PHOTOS: New Lobby at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort Unveiled

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After several months behind walls, the lobby at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort was unveiled today. While not officially finished, the lobby is now functional, but will not be considered complete until the spring when the entire remodel of the hotel is finished.

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The tiki icon will be added in the center when the project is completed in the Spring

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New furnishings

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The hidden Mickey remained

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From the second floor

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Some great new art in the lobby, this piece from the Disneyland Submarine Voyage

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“it’s a small world”

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Some art is near the elevators

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Enchanted Tiki Room

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The remodeling of the lobby is part of a multi-year refurbishment of the resort leading to the opening of the Polynesian Resort Villas and Bungalows in 2015.

So, what do you think?

Photos found on @Schmoofy on twitter.

About the author

Tom Corless

Tom has been regularly visiting the Walt Disney World® Resort from the time he was 4 months old. While he has made countless visits in the last 28 years, he did not become a truly active member in the Disney fan community until the summer of 2007, when he decided to launch the WDW News Today website and podcast. Tom has since become an Orlando-local and is a published author on Walt Disney World.
Contact Tom at [email protected]

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Colleen G
Guest
Colleen G

Although the remodel seems to have given a lot more room to move around the lobby, nothing, I mean nothing will ever be as iconic and beautiful as the waterfall that stood before. Still very heartbroken that it is gone. Disney, sometimes change is not always a good thing. Think about that next time you do away with something that people hold near and dear to their hearts.

Brian Bauer
Guest
Brian Bauer

Yes, nothing will be able to replace the waterfall. However, if you do some research, you’ll see the problems it caused and why it HAD to be removed.

Heath Claiborne
Guest
Heath Claiborne

I have read numerous websites. People are overwhelmingly DISAPPOINTED or angry with this renovation. In actuality it was a demolition. Steve at a Tikiman pages claims that the reasons that many have speculated was the reason for the the removal was NOT the true reason at all, but says he cannot discuss the real reason. He says that neither codes, UV levels, leaky roof panes, asbestos, maintenance, moisture which causing leaks or bacteria, foundation problems, more space and circulation -NONE of these was why they tore down the waterfall according to him. I thought at least some of these reasons… Read more »

Heath Claiborne
Guest
Heath Claiborne

I can’t find the real reason. I’ve done research

Scott Dolan
Guest
Scott Dolan

Understanding why the fountain/waterfall had to go, and happily accepting it are two completely separate matters. I’m glad we finally got a chance to stay there a few years back. I’ll miss the original setup. That said, it does look like they did a really nice job with the remodel.

Heath Claiborne
Guest
Heath Claiborne

I don’t understand the real reason it had to go. I thought I did. Can you or anyone else explain? If you read my post above you will see that I have been told the actual reason people think the fountain had to go us not the reason at all. I have been told the reasons many others thought was misinformation.

Heath Claiborne
Guest
Heath Claiborne

The vast majority of people are disappointed or not impressed. I think most believe that the waterfall had to go for some reason, but that the replacement is far from a nice job by Disney’s standard. Sure, it’s ok by regular hotel standards. ( although I have seen normal chain hotels just as nice or nicer.) There is little creativity or wow effect in this remodel. Additionally I don’t see where all this “extra” seating is. There is obviously more but when you really add it up it’s not that much more. Who is going to relax in a straight… Read more »

Luca Perricone
Guest
Luca Perricone

It’s not acceptable to just discard a tradition that brought joy to so many people, Disney is beginning to worry me with their ‘improvements’: Test Track, this, now Maelstrom we hear…there must have been some way of keeping the waterfall whilst removing the problem…

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

Don’t be ridiculous. Things cannot stay the same forever.

Jeff
Guest
Jeff

Test Track is much better now than before

CJ
Guest
CJ

I agree, it is geared for the new age and attracts all ages now.

Remember Disney is an entertainment giant and wants to remain that way and must make changes from time to time, otherwise why would you keep returning?

Nellie
Guest
Nellie

Disney is constantly improving and updating their resorts and attractions. If you visit the Tikiman Pages website and go through the history section, you will see that the Polynesian has changed a lot through the years. Sometimes change can be good for the resort experience overall.

Brandon Bush
Guest
Brandon Bush

It definitely looks cheap, crappy, and feels like a slap in the face to those who loved the Poly as it was.

Renee James
Guest
Renee James

I am trying to weigh the pros and cons here. The old lobby lacked seating and gathering areas, and the large fountain was loud and intrusive to a natural flow. The new lobby, unfortunately to me, looks like an indoor mall and I just cannot get past it. Now the seating lacks intimacy and the fountain looks fake and sad. With the new Villas being built, they were obviously going for a more “resort like” experience. But the Poly is one of those odd love it or hate resorts that had an almost cult following of guests who continued to… Read more »

jeff
Guest
jeff

cheap and crappy? are you kidding me? I think it looks beautiful. Different for sure but very well done. The old lobby was SO showing its age, not just the waterfall but every element of it. Yes I’ll miss the waterfall too but I thin they have done a great job of reimagining this space to work for today.

Esromlm
Guest
Esromlm

No matter what they do it will never replace the iconic fountain…. Funny I never heard anyone complain the space was not functional for today? Sure it looks nice and a generation from now it will matter. Had the genius imagineers put their minds to it they could have corrected, they made a choice, poor it seems to many, to go another direction. Remember Disney is all abt ROI not our memories and happiness

Tracy
Guest
Tracy

I do love the artwork. I cannot say the same for the new look of the space in general. Possibly a bit melodramatic, but I think I’m going to need to mourn the loss of the old for a while. I don’t do well with change and “improvements”.

Heath Claiborne
Guest
Heath Claiborne

I have read numerous websites. People are overwhelmingly DISAPPOINTED or angry with this renovation. In actuality it was a demolition. Steve at a Tikiman pages claims that the reasons that many have speculated was the reason for the the removal was NOT the true reason at all, but says he cannot discuss the real reason. He says that neither codes, UV levels, leaky roof panes, asbestos, maintenance, moisture which causing leaks or bacteria, foundation problems, more space and circulation -NONE of these was why they tore down the waterfall according to him. I thought at least some of these reasons… Read more »

Heath Claiborne
Guest
Heath Claiborne

Sorry did not mean to double post. Was trying to reply. My first time here

soniam
Guest
soniam

I thought they removed the waterfall to make room for the DVC desk/checkin area. I loved that waterfall. I am so thankful that I got to stay there with it. As a kid, I had dreamed of that waterfall and what it would be like to stay there. When I finally did, it lived up to the dream. It’s okay looking now, but not really magical anymore.

Heath Claiborne
Guest
Heath Claiborne

Nope. Not the reason at all according to Steve, the administrator of Tikimanpages.com. He has the most up to date and informative info on the Poly.
Does anyone know the real reason Disney tore it down. The space and counter had was what people have assumed, and it’s an “official” reason but not the real reason according to Tikiman.

Scott Dolan
Guest
Scott Dolan

If Steve really had the inside story, he’d tell it. He owns a blog about the Polynesian Resort, he’s not under some kind of confidentiality agreement with Disney. Regardless, it’s gone. Is the reason even relevant at this point? If you’re this upset about a fountain, then show them your dismay with your wallet and stop going to the Walt Disney World Resort.

Disney by Mark
Guest
Disney by Mark

This is Horrible!!!!

Disneyphilip
Guest
Disneyphilip

No, it is not.

Charles
Guest
Charles

People would do well with change if the change didn’t replace things they like with things that are overwhelmingly unlikable. This sucks, Disney. SUCKS. And it’s far beneath your creative intellect to call this an “improvement.”

Jackie
Guest
Jackie

The new lighting features are very pretty but I too will miss the wonderful sound of the water running down that majestic waterfall.

Daniel Wittig
Guest
Daniel Wittig

What do you expect? Your feelings and memories mean nothing to some huge multinational corporation! It’s the bottom line and maximize profits. If you want a real mid century tiki experience head down to the Mai Kai in Fort Lauderdale for the best Polynesian experience that remains from that era. The waterfall and some of the tikis might be a bit run down, but the restaurant is a Tiki Mecca, the drinks are ambrosial, and the food is good.

T
Guest
T

Looks nice. It opens up the main lobby space, which matches the open-air style of most Disney Hotel spaces.
Love the fabrics and color patterns.
The lighting fixtures are lovely.

Poly1974
Guest
Poly1974

The fact that it “matches the open air style of most Disney Hotel spaces” is exactly what the problem is here. The Polynesian lobby was always unique among Disney hotels and that is what set it apart. Now it is just another lobby. It’s going to kill me a little inside the first time I walk through those doors and see this abomination.

T
Guest
T

Well, to bad for you. I love the open-air feel to it with the beautiful lighting structures. And I love the pop of red on the seating…with the other color patterns/fabrics.

Lori
Guest
Lori

Beautiful art work and hanging lights. The seating looks good too! I don’t care for the lava rock center piece in the pics but I’ll see it in person next week and perhaps it looks better in person. I too will miss the waterfall, but whatever the reason, it’s gone

Tali
Guest
Tali

It looks fine and would be acceptable to anyone who didn’t remember what was there before. My husband saw the poor little heap of rocks that is left and said “awww, I used to be a waterfall”. We took pictures there on our first trip.

james
Guest
james

this was all about money. more room for dvc guests. that was the only motive, not repair. If the fountain was in need of repair or replacement then thats what they should have done. Would you remove cinderella castle because it needed repair? no. This was all about the awful dvc. Its a shame, so many people wanted the fountain to remain. The hanging lights are a nice touch , but the fountain should never have been removed.

meethemouse
Guest
meethemouse

It looks like they took the original waterfall and miniaturized it. The whole renovation, from top to bottom, just breaks my heart. There are some things you just don’t eliminate….upgrade, yes…..eliminate and completely transform the landscape and feel of the entire resort…..NO!!!

Chris Wells
Guest
Chris Wells

This is a TOTAL DISAPPOINTMENT. It does not exhibit THE DISNEY QUALITY at all. I hope there’s still more to come. The waterfall replacement is not an improvement at all. It is looks like we’ve gone backwards instead of forward. Disney’s moderate and value resort’s look much better. For the price we pay at a deluxe resort, the lobby does not match what we have become accustom to. Not to slam the design team, but this was a miss. Please tell me there’s more.