I originally was calling this “The Bad” in reference to some of my experiences with my stay at Disney’s Polynesian Resort at the end of January. But I decided saying it was “The Bad” implied really negative things when really these things were just stuff I was not impressed with but weren’t deal breakers. Nothing made me wish I hadn’t stayed at the Polynesian, hence I changed it to “The Meh.”
I’ll preface this by saying that The Good things far outweighed The Meh, and once you read what I found fault with, you’ll see it’s more personal preference or expectations based on general feedback of others that made these things end up as minor disappointments to me.
Meh/Bad Thing #1– The Noise
For the majority of my Disney World life, I stayed in Value resorts and sometimes off-property altogether. I have no issues with the Value Resorts and Pop Century is my favorite of the Values. However, over the years, I read and heard people complain and complain about all the noise at the All Star resorts and Pop Century while never really experiencing anything overly disruptive myself. I’m saying all of this because so many people have said so many times how they stay at Moderate or Deluxe resorts because the noise at the Value Disney World Resorts is so bad.
I’ll admit it, I had fewer noise issues at Coronado Springs and at all of the Deluxe resorts that I’ve been able to stay in so far compared to the Value resorts, but the most I heard at the Values was toilets flushing, showers running, or the occasional kids playing near my room.
At the Polynesian, I was not prepared to hear So. Much. Noise. My deluxe studio was located in the Tokelau building and I was on the second floor, room 2907. My first evening in my room, I started hearing the people on either side of me. On one side, there was what sounded like a couple arguing. I could hear them quite clearly and I was hoping they’d leave the balcony and go back inside for the rest of their heated conversation. A couple of minutes later, I realized they were not on the balcony at all. I could hear them while they were in their room.
On the other side, I could tell that it was kids who seemed to be pre-teen aged or so, and they were just excitedly giggling and talking about what they were going to do during their trip. They were on the balcony next to my room to begin with but then I still heard them for a minute after they went back into their studio room. That was the only time I actually heard from those kids and I never heard their parents or whoever was with them, but the couple on the other side of me had daily arguments in the evenings when they got back to their room. It seems maybe sitting in the room near the balcony door makes the talking easier to hear, but I’m just guessing this is why I could hear them. Maybe they had the sliding glass balcony door open?
I also realized that first evening that the horns from the boats and ferry nearby were loud enough for me to hear throughout the day. I also heard music and the Electrical Water Pageant being piped in from speakers that are around the resort. The weirdest thing was when I kept hearing a cell phone buzzing like it was on vibrate and since I checked my phone and knew it was not mine (and that I didn’t even have my phone on vibrate), I became convinced that someone had left their phone accidentally in the room and it was stuck behind the bed or in the couch next to my bed. One night when the buzzing was happening about every 30 minutes or so and actually waking me up, I got up and searched the bed, the nightstands, the couch and everywhere else I could think of before I finally realized that it was the family with the kids next to me. Their nightstand must have been sharing the wall directly opposite of mine and I could hear and also feel the vibration of the phone on that one nightstand.
Those things bothered me less than my neighbors nightly arguments, but I was just surprised that people had the nerve to complain about the Values when I experienced way more noise at the Polynesian than any other Disney Resort I’ve stayed at so far. Everyone’s experiences are different, but I really thought that the Polynesian wouldn’t have had all of these noise issues I had. I definitely still heard toilets flushing and showers running so I don’t know how so many people have claimed to never have heard any plumbing sounds while here.
Meh/Bad Thing #2– The Bus Stop and Wait Times
Because of the normal options to take a Monorail (which was not available because of the construction at the Polynesian), and the proximity to the Ticket and Transportation Center (TTC), there is just one small bus stop at this resort. To be honest, I originally planned to just walk to the Ticket and Transportation Center to take a bus to the other parks besides Magic Kingdom, but on the morning that I was going to Hollywood Studios I ended up going to the resort’s bus stop instead. If I had been smart, I would have seen the line and just kept walking to the TTC instead of opting to wait for the bus at the resort.
The line was pretty long because of social distancing, but there was a Cast Member at the bus stop grouping people by where they were going and keeping everyone socially distant. I was impressed with how organized it was. The majority of us were headed to Hollywood Studios that day so we were the biggest group waiting. I figured it would take a couple of buses to get all of us there just because I know each bus only carries so many guests right now to maintain social distance, but I was the third person in the Hollywood Studios line so I knew I’d get on the first bus. Except that the first bus took so long to arrive.
Yes, I’ve used the bus transportation before. Up until recently, I preferred to use the buses and even had a few times previously where we used the bus instead of our own car when we drove down. So I know the buses generally arrive around every 20-30 minutes. I’ve waited at Pop Century before where it was 45 minutes before a bus showed, so this wasn’t my first rodeo. (Fun Fact: I live in Texas but have never actually been to a real rodeo…I don’t know why I decided to tell you that.)
But on this morning, I was becoming increasingly annoyed because as we waited for a bus, one bus arrived for Animal Kingdom, one arrived for Disney Springs (I guess because of the long wait to get in?), and then five buses arrived for Magic Kingdom.
You get the picture. Five buses for Magic Kingdom came through. Where NO ONE in line was going because it’s faster to walk to the TTC to get to Magic Kingdom that to stand here and wait for a bus. I’m sure there are people who would benefit from taking the bus from the resort to Magic Kingdom, but none of those people were at this bus stop that day. Even the Cast Member was getting frustrated. She even asked one of the bus drivers if they could let let the dispatcher know that we needed Hollywood Studios buses and not Magic Kingdom buses.
By this time, I felt like if I left to go to the TTC, that the Hollywood Studios bus would pull up just as I left and I’d be waiting again anyway, so I stayed at the resort bus stop. This thing did not help since it never showed any other bus arrival times except for Animal Kingdom.
By the way, I arrived at 8am at this bus stop and a bus finally arrived for Hollywood Studios at about 8:40am. In the grand scheme of things, I’ve definitely waited longer for a bus at Pop Century, but really I think I was just annoyed with the fact that I chose to wait for a bus here instead of going to the TTC, and also because those five Magic Kingdom buses arrived AND because I don’t like when the bus transportation board doesn’t even display times for everything somehow. But the bus stop definitely became a point of contention for me. There were long waits for the bus on my Animal Kingdom and EPCOT days too.
Meh/Bad Thing #3– Not Getting to do Direct to Room Check In Service
Ok, so this one isn’t actually specific to the Polynesian. It happened to me once before in the non-COVID times, but it was just annoying to deal with it this time.
The My Disney Experience App and even the website kept suggesting that I use online check in and use the Direct-To-Room Service to aid in social distancing. I actually love getting my room number and a notification either via the app or text message that my room is ready and that I can bypass the front desk. I’ve done this in the past and it made even more sense during the pandemic. I’d even had a weird glitch happen the day before my trip and I had to call Disney, but I had a great experience with one of Cast Members reaching back out to let me know my room would be ready when I arrived (because the glitch was making it where my room would not be ready until the 2nd day of my arrival for some reason).
When I arrived at the Orlando airport, I was met with a message in the My Disney Experience app that said I still had to go to the front desk because my room number was not added to my account. Long story short (because this post is already pretty dang long), I figured out that they wanted me to check in at the front desk because they wanted me to update the card I had on file. I learned a few years ago about how Disney (and other hotels) place a $100 hold per day on the credit card on file for incidentals. While I understand why they do this, the way my bank handles the holds made it where over $500 was being held on my card during one trip and that was money I wasn’t able to spend on anything until I checked out of the Disney World resort.
I budget for my trips and my card on file is usually my debit card, so that trip I ended up having to use my credit card for some purchases because of the holds. The next trip where this was happening, I talked to someone at the front desk of Old Key West and he was able to release the temporary holds. I basically stopped having a card on file after that and that seems to trigger the need to go in person to check in instead of getting Direct-To-Room service. The Cast Member at the Polynesian basically said they didn’t give me my room number because they didn’t have a card on file.
Even though this post about The Meh is way longer than the post about The Good, I did enjoy my overall stay at Disney’s Polynesian. I definitely would consider staying here again. I just know now some things to expect and things to be prepared for. °O°