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Disney's Polynesian Resort, Orlando, FL (hotel)
AceExplorer
Grand Member (3 years)  

Joined: Apr 03, 2008
Posts: 999
From: Deep in the Jacksonville Florida jungle.
Posted: 2014-05-29 8:51 pm   Permalink

Here are my Memorial Day 2014 photos taken at Disney’s Polynesian Resort – the final day the central water feature was visible to guests. I focused mostly on the ground floor – I think that’s where the greatest amount of changes will be seen.

These will likely either be too many, or too few, photos for folks. Please bear with me if you find these too repetitive, boring, or otherwise not interesting. Since the resort will undergo some fairly major changes, I thought this level of effort was worthwhile especially for readers many years from now and readers who live far from Florida and who may not have been here before.

This resort is a haven for those seeking inspiration for home tiki décor and design. You need bar ideas? They’re here. You need ceiling or wall texture ideas? They’re here. Tiki / island style stenciling? Check. Color schemes? Check. Tapa cloth patterns? Yup.

Visiting the Disney resorts is free but it's definitely not encouraged by Disney at all. They really make you have a reason for going there. For example, to dine at a specific restaurant, to meet other guests, to check in, to drink at the bar(s), etc. Once you're in you can take free Disney busses, boats, monorails to your heart's content. If you're into architecture and design, you can have a grand time exploring the resorts and talking to the castmembers and enjoying the food and drinks. Bring a camera.

Now onwards to a little “mini travelogue” as we look at Disney’s Polynesian Resort ahead of the unfolding refurbishment!



Memorial Day 2014 – the main entrance to the resort with the monorail station above the portico.


We’ll be seeing many more of these signs in the near future.


There are a few of these smaller figures to be found throughout the resort. I think these were sculpted for Disneyland by artist Blaine Gibson. Some of these are used in the Tiki Room pre-show at Disneyland.


The main entrance. Not too grand – until you get inside.


This colorful door mat welcomes you into the Grand Ceremonial House.


Ah, the fountain, water feature, plant thingy, whatever you call it…


Up close, it’s actually very tired looking. Even the plants look somewhat neglected and not as lush and tropical as originally envisioned.


The ceiling above the water feature is interesting to see. I’m sure there will be many changes here to the ceiling, the lighting, and much more.


The “Boutiki” is whimsical with lots of color and many interesting carvings. Yet side-by-side with the rest of the Grand Ceremonial House, it’s a bit out of place at the moment. It has been fairly recently refurbished and upgraded, so much of this may stay in the new incarnation of the Grand Ceremonial House.


Some close-ups of the detailed carvings.






Looking behind me, you can see the walls on the second level blocking all views of the water feature.




And below the sign, more carvings and plants.


The shop is full of many large carvings and intricate display cases and fixtures.






This is one of the most whimsical things to see - a tiki outside the window peeking inside, and a tiki inside trying to hide from the tiki on the outside.


You like carved columns? They got ‘em!












Four of these guys sat atop each of the arms of a merchandise rack. The level of detail in the store, and the amount of custom fixtures, is amazing. This is the modern Disney style of design – saturate the shopper with a cohesively designed look and feel and make shopping interesting and fun. (Lots of home tiki bar design ideas are to be found in here!!! That’s one of the reasons I took so many pictures.)


Boo, hiss! The leading edge of the concealment wall around the water feature. It was expected to completely encircle the fountain and allow demolition to begin on or around the day after Memorial Day. (Tuesday, May 27th, 2014)


Detail of the Boutiki sign along with some of the painted ceiling pattern.


Photo spot! Pose with the big carving! This is directly across from.....


This is the rumored location of Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto – directly underneath Ohana. The next few pictures will attempt to show how much space is being devoted to this new attraction.


The space appears like it would be quite large.


Corner view, by the restrooms and the stair case leading up to Ohana.


View towards the rear door of the lobby.


Some of the wall detail which is very likely going to be removed. This would look good in any home tiki bar!


The ceiling again? Yup. We’ll have to see what interesting things they do to the ceiling.


Part of the lobby has become a plain corridor now. You used to be able to sit in those chairs and relax and enjoy the beautifully landscaped waterfalls.


I suspect this Disneyfied tiki carpet will also disappear. Here’s a photo for those who have never seen this before – it’s definitely colorful.


The rear doors of the Grand Ceremonial House.


The path leading towards the pool and Seven Seas Lagoon white sand beaches.


The back side of what will likely become Trader Sam’s downstairs. Note that Ohana occupies the upper level here.


Ah, the volcano, the slide, and the pool. Not many cast members knew that this was also going to be closed for refurbishing in the near future.


It’s nice, but surprisingly small compared to what other resorts around the globe build and operate these days.










No doubt about it, the volcano is also pretty tired looking. I’m sure it was the cat’s meow back when it first opened to resort guests.




I moved on into the King Kamehameha Club lounge. The carvings in this upscale environment were typically whimsical as Disney likes to do.


This guy stood guard but was no match for my tenacity. I was on a photo safari and was gonna get my photos!


Ah, the stilt houses. These next few photos were taken from the windows of the King Kamehameha Club. People are already talking about how expensive these will be a night. Current prices are between $300 and $450 a night, I think. Will these be for the public guests to rent, or will they be Disney Vacation Club only?


Since we’re going to be looking at these things for the next 40 or 50 years, let’s never forget that the roofs are built on the ground and then lifted onto the frames. This, folks, is future Disney trivia! Your dog will be impressed.




Construction does appear to have halted. Over the past couple months I have not seen much progress. I wonder what’s going on?


Back in the club, there are many more carvings to look at.


The views are nice from this bi-level concierge lounge.






Another detail of the carvings on the stair cases.


And back out to the pool and volcano.




Ah, the bar!








Don’t miss the great views from the boat dock.






The stilt houses are an eyesore at the moment. Let’s hope they look really spiffy when completed.




I took the boat and caught this view of the glass windows of the King Kamehameha Club.




Construction is not pretty…










After a busy afternoon exploring some other resorts, the sun set and I went back to the Polynesian to take night time photos. These people probably didn’t know that they would never see this fountain again in the future.






The check-in counter will be redone as well. It’s also pretty tired looking.






The Boutiki shop looks grand at night. Definitely very colorful, beckoning all to come in.


More night photos of the water feature.








Look how dark the ceiling is. I wonder if this will be more brightly lit later? It’s kind of a black hole, definitely in need of updating.




One of the corner “conversation pits” – there are several areas like this in the Grand Ceremonial House, and they’re generally warm and inviting. I’m not sure they will be this relaxing and toned-down in the new design.


That shop is definitely eye-candy.


And a photo giving you a sense of how odd the partial curtain wall looks around three sides of the waterfalls.




More “Polynesian” carpet. That won’t stay. Gotta have a photo of that as well.


The “honu” turtles are integrated into the carpet design.


That shop just kept drawing my attention…


Did I mention it was colorful and inviting?


And some final photos of the lobby and the water feature.






I wanted to stay longer, so I took another carpet photo.


And a flooring photo. I’d be surprised if these stay in the new design.


My final view of the fountain and the lobby.


The forecourt/portico water features.

<end>


 
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