Trip Guilt

Keep original plan or switch to a themed value resort for the kids?

  • Polynesian

    Votes: 112 80.6%
  • Art or Animation

    Votes: 25 18.0%
  • All Star Movies

    Votes: 2 1.4%

  • Total voters


Earning My Ears
Jul 26, 2019
I'm having a bit of trip guilt. It is our first Disney trip, and I booked at the Polynesian... Mostly because it was the one that was most attractive to my husband and I. My kids just saw videos of Art of Animation and All Star movies and they were amazed at all of the theming. They are 8, 5, and 2 years old, and they got so excited 😬 Now I am second guessing my resort choice since they were so excited about those other ones. Is it selfish to stay at the Poly? Should I switch to one of the other ones that is animated and more fun for the kids, or is the Poly still fun for kiddos? Or is there a compromise? Wilderness lodge maybe? I am just not a motel type of person, and that is the vibe I got from the value resorts when I initially booked. My husband and I have never been to Disney before. I based our decision solely on information and opinions gathered from various websites. Everything I read about value resorts is that they are loud, rowdy, crowded, and transportation is horrible. If it makes a difference, our trip is this fall and we are staying 7 nights. We have one full day and 2 half-days planned as rest/resort days. Someone suggested a split stay to me, but I do not find that option attractive. Opinions? Advice?


DIS Veteran
Oct 16, 2017
I'm torn, the poly is on my ultimate bucket list but I feel like your kids are the perfect ages for AoA and the all stars.

If you're planning resort days, the Poly probably has more amenities to entertain and amuse you though.

I think almost all hotels are fun for kids...all they really care about is if there's a pool anyway...


DIS Veteran
Feb 18, 2011
Stick to the poly if your budget permits. It is very kid friendly and colorful, and the transportation access is amazing, especially with young kids. That being said, I have stayed at lots of different resorts (see signature) and I wouldn't say the values are "awful". You could always visit AoA on the Skyliner (if you are travelling after Sept. 29) on one of your resort days, and take a tour of the various theming.

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  • smiths02

    DIS Veteran
    Feb 13, 2009
    I did not feel like Art of Animation suites were a motel and we enjoyed the extra space.
    The transportation from the Poly will be so much easier with 3 young kids.

    I would not want to put 5 people in a room at All Star Movies at 260 square feet...unless you were considering two rooms? You cannot guarantee those rooms would connect. With that age children, I would be choosing between Poly and suite at AoA. You will have to see how much price, transportation options, and space mean to you.
    (Poly standard rooms are 415 square feet, AoA suites about 520 sq ft and two bathrooms)


    Bay Lake Tower
    Aug 24, 2015
    The Art of Animation doesn't have a motel feel to it at all in my opinion. We enjoyed our stay at an AoA family suite before we became DVC members. It also has one of the best food courts at a resort property. I have no experience with the other resorts so I can't comment on them.

    Transportation isn't that great at all the resorts, and all of them can be loud and rowdy. The main part of Poly is a madhouse most of the day with the restaurants, gift shops etc. Bus transportation at the other resorts isn't that bad as long as you account for the time travel time it takes.

    The kids will have a good time no matter where they stay, don't let this get to you. Once they get on the magical express (if you fly) or drive under the WDW sign, they'll be too excited to care about where thy pass out at night. If you want to stay at Poly, stay at Poly.

    edit: What's the saying? If Momma ain't happy, nobody is happY? Stay at the Poly. You're def overthinking this.
  • AllieBoo

    DIS Veteran
    Mar 10, 2007
    I would keep the Poly, especially since it is your first trip. The values are just basic motels to me, the Poly is a resort. The bus stops for the values are the farthest away at every park, and you may have to wait a few cycles if there are a lot of people at the stop. That is no fun at the end of the night when everyone is tired and ready to go to bed. The MK is where the longest waits usually are for us. Staying at the Poly gives you access to the monorail and the boat, and it is a really nice resort. It also has a great pool. Our first Disney trip was at the Poly, and I think that's one of the reasons my husband was willing to go back. If we had stayed at a value on our first trip, I'm not sure he would have wanted to go back.

    Rich M

    DIS Veteran
    Apr 18, 2016
    This is such an interesting question and I am excited to see the responses. Personally I didn't think I would see someone questioning between Poly and any value because the Poly is such an iconic hotel at Disney World. That being said with your dilemma I can see why. Personally with 3 kids and transportation with potentially sleeping kids I would say Poly all day but I stayed at Poly in DVC this past October and honestly we found the Monorail to be a pain. Sometimes waiting a couple monorails to even get on. We ended up walking to the TTC and catching the Boat most days to MK and Epcot and then we just drove to HS and AK. The Skyliner looks really cool to me and depending on the lines could be a fun way to get to parks IMO. I can't wait to try them. I have heard that kids love the pool at AoA so I think if I was in your position I would consider saving the money and go to AoA and maybe rent a car with the savings. That way you can drive with the kids in the car when you want to or take transportation when I could. I can't wait to see others response.


    DIS Veteran
    Jul 23, 2008
    Show them a video of the volcano pool at the Polynesian. With 5 in your family the rooms at the Polynesian are much larger than standard rooms at the values by about ~160 sq ft. There is also the Monorail that runs right by the hotel and you also have a boat option to the MK from the Polynesian.

    Yes a family suite at one of the vaules like AOA is larger at ~525 sq ft than a Polynesian room but location, location really matters for most guests after price.

    Maybe you could compromise by seeing if you can switch to the YC / BC with their great Storm Along Bay pool and walking / boating to both Epcot and HS.

  • Mzpalmtree

    Dec 27, 2018
    I know a lot of people have also said Poly, but I’m going to say it again. Poly. The Poly is my absolute favorite. I think sometimes when we plan these trips we forget that it’s our vacation, too—not just for everyone else. If the theming, etc, at Poly appeal more to you and your husband then go with that. It’s also a GREAT resort for little ones. I have stayed at AoA and liked it very much—honestly I haven’t stayed at a Disney resort I didn’t like...but I’d choose Poly all day. It has a relaxing vibe that’s also busy if that makes sense.


    Is it summer yet?
    Feb 8, 2007
    If money doesn't matter, Poly all the way. Especially if it is a First Disney trip. It's a classic. The original. Gorgeous, great location, views and well, everything else plus the monorail. It was the first place we ever stayed as a kid, and if I could afford it, I'd stay there every trip. Unfortunately, we can only do it every few years due to the cost.


    Northern DIS'er
    Jan 23, 2011
    It's your family and your call. No one here can ease your "trip guilt".

    If it were me, however, I'd stay at the Poly. It's a great resort, with tons of amenities for adults and kids, and it's so so convenient to the Magic Kingdom.


    Jul 11, 2017
    We're staying at the Poly for our trip next year, my first time at that resort. I've had that one as my "dream" for a while. My son keeps talking about AKL as the place he would want to stay, so I felt a little guilt there as well. But we can always do that one another time. I think the convenience of the Poly as a monorail resort will be worth it and everyone will be happier at the end of each long day.

    We try to do what we can for our kids, but don't feel too much guilt. They will LOVE this trip no matter what, and I doubt they'll have any complaints once they're actually at the resort.


    DIS Veteran
    Dec 15, 2014
    Now I am second guessing my resort choice since they were so excited about those other ones. Is it selfish to stay at the Poly? Should I switch to one of the other ones that is animated and more fun for the kids, or is the Poly still fun for kiddos?
    If you didn't have little ones a split stay would be a great option. It isn't impossible but does add a little work in the middle of your trip. We have done split stays with kids - if you are organized it doesn't have to disrupt your trip. You get pretty well packed up the night before. In the AM you can get ready, call bell services and they will handle moving your luggage. From there you go to a park. When you are done with the park you can head over to your new resort in the later afternoon - so all in all it doesn't affect your day much. If this is something you would consider then a compromise would be 3 nights first at the value resort then move to Poly for 4 nights -- this might be how you appease both sides, it will give you a good basis on planning future trips - do you like the value resorts or do you have to stay deluxe?

    The Polynesian is my favorite but it is pricey and I would have to say it has a great pool but it isn't the in your face Disney theming like the value resorts. The kids might not appreciate the resort as much as you and your husband.

    Here another suggestion so that you can still make the trip special-- this is your first Disney trip and probably won't be your last. The Poly can be your next visit and you can save money buy booking it as a DVC rental (research this for next time). So i would change to one of the resorts your kids are excited about and then with the money saved (guessing it would be less expensive) - see if you can book a special event - a fireworks viewing Epcot has a frozen dessert party that was AMAZING!. MK has happily ever after dessert party which is nice with a special viewing area. There are also early morning magic events at HS and MK - which you could do with the little ones. They have after hours events but with little ones they will not survive that late. Doing something special might make the decision a a little easier.

    I think this trip does have to include the wants of the kids -- this is a special trip for them too -especially the 8 yo. My boys went when they were 5 and don't remember much, but the trip we took when they were 9 (they are 13 now) they still talk about and remember a lot -- so listen to the oldest child and get some feed back to making the trip special for them too.


    May 6, 2019
    If you can afford Poly, you'd be crazy *IMHO* to switch to a value resort. The resort may be more for the grown-ups, but we are the ones schlepping sleeping kiddos, stuffies, diaper bags, pool gear, and strollers all around the freaking universe. NO way I'm not getting a nice place to put my head at night.

    Have a Super great trip!


    DIS Veteran
    Feb 3, 2008
    ... I would say Poly all day but I stayed at Poly in DVC this past October and honestly we found the Monorail to be a pain. Sometimes waiting a couple monorails to even get on. We ended up walking to the TTC and catching the Boat most days to MK and Epcot and then we just drove to HS and AK...
    FYI, the Poly has a boat that goes from it’s dock to the MK, although walking to the TTC and jumping on the MK parking lot/MK ferry might be closer than taking the smaller Poly/GF boat depending on which longhouse you are in. Likewise, there is no boat from the TTC to Epcot, but it might be quicker to walk to the TTC to board the Epcot monorail rather than board the resort monorail at the Poly lobby and then transfer at the TTC to the Epcot monorail.
    The Poly is a victim of it’s popularity and proximity to MK. Lots of casual visitors wander the grounds, eat at the restaurants, and drink at the bars, thus the lines to get on the monorail there. When the Aloha show lets out it’s particularly bad. When MK closes getting on to the resort monorail is a challenge as well.


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