The Polynesian in the 1980s would see it final growth but still hold on to that 70's look with an 80's twist. Most of the resort would still look the same but the rooms would change. The Longhouse exteriors would have their wood siding painted over giving the resort a different look from the outside for the first time.
The 80's would also be when the isolated resort would get a new neighbor in 1988. That is when the Grand Floridian would be built where the Asian was going to be built.
As you can see from this photo from Jennifer Lazzaro the Polynesian rooms did some changing in the early 80's. Some people think the resort never really changed over the years but if you look back at photos like this you can see how drastic the changes were.
The Lei Hut was added April 1980
In May of this year the floating docks located in the Marina were added
Papeete Bay and Tambu Lounge were rehabed in July of this year to get a new look.
The year started out with the removal of the Moonlight Tropical Review and Mickey's Tropical Revue was tested and continued after this year.
Construction on Moorea (Later Tahiti) and Pago Pago (Later Rapa Nui) started this year.
The 80's brought a lot of change to the Polynesian. It was becoming very popular and known as the Hawaii of the East Coast.
One of the casualties of this year was one of the first buffets in Walt Disney World and it seems that it was very popular. This place was called the South Seas Room and was located where the later concierge lounge, Wyland Galleries and now the front of Boutiki is in the Great Ceremonial House. It became a banquet space.
The Papeete Bay Kitchen had a rehab and a stage was added. Coral Isle Cafe added 26 seats and skylights. The boardwalk also had some rehab done to keep it in good condition. Along with some more modifications to the Luau there was an addition of a new Entrance sign that was erected in July that reflected the new resort name.
This year we would see the removal of "Village" from the name of the resort. It would not return again until 2015. Other changes that came in the 80's was to change the look around the resort. All the original 8 Longhouses started to get a rehab in September and was completed in May of 1986. All the rooms, hallways and even the Great Ceremonial House will get new colors and fabrics. They start to move away from the 70's decor and move towards more traditional colors and patterns.
Also the new Longhouses (Pago Pago and Moorea) opened and added 219 more rooms, bringing the total to 847. A parking lot was also added next to Pago Pago.They also added new walkways around the resort , along the beach, and to the Transportation and Ticket Center (TTC). These rooms were slightly larger than the original building rooms.
Other news for the year was the White Cockatoos and Scarlet Macaws were put in the lobby. The luggage storage area was rehabed and the monorail platform was expanded.
Minnie's Menehune Breakfast was introduced to Papeete Bay Verandah. Captain Cook's Hideaway Lounge was renamed to the Island Ice Cream Company.
The longhouse Maui changes its name to Maori and later will become Rarotonga.
This year they tested the Wave Machine one last time after sitting idol since the early 70s and it was decided to dismantle and remove it from the lake. Rumors are that it was buried at the bottom of the lake but the structure was taken out and not sunk to the bottom.
Work continues and is completed on removing the old design (seen in the photo to the right). The room redesign took 6 days to complete each room and 28 rooms were down at one time. The cost per room rehab was $7000. Housekeeper costumes were redesigned to match the new room decore.
Trader Jack's and Village Gifts opens back up from its own rehab in February of this year.
Koi are added to the pond out front and many of the camphor trees are replaced at the entrance to add queen palms to give it more of a tropical look.
A concierge lounge was added and opened in January. also added was guest laundry and the marina rental building.
Outriggers Cove was completed in April of this year. Guest services moved to where it is now from the location of the old News From Civilization (now Wyland gallery).
The walkway to the Transportation and Ticket Center was installed this year.
Since the rooms had a new look the Great Ceremonial House got a new look and removed the tile with a new color scheme, new furniture, new phone area and a new roof. They also expanded the front desk and gave the staff new costumes at the front office.
The Concierge lounge was enlarged and was redecorated. All of the longhouses got a fresh coat of paint and the Barefoot Snack Bar was remodeled. The Island Ice Cream Co. changed its name to Captain Cook's Snack and Ice Cream Co. and Jane Eisner and son (Anders) were the official ribbon cutters on April 16, 1987.
Main pool’s mountain was repaired and pool surfaced was redone. Luau Cove dressing rooms were upgraded and a larger stage was built. Air conditioning system in the Main Kitchen was replaced.
Men’s Shop, Robinson, Crusoe, Esq., moved to where the Polynesian Princess was, and the name changed to Crusoe and Son. Polynesian Princess moved down the hall. Children’s shop and News From Civilization moved to the end of the hallway. Outside walls of the shops were converted to glass so guests could see outside while shopping. With the renovations and additions of the merchandise shops, 2,800 square feet of retail space was added. Animated window display was added to guide guests to the corridor of the Merchandise Shops.
Luau added a tech booth and dressing rooms.
Neverland Club opened this year. This kids club is located near the bus stop, across from the Great Ceremonial House, is a supervised activity center for children ages 4 to12 that is open daily from 4:00 p.m. to midnight for an additional fee.At this Peter Pan-themed play space, children are invited to play video games, enjoy dinner and snacks, watch Disney movies and interact with other kids their age.
Papeete Bay Had a rehab.
The 4 Macaws to live at the Polynesian over the years were named Paco, O'Hare, Quick Draw Macaw and Lady Chatfield
Entertainment was added to Papeete Bay and Pizza was added to Tangaroa Terrace.
The valet/ bell captain desk was added out in front of the Great Ceremonial House