Disney’s Polynesian Resort, one of the original hotels of the Walt Disney World Resort (WDW), is undergoing a lengthy transformation into Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. The name change hails back to the Polynesian’s history – that was what the resort was called in 1971. But the name change is also a subtle reminder at how extensive (and long) the renovation and reimagining project has been.
In becoming (again) Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, the WDW resort has undergone – and is still undergoing – many changes to its public areas and rooms.
Great Ceremonial House at Disney’s Polynesian Village
The Great Ceremonial House, the resort’s main building, has been the focus for some of the most talked-about changes and additions to the Polynesian: the new lobby and Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto.
Disney removed the resort’s signature water feature and its lush foliage. The redesigned lobby area allows for more natural light to enter and which plays off s a warm color palette. The lobby gained additional, comfortable seating and a distinctive lighting element of glass globes that is suspended from the ceiling.
As a replacement for the iconic waterfall, Disney’s Polynesian Village added small water fountain that nods to the water feature is replaced. That fountain includes a signature element: a Tiki statue, holding leis and standing atop the lava rock to welcome resort guests.
Disney’s Polynesian Village has recently debuted Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto and Trader Sam’s Tiki Terrace, both of which officially opened in April. Inspired by Trader Sam’s at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim Calif., Trader Sam’s offers some of the interactive elements, the Tiki-bar inspired setting, and tropical drinks that have made the Disneyland Resort lounge so popular.
Other Grand Ceremonial House changes include a 2104 refurbishment to Captain Cook’s, the quick-service dining location, which featured an updated menu and the addition of new, vintage-inspired décor. Disney’s Polynesian also opened Pineapple Lanai kiosk in 2014, which serves Dole Whip soft serve and floats.
Pools at Disney’s Polynesian Village
The resort’s pool areas have also been undergoing extensive renovation and expansion. The Lava Pool, which opened in April and was formerly called the Nanea Volcano Pool, retains its theming as a volcano and offers a zero-entry edge. It also keeps its water slide. The Lava Pool area is home to an elevated hot tub (for views of Magic Kingdom) and a larger deck area with more seating. It’s also the location for the Kiki Tiki Splash Area, a water play area for children. There’s also a pool bar.
The East Pool, also known as the quiet pool, will undergo a redesign that includes a bar and grill. This pool will be renamed the Oasis when it reopens in early 2016.
DVC at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
The transformation to Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort’s showcases the addition of Disney Vacation Club (DVC) accommodations to the property. When complete, DVC will offer a total of 360 Deluxe Studio Villas and 20 private over-the-water Bora Bora Bungalows with two bedrooms and two baths. These plans were announced in 2014, with the DVC first phase opening April 1 of this year.
Disney’s Polynesian Resort also will offer 484 traditional hotel rooms available in two- and three-story longhouses. These rooms, which sleep five, offer tropical theming with bamboo style fixtures, lush landscaping and
The resort also provides a re-themed children’s club, Lilo’s Playhouse (an option formerly Club Disney, after being renamed from “Peter Pan” inspired Neverland Club). Lilo’s Playhouse offers supervised childcare for guests ages 3-12. Its theme is conceived a place where Lilo’s favorite classic Disney Little Golden Books tales (“Pinocchio,” “Lady and the Tramp” and “Alice in Wonderland”) come to life. This childcare option is available on a limited basis, with reservations recommended; check with Disney for rates.
Disney’s Polynesian Village is expected to be complete in early 2016. Most of the major work, however, should be done by late 2015.