Friday, January 16, 2015

Polynesian Garden

         The loss of the garden waterfall in the Great Ceremonial House at the newly renamed Polynesian Village Resort was lamented by many individuals including me, of course.  Now that it is gone for good, I wanted to take a look back at the last time I was able to experience the lobby before I would return to find a walled off, crazy , Epic Mickey version of the Great Ceremonial House during my next visit.
        I have not experienced the new lobby in person yet, and look forward to the eventual completion of the re-imagineered area to be able to pass complete judgement.  The only way I will be able to form an honest opinion is to visit in person and see if I feel what I felt all the times I stayed at that resort, as well as the many times I made the trek over because I love it so much. 
       Many of the additions are a big plus to this resort, including Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto, the new pool area (even though it will be gated off to the non resort guest) including a hot tub, and hopefully the reopening of the Tangaroa Terrace in some way.  I just hope all the good will out way the things I feel detract from what the resort used to represent.  
      Today was the day I actually came to the realization that I will never have the opportunity to stay at the resort that I grew up loving so much again.  I have been completely priced out of the resort I gerw up staying at most of my childhood.  The Polynesian was synonymous with Walt Disney World for me.  Even when was was older and had to make my own way to Walt Disney World, I made it a point to spend the extra money and stay where I loved when I could.  Now with discounts few and far in between, only the families with a significant disposable income will be able to afford even the lowest priced rooms, which is a real shame.
     Anyhow, enjoy my last trip around the Great Ceremonial House with me and store it in your memory banks because that, and youtube, are the only places to see it anymore.  Thanks for watching!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Polynesin Village Resort construction photos

October 4th, 2014
       I just recently returned fro the Happiest Place on Earth a week ago with some construction photos I took at the Polynesian Village Resort.  I haven't delved much into recent news, but I figured that I have been very interested in the progression of the Polynesian from what it was, to what it is destined to become.

Entrance pond on the right, used to be koi in there

Looking back toward the parking lot
This seating area by the marina looks awesome.

This is looking at what was the staircase on the opposite side of O'hana

This would be looking over the waterfall to the monorail station on the 2nd level, walls are up both stories

Kona is around that corner
Looking from dock over beach towards the pool

This is the longhouse that the concierge lounge is located in, and to the left is the volcano pool area

Looking west over Nanea pool area

A small walkway next to Hawaii to get to the beach

The Bungalows

I do like the how the gable wood patterns mirror the original longhouses,

The asphalt shingles look way off, does not flow with the red steel roofing of the other longhouses

Fence running along the Tokelau building

Renovations of the Tokelau rooms

I hope that this space gets used again, what a great atmosphere inside and out.

Looking across from the Grand Floridian

Volcano demolition

This is a lot of concrete and re-bar to come down

Door under the volcano

Looking straight back at the Great Ceremonial House

I am a big fan of these signs

      I am very curious as to what the resort will be like when all is said and done.  I was extremely skeptical when I first heard about the changes coming, and figured that the Polynesian would not retain the charm that I had known and loved since I first stayed there in the mid eighties.  Now after seeing everything that is going on with my own two eyes, me level of skepticism has waned considerably.
    There are good things that are happening as well as the changes I am not so pleased about.  I do lament the removal of the water feature in the Great Ceremonial House, but I believe that it will become a beautiful area once again.
     The bungalows are an absolute eyesore and barely resemble the longhouses that I would have assumed that they would try to emulate.  One of the main draws to staying at the Poly was the gorgeous straight on views of the Magic Kingdom, which do not exist anymore for your average guests.  The views from the bungalows are going to be spectacular for the extreme minority that will be able to stay in one of those buildings.
    I think the pool area will be much better than what it was.  With new seating areas, a hot tub, hopefully a better poolside bar, and just and aesthetic change overall; I think I will welcome it with open arms.  The changes to that area that took place 15 years ago, I was never a fan of.  So to see something happen here to hopefully make it a more enjoyable space, I am all for.
    Thanks for stopping by and checking out these photos. I hope when we look back on this moment in the history of this resort, we will say they did it right.  I have a lot more Polynesian related content to share with you in the very near future, and anyone who is a fan of the resort will love to see.  Stay tuned because I plan to start posting far more regularly soon.  Have a great day!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Polynesian Concierge

      The Polynesian's concierge lounge had been located at the Great Ceremonial House in the King Kamehameha room since it's inception in the early 1990's.  This was the first Disney resort to offer concierge services to it's guests.  The room was fairly small, and included a few desks with cast members there to make dinner reservations and cater to the guests needs.  There were a couple couches and chairs to rest your tired feet.  The food options were minimal with pastries and coffees and such during the morning, cookies as well as various sweets and beverages available throughout the day.  This service was available to all the Lagoon view rooms at the resort. The King Kamehameha lounge does not exist anymore as it was swallowed up by the sprawling Boutiki gift shop.

    In July of 1994 the concierge lounge was relocated to the Tonga (now called Hawaii) longhouse, which required major modifications to the building.   The west end of the building was remodeled to include a three level "wing" with desks on the lower level for guest services.

    A second level that housed the kitchen area and main seating area as well as a big screen tv,  before big screens were the norm.  I watched many a Super Bowls here as that was the time of year that we would head down.  My family would usually stay in some other longhouse and my grandfather would somehow get us access every time we went.  A smooth talking son of a gun.

I swear there used to be a bigger tv than this
   The third level was a more quaint area that included a seating area with books to read and a couple of tables with checker games set up that used shells as chips.

     This area also had a single men's and women's bathroom located upstairs, which was very useful when you had a family of five and only one bathroom in the room.

     The food options were vast throughout the day.  Breakfast included many pastries, muffins, breads,  cold cereals, fruits, juices, and coffees.  Lunch was more snack like options and small sandwiches.  And for dinner they expanded to include many different options that varied day to day.  Sometimes there was sushi other times there was chicken wings.  Foods that were pretty filling and you could substitute for a meal if need be.

      In the evening there were also adult beverage options for a little night cap.  Or come down and have a drink before you head out for the night.  Maybe off to Pleasure Island to celebrate the New Year?  Options included beer, wine, and various liquors.

Dick, the famous personality of many years.On the left.

    I feel like the concierge experience used to be an added bonus to your stay at a nice resort.  Now it seems like people are trying to "get their monies worth" when it comes to this offering, which has lead to more of a cafeteria experience than a "lounge" experience. There have been many changes to this area since these pictures were taken, and I hope to document them on my upcoming trip for reference.  Disney has added more table seating and removed the couches to allow for more families to eat their breakfast and get to the parks and spend more money.  The food offerings seem comprable to what they used to be, but the atmosphere is definitely lacking compared back in the late '90's when I actually used to hang out here and watch old Donald Duck shorts.  Or the great programming that used to be shown on the Disney Channel.  I am glad I got to enjoy these offerings when it was in its prime.    Thanks for taking the time to read this, and I hope to get a lot more of my WDW info and pics out to the masses soon.