when I returned to get my keys and MagicBand reset since they weren’t set up properly the first time.

The cast member helping us out was weirdly condescending and didn’t seem to believe that the keys didn’t work. I assured her that 3 different keys and 2 MagicBands were all tried, none of which opened the door to our room. She begrudgingly reset them.

Final Thoughts

I thoroughly enjoyed my stay at Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows. I enjoyed it so much I even considered attempting to buy in to Disney’s Vacation Club, just so I could do it again.

Did the room justify the price? In terms of luxury, it certainly didn’t. This is the case with all Disney hotels; you’re paying for the convenience, the accessibility, the perks, and — dare I say it — the magic. Was it worth it to me? Absolutely!

The information regarding the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you walk from Polynesian to Magic Kingdom?

Yes it’s possible to walk from the Polynesian to Magic Kingdom, though it takes about a half hour and winds you past the Grand Floridian.

Is Disney tearing down Polynesian Resort?

No, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort is not being torn down. While some portions of the resort did close, this was to gain room for a new wing of guest rooms that is being built.

Does the Polynesian Resort have a lazy river?

Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort doesn’t have a lazy river. However, the Lava Pool does feature a waterslide for guests to enjoy.

What kind of hotel is Disney's Polynesian Villas & Bungalows?

Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows is a deluxe property located within the Walt Disney World Resort. This means it’s one of Disney’s nicest — and that’s easy to see with the quality of the resort.

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About Carissa Rawson

Carissa served in the U.S. Air Force where she developed her love for travel and new cultures. She started her own blog and eventually joined The Points Guy. Since then, she’s contributed to Business Insider, Forbes, and more.

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