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Old 03-14-2013, 12:16 PM   #16
clareita
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My family of 5 will be at the Poly next month. Yes, we will all be in one room, but I love the Poly so much that I have no interest in AoA - even if it means more room. I looked at pictures and AoA just seemed visually loud. I don't want to go back to the hotel and feel like I'm in a Disney movie. It's great being in the Disney cocoon by staying on-site, but when I go back to the hotel, I want to relax. The lush landscaping, soothing decor in the rooms, as well as the ease of getting to and from two of the parks that you get at the Poly is very relaxing.
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Old 03-14-2013, 12:43 PM   #17
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Wow! Thanks everyone for the thoughts! Keep 'em coming!
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Old 03-14-2013, 02:21 PM   #18
kanadar
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My family and I have been going to Disney for a long time. I believe the first time we went I was 6 or 7 years old. We stayed at the Polynesian and have all been in love with it since then. I am 25 now so AoA was not around when I was younger BUT I don't think I would have missed it. The Polynesian is very nice and there is stuff that both kids and adults can enjoy.

Transportation is no comparison. Like many have said you have the monorail access at both the Great Ceremonial House, or TTC. Theres the boat to MK and of course buses to the other parks. My family and I tend to drive to AK no matter where we stay just because its so far away from all the resorts its quicker in and out. Our favorite longhouse is Tahiti which is the farthest from the great ceremonial house BUT the closest to TTC so its less than a 5 minute walk. We tend to try to avoid the buses because they seem to take a while sometimes. Yes they are constantly running but if they only have 2 buses running from your hotel and you JUST missed one, your sitting there for 15 minutes waiting. At AoA your only transportation is your car or the buses.
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Old 03-16-2013, 10:41 PM   #19
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Oh boy! This post reminds me one of one I put up not too long ago. I was in a similar dilemma. Do I stick to what I'm familiar with Pop Century Resort (Fun, colorful, large Icons & food court?) Or do I up grade, taking advantage of the spring room discount? I looked at pictures at AKL, and thought hey the kids love animals, pool looks nice, rooms looked pretty standard. Checked the reviews on here, many rave about it so what could go wrong? I booked AKL, big learning experience for our family. On this trip we missed the variety and size of the food court, the pool, so loud full of life (some people try to avoid this but we love it, it screams Disney fun to us. Anyway, I wish I would have known that this is something we actually prefer from Disney, well now we do... I can imagine AOA, the fun bright, entirely movie themed Suits, the separate bedroom for naps like you said. AOA hands down for me all the way.. Think about what you and your family would prefer to get out of this trip. Do you want more of a dark themed, subtle and tranquil resort? Than Poly is the better choice. If you guys prefer bright colorful, roomy, high fun and energy than AOA.. Talk about it with your family, knowing what they think when they imagine this Disney vacation may help you decide. Good Luck!!
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Old 03-17-2013, 09:49 AM   #20
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...and this is why we do split. I love the the loud Disney colorful in your face themes at the value resorts and their large food court with large varieties of selection and I also love the moderate/deluxe relaxing, green lush with hot tub, pool slide resorts. Either way.. you can't go wrong, but if you want best of both world, go with the split stay.
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Old 03-17-2013, 09:59 AM   #21
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My family stayed at the AoA in a family suite last year, and it was a fantastic trip. My kids were 11, 8, and 7, and it was their first trip to Disney. The resort is beautiful, and the suites were wonderful. It's not like the other value hotels at all. You have all interior corridors with the suite buildings, and everything is pretty close by. The walk to the main building and buses is really easy. You get so much space (565 square feet), two bathrooms, and a kitchenette with microwave and fridge with a small freezer section. We really loved having two bathrooms. It made getting ready in the morning a breeze. Having the second room for the parents was fantastic. If somebody wanted to nap, the rest of us could still do things in the room without worrying about disturbing them.

The deluxe hotels are great, too. This year we are going to stay at the BC. Last year the trip was all about the kids and them having a great first experience with Disney. This year we are staying club level and it's more about relaxation. The Poly was my other pick for a hotel this year, but I decided to go with the Beach Club because we really want a hot tub. Hopefully the Poly will get one soon! The one thing I will miss about the AoA is the separate bedroom. I'm not looking forward to all of us in one room, but we'll deal with it.

No matter which one you pick, you'll have a great time.
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Old 03-17-2013, 01:40 PM   #22
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We stayed at both our last trip :)

We are a family of 5 (kids 8,7,& 5) and all of us would recommend Poly over AOA, unless you have the inclination and time for a split stay.

We spent two nights at AOA Cars. The room was wonderful and we loved have a bedroom to ourselves. The pools were pretty small, but it was very chilly at the start of our vacation, so they weren't crowded. The walk wasn't bad, but seemed a bit longer from our building to the main one, than from Hawaii to GCH. Not terribly inconvenient and very immersive. It took more time for us because the kids were distracted by the cars!
We did not enjoy the set-up at the food court. The bays just don't work well for diverse tastes and young children. We ate pre-made sandwiches the first night-bleh. The "American" breakfast was AWFUL. Pancakes and biscuits were cold and hard, meat was cold, the potato casserole was an onion powder disaster, and eggs were disappointing. I think they need a central order/pickup system.
The feel of the resort is very active.

The Poly was wonderful. We splurged for Club Level and used it several times a day. We ate at 'Ohana for dinner-chaotic but the food was tasty. Had breakfast at Kona-everyone cleaned their plates I'm a Samoan fan and DH is dying for me to make macadamia butter for his pancakes. It was very busy in there, though, and neither is a must-do on any subsequent visit. Our other meals were in the parks.
Our room worked just wonderfully for our family. It would be nice to have 2 bathrooms, but we didn't have any trouble taking turns - no emergencies! We found the lighting very soothing, rather than dark and felt the quality of light was just fine when our drapes were open.
The grounds were also immersive, but in a calm way. You just didn't run into as many people and our long house was close to everything except TTC. The pool was never crowded and the slide was a huge hit with my kids.
After the kids crashed, DH and I would sit on the balcony and drink a couple of glasses of wine. We talked about the day, and what we were going to do the next. Such a nice way to unwind, and more fun than being ensconced in our bedroom at AOA.

We used all modes of transport available and had no trouble with any of them. DH loved the boats, kids loved the monorail, the buses were easy. I liked the choices!

Our kids never stayed up late enough to enjoy Wishes, but avoiding the crazy exodus from MK while still getting to see the fireworks is a big plus.

The Poly wins over AOA on the food options, transportation options, and had a relaxing vibe after the activity at the parks and restaurants. I really needed that balcony time!
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Old 03-18-2013, 01:12 PM   #23
jrmo
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What great comparisons! Thanks!
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