Rumors of major changes
So I was going to wait and have this be part of my trip report but many of you are very anxious for me to let you know what I heard and what I think is happening. Well things are changing all the time. Even minutes ago I found out that they are talking about the “Major Renovation” being done in 2013. Now with all the stories I have been hearing for over a year now I am not sure what this means exactly so I will just share with you what I have heard. There is a new rumor that there will be an announcement on the 24th (the Polynesian’s official birthday) and possibly a ceremony but we will have to wait for Monday to find out.
So let’s address the rumors. For years now the Great Ceremonial House has needed to be replaced but they keep fixing it with small fixes that don’t last. Is there an asbestos problem? Yes but only in the GCH. There is no asbestos problem in the room that was rumored a while ago. These rooms were gutted in 2002. My site will show you photos that there was nothing in the rooms other than the steel framing. Also the GCH needs to become ADA compliant as well as up to code in other areas. So this is the one thing I have been hearing for a while and from many sources. They were even trying to figure out logistics on how they would move check in and offer other dining options including opening back up Tangaroa Terrace and having the Luau maybe serve lunch. Because they were trying to figure this out I believe it was going to finally happen soon.
The next thing that has been going on is that they are getting to the point where it is time to change the room design. In the past the rooms were changed every 6 – 8 years and taking about 2 – 3 years to complete fully. Well the last start of a redesign was in 2005. I just toured the suites that just got a completely new look (photos to be added to my suites page) but I have not heard or seen and evidence of any test rooms on property like there usually is a year before a renovation.
There have been some major plans that have been changed last minute. There is an artist rendering of a grotto with hot tub that was going to be put in (I believe where the east pool is) and when the east pool was going to close for renovation it was described as getting a zero entry. Well now we all know that it turned out the change was only a resurface it and make it shallower. Something caused them to change major plans.
Other major plans were to redo or remove and replace Tahiti and Rapa Nui to put in new buildings (DVC is what was suggested). This idea I believe is also dead. Just taking down Tahiti and Rapa Nui or redoing their rooms into DVC would only be about 200 rooms.
Along with all these major plans being changed, trouble with the logistics of removing the GCH and keeping the resort open to me is an indication that something else is in store. Talking with some CMs that work in different areas of the resort, they mentioned possibly being moved to a “new resort” while major work is being done to the Polynesian. Also lately there have been reports of groups from Imagineering all over the resort and on a few occasions Survey teams all over the entire grounds. They were asked what was going on and all they said was “Something big!”
Trying to get a straight answer is close to impossible. When you mention some things to people they just stay silent and smile.
As much as every time I have asked about DVC and they have told me they did not have the land to do it and it would not happen, this time DVC seemed to be what everyone was mentioning.
After all I heard I came up with my theory on what I see when I put the pieces together and some at Disney agree with me.
DVC will go in but to do this and to give the resort the attention it needs they will not just take down the GCH (which is needed anyway) but they will take down the resort and build a new one with the same theme.
I heard that even the last thing constructed at the resort in 2001 (the volcano pool) is cracking and possibly sinking so it may be that starting from scratch might be easier than patching things up year after year. Since the land it is on is small I would think they would build up since they can’t build out unless they fill in the lagoon like they are doing over at the Grand Floridian DVC. After seeing Aulani I would even think they would model it after what they have there. That way they get their new lobby, pool, hot tub and room for DVC. With the resort only having 847 rooms it is not impossible to move their reservations off to other resorts.
Now as with everything Disney some of this info might not be 100% correct or even if it is plans and timelines seem to always change. Most of the CMs at the Polynesian find out things totally last minute so often they don’t even know what is going to happen. I don’t think I will know what will happen and when until just before it does. I remember when that rumor came out a while back about the Polynesian being torn down and I was told it would not happen. I even when on the discussion boards and said it was not true. Well after some of my discussions I think there is some truth to it but I think we will have to wait and see.
Disney are making a significant change to the reservation cancellation policy for some of the most popular restaurants at Walt Disney World. It has been a frequent complaint with guests that they are unable to dine at restaurants due to unavailability, that is in many cases caused by other guests making reservations and then not attending.
Starting on October 26 2011, guests will be required to provide a credit card in order to make a reservation for signature dining restaurants across the Walt Disney World property. In the event that a cancellation is not made at least one day in advance, the credit card on the reservation will be charged $10 per person.
Signature restaurants requiring the credit card guarantee:
. 1900 Park Fare
. Akershus Royal Banquet Hall
. Artist Point
. California Grill
. Cape May Café
. Chef Mickey's
. The Crystal Palace
. Flying Fish Café
. The Garden Grill
. Hollywood & Vine
. Jiko - The Cooking Place
. Le Cellier Steakhouse
. Tusker House Restaurant
. The Hollywood Brown Derby
. Victoria & Albert's - $25 per person
. Yachtsman Steakhouse
Some restaurants are pre-paid lcoations, and these will continue to hold the full pre-paid amount in the event of failing to cancel within one day in advance. These restaurants are:
. Cinderella's Royal Table
. Disney's Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show
. Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue
. Mickey's Backyard BBQ
Reservations can be cancelled at any table service restaurant podium, at a special number of 407-WDW-CNCL, at www.disneyworld.com/dining, or at any guest relations or resort front desk.
I know my report is late and it now has already been announced but a few weeks ago I found out the equipment for Wifi was installed and was to be activated on October 14th. The other statement from the resort was that the in-room wired internet would be free until the 24th. Not sure what that means for after the 24th or maybe only Wifi will be available after that.
Getting tough at the resort
Well the inconsistency of wrist banding goes on. As in past years they seem to issue wristbands at the pool sometimes and then stop. In fact it was years ago that they first did wristbands for the big holidays. I will say that they are really cracking down of non-resort guests and with as busy as the beach was some nights I would not be surprised if they enforce the use of the beach to resort guests only. During the weekend of the anniversary they clamped down hard around the resort. Friends of ours could not even get in past the guard shack to join us at the Tambu Lounge and he knows the guys at the Polynesian very well. When we checked in the day before they usually would wave you through if you were checking in or had a reservation. Now they not only ask you your name but ask for I.D. On the night of the 1st we went to Downtown Disney to eat and when we got back there was a huge traffic jam. The line of cars went up to the guard shack at the resort and so I went over to the row that you can go through using a room key. When I pulled up to use my key they quickly came out of the guard shack and asked for my card and I.D. They said they were turning tons of cars around and denying them access to the resort.
The wrist banding was not going on the first few days I was there so I brought it up with a manager and I don’t know if that made a difference or not but the rest of our stay they were issuing wrist bands. I saw a few people that did not want to do it and they said one day they kicked out 60 people.
What’s up with the beach?
While doing my normal walk of the entire resort I came around the corner to the Tahiti beach and I was amazed that whatever is growing in the water is now working its way up the beach. It has taken over a good percentage of the Tahiti beach and is even working its way onto the Hawaii beach over near Sunset Pointe. I have not heard if they are planning on doing anything about it but it has taken what was once what I considered the best beach in WDW and made it look like the abandon River Country.
After years of people reporting they can’t hear the Wishes music on the speakers I am happy to announce that the music was the perfect volume while we were there. I could hear it from the beach at Hawaii longhouse very well.
I know in the past the speakers were either not working or so low you had to have your ear up to it to hear but it seems that for now they fixed it.
New sites to visit
I met lots of great people when I was in Disney world and I have a few new links to add for your enjoyment. These are two I wanted you to check out. One is by Robin Reeve called WDW Dads the mancave of Disney http://www.thewdwdads.com/ and it is geared towards Dads that go to Disney but it is a fun site for anyone. The other is from Ashley Reeve and its called A Cup of Disney http://www.acupofdisney.com/ . This just goes to show you that people make much better sites than mine.
I still have a lot of photos and info around the resort and in the club level lounge that I am in the process of writing up so check back for all those goodies still to come like a report on the Cabana rental, fireworks cruise on the Grand 1, new things at the resort, a filming at the resort, tour of the new suites and lots of photos to add to the photo album as well as new links to add.