Take Me To: Polynesian Village

May 19, 2019

If you asked me to rate my top 5 resorts, Polynesian Village is 100% in the top 5, battling it out with the Grand Floridian for the coveted number 1 spot. Although I have yet to stay here, I’ve visited numerous times. The Polynesian is such a fun resort to explore and has so much to offer, and in my opinion, it has some of the coolest architecture and design out of all of the Disney resorts. 

It’s themed around the South Pacific and tiki culture, a popular trend back in the mid 20th century, and you know my vintage loving heart is so into that. If you like tiki/Hawaiian themes and mid-century modern design, you will fully appreciate this resort.

The Poly was one of the first & original resorts to open at WDW, back in 1971 (what, you couldn't tell just by the orange & brown color scheme?)

Though unfortunately today, you won't find anything even remotely close to prices of the 70s, which ranged (accordingly to my excellent sources via Google) from $28 to $44 per night. Guys, you can't even eat on Disney property these days for $28! The times they are a changin.

When you first walk up to the Grand Ceremonial House (that's Disney-speak for the main hotel building), you're greeted by lush, tropical foliage, stunning water features, and the iconic tiki god Maui, who watches vigilantly over the lobby & silently judges your double-fisted dole whips, Hawaiian Dad-shirts, and hipster fanny packs (excuse me - "belt bags"). Kidding - we all know if you're visiting the Poly, multiple dole whips (often in one sitting) is kind of a rite of passage. The Hawaiian shirt and fanny pack though....

I love the design of this lobby so much. It has a major open air feeling, with the high ceilings, skylights, and abundant greenery. And then there's the smell that fills the entire lobby. Disney is well-known for pumping in scents & using that tactic to completely envelope you in your surroundings and transport you to another place or time, and the Poly is no exception. People have tried for years to replicate that green aloe/citrus mystery scent in candles and bath products, and while some have come extremely close, no one can duplicate it exactly (but that's the magic of Disney, after all).

(Insert smell-o-vision here)
One of the huge draws is that Poly is on the monorail line, so Magic Kingdom & Epcot are just a short ride away. The grounds are beautiful and there’s a gorgeous sandy beach just a short walk from the Great Ceremonial House (pro tip: you can watch the Magic Kingdom fireworks from here). The Poly also boasts 2 gorgeous pools - the main Volcano pool, and a much more relaxing Oasis pool. 

If swimming isn't your thing, the Poly also has plenty of other activities including several restaurants & bars:
  • Ohana (character dining - skip breakfast & opt for dinner)
  • Spirit of Aloha dinner show (luau)
  • Captain Cooks (quick service - get the thai coconut meatballs!)
  • Kona Cafe (tonga toast & a mimosa flight or it didn't happen)
  • Pineapple Lanai (for your 3rd dole whip)
  • Trader Sams (undoubtedly the best bar in all of WDW & a tiki bar to end all other tiki bars)

I love coming here to wander the grounds & channel my inner dole whip, which was exactly what my inspiration was for this look.
Ruffle Hem Mini-Dress: Amazon | Pineapple bag: TJ Maxx (old) but similar here

I initially found this striped dress on Amazon and thought the yellow color was pretty. Plus, it's under $25 and ya girl loves a bargain. Initially, I didn't have anything special in mind for it, outside of wearing it for some family photos. Truth be told, when I first tried it on, I wasn't even crazy about it, but that probably had more to do with the fact that it had more wrinkles than a shar pei when I took it out of the zippered plastic pouch it came in and less to do with the actual construction of the dress.

Once I steamed it, its playfulness really began to shine. It's incredibly flowy and flirty, and the yellow and white stripes reminded me of dole whips (& 1960s pool cabanas. Pools = vacation = tropical = Polynesian. Boom). So I went with it.

I added a pineapple bag and extra poof to my signature side-swept 'do for some 1960s flair and that's honestly it. I could have jazzed it up with more themed accessories, but I didn't want to overdo it. The dress is so cute on its own that it really didn't need much else, except maybe an actual dole whip (or 3. Maui can judge me all he wants.)

More bag options here (if you like glitter) or here (if you like Prime & palm prints)

And if you're craving a little taste of Poly but find yourself miles from the magic, run (don't walk) to Target's Dollar Spot. They have the cutest tiki stuff right now! Grab yourself a couple of tiki mugs and leis and throw a party! You can even make your own boozy dole whips using this 1-2-3 recipe!

If you've never visited the Polynesian, make it a priority. Here's my mini-plan for a quick (or not-so-quick) stopover at Poly:

  • Come in the morning for breakfast at Kona (again - Tonga Toast is the only way to go), grab yourself a coffee from Kona Island (the coconut latte is perfection), and then explore the lobby. Sit in the chairs, marvel at Maui, maybe get lei'd by the front desk (they will if you ask nicely!). Be sure to stop by the glass case near the bathrooms on the first floor and check out all the vintage memorabilia - it's really interesting stuff!
  • Be a pretend-guest: read a book in one of the oversized lobby chairs or sit on the beach & listen to a podcast (peep that castle view!)
  • Ride the monorail loop around Bay Lake (it stops at MK, Grand Floridian, and the Contemporary)
  • Come back to Poly hungry and have dole whips for lunch at Pineapple Lanai
  • Imbibe at Trader Sams and stay a while - the drinks are interactive, so you never know what you might see!
  • Grab dinner at Ohana
  • Watch the Happily Ever After fireworks from the beach
Whatever you choose to do, this resort has something for everyone & is sure to put you in the Aloha spirit!

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