Having stayed at Universal's Royal Pacific this summer, and not having any nostalgia for Poly, I actually prefer this video of entering the Poly to the experience of walking to the Royal Pacific. The RP has a large canyon of landscaping under an adorned bridge and is thus an impressive but cold entry. Even with its limitations, this one seems much more cozy and welcoming.
I think the Royal Pacific is both a nicer hotel than the Polynesian and offers dramatically better value, but I agree that it's not as well themed and feels more generic.
I prefer the Polynesian landscaping, although the fact that the overall entrance looks they were about 60% finished and then just stopped and left it as is hurts it a lot.