Group: Disney EchoEar Grand Mouseter/AdministratEAR
Joined: Aug. 2001
||Posted: April 01, 2003 2:26 am/pm
Welcome to the Polynesian Resort forum on the Disney Echo.
We are pleased of the involvement of Steve Seifert (aka Tikiman) in this forum about the Walt Disney World vacation destination that has been a part of WDW since the World was open to the public: Disney's Polynesian Resort.
Just like Steve's excellent Tikiman's Polynesian Resort Pages website, this forum is not affiliated with or endorsed by The Walt Disney Co. We are not responsible for any damages that may be a result of the use of the information supplied here. The viewer agrees to this disclaimer by viewing the pages. Logos used on these pages are copyrighted by The Walt Disney Co. Let's hope that keeps the Disney Suits happy, and now on with the fun!
We invite you to post Polynesian Resort tips, trip reports, comments and questions here. In general, this forum is to share information and chat about the Walt Disney World vacation paradise known as Disney's Polynesian Resort.
So sit back, relax with your favorite Tiki drink, and enjoy the tips and reports here while you ponder the Polynesian motto: Aita Peatea -- which means “There will be another day tomorrow just like today.”
Steve / Tikiman wrote about this forum:
|Quote (Tikiman @ April 17, 2003 9:11 am/pm)|
|I just wanted to say Mahalo to Rich again for inviting me here. It is such a nice place to discuss the Polynesian and share accurate information. I have become tired of other boards that are always fighting about some discussion and even as I browse through one of them today I see so much misinformation about the Polynesian that I don’t even want to try and keep up with correcting it.|
I know this will be different here. It already is a great mix of people and experiences.
Mahalo, Steve! (EchoEars, Mahalo is Hawaiian for "Thank you.")
I appreciate the kind words very much. You, your great information, and the people who have come to the Disney Echo through your website are all valuable additions here.
The Disney Echo has been very fortunate to be a fun 'n friendly place for Disney fans to meet online ever since it started on FidoNet way back in 1991. I'm very happy it remains such a place to this day.
|Quote (Mickey @ April 01, 2003 12:32 am/pm)|
|Yoo Hoo and Aloha!|
I agree with Rich that if you haven't checked out Steve's Tikiman's Polynesian Resort Page, do it now! It's a wonderful website.
For those of you who only know of Disney's Polynesian Resort as that monorail station in between the Grand Floridian and the Transportation and Ticket Center, aloha! This introduction is for you.
Nestled along the shores of Seven Seas Lagoon, authentic Polynesia comes to life at the 853-room Disney's Polynesian Resort. The resort, which also opened in 1971, captures South Pacific island flair with lush landscaping, colorful birds and flowers, waterfalls and Polynesian dancers. A tropical interior, complete with bamboo-style furnishings, welcomes guests to this monorail resort. A new, family-fun swimming pool was recently completed, featuring a giant volcano and a water slide.
White sandy beaches, palm trees, water recreation and traditional South Seas longhouses are all combined in Disney's Polynesian Resort at Walt Disney World. Vacation Kingdom visitors can enjoy themed accommodations that couldn't be found in any Pacific, but is located in the heart of the world's No. 1 vacation destination -- Walt Disney World Resort.
Guests at Disney's Polynesian Resort can enjoy the Nanea Volcano pool with the new "zero-entry" feature. Resembling a beachfront shoreline, the architectural feature offers guests a gradual ramp into the water. Guests with disabilities are invited to use special wheelchairs provided by the resort to help them enjoy the pool. The new "wave" of WDW pools is also available at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge and Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa.
You'll be transported to the beguiling South Seas during the new "Disney's Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show" at Disney's Polynesian Resort. Set in the beachfront backyard cabana of an Hawaiian home, the dinner show features traditional Polynesian music, dancing and costumes - and members of the lei-draped audience are invited to join in the fun!
'Ohana, located on the second floor of the Great Ceremonial House at Disney's Polynesian Resort, features a character breakfast and a family-style South Pacific Island feast.
As we all know from Disney's Lilo & Stitch, 'Ohana means family. And adventurous diners find this is true at the Polynesian Resort's signature restaurant as well. A Polynesian feast awaits at 'Ohana, the family restaurant at Disney's Polynesian Resort. Food is prepared over an open-pit fire, with meats roasted on long skewers and served with an assortment of fresh vegetables, salads and piping-hot homemade bread.
Many families with young children select accommodations in one of the "monorail resorts" such as Disney's Polynesian Resort, Disney's Contemporary Resort, or Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. Why? The location is near the Magic Kingdom and convenient monorail transportation between the resorts and Magic Kingdom or Epcot takes you there in style.
All in all, Disney's Polynesian Resort is an enchanting place to relax with its 853 rooms, suites and concierge service newly designed with South Pacific Island theming along the beach of Seven Seas Lagoon. Recreation includes boating, swimming and a playground. You'll have great dining without leaving the resort with its three full-service restaurants, two cafes including the Kona Cafe, Polynesian Luau dinner show, snack bars, two lounges and room service. There's so much to do: swimming, boating, jogging, playground, game room, shopping, and the popular Neverland Club for child care. And if you can pry yourself away from this South Seas paradise, you have the convenience of using Disney transportation by monorail, watercraft and motor coach to take you to the parks.
Copyright 2003. THE WALT DISNEY COMPANY.
Disney's Polynesian Resort
Reservations through Disney Central Reservations Office: 407-934-7639
Dining Reservations (Not just for Polynesian, but all of WDW): 407-WDW-DINE
(That is: 407-939-3463)
Disney's Polynesian Resort
1600 South Seas Drive
Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
The following is only for those staying with concierge service at Disney's Polynesian Resort
Concierge Phone: 407-824-2466 opt.3
Steve / Tikiman wrote:
|Quote (Tikiman @ April 04, 2003 10:17 am/pm)|
|I was thinking that one of the things that helped me enjoy the Polynesian Resort was to have an understanding of the culture that the designs came from. If anyone thinks it would be a nice addition to the forum I can post some Polynesian Culture facts that I hope would help enhance your experience at the Polynesian.|
I think the thing that gets me the most is how some call the Polynesian resort dark, 70’s or (my favorite to hate) Brady Bunch. Ok so the Brady Bunch went to Hawaii once. Does that mean that all things Hawaiian are “Brady Bunch”? As far as 70’s, well the Polynesian was built in the 70’s and the 40’s- the early 70’s had a big Tiki pop culture but if you look at the original photos of the Polynesian in the 70’s on my web page you will see that when they updated in the mid 80’s they got rid of the 70’s stuff and replaced it with the same materials and colors that you would find in old Polynesia. They even order fabric and building materials from Hawaii for the Polynesian. Now the dark thing gets me almost as much as the Brady Bunch thing. I can not imagine the Polynesian being bright with pastel colors like the Grand Floridian. I realize some hotels in Hawaii do look more upscale and are decorated like the GF but in Hawaii many of the long lasting hotels had a huge influence from the British since they found the islands. Some resorts on the islands are true to the culture and do have the bamboo furniture and the Hawaiian prints and I have seen many that look much like the Polynesian. But the other thing here is the Polynesian is not just Hawaii. It is many islands and if you go to many of the islands that the longhouses are named after you will see those dark Earth tones and natural materials used. The Disney designers spent time in places like Samoa,Tahiti,and Hawaii to come up with the designs. The design for the Great Ceremonial House (GCH) was inspired by the royal assembly lodges in Tahiti. The longhouses were designed after authentic Hawaiian longhouses and is the reason the original houses did not have balconies outside their rooms.
Polynesian GCH construction
The name Polynesia was given to the Pacific islands by a French explorer Charles Brosses which came from Greek words “Polynesian” (many) and “nesos” (islands). Later Dumont d’Urville defined the Pacific region by breaking it into 3 parts. These were Polynesia, Melanesia and Micronesia. Polynesia actually only covers the area with in the triangle formed by Hawaii, New Zealand (Aotearoa), Easter Island (Rapanui). Melanesia, located west of Polynesia and below the equator, includes Fiji, New Caledonia, and the Solomon Islands. Micronesia is home to Palau, the Marshall Islands and Guam which is north of Melanesia. All of these cultures are knows as Oceania.
When the Polynesian was first built the design of the longhouses and the garden areas was very representative of the Polynesian culture but even I will admit that the décor inside the rooms and the GCH had some hints of bad 70’s design. I am sure at the time it was “groovy” to most but I am glad it did not last into the 80’s.
The rooms were full of plastic furniture and bad patterns. The halls and pool areas overflowed in turquoise.
but in the late 70’s when Oahu (now called Tokelau) was built they were starting plans for expanding and changing the Polynesian for the future. Oahu was built with “test” rooms that would give them a chance to see what room layout they liked best. This is why in some rooms of Tokelau you will find different floor plans but only in a handful of rooms and most do not know what room numbers these “test” rooms are. I believe around this time is when they removed the turquoise and yellow floor and changed the décor of the rooms but I am not totally sure of when that happened. These were replaced with the stone, bamboo and earth tones similar to today.
After the expansion of Oahu (Tokelau) in 1978 they added on the last two longhouses Moorea and Pago Pago (now called Tahiti and Rapa Nui) in 1985. The rooms were brighter but still representative to the Polynesian look.
Many worry about the age of the Polynesian but even the Grand Floridian is only a few years older than the newest longhouses at the Polynesian and since the Polynesian actually sees more bookings it gets more attention when it comes to keeping the place up. This is why every 2 years or so it gets a soft rehab to all of its rooms. A soft rehab is usually replacing damaged materials, a thorough cleaning and a fresh paint job. Also the Polynesian has seen a few major rehabs like the one I first remember that started in 1996 and finished in 1998. They gutted the rooms and changes the décor to what it is today. The room does not look too much different. The major change was the bathrooms went from bright white with tropical leaves painted on the walls to the green marble you see today.
During the rehab in the late 90’s I never did feel like the construction was a distraction or had an impact on my stay. I felt the same way when they were doing the recent rehab in 2002.
Also in the 90’s the concierge lounge was taken from the GCH lobby and Hawaii had the lounge area added onto the end of the longhouse. Then concierge went from all the lagoon view rooms to just in Hawaii and Tonga with the lounge for both located in Hawaii.
After another soft rehab in 2001 for all the longhouses they started a major reconstruction of the original longhouses in October 2001 and it is still going on.
The longhouses have had problems with moisture because of 2 things. One is because they are made of wood on the outer structure and since the original longhouse rooms were constructed using the modular rooms and plugged into the buildings (like the Contemporary) there is space under the floors where water is getting trapped. They are taking everything out of the rooms down to the structure and cementing the floors as well as redoing some of the landscaping to keep the water from flowing towards the buildings. They are also replacing much of the wood on the outer surface and stairways of the longhouses.
Inside the rooms they are rewiring and replacing the plumbing and ventilation. All the carpets and wallpaper are being replaced as well. The rooms look as they did before just new. There are no plans to do any of this to the newer longhouses.
I also got the impression that there will be some additional redesign of the lounge area of Hawaii but what no one will tell or they do not know.
The Polynesian does its best to keep the place up since they get the most repeat guests out of all the WDW resorts and they also were 1st in the amount of Honeymoons and Anniversaries. That has to say something to those who think the place is old and dark.
I hope to see the Polynesian continue to work hard to make the place a wonderful vacation destination for years to come. It has so much to offer with one of the largest standard rooms on WDW property, the best view of all WDW resorts (my opinion) and all the activities and food you could want. On top of all that I believe they have the best staff of any WDW resort. I keep trying other resorts and I never feel like I have started my vacation till I hit the beach of the Polynesian and look across the water at the castle.
Just remember when you are there to treat the Polynesian with care. If we limit the abuse the resort sees there will be less need for rehab.
To find out where the idea of the Polynesian came about you have to dig inside Walt Disney's head in the late 50's. Walt was a frequent customer of Polynesian supper clubs and loved the food and atmosphere. Because of this he wanted to open his own Tiki restaurant that would be better than any other in the world. The thing he wanted to add that made it different but sticking to the true Polynesian design was to animate the decore. He wanted to make the Tikis, birds and flowers move and talk. This was not only the birth of the idea of the Polynesian resort but Audio Animatronics which is at the heart and soul of all the Disney parks.
The project was to have 225 robotic performers directed by a fourteen-channel magnetic tape feeding 100 separate speakers and controlling 438 separate actions. This was going to be too much to put into a restaurant and still have room for tables and a kitchen so this became the Tiki Room attraction in 1963 at Disneyland.
So what does this have to do with the Polynesian Resort. This is not only when he thought about creating a resort that was themed like the Tiki room but the designs for the Tiki Room worked their way into the original designs of the Polynesian.
One of the people Walt used to design the look that later found its way to the Florida project was artist Rolly Crump who designed the statues.
Another artist who worked on the design was Marc Davis who was an animator for Snow White, Bambi and 101 Dalmations. He had an interest in Paupuan New Guinea art.
You will find these designs for the Tiki Room all over the Polynesian even today.
All of the signs around the Polynesian were created by Oceanic Arts which was one of the original Tiki carvers in the US and it created Tiki for places like Don the Beachcomber in Hawaii and even Trader Vic's.
You can still to this day find an old reject sign from the construction of the Polynesian Village Resort hanging in Oceanic Arts in Southern California.
The Polynesian has grown over the years but the heart and soul that Walt gave it will remain.
The Kaanapali Beach Hotel has served as a role model for other large-scale operations, such as Disney's Polynesian Resort. Clyde Min, Director of Hotel Planning and Operations, said, "The Ka'anapali Beach Hotel is a great role model and 'living laboratory' for evaluating our process at Disney."
The funny part is that we stayed right next to this resort on our trip to Maui.
I also have new photos of the original Polynesian Resort back in the 70's that I put up on my web site.
I was chatting with a long time CM at the Polynesian about the Kaanapali Beach Resort and this is what the response was:
"The Kaanapoli Beach Resort also worked with our resort a few years ago on bringing more culture etc to our resort. That was when Clyde Min was the General Manager. A lot of updating and changes started happening then. Instead of just being a Polynesian themed hotel, more culture and knowledge of the islands were brought in. There was a cultural specialist that came to the resort and worked with our General Manager on making those changes so they were as authentic as possible. It was neat to see the changes take place."
RichKoster, Disney Echo modEARator