Disney announces big changes for Polynesian Resort
By Nestor Montoya FOX 35 News
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35 ORLANDO) -- Walt Disney World has announced plans for a name change and major enhancements to one of its iconic Magic Kingdom resorts.
Along with a re-branding of the Polynesian Resort, come improvements to the pool area, renovations to the hotel lobby, new restaurants and a children’s activities center.
The Polynesian, which opened in 1971, is one of Disney’s first hotels. The 43-year-old resort has undergone expansions and changes to keep up with the times, and the new features will be implemented over the coming months, Disney executives say.
“In size and scope, the renovation of Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort is a significant investment in the guest experience,” said Tom Wolber, senior vice president of Resort and Transportation Operations of Walt Disney World Resort. “Once completed, the iconic resort hotel will be re-imagined with a level of detail as only Disney can deliver.”
One of the first things guests will notice is a return to the resort’s original name of Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort.
“Changing the name to ‘Disney’s Polynesian Village’ was key to reinforcing our storytelling. It feels inclusive and like a family,” said Debbie Petersen, executive creative development for Walt Disney. “It felt right to go back to our roots and heritage.”
Lobby renovations will showcase extensive views of Seven Seas Lagoon and resort’s Nanea Volcano pool area. Part of the pool area expansion will include an interactive aquatic playground, a new hot tub with views of Magic Kingdom, a larger pool deck, and the addition of the Polynesian Pool Bar and Grill.
Those familiar with the Disneyland Hotel in California will recognize Trader Sam's Enchanted Tiki Bar. A similar, tiki-themed lounge by the name of Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto will open at Disney World.
“Tiki bars to me are a classic experience, so if you take that and then you put Disney magic over the top of it, it doesn't get any better than that,” Petersen said.
Other Polynesian-themed food and beverage upgrades to the resort will include a Pineapple Lanai, which will feature the soft serve pineapple-flavored frozen dessert, Dole Whip.
The children’s activity center, Club Disney, is inspired by Disney Little Golden Book classics such as Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland, and many more. Club Disney is already accepting guest reservations and will allow parents the opportunity to leave their kids at a supervised location so they can experience Walt Disney World adventures on their own.
This past year saw the refurbishment of the Polynesian’s 800-plus rooms and the groundbreaking for several new timeshare units. When completed, the timeshare project will join Disney Vacation Club's 12 other timeshare properties at Walt Disney World Resort.
Disney officials expect enhancements to the Polynesian to be complete sometime in 2015.