2010 started out rough. It was a year of budget cuts, increase in cost and decrease in services. We also lost a big part of the Polynesian family.
Dick Magno (better known as Chef Dick) at the Polynesian retired in July 2010. We all know him for his delicious creations and sculpted fruits and vegetables in the lounge of the Hawaii longhouse. We also know his as the person who always has a smile and an aloha for us when we enter the lounge. Not having him there was a loss for us all when we visit the resort. Many people even planed their vacation dates for when he was going to be there.
The club level lounge is still not the same.
Hawaii was closed for a while to do some painting and repair to the building.
The music around the grounds was replaced with different songs. Some of the songs are even played by past Cast Members of the luau who have Hawaiian music albums they have recorded.
Some carpentry work being done around the Great Ceremonial House
The signs at the Resort are getting an updated look. The lettering is changing to the new font. Instead of the original font of the resort from the beginning (Bauhaus) it is going to look like the sign shown here that is outside the Great Ceremonial House. I think the look is good but I miss the hand crafted carved signs that were originally made here in California by Oceanic Arts who still has some old reject signs from the Polynesian hanging around the store.
Tonga has gotten some new furniture such as couches and other soft furnishings.
Roofs have been refurbished at Aotearoa, Fiji, Tuvalu and Tonga.
The boardwalk work at the marina is completed. They replaced all the wood along the marina.
Plans and concepts for a new quiet pool are being presented and discussed. Dates to shut down the East Pool (aka quiet pool) are being posted and the plan was to redesign the pool to have a grotto feel with a zero entry and a spa. The dates keep changing and plans start to change also.
Originally planned for 2009, the Cabanas at the volcano pool were put off because of budget issues. In 2010 they finally built them at 3 locations around the pool. Two standard cabanas at the south east end and one Premium cabana on the beach where the structure for the hair wraps was located.
Cost was $100 for a half day or $185 for a full day. The time you will occupy the cabana is from 10 AM -2 PM, or 3 PM-7 PM for half day rentals and 10 AM -7 PM for full day.
A new computer system (Lilo) for check in will start to be introduced in October of this year.
Continued work to clean up rooms, building by building replacing hard goods, repairing things and touching up paint can be seen throughout the resort.
Wrist bands are being introduced at the pools to make sure guests using the pools are Polynesian Resort guests.
The low shower heads in the rooms are replaced with new shower heads that allow for a taller person to be able to get under the head without crouching down. This had been a complaint almost as much as not having a hot tub.
As I mentioned in the earlier history lesson, the East Pool (beter known as the quiet pool) was put in place of a putting green in the late 70s. The reson if earned the name quiet pool was because the pool at the beach was always more popular because of its location to the beach and bar as well as it having a slide. The kids were mostly over at the main pool while many adults found a nice and quiet place to relax at the East Pool. When the new Volcano pool was being constructed they installed a temporary slide at the East Pool but once the new pool opened it was a better destination for kids (especially smaller ones) because of the zero entry, the slide and it not being deep. The East Pool also does not have life guards.
Well the East Pool is going to change for the first time since it opened in 1978. I was told it is getting a complete makeover and it will include a zero entry section but plans changed to just make the pool shallow. Later I found out about concept art that showed a grotto with zero entry and a hot tub that might have been the plan for the East Pool and budget or other factors might have changed that plan. I may never know.
Photos thanks to Darrin Demshar and Denise Fales Preskitt (Mousesteps.com)
In April of this year an email went out to Cast Members to look for people that were at the Polynesian when it opened or who have been coming to the resort since the early years. They wanted them for a celebration that was going to take place at the resort for the 40th anniversary. The anniversary party was going to be on the official birthday of the resort, October 24. Later it was planned that something would happen on October 1 (the day the Polynesian really opened). Once October came, nothing was done on either day although I still have the email to prove there were plans.
Rumors were starting the beginning of this year about the Polynesian needing to be torn down because of asbestos and that DVC was going to be built. When it was originally posted I talked to those I knew at the Polynesian and they said the only part of that rumor they felt was true was the Great Ceremonial House had multiple issues including asbestos and something needed to be done. They were trying to figure out how to shut it down and relocate check in and have alternate places to eat. One suggestion was to move check in to the old arcade location next to the Neverland Club and open back up the Tangaroa Terrace along with the Luau to serve food all day.
The original rumor that was posted online was shot down as false and even a statement saying it was not from reliable information and it was dismissed.
Later on my trip in October There was quite a bit of information going around about major changes (article here with all the details http://www.tikimanpages.com/tiki/news/195-change-is-in-the-wind )
Seems that the original rumor had some truth to it. Even I was convinced that the rumor I heard was false, I later believe that there are major things coming to the resort in the next few years.
The monorail to Epcot has already reduced its hours starting on July 11 and the monorail to the Magic Kingdom will start on August 1. Instead of operating an hour and a half past Extra Magic Hours it will shut down one hour after regular park hours. Extra busses from Epcot and additional boat service for the resorts around Seven Seas Lagoon will be used to transport the guests that are at parks after the monorail service is stopped.
My initial reaction was that this was another cutback to save money but it seems that the monorails are getting older, requiring more maintenance and are not being allowed enough down time. The fleet has also been reduced by one since the July 5, 2009 accident.
The rooms got a whole new look and all new amenities. They are going to be adding more to the lounge area also sometime next year.
Some maintenance is being done to exterior cosmetic items at Tuvalu and Fiji as well as the Marina is getting new ropes.
The year starts out with some major work being done to the Volcano pool to repaint the volcano and fix the slide.
The new room design was put into 2 buildings in February 2012 (two rooms in each building). The new room design looks like it will start going into Aotearoa in October. Tonga suites was redesigned in 2011 but it will be closed September 23- October 19 to get a new lounge. Hawaii (club level rooms) will be closed for the new room design January 6 to March 13 (going by the construction dates that are set right now). No word on if the club level will move while Hawaii is closed like they did before. I hear the new rooms are much like my photos of the new room in Tonga suites with the brighter colors and it sounds like the bathrooms are getting a complete redesign..
They started pumping a scent into the Great Ceremonial House that some love and others hate, saying it takes away from the original smell of the Polynesian that brings back so many memories. The company Scent Air produces two smells for the Polynesian. One is green bamboo and the other is white tea and ginger.
Some work is being done at the Great Ceremonial House on the atrium ceiling. Steel refinishing and skylight fabric replacement will be going on from February 27 to March 23 but should not affect anything.
Enhancements to the Polynesian in-room cable TV lineup are coming Friday, January 13. In addition to our current channels, guests will have access to:
• Fox News
• National Geographic
• TBS &TNT
• Travel Channel
• WE tv
• Food Network
• TV Land
For a complete listing of available programming turn to Channel 17
Effective Friday, Feb. 3, facial hair, specifically beards and goatees are now an approved option for U.S. based Walt Disney Theme Parks and Resorts costumed and non-costumed male Cast Members, unless otherwise restricted by regulatory codes and standards. As with mustaches, all facial hair (beards, goatees, mustaches) must create an overall neat, polished and professional look and must be fully grown in, neatly groomed and well-maintained at no longer than a quarter of an inch in length.
Also effective Friday, Feb. 3, non-costumed Cast Members in non-Guest facing locations can wear casual attire on Fridays for all U.S. based Theme Parks and Resorts. The “Casual Friday” dress parameters are outlined and additional resources are available on the Disney Look module of The Hub. Although we are a seven day a week operation, Friday is the only acceptable day for this option.
February saw the closing of the Volcano pool to get some work done on the water slide tube, heater and re-theme (repaint) the volcano.
Tonga suites are closed to get a new room design.
News papers are no longer delivered to the rooms as of January 30th of this year.
Aunty Kau’i turned 80 on March 12th
May of 2012, sight balloons were seen over the resort fueling the speculation of new construction at the Polynesian. DVC had been discussed for years and my information told me at this time that these were the beginning of the first phase of DVC at the Polynesian resort. The first phase would remove the luau structure.
The Tambu lounge introduces a new menu in October with new drinks and snacks. I did see the sliders and the nachos and they both looked good. The nachos were huge!
The food items include
Crisp Breads and dips (Assorted breads served with Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto, Roasted Red Pepper hummus and Baba Ghanoush) $5.99
Pulled Pork Nachos (Polynesian Chips topped with Pork, Cheese, Pineapple Salsa and spicy mayonnaise) $8.99
Beef Satay (Mini skewers of Grilled Beef served with a Chimichurri Sauce) $8.99
Pork Sliders (Mini Sandwiches with our Kona Coffee BBQed Pork topped with Slaw) $8.99
Chicken Wings (Choice of Honey-Coriander Wings or Spicy wings served with blue cheese and celery) $8.49
Red Superfruit Sangria
White Superfruit Sangria
Truffle Olive Martini
Jameson Irish Whiskey Sour
Red Stag Lemonade
Skinny Coconut Mojito
Scottish Raspberry Lemon Drop
Agave Nectar Margarita
Super Fruit Margarita
Habanero Lime Margarita
Captain’s Mai Tai
Untimate Long Island Ice Tea
Magical Star Coctail
Godiva Liqueur Flight
Tropical Infusion Coctail
Wild Strawberry Lemonade
RFID scanners have been seen on the outside of the rooms. I don't know if that is an indication that you now have access to your room from the outside or if those are there for some other reason.
On December 11 "Touch to Pay" system will be tested out at the Polynesian along with the Contemporary, Boardwalk, Yacht and Beach Club, Art of Animation Resort and Epcot. The Polynesian is usually a location that things are introduced.