Disney's Polynesian Village Resort opened to enthusiastic visitors in late 1971. Visitors to the park that wanted to stay close to the action had two choices, the modern elegance of the Contemporary or the Tropical getaway of the Polynesian. The Polynesian staff and creators worked hard to make you feel you were no longer on the main land but off on some secluded island. As you will see on the following pages, the Polynesian has changed its look, size and logo over the years.
When the two resorts first opened things were a lot different then. The Polynesian was much more isolated than it is now. It did have the Transportation and Ticket Center next to it but there was a stretch of land between the longhouses on the eastern side (Tonga, Hawaii and Maui) and the Ferry boat dock at the Transportation and Ticket Center. On the other side was nothing but a beach and a patch of land made for the Asian Resort. Even Luau Cove did not exist at first.
Booking your stay was not only different but so was the price. Prices in 1971 were in 3 categories depending on floor, view and location. They were the same for the Contemporary and Polynesian. You would actually make reservations and check a box for which hotel was your first choice and which was your second choice. Then you would select the price category you wanted. The higher the price the better the view. They would put you in the next best room under that price at either resort. The prices were $29, $36 and $44. If a room under that price was not available they would put you in the next category. There was a $4 per person per night charge for the 3rd and forth person over 17 years old. See Walt Dated World link on links page for more old Polynesian stuff.
To the right is a map that was on the inside of a guest book given out in the early 70's. It shows the original longhouses and their names as well as a putting green where the East Pool (quiet pool) will be in the late 70's.
Below you will see more photos that are actually some of the original postcards for the Polynesian Village.
This early postcard shows that there was a swim platform out in the lagoon where back them you could swim in the lagoon. Also you can see the walls of the longhouses were still unpainted wood. You can see the Golf resort in the back (now Shades of Green). Also if you look closely you will see that the end of the Hawaii longhouse does not jog out for the concierge lounge that was not there at that time. It was just rooms all the way to the end.
Here is a great shot of what the Great Ceremonial House use to look like inside. That tile on the floor lasted into the 90s. Even those chairs lasted into the late 80s. Those plants were not quite as large as they are now. Many of them are still in the lobby.
One of my favorite shops that I always looked forward to checking out when I was there was News From Civilization or also called News from Polynesia. This photo I don't think was a post card but an advertisement for the resort store. This is now the location for Wyland Gallery.
The boat shown in this photo is the Ports O’ Call that was an Excursion Steamer that use to navigate the Seven Seas Lagoon and Bay Lake. It was a tour was called the WOrld Cruise and was $1 for adults and 50 cents for kids. There were cocktails and soft drinks on board. There is some great information on them at Big Brians site.
To learn more about the Ports-O-Call and the World Cruise that was offered, visit Foxxfur's page. http://passport2dreams.blogspot.ca/2011/02/buena-vista-obscura-world-cruise.html