Sunday, February 16, 2014

King Kamehameha Club Level at Disney's Polynesian Resort

Disney's Polynesian Resort has a special magic all of its own.  You can feel it strolling under the palm trees and especially staying in a room there, but if you want the ultimate in Polynesian pixie dust, the King Kamehameha Club Level is for you.


Each deluxe resort at Walt Disney World has a club level.  It does cost more to book a club level room, but you get extra amenities like turndown service, a special concierge desk just for club guests, and best of all, access to the club level lounge.  Each lounge has delicious food offerings throughout the day - starting with breakfast, snacks in the afternoon, appetizers, wine, and beer in the evening, and desserts at the end of the night - and it's all included.  The lounges are beautiful and relaxing retreats - and the one at the Polynesian has the loveliest view...


Do you see that castle??  I could sit by that window forever.  But I'm getting ahead of myself.  Let's start at the beginning...

 

There are two club level longhouses at the Polynesian.  The main one with the big lounge is Hawaii, located by the Volcano Pool and next to the beach.  Tonga is a smaller building where the suites are located - it also has a small lounge just for suite guests.  This post will focus on Hawaii but will include photos of the Tonga lounge as well.


If you're staying club, you'll probably be going to the Hawaii building to check-in.  Talk to one of the curbside cast members in front of the resort entrance when you arrive, and they should take you straight over.


The first floor of Hawaii has the concierge desks where you check in and make reservations and such.  One of the nice things about staying club level is that you do feel pretty pampered - if there's a last-minute reservation or something special you need, the club cast members can often make some extra magic happen. :)


On the second floor of Hawaii you'll find the lounge with these beyond-amazing windows at one end...


Eating your breakfast while looking out at this view is pretty much Disney perfection.  While many of the Hawaii rooms have their own theme park view, you almost don't need it - you've got a castle view right down in the lounge!


I should note that these photos were taken before the DVC construction on the beach started.  That is going on not directly in front of the Hawaii building but just down the beach to the right (to the East).  The view won't be quite the same without Sunset Point, but it certainly will be interesting to see what the beach looks like once the DVC bungalows are finished!

  

With or without construction, the Seven Seas Lagoon is still beautiful.  You can watch the launches going back and forth, gaze out at the Grand Floridian and the Contemporary.  I could sit here all day.  The problem with staying club is that you will not want to leave the resort!  As it is expensive, my family often does a short one- or two-night stay when we do club level, and then we don't go to the parks - we just spend the entire time enjoying the lounge, the room, and the resort!


I love sitting here just as evening is falling, with the castle all lit up across the water.  You can get a great view of Wishes - and they do pump in the soundtrack!  Of course admiring the fireworks or the view is even better when you have a little something to snack on...


The food service area is located on the second floor towards the back.  There are four main offerings through the day...

--"Kakahiaka" / Breakfast: 7am-10:30am--
--"Auinala" / Afternoon Snacks: noon-4pm--
--"Ahiahi" / Appetizers + Drinks: 5pm-7pm--
--"Aumoe" / Desserts + Aperatifs: 8pm-10pm--

Some of the club lounges at other Disney resorts close in between food services, but the Polynesian lounge is always open, even when the food isn't out.  There's a small fridge with cold soda cans as well as Nescafe cappuccino machines, coffee, and tea off to the side.  On the island in the middle, when the food offerings are going on, you'll find water, cranberry juice, orange juice, and milk in the morning; and lemonade, iced tea, and the ever-delicious pineapple-orange guava juice (sometimes called POG or lilikoi juice) throughout the afternoon.  My brothers love chocolate milk, and if you ask a cast member they'll get you a nesquick from the back.


The bar behind the island is where the food is.  In the morning there are bagels, assorted pastries (muffins, croissants, cinnamon rolls - it varies slightly by day of the week), fresh fruit, oatmeal, and cereals...


You'll find the cereals on the back side of the island, with a few tiki men for atmosphere.

 

It's a continental breakfast, so you won't find hot foods like eggs and bacon, but my family has always been perfectly happy with the breakfast selection.  Then again, we're big croissant fans. ;)


 The afternoon snacks are just that - snacks.  You'll find cookies (chocolate chip, sugar, oatmeal raisin), popcorn, goldfish, and pretzels as well as all the coffees and drinks that are out throughout the day.  The really impressive spread comes out for dinner at 5pm...

 

There are two kinds of hot appetizers each evening (they vary by day of the week).  Above you'll see bacon-wrapped chicken and brie pastry puffs.  I've also see spring rolls, pot stickers, and chicken wings.  Then there are veggies, fruit, and cheeses...


That purple haze goat cheese was amazing.  They also sometimes have boursin, which is the king of cheeses in my book.  I love the presentation with all the fresh berries!

 

There's always a bowl of pineapple out in the evening (perfect for the Polynesian!), and I love the caramel dip.  You can make the perfect fruit salad.  There is also one cold appetizer each night - a salad or, as in the photo above, a strawberry banana coconut soup!  We've often discovered exotic foods because of the club level - it's always so exciting to see what is on offer each evening.  And even when the lounge is busy, they never seem to run out of food.  Some people like to just snack on a few appetizers while others make a meal out of it.


And of course there are desserts coming too!  There are two or three small pastries each evening - brownies, little cups of mousse, fruit tarts, cake, maybe even something with a certain mouse we all know and love...


YUM!  The lounge usually isn't too busy when the desserts first come out, but once it's time for Wishes and families get back from the parks it can get crowded.

 

The King Kamehameha is a fairly large lounge with a good number of tables and chairs and seating along the walls, but it can feel cramped at peak times during breakfast and dinner as well.  It is nice to plan a resort day when you're staying club level - that way you can enjoy the lounge in the afternoon when it's quiet.


Here's the kid's area and tv during a quiet time of day.


The seating areas right by the windows are also nicest when you have them to yourself!


There are plenty of Polynesian details to take in - like these Tiki faces in the railing!

 

And the gently waving fans above the lounge are a classic.  They make me feel relaxed as soon as I see them!  You can get a better view of them from the stairs going up to the third floor...



I just love the view from the third floor balcony - you can survey the lounge below and the castle beyond!  There's actually a really nice seating area up on the third floor that is often quiet even when the main lounge is busy...


When the rooms at the Polynesian were refurbed recently, the lounge also got new carpet, lamps, chairs, and couches.


You can see the old chairs and carpets in this pic.  The new chairs are larger and more angular and fill up the space more making it harder to get around - I preferred the old ones.  I'm also rather sad that the old torch sconces (see them on either side?) were replaced with boring, ordinary lamps (you can spot them in some of the previous pics).


I do like the new carpet, however - very swirly!


I hope you aren't feeling burned out on Polynesian pictures yet, because we still have to take a wander across the resort to check out the TONGA lounge!


Tonga is quite a small longhouse located at the end of the Marina, right next to the Great Ceremonial House.  The lounge is on the lefthand (Eastern) side of it.


The Tonga hallways are a little swankier than the hallways in the other longhouses!  On the first floor there's a concierge/check-in desk, and on the second floor is a small food service area...


I don't believe the hot appetizers are served here, and the selection is definitely reduced, so I imagine that Tonga guests also have access to the lounge in Hawaii.

 

There are lots of drinks out in the Tonga lounge - coffee, tea, soda, juices - just like in the Hawaii lounge.


The atmosphere in this lounge is nothing like in Hawaii - you don't have those windows or the castle view - but I enjoyed noticing the artwork - so beautiful!


A tropical tableaux behind the snacks - and I see mini cupcakes on that table.  Alas, the Hawaii lounge does not have those!

Have you stayed club level at the Polynesian?  What do you think of the King Kamehameha lounge?  Share your thoughts in the comments! :)

8 comments:

  1. Aw I love this post. We stayed in the King Kamehameha suite (the actual suite, not just level) a couple times in the 1990s and early 2000s. I wish I had thought to take more pictures back then (although I have a few somewhere). :)

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    1. Thanks! And oh my goodness, I'm so jealous! I would love to stay in the presidential someday. :)

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    2. Hi!!! We are staying in the King Kamehameha Suite in October and are SO excited! It is so nice to see a comment of someone who has stayed there! It seems almost impossible to find any info about it. Do you have any comments about it!? ;)

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  2. So enjoyed your review! We haven't stayed at the Polynesian since 2001 - have enjoyed many other Disney properties in the meantime but my family has always maintained that the Club Level at the Polynesian rivals any and every other property where we have stayed (including the Grand Floridian!) Can't wait to go back - especially now! Thanks for the wonderful informational review!

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  3. I stayed King Kamehameha Level at the Poly...waaaaay back in 1989. (Showing my age here.) I took my family to stay at the Poly this past June but we couldn't afford the club level. Still, seeing these photos brought back some memories!

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  4. We just got back from staying in the Ambassador suite 1. Which includes club level. The room was truly amazing!!!! 2 bedroom ,3 bath, 3 patios, a kitchenette with stocked water and soda, robes with slippers, living room , dinning room ect.......It was a dream come true!!!!!! Loved every minute of it!!!! I've heard a lot of celebrities have stayed in that room or request it. Would love to know who, I totally forgot to ask concierge before we left.
    We actually got upgraded to the suite , what a dream come true!!!!! Although , at 2400 a night , I will never afford to return, lol. Unless I win the lottery!!!! Lol.

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  5. My husband is a monorail pilot and one day he was told he would be having a VIP guest on the train - to
    hold one car especially for the family. He picked them up at Polynesian. It was Adam Sandler. We don't know which room they were in, but perhaps it was the one you stayed in. Ya never know. They were a
    lovely family and my husband had fun with them.

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  6. Great information! We are staying in the vp ambassador suite next week! I think they recently changed the names of the suites so I don't know what it used to be called. Getting excited!!!!!

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