The 25-acre hotel, thickly planted and torch-lit by night, was one of the first two hotels built here, back when the South Pacific tiki craze was still swinging. The longhouse-style thatched-roof complex remains one of the most transporting of the Disney resorts, and it just underwent a major renewal. Only the most expensive rooms have a view of the Magic Kingdom across the Seven Seas Lagoon (swimming in it is not allowed, but the pool area is huge and lush), but most have greenery views.
The Polynesian is a notch above for families as the monorail is steps away and rooms are on the big side, sleeping five. An easy favorite. The downside is availability: Several buildings have been allocated as Disney Vacation Club “Studio” units, reducing the standard room count by several hundred, so it’s harder than ever to enjoy this hotel now. When available, those studios cost about $20 more than a standard room but include a minifridge and a microwave. Make a detour off the lobby for Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto, one of the coolest cocktail bars in town.