Escapes & Strolls: Polynesian Resort and Capt. Cook’s

It’s 7 o’clock on a weeknight and time to head out for a stroll with some scenery. Kim and I really wanted to get out to the parks and it was still early in the evening. We wanted to make a last trip to the Magic Kingdom before it gets too crowded to even consider in the upcoming weeks. We made an attempt, but the combination of the large crowd and the heat was just too much. We fell onto our backup plan and headed towards tropical paradise at the Polynesian Resort.
The closest parking to the Polynesian is the Transportation and Ticket Center. I don’t know for sure if they charge for parking all night, but I imagine they do until pretty late. As always, parking is free at Disney Springs and you can take a bus over to the Polynesian. The Polynesian is also on the main Monorail line and can be easily accessed from a number of other resorts and Epcot. We have an annual pass, so we just parked at the Ticket Center and walked over to the adjacent resort.
img_5722At first sight, the resort immediately transports you to a tropical getaway. We made our way past the wooden resort sign and up the torch lit walkway onto the resort grounds. Just walking around in between the resort lodgings is a relaxing experience. The buildings all look like traditional Hawaiian structures and the lush plant life makes you feel like you are on an island. There are maps along the way to keep you from getting lost as the grounds are somewhat spread out.img_5725 There are also places to sit and take in the scenery along the way. It took us about five minutes to walk straight from the resort entrance to the Great Ceremonial House, which is the main hotel lobby. Directly behind the Great Ceremonial House is an outdoor patio bar, the resort pool, and Bay Lake. There is also a great view of Cinderella’s Castle and any fireworks at the Magic Kingdom.
img_5734Inside the main lobby, the tropical paradise theme escalates. The calming music that plays throughout the building is all from Hawaii and the Polynesian Islands. This instantly provides the perfect laid back setting to walk around in. The inside of the hotel is beautifully decorated with various shades of earthy browns. There are tiki’s everywhere enhancing the island adventure feel.
There is plenty of seating throughout both floors of the lobby. There are chairs, sofas, and bars that can easily be pulled up to for a relaxing break. While there were other people in some of these areas, there weren’t enough to ever feel crowded.img_5735
There are also two gift shops to explore in this hotel. The larger one on the bottom floor is filled with all things Hawaiian with a little Disney thrown in. They have Hawaiian shirts, small bonsai type plants and even a few dry goods made in Hawaii. The store upstairs is more focused on supplies for hotel guests. There is a lot more common Disney merchandise here with a focus on Lilo & Stitch.
After strolling through the hotel for a while, we decided to head over to one of the restaurants for a snack. There are a lot of options for food and beverages in this hotel. We wanted something quick and easy, so we headed down to Capt. Cook’s on the bottom floor. It’s a walk up food service counter that delivers your order to the table. The menu here consists of some quick Polynesian dishes along with American sandwiches and flatbreads. There is a kid’s menu with basic theme park food plus grilled chicken and pineapple skewers. There is also a refrigerated section with some baked goods and veggie trays, but not too much else.
img_5726The restaurant was busy but there were multiple cashiers taking orders, so the line moved quickly. We ordered the Turkey Club Melt with a side of veggies. There’s no annual pass discount here so our bill came out to about $12. It took 10 minutes for the food to be delivered to our table. The sandwich was really good and I’m not a big fan of turkey. The multigrain bread was warm with a satisfying crunch, the cheese was nicely melted and there was just the right amount of sun-dried tomato mayo. The sandwich was pretty big too. We split the sandwich, but it would fill up a single person especially along with a side. The veggies included mushrooms and were still warm from being steamed. They didn’t really have any flavor, but they weren’t bad either.
img_5738After eating we stepped outside to make our way home. By this time it was dark outside and the tiki torches really stood out in the night. The walk back through the resort grounds was quiet and peaceful. There weren’t many other people and just enough light to make your way around. The resort maps are well lit though just in case. I recommend an escape to The Polynesian Resort and Capt. Cook’s for those looking for a relaxing tropical experience. It is a good place to grab a meal and take in some exotic surroundings before or after heading to the parks.

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