5 Things to Do at the Disney Polynesian Resort

5 Things to Do at the Disney Polynesian Resort

The best things in life are (almost) free. And at the Disney Polynesian Resort at Walt Disney World, everything feels carefree, laid back, and simple. With music in the background, smells of pineapple and coffee, and a beach just waiting for you, there really isn’t any place we’d rather be. But, never fear! You don’t need to fork over the 500 dollars a night required to stay here, to experience Disney’s Polynesian Resort. You can simply make the most of your visit instead.

Polynesian Resort and Villas at Disney World Resort

Visiting Disney’s Polynesian Resort

For us, Disney Resort Hopping has been one of our favorite ways to experience the resorts at Walt Disney World. It’s the easiest way to add more magic to your vacation, for FREE. As such we always try to visit the Disney Resorts, even when we’re not staying on property. Of  course, the Disney Deluxe Resorts are the most elaborate and always worth a visit. And the Disney Polynesian Resort is no exception. While we LOVE the atmosphere, restaurants, beaches and locale, it is simply too expensive most of the time to justify spending the money for a night in a hotel room. So, how do we cope? By visiting often. 

From eating Dole Whip at Pineapple Lanai, to giving ourselves a reason to get a mocha from Kona Island and lounge on the beach, there is plenty to do at Disney’s Polynesian Resort without staying there. Here are our Top  5 Things to add to your next visit to the Disney Polynesian Resort. 

Dole Whip Float Magic Kingdom Snacks

Grab a Dole Whip at Pineapple Lanai

Did you know you don’t have to have a park ticket to enjoy Dole Whip? Instead you can simply visit the The Polynesian Resort’s Pineapple Lanai. This little counter service window is located just next to the pool area. And, they sometimes offer seasonal dole whip flavors as well! As a result, you can grab a dole whip whenever you like. Whether or not you’re staying here. You can also get a Dole Whip Float, and sometimes even the one with rum! And yes, while it’s dangerous to have continuous access to dole whip, we kind of like it! Grab a treat, head into the lobby, or out to the beach, and just take in the island vibes. No park ticket, or resort reservation necessary! 

Disney Polynesian Resort Walt Disney World

Visit the Shops at the Disney Polynesian Resort

The shopping at the Disney Polynesian Resort offers some of the most unique options when it comes to Disney gifts. Mainly because it allows us to drown in the merch of Hawaii. Or rather it’s the kind of merch we think of when we think of Hawaii; coconut cookies, little plants, Hawaiian shirts, swimwear and more. We most love just browsing the shops, and of course, there are plenty of souvenirs here to grab if you’re looking to commemorate the visit. 

This resort is also one of only two locations on the property that carries the infamous Walt Disney World Coconut Souvenir. This is a big deal because you can mail this gift home to your family for 20 dollars flat. Just address it, and await the surprise from your loved ones back home. One, we really like this souvenir because it’s hand-painted, unique, and with a heavy-duty coat of deck lacquer that could make a nice tropical ornament to the landscaping. Two, you don’t have to try and fit it in your suitcase! Three, if you’re lucky enough to be at Disney your family probably already has all the things people need- like clothes, jewelry, and other things you’ll find in the gift shops. Why not grab something unique?


Head to the Beach at the Polynesian Resort

We go crazy about beaches! In fact we’ll usually visit resorts that have them just to give us a reasons to dip our toes in the sand. And the beach at the Disney Polynesian Resort is perfect. There are dozens of lounge chairs all facing the water, and Cinderella’s castle. There is also a hammock and music playing over the speakers by the pool. 

Grab a Specialty Coffee at Kona Island Cafe

Our favorite day is one where we visit the Polynesian Resort and grab a coffee from the Kona Island service counter. Filled with seasonal treats, you can also get a cupcake, or pastry to go with your coffee. Then we usually head out to the beach, and sip the afternoon away!

Watch the Electrical Water Pageant Parade

Another reason to head to the Polynesian Resort is that it is one of the few resorts that hosts the Electrical Water Pageant. This means you can simply head to the beach around 8:30 pm, sit back and watch the water pageant. This nighttime show lasts about 15 minutes and is such a treat to see from any of the lagoon resorts. And if you want to stay just a little later, you can even see the fireworks over Cinderella’s Castle in the distance. 

polynesian resort at walt disney world

Tambu Lounge Disney Polynesian Resort

Grab a Meal at The Polynesian Restaurants

While the restaurants at the Polynesian Resort aren’t free, at one point you will have to eat. So, why not make it at one of the best Disney restaurants on property? We love Ohana for the family-style character breakfast with Lilo and Stitch and dinner complete with Ohana’s bread pudding. And if you’re up for a Disney Lounge experience, head to Tambu Lounge for the Lapu Lapu- the classic drink in a pineapple with an umbrella, so you can feel like you’re in the islands. Another great restaurant at the Polynesian Resort is the Kona Cafe. Offering up mimosa flights and Tonga Toast, Kona Cafe for Breakfast is a Disney Must-Do. And if you’re looking for a budget-friendly dinner, Kona Cafe has a great menu and fabulous food! No matter which restaurant you choose you won’t be disappointed!

With so many options, you can plan on breakfast, lunch or dinner. The Captain Cooks quick service restaurant also has a refillable mug station, and seasonal cupcakes and desserts worth checking out. No matter what you’re in the mood for, the Polynesian Restaurants have just what you’re looking for. 

Ohana Polynesian Dinner sweet bread #ohana #disneyrestaurants

grand floridian to the polynesian walking path walt disney world

Find Hidden Mickeys at the Polynesian Resort

One of our favorite things to do at Disney World is to find Hidden Mickeys. And if you’re ready for a little exploring you’d be surprised at the amount of Hidden Mickeys you can find here. From the colored globes hanging in the lobby, to the stone work in the floor, you’ll be  seeing Mickey’s everywhere as soon as you start looking. Adding to a fun, lazy day at the Disney Resorts, this is one of our favorite things to do. 

Hidden Mickeys at Walt Disney World

Disney Polynesian Resort at Walt Disney World

There you have it! 5 Things you can do on your next visit to Disney’s Polynesian Resort. Remember, you don’t have to stay here to experience the best the resort has to offer. And if you’re a Disney Adult looking for more to do, be sure to check out  Trader Sam’s Tiki Terrace, which has not only drinks and small plates, but also live music in the classic island style. Walking paths across the resort, and it’s proximity to Magic Kingdom make this one of the best and easiest Disney monorail resorts to visit. Plus, if you add this stop to your Disney Resort hopping plans, you can just grab the boat at the dock back to the gates of Magic Kingdom. Making this an easy place to get to by monorail, walking path, or boat. Hopefully this post has given you some ideas of how to add Disney’s Polynesian Resort to your next trip. 

Co-Founder and Director at Polka Dot Pixie Co LLC | Website

Rochelle Mariah is a writer, designer and photographer with an MLIS in Information Science and a B.S. in Arch and Design. Determined to make Planning a DIY Disney Vacation easier she makes lots of lists and drinks lots of coffee. When not designing apparel at Polka Dot Pixie Shop, she's watching old movies and planning the holidays. She has been traveling to Disney destinations since 2010.

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