"Is the Polynesian resort worth all the extra money??" (warning, long and rambling!)

Discussion in 'Disney Resorts' started by SeaSpray, May 19, 2007.

  1. SeaSpray

    SeaSpray Disney World fan since 1976

    Jan 11, 2001
    Just a little warning, the below comments are long and drawn out (lol) and are my personal opinions and not meant to debate or argue with anyone else:

    Hi everyone :)

    I've had a ton of emails from people asking me if I still prefer the Polynesian resort, since I've recently gotten back from Port Orleans Riverside and have given it a thumbs-up. And is the price difference "worth it"??

    Well I purposely did not try to compare POR to the Polynesian because I feel there is no comparison and it wouldn't be fair to the POR to do so. However, since so many people have come right out and asked, I thought I'd post my opinions all in one place, and not in my POR thread.

    I'll start right out by saying "I've found my 'happy place' and it's at the Polynesian resort". :lmao:

    Seriously! LOL On my second to last day we had breakfast at the Kona Cafe (I got the awesome pineapple-macadamia pancakes), and then that was to be our day that my girlfriend and I (yay for a girls-only trip! lol) were going to go our separate ways for the afternoon; she LOVES AK and I LOVE MK. As we ate breakfast I found myself getting very impatient to just get outside at the Polynesian....

    I took my time walking through the lobby...I snapped a lot of pictures of the waterfall and some of the newer seating arrangements that were added since my last stay there 6 months ago...

    Then instead of taking the monorail over to the MK like I had originally intended to, I decided to walk out the back and take the boat instead.

    As I walked towards the volcano pool, I saw the new "lava" that was added to the top and snapped a picture of that... then I felt it; a little difficult to describe, but just one of those "ahhh, I'm HOME" feelings... :cloud9: :cloud9: :cloud9:

    I slowly walked towards the beach and I wanted to relax on a chaise lounge for a while and absorb some of the rays... :sunny: but since I wasn't staying there on this trip I sat in a regular chair near the pool bar instead (this area was entirely empty). I turned the chair to face the sun, closed my eyes, and felt relaxation as I hadn't felt in a LONG time... the sun on my skin...the sounds from the Magic Kingdom... the boats/ferries... the waterfall from the volcano pool... people/kids talking and laughing.... :cloud9: :cloud9: :cloud9: This feeling will never be duplicated at any other resort, so like I said, it'd be totally unfair to try and make comparisons.

    After about 15-20 minutes I took the boat to the MK and that was that. :boat: lol

    Anyway...where was I? Oh yeah....comparing POR to the Polynesian....lol... (kind of got lost in the memories of the Polynesian beach. lol).

    So all of that said, I have to say that Port Orleans Riverside genuinely surprised me; I did not expect such a beautifully themed resort, such impeccibly kept, beautiful and full landscaping, the attention to detail, etc. I guess I had forgotten that when Disney does something, they do it right.

    I absolutely missed being on the monorail and being close to the TTC for the Epcot monorail. I have rheumatoid arthritis and unfortunately I suffered the effects of it last week, even though I had tried to take it easy. It would've been great to be able to take the boat back to the resort in the middle of the day to relax for an hour, or for a short swim. At the Polynesian, that's not an issue, but knowing I'd have to walk to the bus stop, wait for the next bus (bus service at POR was excellent, by the way!) then get back to my room, change, and walk to the pool area, just wasn't worth the time or effort required, so I only swam once on this trip. When we stay at the Polynesian I do this on a daily basis. And often times, at night too. Another thing, in all honesty, the pool at POR didn't thrill me at all, so I really didn't have much of a desire to put all of the time and effort into getting back to the resort during the day. Just the opposite is true for the Polynesian; I LOVE being in the pool area there, and any time or effort to get there is worth it.

    So as far as the logistics are concerned, then I absolutely vote for the Polynesian. For someone like me who has walking problems, and who spends most of their time at MK and Epcot, you can't beat the monorail.

    As far as theming is concerned, I feel that POR is just as themed (albeit a totally different theme!) as the Polynesian is. Yes the Polynesian is a deluxe with new flat panel tv's, etc, but as far as actual theming goes, it's a tie.

    Now for the question, is the price difference worth it? To ME (again, due to my health issues and due to what *I* like to do while at WDW), I'd say YES, what I pay for the convenience, location, and atmosphere at the Polynesian is well worth it. And this past trip only makes me realize that even more so. As much as I loved POR, I really missed the Polynesian for all of the above reasons.

    If I did not have the issues that I have, then I'd say that POR would win the "value for cost" factor. I strongly believe that the moderate resorts at WDW give you the biggest bang for your buck. Period.

    As for the rooms themselves, I'd give this a tie, with the exception of the fact that the rooms (well, most of them anyway) at the Polynesian have balconies or patios. Both resorts' rooms are very nicely themed to the resort, both resorts had very clean rooms, and I had no problems or issues at all with housekeeping at either resort.

    Restaurant: The Polynesian resort has my all-time favorite restaurant on premises, so there's no contest, HOWEVER, I really enjoyed the food court at POR, and I dislike Captain Cooks at the Polynesian. In all fairness, I haven't tried the new Captain Cooks, so maybe I'd feel differently now.

    The POR food court was very well laid-out; you got your food choices from the different areas, then when you were done you went to a cashier (all of this was very close together, which I thought was good), and POR food court has a TON of great seating; there are 3 long walls with tables and chairs alongside, so you could often get a view of the river while you ate. It also offered some nice outdoor seating by the river.

    If you're a family that enjoys the food courts, you'll like the one at POR. :) I'm not a fan of food courts and I liked it :) If you like sit-down restaurants, I highly recommend the Kona Cafe for all 3 meals.

    I think that's all I have to say for now... I've been typing and rambling so I can't remember if there were any more points I wanted to make... :scratchin I think I covered everything.

    Any questions, please ask :)
  2. 2canadianfans

    2canadianfans Always in a Holiday Countdown !

    Dec 12, 2004
    Your great advice could not have come at better time for us ! We have only stayed at the Polynesian after our Disney cruises . Always same cabin and same resort.We have been tossing around the idea of a different venue for everything- cruise and resort ugh!! After reading about your walk around the grounds at the Polynesian and knowing exactly what you mean.. I likely could branch out and try a different cruiseline.. BUT... I am sure I would miss the quiet and relaxing stay of the Polynesian..thanks sharon
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  4. LukenDC

    LukenDC DIS Veteran

    Dec 7, 2004
    Thanks Terry for sharing your thoughts. I have yet to stay at a moderate resort and, knowing how much you enjoy Poly, I read your comments about POR with interest. The theming of POR does not interest me, but I would like to try CSR sometime.

    That said, I love the Poly and I am looking forward to going back in September. I know that a moderate or even the Swan/Dolphin is much less expensive, but for me the extra cost is worth it. The Poly is simply amazing!
  5. BostonRob

    BostonRob DIS Veteran

    Feb 9, 2005
    Nice write-up. Your comment about how when Disney does somthing, they do it right made me think about all the little details, like landscaping at the moderates, and that made me smile.

    That said, I couldn't disagree with your above comment more. It just goes to show that we all have different priorities. But I think the WDW moderates give you the LEAST bang for your buck.

    Personally, I'm a fan of the deluxes. I like location, I like dining choices that aren't food courts, I really enjoy a balcony, and I pretty much demand a bed bigger than a double. Oh, and I really don't like busses. Since those are my priorites, I like the deluxes, and I generally won't go to WDW until a deluxe is in the budget.

    But, if I wasn't going to shell out the money for a deluxe, I'd go value without a second thought. I can't see paying twice as much for a moderate when I'm still stuck in a double bed, when I'm still in a motel style layout with no balcony, and when my only transportation option is still a bus. As far as I'm concerned, the only thing a moderate gives me that a value doesn't is a sit-down restaurant. And that's nice, but I'm that's not worth twice as much $$ to me, not when there are so many restaurants nearby anyway.

    I'm not trying to tell anybody where to stay, but I thought my comments migh be helpful to somebody considering a moderate, who shares my priorities.
  6. sarah4770

    sarah4770 DIS Veteran

    Aug 8, 2005
    Hi Seaspray,
    I have stayed at both the poly and por, so I understand what you are saying. It is so funny. The last trip I was on, I stayed at the contemporary. But the Wl is my "home"., ( first resort I ever stayed at)., I took the boat over to the Wl, and found a corner near the beach and sat a while, then I went over to the villas, and wandered around the Iron spike room, sat on a rocker outside. Those couple of hours made my trip.
    Anyway, I am rambling too., but I understand you thoughts.
  7. PezDSpencer

    PezDSpencer ROCKY TOP

    Apr 19, 2007

    An excellent overview.

    I really think it comes down to what you want and expect out of a WDW vacation. We could do POP and go commando every day, but for our crew that isn't how we want to experience Disney.

    We've done POR and POFQ in the past. And while there is nothing wrong with them, we just didn't feel like it was the "full on Disney" vacation for us.

    As long as I have the means to do so ... we will stay at the Poly. There is that much difference, IMO.

    CRSNDSNY DIS Veteran

    Dec 4, 2002
    I really enjoyed reading your post.
    I totally understand and feel the same way (about different resorts) you do.
  9. Traveliz

    Traveliz DIS Veteran

    Aug 8, 2000
    Ahhh someone who thinks like me - if I am not staying deluxe (I also prefer the Poly) I prefer the values. The slide, hot tub and theming of the moderates are not worth their price. IF the mods had queen beds I would think differently.



    Sep 19, 2006
    It is so hard to make a decision on this matter. Just got back from POR & loved it. That being said, I've stayed at WL & loved that too & would really like to try the Poly. We had 3 meals there & still couldn't decide whether or not to keep our Sept ressies there. We have since cancelled. I was pleasantly surprized by POR & POFQ. Beautiful. I guess it does depend on what kind of trip you want. If I'm traveling with some friends & family & know that most of our time is spent in the parks, then the values are ok with me-they have a more "disney" feel to me. If it is just DH & I, & we know we would like some down time & maybe do some extra activities, then it makes sence to us to pay more. I'm still having this problem now. More than likely going in May with family. Maybe POP-or WL if they want to stay there too. Then I thought about maybe a split stay? The questions could go on & on. What I like in a resort: nice landscaping, cozy, quiet places to sit & relax, a full service resort would be nice & yes I really do enjoy a balcony. The monorail would just be icing on the cake. So is the extra $200 a pm worth it, ask me today I'll say yes, tomorrow I'll say no-what a mess!!!:sad2:
  11. Flametamr

    Flametamr <font color=red>I never thought about doing any ot

    Mar 18, 2007
    Okay I have only stayed in a moderate at Disney. But what is really the cost differance from value to moderate to deluxe ? Don't bother including the DDP I know the value of that. I have free dining this upcomming trip. Just for the record I love the theming at Poly and hope to stay there some day.
  12. Tam1067

    Tam1067 LOVES LOVES LOVES the Poly

    Mar 29, 2006
    SeaSpray, DH and I have stayed at both POR and now, with the kids, at the Poly, and I agree with everything you've said.

    We loved POR when we stayed there. It is beautiful, the theming is great, and the food court is very nice. We're also willing to pay more for the location because we have 3 kids, and taking a bus everywhere gets tiresome. We always go in the summer and always go back to our rooms for a break, so the Poly is much better for us.

    So for us, the Poly is "worth" it, but if we didn't have 3 kids, we'd likely choose POR instead.
  13. PezDSpencer

    PezDSpencer ROCKY TOP

    Apr 19, 2007
    Go to mousesavers for the particulars, but basically ...

    Standard room value season:

    Any Value: $82

    Any Mod: $145

    WL or ALK: $215

    CR: $259

    Yacht or Beach Club: $315

    Poly: $329

    GF: $375
  14. storzo

    storzo DIS Veteran

    Feb 6, 2007
    I am booked at CBR for 8/21-8/27 and just asked my TA about upgrading to Poly, the price I was given was $1,500.00 more. I don't know about the values or the other deluxes.
  15. SeaSpray

    SeaSpray Disney World fan since 1976

    Jan 11, 2001
    Thanks! :)

    You're right, we all do have different priorities, and for me, I have different priorities on different trips as well. For example, I factor in whether or not our DSs are with us, whether it's just my DH and I, or like on this past trip it's myself and a girlfriend sharing a room, etc.

    I couldn't agree with you more! :thumbsup2 The double bed worked out for me on this trip because I had the bed to myself.

    I guess we differ here; I think the relatively small price increase from a value to a moderate is worth it. Again, it's all personal opinions.

    I'm sure that your comments are very helpful for some people, I know that I really like to hear different sides and opinions on things. :)
  16. SeaSpray

    SeaSpray Disney World fan since 1976

    Jan 11, 2001

    I understand what you're saying. I think that one of the reasons why I really enjoyed the theming of POR is because I LOVE the entire left-hand side of the Magic Kingdom. In all of WDW, that's my favorite location, and POR fits in perfectly with that theme :) While it doesn't feel overly "Disney-ish", I loved CBR when we stayed there because I love the tropical/beach theme. I think that wherever you stay, if you connect somehow to the theme and get the "Disney" feel, then that's the right place for you :)
  17. HugsForEeyore

    HugsForEeyore <font color=coral>Heck with the rides, give me som

    Mar 26, 2000
    I also totally agree with your sentiments. I am at the point where I only do deluxes or values. Moderates are no longer worth the price to me, as they don't give any much more than a value, and I find my room is usually FARTHER away from everything in a moderate than a value. But I also understand the OP's love for POR - it's very pretty and relaxing! Love the boat to Downtown Disney. In the past, I think I would haved liked POR better if I could ever get a nicely located room, but that never seems to be my destiny there! :teeth:

    I am at the Poly on my next trip, so I can't wait to try it out! :)
  18. lynr

    lynr <font color=peach>How the heck were you missed!<br

    Sep 1, 1999

    You put my thoughts into words. That is exactly how I feel about the Polynesian!:thumbsup2

    We are staying at the GF in a couple of weeks RPC Deluxe room but I will miss the Polynesian, so much so that I had to book 10 days in December there.:cool1:

    Any place we've stayed on Disney property has been great but the Polynesian always pulls me back home.

  19. helloirishkitty

    helloirishkitty DIS Veteran

    May 14, 2007
    thanks for your thoughts and great description!

    the Poly has always been a "dream" resort for me. I always knew growing up that I'd probably never stay there until I had enough money to do it myself. Now that I'm semi-grown up and can afford it, I'm taking my mom there for four days just before christmas.

    POR is next on my list though, it's been a long time since I've been there :goodvibes
  20. teentoddlermom

    teentoddlermom DIS Veteran

    Sep 9, 2003
    Totally agree with Bostonrob about value and moderate differences. I'll stay either value or deluxe. Now if they would put 2 queens in a moderate, that would be worth the difference to jump down from a deluxe or jump up from a value!
    Of all the moderates, I am so dying to try POR/POFQ though! I've heard the landscaping and layout is beautiful, and it is good to hear about the good bus service. But for a family of 4 or 5 you would need 2 rooms. Then you're practically paying deluxe prices!
    Two rooms at a value dosen't hurt as much $$wise.
  21. cara loves the poly

    cara loves the poly DIS Veteran

    Aug 1, 2005
    I really enjoyed your post SeaSpray!

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