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Tiki Central Forums » » Locating Tiki » » Disney's Polynesian Resort, Orlando, FL (hotel)
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Disney's Polynesian Resort, Orlando, FL (hotel)
Iolani
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Sep 30, 2003
Posts: 89
Posted: 2011-07-22 4:00 pm   Permalink

Piratiki: Thanks for the suggestions, especially regarding the Tambu Lounge. We're checking in Sunday and I hope to hit the Tambu that night for mai tais. Any recommended cocktails? If you see a brown hapa guy in a red and black reverse print or a Primo beer aloha shirt, come by and say, "Aloha."



 
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xtine
Tiki Centralite

Joined: May 26, 2009
Posts: 57
From: Boston, MA
Posted: 2011-07-26 5:34 pm   Permalink

I've always thought the cocktails are pretty legit there and found the mai tai and the zombies to be pretty good. Disney has that "standard cocktail menu" that is the same at many places in Disney but at the Tambu Lounge they know how to go off the menu to make some good stuff. Same at "Dad's Bar" in the 50's Prime Time Cafe.

 
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Hurricane Hayward
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 07, 2008
Posts: 656
From: 16 miles from The Mai-Kai
Posted: 2011-07-28 01:29 am   Permalink



Some additional advice for Iolani (if it's not too late) and any future visitors. My wife and I make three or four Disney trips per year and we never miss spending time at The Polynesian. The location is so convenient. You can walk from the Ticket and Transportation Center (just look for the path above).

The Magic Kingdom is just a short monorail ride away. Or take the boat from the Polynesian dock for a peaceful, scenic trip. At the end of the night, there's no better place to watch the Magic Kingdom fireworks than a secluded spot on the beach at The Polynesian. They even have speakers that pipe in the soundtrack. And be sure to stick around for the Electrical Water Pageant, a kitchy retro show that has run every night on Seven Seas Lagoon since the early '70s. The Polynesian offers a great view of this as well.

The best tropical drinks on the Tambu Lounge menu are the Back Scratcher and Lapu Lapu (see photo below). Disney infamously "standardized" most of the resort and bar menus recently but most still offer a few that are unique to that location. These are those.



Good advice on this thread on seeking out the right bartender. It's usually the only way to get a cocktail made the old-school way. The younger bartenders tend to go by the book and aren't aware of the classic recipes. At one time, the Tambu offered a Zombie, a Scorpion and other vintage drinks but there's no guarantee you'll be able to get these made for you correctly. They do make a very good Pina Colada, however, and the new menu is not as bad as it sounds.

In addition, if you're looking for a late-night or off-hours snack, the Tambu has a very good food menu. The Polynesian also has lots of other great food options that don't break the bank.



The Kona Cafe sushi bar is one of the best-kept secrets at Disney World. Fantastic sushi. The crab cake roll (above) is unbelievable. It's the same crab cake that they serve in the Polynesian restaurants, reconfigured into a sushi roll. I always have a hard time deciding between that and the shrimp tempura roll. And the Kona beer from Hawaii always goes down great with the sushi. Plus the desert offerings are also off the hook. The creme brulee and chocolate fondeu are both fantastic. And the best part: No reservations needed. Just show up after the dinner rush and you'll be fine.

The other must-do dining experience for us is breakfast at Kona Cafe. Advance reservations are usually necessary but it's also worth the wait if you don't. The Tonga Toast (deep-fried banana-stuffed sourdough bread, rolled in cinnamon sugar and served with Strawberry Compote) is legendary and the Macadamia Pineapple Pancakes are also highly recommended. Another breakfast option is yet another of the best-kept Disney secrets: The counter-service eatery Captain Cook's Snack Company. It also offers Tonga Toast and many other breakfast options. The other great features of Captain Cook's: It's open 24 hours and it has a self-serve Dole Whip machine. After a long, hot day in the parks, there's nothing like a refreshing Dole Whip. The only other place you can get one is the stand in the Magic Kingdom's Adventureland.

After breakfast and before heading to the parks, be sure to rent a boat and cruise around the lagoon. It's exhilarating and the views are fantastic. And by all means take the time to walk around all the grounds. Vintage Tikis, signs and architecture loom around every corner.

Needless to say, my wife and I love the resort and we haven't even had the pleasure of staying the night or enjoying the signature restaurants, 'Ohana and The Spirit of Aloha dinner show. We find that it's not necessary to break the bank to enjoy the great aloha but if you have the funds, by all means go all the way.

Here are a few links to more information:

Polynesian Resort restaurants on the Disney Food Blog
http://www.disneyfoodblog.com/polynesian-resort-restaurants/

Tambu Lounge review (and recipes) on Party Through the Parks
http://www.partythroughtheparks.com/polynesian/2010/9/11/tambu-lounge.html

And the granddaddy of them all ...
Tikiman's Unofficial Polynesian Resort site
http://www.tikimanpages.com/tiki/

To everyone who enjoys the vintage 40-year-old Polynesian or anyone who still hasn't had the pleasure of visiting this slice of history, heed Tikiman's warning:

"Do I think at some point Disney will totally redesign the Polynesian to be more modern and more like the new resort in Hawaii, I believe that will happen at some point. The feeling around the resort is that something big is being planned but nothing is for sure. At this point I think you need to enjoy what is there and remember that nothing lasts forever."
http://www.tikimanpages.com/tiki/news/186-news-and-rumors

[ This Message was edited by: Hurricane Hayward 2011-07-28 10:16 ]


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Iolani
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Sep 30, 2003
Posts: 89
Posted: 2011-07-31 6:10 pm   Permalink

Thanks, everybody for the advice and tips. We had a great time at the Polynesian and I was pleasantly surprised by the overall experience and atmosphere.

Here are a few pictures of carvings not yet posted in this thread or on
Critiki's site. Not the best camerawork, but they were all taken under the influence of Walter's mai tais as well as the endless jugs of Ku'ulei's Punch.

A bunch of tikis, tucked under the northeast staircase in the Great Ceremonial House:


I was pleasantly surprised to find some (very large) Maori carvings. This is the only one with a decent photo:


Next to the large Maori panel hung this massive Tapa. Unlike any other works in the resort, this one had a decent description of tapa and its uses, but unfortunately no history of the piece on display:


As everybody noted, the old Tangaroa Terrace building exists, but its interior is barren. I asked the staff at the Kamehemeha Club if they could arrange for me to poke around the Tangaroa to take pictures, but they said that other than the laundromat and children's clubhouse now in the building, the rest of the space is stripped and the original artwork distributed around the resort. They reported that many of the works in the Hawaii Longhouse came from the old Tangaroa. Here are a few:







The really big guy in the lounge:






And a couple of fun Papuan style carvings that remain on the Tangaroa's exterior:






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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11196
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2011-07-31 7:05 pm   Permalink

Numba 1, 2, 3, (and I think 7) are all classic pieces from the house of O.A., Whittier, CA

 
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Hurricane Hayward
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 07, 2008
Posts: 656
From: 16 miles from The Mai-Kai
Posted: 2011-08-02 6:32 pm   Permalink

Let's hope Kevin Kidney's newly designed Polynesian Resort Tiki mugs some day see the light of a kiln. For more info:

http://miehana.blogspot.com/2011/07/finally-florida.html


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Featuring The Mai-Kai Cocktail Guide


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tigertail777
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 25, 2004
Posts: 671
From: Oregon
Posted: 2011-08-03 01:29 am   Permalink

I hope the pictures look okay I have not yet quite figured out how the sizing works for pics on here. These are a bunch of pics I took of my (so far) one and only trip to Walt Disney World in 2009. As you might imagine I took a crap load of pics at the poly. I was only able to get there at night, I would have liked to get some day pictures too. And yes, I am very much like a Japanese tourist on vacation: I have to take a picture of everything.

Be forewarned here comes a whole mess of pictures!


Freakishly bizarre scary toon tiki.





Another kinda bizarre tiki, but cool.

Interior shot tiki boutique.

Is it just me or are these tiki like clown scary?




It's like a velvet painting I swear.



Little blurry sorry hard to take at night, but love the longhouse.


I REALLY hate flash pictures... but I was forced to do it later.


Yes, even the trashcans are themed.

The dreaded sucker of life and color: the flash.



Meanwhile...back inside...


I was pleasantly surprised to see this... know why?

Yep, it's the original opening day mascot tiki for poly still around.

Tapa painted ceiling tiles? But of course! Love the Disney details!


I fell in LOVE with this rug inside the Ohana's restaurant.

More 60's feeli'n Ohana goodness.



Me in the obligatory picture taking spot.

Yes, there are tiki torches around.


Believe it or not that is not ALL the pics I took of the poly, I just sorted out the better ones. Thank goodness for digital cameras I would have spent a fortune in developing film. Well this concludes our tour of the Polynesian resort if you enjoyed your trip my name is Tigertail, if not it's George. Be sure to head in the right direction when leaving or you may enter headhunter country and that is a terrible place to beheaded.







 
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Hurricane Hayward
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 07, 2008
Posts: 656
From: 16 miles from The Mai-Kai
Posted: 2012-06-08 10:18 am   Permalink

Some major breaking news on the Polynesian. Tikiman is reporting on his site that the Great Ceremonial House will most likely be gutted and that longhouses are being converted into DVC rooms.

But, the good news is: "There will be a few different stages and those that want the resort to remain the same and those that want something totally new will get a little bit of both, but Disney has some huge surprises for everyone."

Trader Sam's anyone?

I have a full report on my blog ...
http://www.slammie.com/atomicgrog/blog/2012/06/08/major-changes-in-store-for-disneys-polynesian-resort/

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KavikaTiki
Member

Joined: Aug 19, 2012
Posts: 8
From: The Pacific Coast
Posted: 2012-08-19 5:57 pm   Permalink

TikiTi in LA is a must!

 
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Iolani
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Sep 30, 2003
Posts: 89
Posted: 2013-04-01 07:42 am   Permalink

An update with a link to an amazing flickr stream:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/aloha75/8306294900/in/photostream/

It looks like the information that the Kamehemeha Club staff gave me was wrong. This photo stream is from September 2011 (just a few months after I was told that there was nothing left in the building) and includes some wonderful photos from the current interior of the Tangaroa Terrace. I'm now officially miffed. The carvings and panels are great. And look at that tile work.

If anybody is heading there and is able to get into the terrace, take some shots, please!


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Hurricane Hayward
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 07, 2008
Posts: 656
From: 16 miles from The Mai-Kai
Posted: 2013-08-03 9:02 pm   Permalink



Lots of news over the past few months on changes at the Polynesian Resort, so I tried to wrap it all up in one comprehensive blog.

Perhaps most interesting are the reports that Trader Sam's will be coming to the Polynesian as part of the upcoming refurbishments.

Also included is a recipe for the Backscratcher, the famous cocktail of the Tambu Lounge.

http://www.slammie.com/atomicgrog/blog/2013/07/31/trader-sams-enchanted-tiki-bar-one-of-many-changes-likely-coming-to-disneys-polynesian-resort/




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Tipsy Yeti
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Aug 23, 2013
Posts: 29
From: San Francisco
Posted: 2013-08-24 9:25 pm   Permalink

We're spending a week there in just a week from now, I'll post some updated photos when we get back!!!

 
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Hurricane Hayward
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 07, 2008
Posts: 656
From: 16 miles from The Mai-Kai
Posted: 2014-02-22 10:34 pm   Permalink

Lots of action at the Polynesian these days. Disney is finally announcing dates and details on the DVC renovations, but still no confirmation of Trader Sam's. Here's my blog on the latest news:
http://www.slammie.com/atomicgrog/blog/2014/02/17/disney-world-announces-refurbishment-schedule-for-polynesian-resort-but-no-word-on-trader-sams/

The highlights:
* The Great Ceremonial House will be refurbished from March through December. Restaurants and shops will probably close as work progresses. Capt. Cook's (home of the Dole Whip) will be the first to close. The huge water feature is likely to be replaced. Or, as Disney says, "reimagined to highlight the cultural elements of Polynesia and provide more expansive views."
* Reliable sources say Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar is expected to be completed by February 2015.
* DVC construction is expected to continue until at least late 2015.

Follow my blog or the Tikiman Pages website (and Facebook page) for updates.


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Hurricane Hayward
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 07, 2008
Posts: 656
From: 16 miles from The Mai-Kai
Posted: 2014-04-05 12:38 am   Permalink

Here are the latest updates from Tikiman:

http://www.tikimanpages.com/poly/news/item/199-april-update

http://www.tikimanpages.com/poly/the-resort/dvc/item/191-disney-vacation-club


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Doc Aikane
Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Apr 02, 2014
Posts: 16
From: Fort Lauderdale, FL
Posted: 2014-04-25 08:07 am   Permalink

Construction is coming along nicely. They are keeping things VERY quiet about this resort. I understand the lobby of the hotel will be demolished (that's right, no more waterfall and palm trees) and I only hope they make up for it by doing something very special elsewhere.





 
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