Polynesian Village vs. Contemporary Resort Guide for Disney World in 2023

It’s the question as old as time — Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort or Disney’s Contemporary Resort?

Disney’s Contemporary Resort

If you’re decided where to stay on your next Disney World vacation, there are a lot of factors to consider. What park is the most important to you? Do you want to be able to see fireworks from your hotel? And perhaps the most important question: what is the food like? We’re looking at all of that and more as we compare Disney’s Polynesian Village and Disney’s Contemporary Resort!

When comparing the two, we’re going to be talking about dining, theming, rooms, amenities, price, and location. Let’s get into it!

Dining Options

Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort

Since we are Disney Food Blog, we’re going to start out by comparing…you guessed it — food! The Polynesian has a huge variety of food options with several sit down restaurants, fast food restaurants, and bars. Let’s start with one of the fan-favorite restaurants at the hotel — ‘Ohana!


‘Ohana is a sit down restaurant with a family-style meal that is all-you-care-to-eat. During your meal, you can try the famous ‘Ohana noodles (if you need just one reason to eat here, this is it), a dinner skillet with a variety of meats, and the signature bread pudding.

Our favorite noodles

Ohana also offers an all-you-care-to-eat character breakfast with Lilo & Stitch and their friends! This is one of the most popular restaurants in Disney World and for good reason — it has been a DFB favorite for as long as we’ve been around!

Get the Truth Behind Eating at ‘Ohana in Disney World here!


Just outside of ‘Ohana is Tambu Lounge. There are a variety of unique tropical drinks including the Backscratcher (yes, it really comes with a backscratcher) and the Lapu Lapu which comes in a full pineapple. One of the best kept secrets here is that you can order some of the food from ‘Ohana in the lounge including the dumplings, the noodles, and the bread pudding!

You can read our Tambu Lounge review here! 

Lapu Lapu? Yes, Please, and Thank You!

The other sit down restaurant in the resort is Kona Cafe.

Kona Cafe

This place serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner and is such a great option if you can’t get into ‘Ohana or want something a bit cheaper. Any fans of Asian cuisine will likely love this spot!

Bread Pudding!!!!

For a quick grab-and-go snack or breakfast, there is Kona Island. Here you’ll find a variety of coffee, sushi, and desserts to choose from — it’s a super convenient place to grab a meal or snack!

Kona Island

Capt. Cook’s is the main quick service or fast food spot at the resort. We absolutely LOVE the Tonga Toast (banana-stuffed French toast and covered in cinnamon sugar) available for breakfast and there are plenty of great savory options for dinner, too. We’re looking at you pulled pork nachos!

Learn MORE about Capt. Cook’s in Disney World here! 

Tonga Toast

Perhaps one of the biggest perks to staying at the Polynesian is Pineapple Lanai, AKA an entire spot dedicated to Dole Whip!

Pineapple Lanai

Yep, you can get one of the most delicious treats in all of Disney World right at your hotel. There are a few classic flavors available like pineapple, but Pineapple Lanai is known to have seasonal treats as well like pumpkin spice Dole Whip!

Learn MORE about Pineapple Lanai in Disney World here!

50th Celebration Dole Whip Pineapple from Pineapple Lanai

There are SO many places to grab a drink at the Polynesian and the most famous of them all would have to be Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto.

Learn everything there is to know about Trader Sam’s here!

Trader Sam’s

It’s a very small, indoor bar with a tiki theme — there are interactive elements, bartenders with fun antics, and delicious drinks that come in collectible tiki mugs! This isn’t just a bar but an experience and it’s a must-do for adults staying here.

The Congo Queen!

Trader Sam’s can be hard to get into since it is so small, but you can get the same drinks right outside at Trader Sam’s Tiki Terrace!

Tiki Terrace

And last but not least, there are two pool bars at the Polynesian — the Barefoot Pool Bar and the Oasis Bar & Grill. There are lots of drink options and plenty of food options for your day by the pool. You can even try a DFB Dole Whip drink hack that became a permanent menu item on the Barefoot Pool Bar menu!

The Voyager… Our Kakamora HACK-a-mora!

That’s a full look at the food options at the Polynesian!

Learn more about the Polynesian Village Resorts Restaurants here!

Disney’s Contemporary Resort

The Contemporary is home to one of the most iconic character meals in all of Disney WorldChef Mickey’s. While this isn’t necessarily the best character meal at Disney World, we understand the appeal.

Meet the Chef… Chef Mickey!

It’s close to Magic Kingdom, it has all of the classic characters like Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, and Donald, and it’s all-you-care-to-eat. This is a great place to take your kids if they love meeting characters!

Read MORE about Chef Mickey’s in Disney World here! 

Breakfast at Chef Mickey’s

The Contemporary is home to some more upscale restaurants including California Grill. This restaurant is located at the top of the hotel and has a beautiful view of Magic Kingdom.

TRON views from California Grill

California Grill is one of the priciest restaurants in Disney World, but the food and atmosphere are top notch. There is also a lounge available here if you are not able to get a reservation.

Get all the details on California Grill in Disney World here! 

Dinner With a View

Steakhouse 71 is the newest restaurant at the Contemporary and it has already seriously impressed us. Not only is the food incredible and the atmosphere nods to Walt Disney, but it’s at a really solid price point that is more affordable than other steakhouses in Disney World.

Read our review of Steakhouse 71 here! 

Steakhouse 71 Stack Burger and Wedge Salad

Just like ‘Ohana and Tambu Lounge, you can grab some of the same food and drinks at the Steakhouse 71 Lounge without a reservation!

Steakhouse 71 Lounge

Contempo Cafe is the main fast food spot here serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner. There are some lighter options including salads and grilled chicken as well as your typical fast food fare like chicken fingers and burgers. This is also some to one of our favorite treats — the Peanut Butter Pie. It’s a must-try if you love peanut butter as much as we do!

Learn more about Contempo Cafe in Disney World here!

Peanut Butter Pie

Joffrey’s Coffee is all over Disney World as there’s a location in every park. But the Contemporary also has a Joffrey’s location called Contemporary Grounds.

Grab Joffrey’s here!

There are also two pool bars at this resort. The Sand Bar is at the main resort and The Cove Bar is over at the Bay Lake Tower part of the resort.

The Sand Bar

It’s hard to compare the two when it comes to food because there are so many popular and amazing restaurants at both resorts. It’s really up to you whether you want more classic eats at the Contemporary or food with more of an Asian cuisine over at the Polynesian. One thing the Polynesian will consistently beat the Contemporary for — Dole Whip!

Read all about the Contemporary Resort Restaurants here!

Atmosphere & Theming

Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort

When you walk into the Polynesian, you are instantly transported to that world. It doesn’t feel like you are right next to a theme park or that you’re staying at a Disney-owned hotel.

Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort

Whether it’s the decor around the lobby, the volcano waterslide by pool (we’ll get more into that later), or the tiki torches that come on at night, there is something so peaceful about being at the Polynesian.

Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort is certainly beautiful!

We also have to mention that there is a sandy beach with chairs that is a perfect spot to watch the Magic Kingdom fireworks.


Although not guaranteed, many guests are also given a lei when they walk into the resort!

Learn about the CHANGES happening at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort here! 

Disney’s Contemporary Resort

To be expected, the Contemporary has a completely different vibe than the Polynesian. It feels a little less home-y and more upscale and sleek. The lobby recently got an upgrade with colorful artwork and more modern furniture which sets the tone for the resort.

The updated lobby of the Contemporary

Since the rooms face in on the hotel, it can be a bit noisy because all of the action is in one spot. From the rooms, you can look down and see Chef Mickey’s (which opens pretty early and gets noisy so it can be hard to sleep in) and the Monorail runs through the resort.

Main area of the resort

There’s also a massive mural on the wall created by Mary Blair, a famous Disney artist. This is a super fun touch for Disney history fans.

Mary Blair mural

The resort feels a little less immersive than the Polynesian, but there are still plenty of perks to staying here when it comes to theming. It does feel like a deluxe resort and is more sleek and modern than the Polynesian.


Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort

Both the Polynesian and the Contemporary recently had room makeovers. The Polynesian rooms are now themed to the movie Moana! There are tons of little touches throughout the room, but it is not too much. The rooms still feel like you are in a deluxe Disney resort — it is not overly cheesy.

Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort

The hallways leading to the hotel rooms also got a Moana touch, but you might not even know unless you look closely!


The story of Moana fits in so well with the theme of the Polynesian, so this seemed like a natural fit.

See a full room tour of the Moana rooms

Disney’s Contemporary Resort

The Contemporary also got a Disney movie makeover, this time with The Incredibles! When you walk the hallways to get to the rooms, there is artwork featuring the characters and carpet that fits right in with the movie.

Contemporary Guest Room

The rooms themselves feel very new and sleek, but with a ton of Incredibles touches. If you are a fan of the movie, you’ll love looking for all of the little details, but if you aren’t, these rooms might not be for you.

The Closet

The rooms at both hotels are very similar and both feel deluxe. It really just depends on if you like Moana or The Incredibles more!

Get a FULL tour of The Incredibles rooms here


Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort

There are two pool at the Polynesian including the Lava Pool and the Oasis Pool. However, the Lava Pool is the real draw here. Why is a pool such an amazing must-do you might ask? Well, this one has a volcano waterslide!


On the water, you can also watch the Electrical Water Pageant at night. It’s basically like a water parade with several floats that are lit up and fun to watch!

Electrical Water Pageant

There are several other things to do at the resort including making s’mores at the campfire, movie nights under the stars, and boat rentals.

Disney’s Contemporary Resort

At the Contemporary, you can splash around in the Feature Pool and the whirlpool spa nearby. There is also one pool located over at the Bay Lake Tower.

Contemporary Feature Pool

Just like the Polynesian, the Electrical Water Pageant is also available to watch from this resort! You’ll also be able to hang out at the campfire, play sports like tennis, basketball, or volleyball, watch movies under the stars, and head to the Game Station and play arcade games!

Contemporary Resort Arcade

The amenities are pretty similar at both resorts overall. The Contemporary technically has more to do and more activities overall, but the Polynesian has the better pool — it’s hard to compete with a volcano waterslide!

Location & Transportation

Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort

When it comes to location, depending on how you look at it, you could be at a disadvantage at the Polynesian. It is the furthest Monorail resort from Magic Kingdom and even though it is walkable, it will take a while to walk to the park entrance.

Polynesian Monorail

However, if you are more interested in going to EPCOT, the Polynesian is the closest resort to the Transportation and Ticket Center (TTC) which has a Monorail that goes all the way to EPCOT! It is just a short walk away from the TTC.

Transportation and Ticket Center

Speaking of transportation, the Polynesian has just about every type of Disney transportation you can think of except for the Skyliner. You can take a boat, the Monorail, or a bus!

Disney’s Contemporary Resort

The Contemporary has the best proximity to Magic Kingdom of the two resorts. There is a walkway between the resort and the park that takes just minutes to walk! When it comes to location, the Contemporary is hard to beat.

Contemporary Walkway

The resort has the same transportation options at the Polynesian — you can get to the theme parks by boat, Monorail, or bus! And although the Polynesian Monorail station is just outside the resort, you can hop on the Monorail inside of the Contemporary!

Contemporary Resort

Talk about convenient!

Price & Value

Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort

When it comes to price, these are two of the most expensive hotels in Disney World. That being said, they are also two of the best hotels in Disney World based on all of the categories above like food, location, amenities, and rooms. So keeping in mind that these are deluxe level resorts, let’s take a look at the pricing.


We chose dates during Disney World’s “slow season” so these prices are for mid-February 2023. A standard view room costs $680, a pool or marina view room costs $780, and a theme park view room is up to $993 per night. All of these rooms are similar and sleep 5 adults.


These rooms are pricey, even for an off-season, but when you do think about all that the resort has to offer, it can put the price in perspective a little more. Also if view is not a major deal to you, consider going for a standard view room to save a few bucks.

Disney’s Contemporary Resort

Over at the Contemporary, room prices look pretty similar. We also looked at prices for the rooms in mid-February 2023 and found that a main tower room with a lake view is $764 and the main tower room with a theme park view is $831.


Again, these rooms are expensive. But Contemporary is unbeatable as far as location goes and if you pay for the theme park view, you’ll be able to watch the fireworks from your hotel room! There’s not many hotels that can offer that.

Prices do vary by date and in the busy months, these rooms at both hotels can get over $1,000 per night. Both of the hotels have some of the best attributes on property, which explains why the price is so high for both.

The Winner!

So, who is the ultimate winner in the Polynesian vs. Contemporary battle? We hate to say it, but it depends! The Polynesian may seem like a clear choice because of its theming and popularity with Disney fans, but it is further away from Magic Kingdom. If the Contemporary seemed like the clear choice to you, it is a great hotel, but it doesn’t have the same energy, food, or pools that the Polynesian does. It’s up to you and your group to decide what makes the most sense for you using all that we talked about above.

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What do you think? Is Polynesian Village or Contemporary Resort better? Let us know in the comments!

The post Polynesian Village vs. Contemporary Resort Guide for Disney World in 2023 first appeared on the disney food blog.