When looking for an exotic, lush escape some will travel to Bora Bora, some to Hawaii others will look no further than Orlando, Florida and Walt Disney World. Disney’s Polynesian Resort is a treasured hallmark of Walt Disney World with fans from around the world visiting each year. But as with any great resort that experiences successful longevity like that of Disney’s Polynesian Resort at some point the infrastructure of the resort must be upgraded to meet the growing demand of its customers and to bring the amenities of the resort in line with expectations of a modern-day traveler. This led to the decision to keep the resort operational while most of the critical areas of the hotel underwent a massive overhaul. From the parking lots to the main pool nothing was too sacred not to be touched by refurbishment projects, including the Resort’s name which is now paying homage to the original and debuted recently, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. It’s a peculiar move from our perspective to rebrand the hotel while main swaths of it are still behind construction walls but it’s indicative of the strange balance of trying to keep the resort operational and feeling fresh and new for current visitors whilst dealing with the overall constraints the construction places on the resort. It’s a tight rope we’d advise most guests to avoid as the resort in its current state feels far from the premium Disney experience you’ve come to expect. Of course in a about a year’s time the resort will be strengthened by new and enhanced offerings some of which have already opened and it will likely have been worth the wait and for some the trouble of a resort in transition. Because paradise isn’t built in a day.
New Entrance More Than Just A New Name?
Even the smallest changes add up to something much more once everything is completed and you know we aren’t one to skip over the details. As you can see above the parking area adjacent to the entrance and the entrance sidewalks have been reworked. We’ve already heard some praise for the new LED lit paths from Disney Cast Members who have frequented these walkways many a time. The LED’s are perhaps a bit too bright for my tastes but the overall area looks much nicer with expanded sidewalks and nice shrubbery to fill in the space.
A Lobby That You Used To Know
Remember the Polynesian Resort Lobby. Good because you are going to have to recreate it within an Oculus Rift if you ever truly want to see it that way again. Yes the tropical oasis at the heart of the lobby is no more and it’s replacement at this moment seems to be of a more minute scale. Frankly the lobby is unbecoming at the moment, mainly composed of construction walls with art telling guests to forgive the moment because the future is so grand. The check-in desk is now behind walls as well as it too is set to be revamped as part of the overall transformation. Needless to say, the lobby is not a place you are going to want to spend your time at this resort for a while.
Hey Captain, Dinner Is Lookin’ Up
Well here is a bright spot and we are not talking about the beautiful new lamps though as you can tell by our featured image on this post, we are fans of their design. You see Capt. Cooks was one of the first renovations to take place at Disney’s Polynesian Resort and now it has reopened with much nicer trimmings. Dinner is definitely going to be much more enjoyable at this colorful tropical hideaway. But what if all you want is a quick snack?
May We Offer You A Pineapple For Your Troubles?
You want a Pineapple Float and you want it now. Trust me we here you, or at least Disney does and they are answering that very wish at the all new Pineapple Lanai. Located just outside the first floor of the main lobby is now the most popular window at the resort. With plenty of seating available you can grab your favorite Dole Whip Soft Serve, Pineapple or yes even vanilla without having to make your way to Adventureland for the privilege. I had to try the new offerings (for science’s sake) so I had the Pineapple Float and the Pineapple Dole Whip Soft Serve in the collectible Tiki Sipper and Tiki Bowl respectively. Pineapple Lanai is great now but it’s going to be even better once you can enjoy Dole Whips pool side at the new renovated feature pool or whilst watching the Magic Kingdom fireworks from the beach once the construction is no longer an impediment.
Join the Renovation Club
A little refurbishment often goes a long way, just ask Tangaroa Terrace and Club Disney. Tangaroa Terrace received quite a beautiful facelift with new walkways trees and shrubbery and of course good ol’ paint. Club Disney is Disney’s child care service meant to allow parents some liberty whilst at the resort while their kids take part in storybook experiences from playing dress up to making crafts, supervised by Disney cast members. Club Disney also might have the coolest sign on property. Seriously, it’s retro-modern tropical nirvana.
Oh Yeah, Disney Vacation Club
What you thought Disney was investing all this money in the resort without looking for a return? Love it or hate it, Disney Vacation Club is driving the resort train at the moment and it’s no different here at the Polynesian Resort. And those beautiful over the water bungalows (more on that in a second) aren’t the only place where DVC members will be able to take residence at the Resort. Pictured above are Polynesian Resort rooms undergoing DVC conversions. Better start saving up those points.
What Dreams Are Made Of
Everyone right now is thinking the same thing, “wow, I’d like to stay there.” Sure there are some tradeoffs to these over-the-water bungalows like the reduced shoreline, the fact that they don’t have thatched roofs like the pictures we’ve seen in ads of Bora Bora but otherwise this construction seems to have nailed it. It’s why most experience a rush of excitement when they first see our photos and catch wind of their construction. For those of you who have been following along with our construction updates you’ll notice the themed adornments on the roofs of each bungalow has one of two different set of colored patterns, a nice thematic touch to be sure. Installation of the utility pumps are taking place and you can expect they will be covered up shortly probably as I type this. For now we have yet another evening to make us dream of staying at one of these soon to be exclusive rooms.
There are still some areas of interest that even our in-depth full featured tour of the construction hasn’t touched. The Nanea Volcano Pool will reopen in the first half of 2015, with an expanded pool deck, a new aquatic play ground for kids and a new hot tub. Trader Sam’s Grotto will also join the scene in 2015, bringing its lively themed social pub space to the resort. It’s an exciting time if you are looking to the future, a workable time for now since you are armed with knowledge of the current bright spots admist the construction. A resort in transition is tough on many but in 2015, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort should provide fans even more reasons to love their favorite Walt Disney World tropical getaway.