Back in December, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort opened its newly refurbished lobby with a lovely ceremony. Gone was the beloved waterfall, in its place an open floor plan with plenty of seating. There is a small fountain, and we were told then that the Tiki in the concept art would be placed there around April 1st. Today it was added, and the Tiki gives a little more height to the fountain. Cast Members were invited to an Open Mouse today as well – and while we aren’t Cast Members, we have photos from inside the Bora Bora Bungalows and Studio (thanks to Cast Member friends), along with our own pictures of the Lava Pool and Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto patio progress. So much is happening in a short period of time!
This is the fourth DVC project we have followed the full progress of on Mousesteps, from the Contemporary Resort Bay Lake Tower to the Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. In that time, I think the only other Walt Disney World Resort that opened (and we posted articles and videos on every section) was Disney’s Art of Animation Resort. But Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort is closest to our hearts, since we grew up staying here in the 1970s and continued over the next 40 years.
I took this photo a few months ago of the entrance sign, today was rainy.
Concept art of the lobby has been located outside of Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, along the walkway at the front entrance.
Now the concept art has been nearly realized.
Here is a closer look at the Tiki, which does not yet hold leis in his hands. That will happen soon. We were told by an Imagineer that they wanted to bring the longtime symbol of Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort to the lobby, plus a nod to the original waterfall. I know change isn’t always easy, but almost everyone I know has warmed to the new lobby.
Here is a look at the Tiki on a door.
Here are some photos from front and back of the Tiki, some with the lighting above.
We have had plenty of photos taken with the waterfall, and now one with the smaller fountain and Tiki.
The Tiki can be seen clearly from upstairs too.
Here is our video of the Tiki from today.
Outside, a Cast Member was talking about the new layout of Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. Trader Sam’s, the Lava Pool with volcano and much more can be seen here.
The Lava Pool should be open very soon. We were told that the pool deck was being poured today, at least some of it.
This is a look at the volcano from the boat dock.
A few days ago, we could see the Barefoot Pool Bar clearly.
Here are a few more photos of the pool, which they are trying to get finished for April 1st. While it was rainy today, there are a lot of great weather days ahead in the next week.
The kids water play area is not yet finished, but it is looking much closer than a few days ago.
Tikis including Pele have been added this week in preparation for Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto (which may open later this week).
Lights have been added outside. There will be 51 seats inside Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto, and the number of seats doubles with the outdoor patio. It probably will be very crowded for a while. I don’t expect to go too often, but locals will enjoy Trader Sam’s. Unfortunately the hours will be much shorter than at Disneyland (from 4 p.m. – 12 p.m., with after 8 p.m. being 21+ inside the bar). Guests tend to start arriving to the resort for dinner around 4:00 p.m., so it will be interesting how that works out. I would prefer to see the bar open at 1:00 p.m. or so. There is a light bar menu, along with quite a few drink options. I’ve seen several mentions of a $50 drink inside a Nautilus cup (or vessel? I am not sure). We have an article and video of Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar at Disneyland from 2011, which will give an idea of what this version will look like. We were told that none of the props inside here are the same, as the theme has changed to 20k Leagues.
Here is our video from 2011 of Trader Sam’s Enchanged Tiki Bar in California.
A few days ago, we took these photos of the Bora Bora Bungalow exteriors.
Light fixtures were added recently to the decks. The fixtures look very similar to what is inside.
The following photos are courtesy of Matt Dobrovolsky. Thank you so much, Matt! The first photos are from inside the DVC Studios. Because Jeff and I haven’t been inside yet, I won’t be saying much – I can’t quite picture the layout of the villas until I walk inside myself. But the photos are very nice and we appreciate them!
Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to buy the lamp?
Matt then headed to the Bora Bora Bungalows. There are 20 of them. They aren’t as big as other DVC Grand Villas, but then again other Grand Villas aren’t little houses over water. They run about 1650 square feet each including the balcony. The bungalows sleep 8 with two separate bedrooms and the living area.
Here is the walkway.
Cast Members were entering and exiting the bungalow.
The kitchen looks very nice – I would have no problem cooking here, with a view of the Magic Kingdom.
Bora Bora artwork.
Here is a look at the rooms with artwork and bedding. The pull-out bed below has artwork of the Electrical Water Pageant, which will be viewable from the bungalows.
Surfboard themed bedding.
More Tiki artwork.
This bathroom has Annette, which not many bathrooms can claim.
Hawaiiannette and Tropical Serenade are part of the wall decor.
The plunge pool is a tiny pool, not a hot tub.
Our friend Jenny also gave us a few photos to use (thanks Jenny!). This shows more of the main room, where the Electrical Water Pageant artwork is.
A bathroom remote.
These are great views of the Magic Kingdom Ferry sailing by. I don’t think I will ever stay here, but this is a terrific vantage point.
Another bench outside.
It has been a while since we had Tonga Toast, so we stopped at Captain Cook’s. I can’t believe how many comments on social media I have had from followers who have never tried it. One is always enough for both of us.
In the lobby, the two octopus figures were added a couple of weeks back. This is a good tie-in with Trader Sam’s.
Stitch and Chip & Dale plush from Aulani were for sale.
And a Cast Member told us that this area will soon be opened up for a bigger entrance. I can’t even picture it yet, but it should be open soon.
Here is a vintage tour of the Great Ceremonial House from 1991, shot by Jeff’s dad. It includes the waterfall and the birds that used to be part of it.
Construction is still ongoing here. That said, much of the resort will be open next week. The quiet Oasis pool will close for a refurbishment, but we were told it wouldn’t be getting the extensive re-do that was originally planned (if we find out otherwise, we will post it).
Thanks again to Matt and Jenny for the photos! We hope to bring more soon from the Villas ourselves.