When looking to book deluxe rooms at the Walt Disney World Resort, two great locations are sure to stand out. Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge and Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort are both luxurious ways to vacation. But which one is better than the other? Or IS one better?
The most important part of booking a place to stay is the room. At Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, you can find a wide range of rooms, depending on your budget, from standard rooms that can sleep up to four adults all the way up to two-bedroom suites with club level access that accommodate up to eight. (Note: Both the Animal Kingdom Lodge and Polynesian Village Resort also have Disney Vacation Club accommodations, but these are not taken into account for the purposes of this article.) These rooms are full of different textures and colorful patterns in warm tones to give you a cozy feel. Did you know you can even get a room with a bunk bed? We bet the kids will be fighting over who gets the top bunk.
One of the best things about this resort, in our opinion, is that you can book a room with a view of the savanna, where you can spot a variety of animals, like zebras or Ankole cattle. Nothing quite beats waking up in the morning and watching the giraffes grazing just beyond your balcony!
At Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, you can find rooms that sleep up to five all the way up to a one-bedroom suite with club level access that will also accommodate five. Most rooms are tastefully designed with a Hawaiian modern mid-century feel. Rather than a bunk bed, some rooms are completed with a simple day bed. You can get a view of the Magic Kingdom and Cinderella Castle at this resort, which some might say is better than watching the animals grazing.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge features just three different restaurants: the buffet, Boma – Flavors of Africa; the upscale Jiko – The Cooking Place; and The Mara, quick-service. There are also several lounges and pool-side bars. Where else can you eat then go to enjoy a view of Sunset Savanna (home to more than 30 different wildlife species)?
Animal Kingdom Lodge also offers a wine tasting and the Wanyama Safari and dinner to partake in.
If we’ve counted right, there are seven different places to get your grub over at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. Capt. Cook’s, Kona Cafe, Kona Island, ‘Ohana, and Oasis Bar and Grill are sure to tickle your taste-buds.
You’ll find something special at either end of the day — start the morning with a character breakfast at ‘Ohana, or end the evening with a dinner show, Disney’s Spirit of Aloha. There’s also the extremely popular Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto, with its unique interactive atmosphere, as well as several other lounges, bars, and snack stops.
At Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, there’s so much to do, you’re sure to find at least one activity that your whole herd will love. For the grown-ups, there are the aforementioned lounges and special dining, plus there’s a fitness center, and spa services. For the younger set, Hakuna Matata Playground is great for little ones to burn off some leftover energy. And the resort has a whole sheet filled with activities for young and old — from stories around the fire pit to arts and crafts to spotting animals with night-vision goggles, to fun in the Uzima Springs pool.
If you’re looking to stay fit, you’ll find a convenient gym or basketball and tennis courts. Don’t forget to roast some s’mores over at the campfire or catch a movie under the stars. Remember to ask for an activity update at the front desk when you check in.
Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort is also home to a handful of activities that are fun for the whole family. You can get your fitness itch scratched by playing a round of volleyball or heading out on a hike on the jogging trail. If the water is more your thing, go fishing or even rent a motorized boat. You can enjoy a campfire and a movie under the stars at this resort, too. As a bonus for recreation, you can watch the Electrical Water Pageant without even leaving the resort — it passes by about 9 p.m. every night.
This category is technically considered recreation, but we always feel that the pools deserve their own section. The Animal Kingdom Lodge is home to Uzima Springs Pool, which is more than 11,000 square feet — one of the biggest pools on Disney World property. It is a “Zero-Depth Entry” pool, meaning there is a gently sloping entrance without steps that allows you to wade in as you would at the beach. There’s also a 67-foot long slide and a kid’s pool area.
Over at the Polynesian, you can find the Lava Pool. This zero-depth entry pool also features a sloping bottom for a beach-like atmosphere. You can take in the views of a volcanic waterfall or be adventurous on the 142-foot long water slide. If the Lava Pool isn’t relaxing enough on its own, there is a second option: the Oasis Pool. Here you can rent your own private patio that accommodates up to six guests.
Now that we’ve gone through this list of comparisons, we’re starting to wonder ourselves which resort is better. Could the Polynesian Village Resort actually be better than Animal Kingdom Lodge? Which one is your favorite and why?
Head over to our fact sheets for Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort HERE and Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge HERE to help you make up your own mind before you book your next trip. Don’t forget to check out what other readers have had to say by reading our Rate and Review section, too!
We also have a selection of resort videos that might help you decide which resort you’d prefer. Here are just a few:
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