The Resort in the New Millennium has been revitalized. The Polynesian has stuck to the original ideas laid out by Walt Disney and designers and artist Rolly Crump (who designed the Tiki Room and Marc Davis. Even with keeping with the original ideas the Polynesian works hard to update and renovate. Many visitors to the Polynesian have seen renovations going on over the years to keep up one of the original resorts. 2002 brought the most extensive rehab the Polynesian has seen so far and should insure the Polynesian will be around for even longer than it has been already.
Polynesian and Grand Floridian merged both of their engineering into one group.
The construction of the new Volcano pool starts this year by removing the playground to be replaced with turtle fountain play area, entire courtyard landscape removal and redesign, installation of stream bed and enlarge Captain Cook’s outdoor seating area. Also adding a new poolbar and merchandise cabana.
A new paint job was scheduled for the GCH and the monorail platform got a new color. The GCH also had the second floor restroom modified to comply with ADA regulations.
The suites got a soft rehab and the parking lot got repaved. Also Sunset Pointe had a path added along with new lighting.
The "Big Kahuna" Tiki was moved from Adventure Land to the Polynesian
The "Tiki Room" (Cast meeting room) opened.
The Polynesian finally got something many guests had been wanting for a long time. A new pool. The old volcano pool was replaced with a new volcano pool. Aquatic Design Engineering provided hydraulic, structural, filtration, and chemical system design and engineering services (more info on pool page).
All the longhouses. Rooms will be painted, cleaned and repairs done where needed.
In October the Tuvalu longhouse got a facelift and went from a smoking building to smoking only on the 3rd floor with the second and first smoke free.
Hawaii Longhouse also got a phoneline rehab. October 2001 Tuvalu (minor work)
The Polynesian waterfall in the main lobby had what started out as some repairs and ended up as an almost new waterfall with many of the original plants being replaced as well as the pump. The Scarlet Macaws (Lady Chatfield, Paco, O'Hare and Quick Draw) were removed and moved over to the Animal Kingdom to live a better life. It was better for them to be outside and guests were throwing things down from the 2nd floor of the Great Ceremonial House onto them.
Work started on the original longhouses to redo the foundations so all the floors were ripped out and replaced along with removing the wall paper and painting. New carpets and materials went into all the original longhouses starting in 2002 with Aotearoa andFiji (shown below). The work was also to include to include roofs, floor pans, air conditioning, electrical, plumbing, removal of wall paper, and construction of attic mechanical room.
The parking lot lights were replaced.
June 2002 Fiji
Aotearoa, Tokelau and Tahiti had some minor work done but did not close to guests.
In the summer of 2003 they continued the work on the original longhouses and also added a new show to replace the original Luau show as well as rehabed Luau Cove.
Construction of a new ADA compliant bus stop. They also replaced 33% of the tiki torches.
This is also the year that the new room design that was added in 2005 was started and items were purchased
Tahiti was also the location for the concierge while Hawaii was closed.
Rehab that year
January 2003 Samoa (opened back up as a non-smoking longhouse)
January 2003 the Luau closed
February 2003 The Spirit of Aloha show replaced the Luau
June 2003 Hawaii (thru October 17th)
October 2003 Tuvalu 19th- Jan. 16, 2004
Rehab Schedule 2004:
Janruary 2004 Niue 18th- May 2, 2004 (now smoking optional) and Rarotonga has the same schedule.
Tahiti, Rapa Nui and Tokelau are not in need of the foundation rework that the original construction had and they have had soft rehabs in the last few years. They will have more work done but no date has been set. After Rarotonga is done all the original longhouses will have been done except the Tonga suites.
In April 2004, while Rarotonga was walled off they extended the wall around the East pool (aka Quiet Pool) and worked on the deck around the East Pool. The pool looks the same and the only difference is the deck looks like the stone walkways that are around the longhouses. Some things were repainted and some new piping was put in. The pool is back open.
There have been many changes at the Polynesian over the years and the rooms have changed their look from the 70's to the 80' and the latest total change of the room was in 1996. Now the Polynesian has been working hard on the outside of the buildings, the garden areas, pathways and the new pool since 2000 and along with a major change to the stores in the Great Ceremonial House and Captain Cook's the rooms are getting a new look and it is like nothing you have seen at the Polynesian before. They have gone through a few test room ideas and now they are ready to start changing the rooms over. The process will take a few years, like it did in the past, but it will be worth the wait.
Janruary-April Tonga Suites were worked on.
The standard rooms will all get the new room in the next few years. All the soft goods, bedspreads, carpet, drapes, etc will be replaced and the rooms are going to get a whole new look and furniture. Some of the changes in the rooms will be the canopy above the bed will be removed, the armoire will be replaced with what you see below, the TV will be replaced with a new 32" flat panel TV, new mattresses and there will be a desk area in the room . The daybed is replaced with a folding couch like a futon to give more room when it is not folded out. The colors of the room are going to be changed also. All the light fixtures in the rooms and halls will be different and some textures are being tried out on the walls. Below are some photos of the new test pieces (carpet, lighting, wall color and treatment)
There is also going to be a new sliding glass door for the future. They are installing the new door in one of the rooms at the resort now since the door needs replacing anyway. The new door is a 3 piece glass that only the center piece opens. It is suppose to be lighter and easier to open and close. Below is a photo of the new patio and you can see the new drapes in the background. These changes will continue in 2006.
They removed the old stores in on the 1st floor of the GCH and replaced them with new ones. One of the new stores is called Boutiki (opened March 2005), along the side across from the Front desk. Than they plan to expand Captain Cook’s across that back wall.
Wyland Gallery moved to the location News from Polynesia was. The arcade is moving over near Captain Cook’s and the new wall and bathrooms are up across from Captain Cook’s. Check the above information for edits and changes to the rehab dates for introducing the new room. They are still trying to finalize the design and start work.
Boutiki opened this year
It is filled with Island wear and gifts for you to take home to remember your trip to the Polynesian.
Soon the other stores will start to change and when it is all done we will be into a new era at the Polynesian. Over the years things have changed and some of us have watched it happen. Now we can say we remember when...
Tonga openened back up with the single room that was called Concierge Suite will now be a Honeymoon Suite with the two queens removed and a King Bed added as well as a Jacuzzi tub. This room is at the corner next to the King Kamehameha suite and was used as an add-on room. It faces the lagoon looking down the marina. The only other significant change is that one of the Ambassador Suites will be reconfigured to be completely Handicapped Accessible.
They have done an extensive "hardgoods" rehab to Tonga. 95% of the furniture is being replaced with new, only a few armoires in bedrooms remain for reuse although they are even completely refinished. All bathrooms have been completely redone including new stone vanity tops, tub and shower surrounds, tile floors and accessories. The King Kamehameha suite with it's two story volume has had the reeded ceiling reconditioned and the large scale paddle fan mounted to the center beam has been replaced with a new unit. All flooring materials are new, combinations of tile and carpet throughout all suites. All new wallcoverings, lighting, artwork, and accessories. New flat panel TV's throughout and the concierge lounge and building entry are completely redone (finishes, furniture, and layout). Patio tile and furniture has been replaced as well.
Captain Cook’s will not be redone this year but when it gets scheduled it will expand into the old stores. I guess there is a new menu that has been seen by some of the staff and it looks greatly improved from the old Captain Cook’s. They are increasing the amount of tables and getting a full kitchen so food does not have to be brought from the upstairs kitchen.
I had a preview of the new rooms in August 2005. Here are some photos of inside the rooms before they were done. The photos show the rooms in Rapa Nui and they are the rooms that are slightly larger with the double sinks. These rooms also got an extra chair. There is a photo of a test door design that was not used once they opened the rooms.
High speed internet access is available for $9.95 per 24 hour period as of August 15th.
The new rooms opened in Rapa Nui first in August 2005
The new rooms have had some issues. The electricity was not working properly and the rooms do not look complete. The old light fixtures are still on the wall above the beds and the old headboards are still there. I heard they were on order and had not come in. The reports are very positive on the new rooms even with the issues and the new beds (that were there when I was there in August) are getting great reviews. I will admit that I thought they were the most comfortable bed I have ever stayed in and I have been in the Westin “Heavenly Bed” many times. It was such a difference that I noticed it the minute I got in bed
Another change happened to ‘Ohana (reported in my update email) that on Sunday October 2 there would be new Characters added. Lilo and Stitch replaced Goofy and Chip and Dale. Mickey and Pluto will be there with Lilo and Stitch. The Menu for ‘Ohana dinner has changed also and while the reports say CMs don’t like it the reports from guests seem to like it. (photo of Lilo and Stitch thanks to Laura Sullivan)
2006 saw the most changes at the resort for as long as I have been going there. The mid 90's were close with all the changes but so much was redone and new in 2006.
2005 saw the start of the new room design and in 2006 it kicked into full swing. All the longhouses and changes all over the resort would start and finish before the year was out. It started with a continuation of the new room design and a rumor of Captain Cook’s being redone. The rumor was true but the schedule kept on changing and it seemed like it would never happen.
Room view categories changed this year. Even I don’t remember what the original room view categories were but I was told early on there were many view categories like pool view, marina view, lagoon view and garden view but then in the 90s they simplified it to be either lagoon view or garden view. Lagoon view was any room that faced the lagoon directly and was not completely blocked by plants. Well in 2006 because of complaints that some of the lagoon view rooms had trees or bushes blocking the view of the castle, they created a new category called Magic Kingdom View (later changed to Theme park view). They took a group and went to every lagoon view room and stood in the middle of the room and if they could see the castle with nothing blocking any part of it, they designated it a Magic Kingdom view room. Now the price of these rooms was not the same as the lagoon view rooms. I thought that was odd because before when you were paying for a lagoon view room you were doing so expecting a view of the castle and now instead of reducing the cost of the rooms that they determined to have a blocked view and leaving the cost of the rooms that could see the castle (as expected) they increased the cost of the rooms with the view of the castle.
It finally happened and Captain Cook’s closed and was relocated temporarily over at Tangaroa Terrace.
The Polynesian always tests out new things on a handful of rooms. We had been in a room where a test paint pattern was done before the new design. Also there were test rooms for the new design in Aotearoa for years before the new rooms opened. Some door test designs showed up but never seem to make it to the final design.
Captain Cook’s opened and all the longhouses opened with the new room look. Work to redo all the roofs and repaint the exterior of the buildings continues.
Most of the signs around the resort have been replaced with new signs.
There was a rumor that the torches were being removed. The rumor is not true. They are being fixed and replaced with new torches that will relight themselves if they blow out. The rumos stated that the staff was asked and told them they were being taken out for good so this is a good example of how many rumors that sound like they are fact are not.
This year started off with all of the buildings being refurbished or already finished. Officially they were done with the rehab of the rooms but even today there were some items still not in some rooms. Most of the areas lacking were in Rapa Nui, Tahiti and Tuvalu. The items for the rooms are so custom that they are hard to get made in ready to install.
Also this year the beginning of the “Bed and Bath upgrade”
phase began in January with the introduction of the
H2O products for the soaps, shampoos and lotions.
Valet charge went from $7 to $10 January 12.
In February after many changes and a review by AAA the Polynesian
gained a 4th Diamond rating to put it with the Yacht Club, Beach Club
and Grand Floridian. Later that year the Beach Club lost a Diamond.
The Volcano pool got new pumps installed and a new paint job.
Aunti Kaui turned 75 on Tuesday March 13 and got an award from the state of Hawaii for her preserving and teaching people history of the islands. I know she looks half her age.
In March The Polynesian started using waitresses at the pool to serve drinks until fireworks. The Monorail station got a new roof.
In June the Polynesian and all Disney resorts when smokless. All the rooms are smoke free and there are new locations around the resort designated as smoking areas.
"We make adjustments to our operations based on guest demand," Senior Vice President Erin Wallace said. "This policy complements our efforts to provide our guests with the healthy living options they are requesting."
Walt Disney Parks & Resorts initially banned smoking at Disneyland's three hotels in California last year but allowed smoking to continue at Disney World hotels because there was more demand from guests for smoking rooms at the Florida resort than at Disneyland. But apparently there was not enough demand.During the last five years, guest demand for smoking rooms at the Walt Disney World Resort has been declining steadily. Currently, less than 3.5 percent of Walt Disney World's 24,000 resort rooms are smoking optional, Disney reported in a news release.
In May they continued the “Bed and Bath” upgrade by introducing new linens. They introduced the Spring Global Wamsutta collection for their linens and towels.
The front desk got a new look and new artwork. New torches also went in.
July was a busy month for me. Our first gathering of people who love the Polynesian (called Tikifest) was the end of July. To read the trip report go to the Trip Reports page.
September Captain cooks has a new sign and some other signs around the resort look new also.
They have been playing the movies out at the beach but it is something set up by the recreation department and it seems to be somewhat random.
November there were new accessible rooms completed so the Polynesian now has six more rooms bringing the total to ten ADA rooms. They are located in Niue (Garden View) Tahiti (Lagoon and Magic Kingdom View) and Hawaii (Garden Concierge) Room numbers:1702,1703,1529,1530,1016 and 1017.
For years the Polynesian has held records for things like most repeat guests, highest rated concierge, and even Wedding magazine had it in its top 10 for Honeymoon destinations that included all locations, not just Disney destinations.Themeparkinsider.com had this report about the Polynesian.
Disney's Polynesian Resort wrested the Best Theme Park Hotel award from Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge, which had won the award for the past two years. Theme Park Insider readers raved about the Polynesian's “excellent service” and “gorgeous grounds.” One reader wrote: “When you're at Disney World, and you want to stay in a tropical setting where you can just enjoy yourself, then the Polynesian is the place for you. My family loved it.”
Well it was an interesting year at the Polynesian. It started out with another change to the ‘Ohana menu. It had some things removed and some things added. They tried a few different things and finally settled on something about halfway through the year.
Hawaii Club level rooms had some Handicap Accessible rooms added.
Signs around the Polynesian were changed to reflect the new name of the Hollywood Studios park.
Kona Island Café added a sushi bar. You can read the menu at All Ears http://www.allears.net/menu/men_sushi.htm
Jeff Lang photos and video
At the begining of the year we announced Tikifest 2009. Instead of it being another dinner we decided to keep the cost down to hopefully get more people. We were also looking forward to seeing some people return from the first Tikifest. It was great to have so many of the Tikifesters at the Polynesian resort where we would see them every day. That was the best part of the week. Unfortunately Disney did not do a very good job with the party and because of this would probably mean it would be the last TIkifest or at least the last Disney would be incharge of.
Even with the problems we made a lot of new friends and got to spend more time with some old ones.
This was also my 10 year anniversary for my web site. It all started with a one page site and a few vacation photos of the Polynesian.
After so much response from guests some of the entertainers including Kaleo were brought back to entertain some more. Sometimes it takes the guests to speak up for Disney to do what is right.
Camp fires and movies on the beach were introduced to the activities of the resort. Located over at the Wedding Pavilion, guests of the Grand Floridian and Polynesian could enjoy camp fires and movies on the beach.
February of this year the Polynesian tested out a new system of online check in. You can check in online up to 10 days before and check in faster when you arrive. the service allows the guests to provide check-in information, register the names of everyone in their party, advise the hotel of their arrival times and request room preferences (requests are not guaranteed) and provide a credit card for room charges.
There will be a special location at the front desk for on line check in guests and your keys and welcome packets should be ready for you when you get there.
My old site shut down on April 1 and the new site started. WIth the help of Matt Turk the site got a huge facelift.
In June the Polynesian officially started using online check in.
Vince Valdes (Polynesian General Manager) was asked to retire and the Polynesian was left without a GM. The Grand Floridian GM (Norm Nobles) would oversee the Polynesian.
This was a year of cut backs and one of the projects that was scheduled to happen and was canceled was the building of Cabanas out on the beach. They were to be like the Grand Floridian ones that are rented out but with a Polynesian look to them.
The lobby got a makeover with all new designs of carpets decorations and chairs. It was the first time since the 90's that the lobby had a major change.
Disney now uses Mobile Room Ready Notification Service. This allows you to arrive prior to your check-in time to simplify your resort arrival by alerting you through your cell/mobile phone when your room is available.
During the check-in process, Guests provide a cell/mobile telephone number and request a return notification preference. When the room is ready, a text message or automated call will be sent to the Guest’s cell/mobile phone number with the room number.
Effective June 16, 2009 guests may book dining reservations at select locations via the Internet at www.disneyworld.com/dining. Guests may book select table service restaurants and dinner shows up to 90 days in advance and soon may book a limited number of special dining events, too.
The new resort in Hawaii (Oahu) was announced. Joe Rohde and other well known Disney Imagineers were sent out to Oahu to work on the design of the new resort.
Quick Facts Date Announced:
October 3, 2007
Disney Resort & Spa at Ko Olina will be located on the island of O'ahu's western
side in the picturesque Ko Olina Resort & Marina.
Planned Number of units:
350 hotel rooms
480 Two-bedroom equivalent vacation villas for Disney Vacation Club
One full-service restaurant and one buffet restaurant
Planned Convention Space:
8,000 Sq. Ft.
Full-service spa, 18,000 Sq. Ft.
Approximately 1,000 Cast Members anticipated
As of this year there is a new Chef in town. Chef TJ comes to ‘Ohana from Boma at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. He has been at Disney World for 14 years and he is now working with ‘Ohana and Captain Cook’s. He is well known for making some specialties that are vegan, raw vegan, vegetarian, gluten free, egg free, etc. If you want to try some of these things make sure you contact the resort a few weeks ahead of time. An article written about Chef TJ has some tips on how to get your vegan feast at ‘Ohana.
Before now the room catagories in the Hawaii club level building were garden view and lagoon view. This year they changed it to include Theme Park view (once known as Magic Kingdom View) and some of the lagoon view rooms in Hawaii became Theme Park View Club Level.