The best things in life are (almost) free. At the 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 there, to experience this resort.
Visiting Disney Polynesian Resort
For us, Disney Resort Hopping has been one of our favorite ways to experience the resorts, whether or not we’re staying there. And Disney’s Polynesian Resort is no exception. While we LOVE the atmosphere, restaurants, beaches and locale, it is too expensive most of the time to justify spending out Disney dollars. 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. Here are our Top 5 Things to add to your next visit to the Disney Polynesian Resort.
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’s Pineapple Lanai. You can grab a dole whip whenever you like. Or a Dole Whip Float, and sometimes even a specialty flavor. And yes, while it’s dangerous to have continuous access to dole whip, but we kinda 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!
Visit the Shops at the Polynesian Resort
The shopping at The Polynesian Resort is some of the best 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. 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
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 Polynesian is perfect. It’s usually pretty quiet, has a view of the castle and you can hear the music from the pool. Our favorite day is one where we grab a coffee from the Kona Island service counter and head out to the beach. It becomes even more magical around 8:30 pm because then you can sit back and watch the water pageant electrical parade or fireworks over Cinderella’s Castle. Whenever you decide to visit, know that it’s a wonderful way to get out of the crowds at Disney parks.
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.
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.
Find Hidden Mickeys at the Polynesian Resort
If you’re up for a little exploring, then get ready to find Hidden Mickeys. 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.
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 Tambu Lounge, as well as Sam’s Tiki Terrace. Both of which have wonderful small plates and island happy drinks to sip. Live music at the pool and walking paths across the resort, make this one of the best Disney monorail resorts to visit.
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.