Disney Park and Resort Photo Updates

Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort Lobby Opens With New Look, Smaller Water Feature; DVC Bungalows Slated to Open April 1, 2015 (Photos, Video)

Hi everyone!

The lobby at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort has re-opened, with a small water feature replacing the iconic fountain and a much more open feel with ample seating for guests. We stayed a little longer yesterday afternoon for the lobby dedication, and we have photos and video to share below. Keep reading to the end for an update on the bungalows!

The sign in front of Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort was unveiled a couple of months ago. The rock work that is found here extends into the resort as well – behind the front desk and at the entrance to Trader Sam’s (which opens in 2015).

Most of the comments on our Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and videos have been negative about the lobby. I get it. My first visit was in 1976, and it was the resort my family stayed in each year in the 1970’s and 80’s. It has been a favorite resort of mine since then as well. When I worked at the Disney Reservation Center in 2000, we were told that Disney’s Polynesian Resort had the highest guest return rate, which I didn’t doubt. A lot of guests love this resort like I do (and like Jeff does, he was staying before I did). And it won’t be the same from here on out – for good and bad. I will miss the waterfall, and I had to laugh for a moment at the new water feature – it is just very small. The Christmas tree does help balance out the lobby right now. But eventually this will be the new normal, with new guests who never saw the new lobby enjoying this one as if it were the original. A tiki will be added to the water feature – we were told that would happen around the time that DVC opens here this spring. Trader Sam’s will open next year, that will be one major plus to Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort.

The water feature is at the center of the lobby.

Here is our video tour of the new lobby:

These lights have a similar feel to the decor inside the Moana Mercantile.

We waited for the ribbon cutting, which was mostly attended by Cast Members (along with a smattering of guests).

A Cast Member blows in the Conch shell.

Cast Members hula dance as part of the event.

General Manager Norm Noble spoke for a few minutes before the ribbon cutting.

He brought up Auntie Kau’i, who helped open Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. She is very recognizable at the resort, it is hard to believe she’s been there as long as I’ve been visiting.

Noble and Auntie Kau’i cut the ribbon.

Here is our video of the dedication:

Guests at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort will find the smaller water feature, but also a lot of new and varied seating options in the lobby. I’ve been asked why there aren’t more guests there, but quite a few rooms are currently closed for DVC – and it was in the middle of the day.

A look up reveals the lighting fixtures.

Near Ohana, the seating area is also different.

Guests looking to attend a DVC presentation will be able to inside this room.

Several new pieces of artwork are now in the elevator areas.

The elevators also have a different look – they should soon have signage inside as well.

Light fixtures.

Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto is coming here next year, I don’t know exactly when (but I believe it will be in spring).

Trader Sam’s will have a 20,000 Leagues theme to it, and a piece of artwork has appeared in the hallway that says “Submarine Grotto”.

Before we head outside, here is a look at the waterfall from this past year. Honestly, we get a lot more views and questions about the bungalows coming than we ever did about the waterfall leaving. Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort will be a thriving DVC resort this coming year, even with the loss of a few favorite spots (including the waterfall and Sunset Point).

Outside, the bungalows are still taking shape. There are 20 bungalows that will sleep up to 8, and include a plunge pool. They are slated to open on April 1st, 2015. 360 Deluxe Studios are also being readied for opening in 2015.

Here is a video look at the DVC bungalows and more:

New benches outside of Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort.

They look similar to the seats now at Pineapple Lanai.

This area could be open today, they were getting it ready very quickly. The volcano feature pool still has a ways to go.

DVC signage at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort.

Another look at the volcano pool.

We will be talking about Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort in Mousesteps Weekly #129, but here is a look at episode #18 from 2012 – we talked about the resort. It is so different now!

And a vintage look at the Great Ceremonial House from 1991.
What are your thoughts on the changes at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort? We will talk about the changes in Mousesteps Weekly #129 and will add the show to this article. For updates on Disney’s Polynesian Resort, check out the Tikiman’s Pages, I have been recommending his site for many years!