Walt Disney World/Deluxe Resorts
I have a family of 5 (all boys ages 11, 8, and 5). We want to go to WDW next summer, and want to book our vacation soon. We've narrowed it down to either the Poly or Contemporary since we want to be on the monorail. Which in your opinion is the better choice. Also, is it worth it to pay for an upgraded view? Thank you!
You've made a great first choice about choosing a Magic Kingdom resort! It will definitely come in handy with your children and taking those all-important mid-day breaks. Both Poly and Contemporary are my top choices too. It depends on what type of room you want and how close you want to be to the main building (with the monorail access). If it doesn't matter, then you can just choose between the theming you like most.
There are more kinds of entertainment for your family with the Poly, such as O'Hana with Lilo and Stich or the Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show. In this case, I would choose the Poly. There are also some fun trails for the children to walk around and check out. Steer clear of the water, especially toward the evenings as the bugs can be particularly annoying. Most of the rooms are away from the main building so some walking around is required, but I also find it more quiet than the Contemporary.
The Contemporary has Chef Mickey's, which is a fun breakfast buffet for the kids to meet Mickey and friends. If you stay in the main tower, these are basic studio rooms and can be somewhat noisy if it's close to the monorail. However, it's very close to the monorail which means quick access too! In the evenings, you can step outside on the balcony (just outside the the gift shop area or if you eat at California Grill at the top) and watch the Magic Kingdom fireworks (with music included!). It's really cool and you don't have to deal with the crowds! They also show movies in the evenings outside between the new Bay Lake Tower and the original tower. This is great if your family is too tired and want to relax. I haven't seen if the Poly has the movie thing as well but it's very possible. If you're more interested in the Contemporary, the new Bay Lake Tower is open and have a few spaces for guests not part of their vacation club. These rooms include a full kitchen and separate bedrooms (the Poly has these too but aren't as new). The Bay Lake Tower has a walkway to the main tower and it's a short walk to the monorail. I stayed in these last summer and it was really nice and comfortable with so many people.
In my opinion, I don't think it's worth the upgraded view. I would spend that money on a larger room that will better meet the family's needs and comfort. Each resort has wonderful locations with beautiful views (at the Poly, there is this small area that is perfect for small weddings that look to the castle). Between the two resorts, I think the Poly may better meet your family's needs with your children. It feels more family friendly and has plenty of options for them (each resort also has an arcade and child center as well). However, if you get the chance, make reservations at California Grill for dinner or just drinks, it's beautiful up there. The shows at the Poly are also great and something I'm sure your boys would like.
I hope that helps! Have a great time planning!