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Disney's Polynesian Resort, Orlando, FL (hotel)

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Name:Disney's Polynesian Resort

On our recent trip to Disney World we decided not to stay at Disney’s Polynesian Resort, a Hawaiian themed hotel right in the middle of Disney World, because it was more expensive than the Caribbean Beach Resort we were also considering, and therefore not within our budget. I decided that I still needed to check out the Polynesian Resort while I was in town to see how much tiki was there.

After a long day at one of the parks, I left the wife and kids in the hotel took a couple of bus and monorail rides to the Polynesian. The monorail stops right at the hotel so it was very convenient. The area I went to I think is called the “Ceremonial House” which is a huge 2 floor space filled with shops and restaurants. First stop was a couple of gift stores where I found the official Polynesian Resort mug, a couple of generic tiki mugs, some shooters made by Tiki Farm, and some coasters. I bought about $50.00 worth of stuff and went into one of the restaurants…but I can’t remember the name of it (Ohana?). They had a pretty good size fire pit and tikis galore. I took a few pics over people’s heads who were trying to eat and then went to the nearest bar which is called the Tambu Room. Apart from the bamboo and the thatch roof, it looked like a typical bar. I first tried a Mai Tai which tasted a little sweet to me, but I’m definitely not a Mai Tai expert and haven’t really sampled them enough times in bars. When that was gone I had a Zombie which was STRONG. The 151 wasn’t “floated” as the recipe calls for (I think) but was just poured on top. It was still better than the ones I make at home. Both drinks were served in the Polynesian Village glass mug like the one that I had just bought. There was also a lounge area where some Hawaiian dude was playing Bobby Darin covers on acoustic guitar.

I didn’t see much of the grounds at the hotel (it was dark), but the architecture certainly looked Polynesian. If I remember correctly, the rooms start at about $250.00 per night. If we could have afforded it we definitely would have like to have stayed there. I have no idea about the quality of the rooms. I know the place is about 30 years old or so.

Here's a few pics...the pics I took in the Tambu Room didn't come out but here's a few tiki's I found in the Ohana:

This is the area between the Ohana and the Tambu Room

Another restaurant. I think this is the Kona Cafe.

Some stuff from one of the gift shops L-R: the official Polynesian Resort Mug (they used to make these in frosted glass, now it's just clear), a Tiki Farm shooter and an unmarked mug.

I've never stayed there (long story) but I've been to the Luau that is held on the hotels' grounds. it's about 3 hours long (dinner, show, fire dancers, etc.) was alot of fun.

Recently (last 3 years or so) they've upgraded the pool. It now has a volcano in the center.

Probably my favorite part of the resort, was walking the grounds at night... lots of torch-lit paths thru the lush grounds.

tons of photos:


I need to go back


{Edited to upgrade photo link 4.19.05}

Thank God The Tiki Bar Is Open
Thank God The Tiki Torch Still Shines...

[ Edited by: Feelin' Zombified on 2005-04-19 18:02 ]

It is too bad you didn't walk around some more-- the volcano pool is neat. There are some Boskos in the pool bar (there is a bosko at the drink place next to the Tiki Room in the MK too).

The other pool (the quiet pool) is surrounded by Tikis.

To me, the best time to go is in the early afternoon. You can explore and see the grounds and Tambu is pretty quiet.


We like the Ohana and the Tambu, but agree about going in the early afternoon. About 6:30 pm the place becomes mobbed with sweaty, angry tourists returning from the maniacal kingdom.
The whole scene changed so dramatically in the space of half an hour it really freaked us out.

[ Edited by: Kailuageoff on 2003-10-21 10:52 ]


I just spent 3 hours walking around the grounds of the Polynesian, documenting the location of tikis and other oceanic artwork used as decorations.

It's been a couple of years since I had taken a good look at the place, and I was completely unprepared for what I found. This place is, indeed, chock full of tiki.

Besides the ones mentioned in the previous posts, there are tons of Rolly Crump-designed fiberglass tikis on the grounds -- many of which are pulled from the same molds as the tikis in the waiting area at The Enchanted Tiki Room at Disneyland in California.

My biggest find, however, was in the "Tangora Terrace," the resort's rentable meeting space. When Leroy Schmaltz was quoted as saying that this resort was his favorite project, the contents of this room had to be the reason. There are three carvings in the foyer that defy description in the quality of their work--both carving and painting. Inside the main room, there are 10-12 of the most beautifully done support posts I have ever seen. Again, incredible detail in both sculpt and paint.

I shot over 140 photos of the resort and took careful notes of the location of each piece. The size of the files will put them beyond of the scope of what can get posted in this forum, so once I get the descriptions written up, I will create a seprate site and post a link to it here. Whew!


Oh yeah, the polynesian is a suprisingly AWESOME tiki spot. I checked it out for the first time since I was a kid about 3 years ago, and it just hit me with this indescribable flood of fuzzy tiki memories... its truly an awesome place. I stayed there in a concierge room for my birthday and it was one of the best weekends my wife and I ever spent together- it rivaled our Tahiti honeymoon if you ask me!

Whenever I'm in the area, I always stop by and just walk around the grounds for that happy tiki vibe. Lots of sweet smelling plumeria, vibrant heliconia, and creaking bamboo. Not to mention little tikis tucked away all over the place, many vintage "faux-idols" from the 70's.

They light the torches at dusk, you can just show up and walk around for free, so you can't beat it. If no one is on one of the hammocks strung between the coconut trees, plop down and dig the vibe..

I could go on and on about all the little suprises here, but I'll leave them for you to discover yourself.

My only advice would be to avoid the luau- its a bit pricey for what you get.. a campy touristy luau with so-so food. I liked dinner at the Ohana alot more. The volcano pool slide is alot of fun!

[ Edited by: fatuhiva on 2003-11-02 21:48 ]

Oh no, not another one turned off by campy, touristy luaus and hula shows... Hey, what do you think the Kodak Hula Show was/is?
Perhaps an unappreciated part of tiki are the entertainers who perform/performed in all of these places for years and years.
Since there were hundreds of tiki bars/restaurants across the country, there had to be multiple shows booked at these places. What happended to these groups? Where are they now? Are any members of the "The Polynesians" still around?
At one time the performers at the Hawaiian Inn lived in Cape Cod doing shows in various places around New England, for example.
When I was a youngster, my best friend's mother taught hula and had a show that performed at parties around Oahu. My sister danced with a High School group in Waikiki and after graduation did a world tour -- not totally authentic or professional(what ever that is) -- just entertaining.

I lived in Orlando for 12 years and have never been there, I'm glad there is someone here to tell what its like, thanks.

Did you notice if the tikis were carved out of wood or are they your typical Disney fakes like everything else out there? In the photos you posted they don't look to be carved from wood. Not that it really matters that much, tikis are tikis.

I actually have one of the Offical Polynesian Resort Mugs in an amber glass as well. Doe's anyone know if this is common?

I've only seen clear and frosted glasses, so the amber one might be rare.
I recently scored a ceramic mug for the Polynesian Resort in the shape of a pineapple with a tiki face on it. It has a lid with three pineapple leaves. I had no idea these existed until I found it at an antique store in Daytona.

Geoff, what's the face look like?
I scored the amber one in Ohio. It was one of my first mugs. I actually almost got rid of it at the time, glad I didn't

It's hard to describe. I would say it looks kind of like the Kon-Tiki face, maybe tending toward Incan. The mug is brown with green, yellow and red on it. The lid has a hole for a straw. I was wondering if they might have sold it in the gift shop, rather than used in the lounge because it looks like it would have been an expensive piece to make and serve drinks in.
You'll have to come to our place some time and check it out (when it is done -- our condo has been in a reconstruction thing for two months and they still haven't fixed the drywall around our windows, so some of our collection is still packed away in boxes).


On 2003-11-03 05:53, FLOUNDERart wrote:
In the photos you posted they don't look to be carved from wood.

They are not carved from wood - they are casts. The originals are somewhere else...
The large one with his tongue sticking out is used to surround every pole in the Ohana restaurant. Pretty cool.
The Tamboo room and bar does have Tikis at the top of the bar posts now.
The Kona Cafe (and every other restaurant and shop) have some very cool tiki masks. These two shots are from the Kona Cafe:

My biggest find, however, was in the "Tangora Terrace," the resort's rentable meeting space. When Leroy Schmaltz was quoted as saying that this resort was his favorite project, the contents of this room had to be the reason. There are three carvings in the foyer that defy description in the quality of their work--both carving and painting. Inside the main room, there are 10-12 of the most beautifully done support posts I have ever seen. Again, incredible detail in both sculpt and paint.

Yes! Thank you for pointing out this room - it is next to the game room and well worth a visit. The walls are adorned with masks and carvings and the detail on the posts are incredible. Most of my photos were too dark, so I'll do a little photoshopping to them later, but here's two of the posts:

The Volcano pool is also worth a looksey too. At night they project red and orange lights in the top of the volcano for a very cool effect.

The Polynesian is pricey, but worth every penny...or at least a few hours of your time.

Polynesiac - putting the "F" back in "ART"

[ Edited by: Polynesiac 2008-01-30 18:19 ]

My wife and I stayed at the Polynesian back in 1989 for 10 days. It was expensive but I loved it! Back then, the Tangaroa Terrace was a restaurant but we noticed in later years, it was not. We went over there last year for the character breakfast in Ohana.

We went to the dinner luau twice, one year it was in the Ohana restaurant (I believe they were having an mosquito problem that year) and the other time it was outside at its usual location. We thought it was great even though the food was just ok, typical fanfare, nothing special.

If you have the time and can justify the room rates, the Polynesian is worth a visit. If not, just stay at another Disney resort and hop over to the Polynesian and take a look.


Speak of the (tiki) Devil! I was just at the Polynesian Village myself for the first time right before 4th of July. I have been to Disney World about 10 times I since first visited around 1973, and had never stepped into the Polynesian. This time around we did a little side trip over there late in the afternoon after galavanting around the Magic Kingdom for the whole day. I thought it was pretty cool place. Tikis-a-plenty. I didn't really have time to do as good a study of the place like some of you on this thread did. I wanted to get back to the Magic Kingdom to catch up on some rides we missed earlier in the day beofre the park closed. The only place I really saw was the Ceremonial House where the monorail drops you off. Had a few drinks and appetizers in the Tambu lounge which was cool but not the most ass kicking tiki bar in the world (I had been to Mai Kai a few days before). The Mai Tai was okay, but I remember the Zombie being better. I was impressed that the bartender actually used Trader Vic Orgeat in the Mai Tai. The strange thing was that they didn't follow the original TV Mai Tai recipe. Oh well, that's Mickey Mouse for you. Anyway...I was also hoping that they would have ceramic Polynesian Village tiki mugs, but alas they only have the glass tiki mug, which actually looks more like a goblet. Just for the helluvit I wanted to buy one, but I didn't see any in the gift shop, and by the time I had walked around still buzzed from the Zombie, I dedcided to take a pass on asking the bartender to sell me one.

I can't say I was too impressed with the tiki mugs they had in the gift shop either. One was a yellow Easter Island mug and they other was a crazy faced pastel blue looking one. The colors weren't really for me so I passed on those too. In all honesty I was saving my tiki mug money for when I went back to the Mai Kai later that week where I ended up buying 5 tiki mugs before it was all over.

Don't get me wrong. I thought the Polynesian Village was great, and I wish a) I could have spent more time there, and b) I could afford to stay there! The room prices that weekend were STARTING at $340 a night! Whoa! The crazy thing was that the place was packed, mostly with families. I mean I'm not totally poor, but if you can drop a grand or two on Disney hotels with the wife and kids on a weekend, I guess you're doing well! Me...I stayed at the Radisson 15 min from the Disney entrance, and spent less on a two night's stay than I would've on a one night stay at the PV, and the Radisson was a pretty damn nice place for the price. I

The Polynesian Village is a great place, and I hope to be back there soon. I tell ya...there is nothing quite like being disconnected from reality the way you are when you visit the Disney parks and resorts! Nothing legal that is.

Can any bar/resort/restaurant measure up after a visit to the Mai Kai? That place is fantastic!


No...nothing can quite measure up to the Mai Kai. The only thing that runs a very close second is the Trader Vic's I have been to; L.A. and Atlanta. I went to the L.A. one a while back, and my memory is a little fuzzy on the details, but I remember it being cool.

I was sort of expecting more of the over the top Disney experience, like the one you get at the Magic Kingdom, at the Polynesian Village. I was really expecting it to be as cool as the Mai Kai. I mean it was cool, but it wasn't on "11" to borrow a term from Spinal Tap. If they offered a really cool TikiFarm type mug at the Polynesian, like the ones you get at the Mai Kai when you order a 'Mara-Amu' that would have scored points for me. And knowing Disney and all of their character merchandising, I sort of expected that type of thing.

Now....I just have to get back out to California one of these days and check out the other TVs AND TikiTi, Tonga Room, etc. Mai Kai might be in Florida, but Cali seems to be the land of vintage tiki bars.

Oh yeah....I also forgot to mention: in Adventureland in the Magic Kingdom, they offer Mickey Mouse tiki 'mugs' in the souvenir shops near The Tiki Hut. Once again though....surprisingly, not impressed. Basically they were plastic 'mugs' with plastic Mickey Mouse ears with a hole for a straw in the top like the Mr. Bali Hai mugs. The features of the actual 'mug' were a cross between a traditional tiki god and Mickey himself. Now if they had THAT in ceramic I would have definitely got it. Plastic Tiki barware is so...Target/Home Depot. Authentic? Uh....don't think so.

[ Edited by: donhonyc on 2004-07-15 22:33 ]

I thought the gift shop at the Polynesian Village could have used some Tiki Farm merchandise also. I was surprised last year at the price they wanted for a polo shirt with the Polynesian logo on it... $50.00!!!

This spring we were driving through Orlando on International Drive and out of the corner of my eye, I spotted a small sign with the word "TIKI" in it. Funny how those things catch your eye. It was a sign for a Tiki themed miniature golf that was set off the road in the back parking lot of a hotel. Without that sign at the side of the road, I never would have seen this place. The driveway was sandwiched between two other businesses and the minigolf was easily 500 feet from International Drive. I cannot remember the exact location but there was a fancy looking McDonald's not too far away from it.

We turned around and went back to play. The place had tiki's galore and a huge volcano that erupted periodically. The flame was impressive and threw off a lot of heat. In the gift shop at the last hole, they had a lot of Tiki Farm merchandise marked down so we picked up several different mugs. If you are in Orlando and love tiki, check this place out. Maybe a local could provide the exact location.


Wow. I didn't kinow about that Tiki golf course, and I don't know when I'm going to be visiting Disney again. Damn! I usually visit the Magic Kingom, etc. like once every five to ten yearson the average. The only Tiki golf place that I have seen is in Wildwood, NJ. It's also a pancake restaurant, listed by the way in 'Tiki Road Trip'. The most interesting thing to me about the place you saw in Orlando was that it had Tiki Farm merch. marked down. That sounds worth the visit right there.

I just looked at our photos and the place was called Tiki Island Adventure Golf. I found the address on a miniature golf website:

Tiki Island Adventure Golf, 7460 International Drive, Orlando, FL 32819

On 2004-07-18 00:00, TikiTikiTavi wrote:
I just looked at our photos and the place was called Tiki Island Adventure Golf. I found the address on a miniature golf website:

Tiki Island Adventure Golf, 7460 International Drive, Orlando, FL 32819

When you get a chance, please create a new Topic here in the Locating Tiki section with this info along with some pics. I'd love to see 'em.



I'll be returning to Disney between 7/28/05 and 8/04/05. If anyone is interested in hooking up at the Polynesian for some Mai Tai drinking please let me know. My only means of transportaion will be the Disney bus so I'm sort of limited to where I can go in Orlando.

We'd love to meet up with other TCers. I haven't been back to the Polynesian in awhile. We like to go and sit on the fake beach and watch fireworks from the Magic Kingdom.

Has anybody been to the Royal Pacific hotel over in Universal? How does it compare to the Polynesian at Disney? I know Emeril has a restaruant over there... which I'm sure is good. I just wonder if it has the same ambiance.

the Poly is one of our favorite Disney resorts; my wife and I drive up often to have lunch or dinner at the different resort restaurants. Ohana's is a fun place to take the family for dinner.

check out this website for good detail on the Polynesian past and present:


Palama Tiki,
That was a great link. I've been a fan of the Polynesian for years and found the website to be very informative. Thanks again for the link.


Palama Tiki,
That's a fantastic site! Excellent resource.

you are very welcome.. it is a great site. i first found TC in his links page.

Some recent photos, culled from the Usenet:

Also see this Michael C. Flint website of Disney Resorts; here's the Poly page..


After 16 years of living in Orlando, I'm finally going to the luau at WDW Polynesian Resort tonight.

Marian's cousin and his bride are in town and wanted us to meet them at Disney. Since Marian knows I mostly hate the crowds at the theme parks, she told them the only way they would get me to go is if we all went to the luau...

I love my wife!

I just got back from Disney and wanted to plug a little update in the thread
On the first floor of the ceremonial house, to the left when you walk in the main entrance, a new shop is being put in called "BouTiki" (not too clever but oh well).
There are some great carvings out front, and from what one of the employees told me there is going to be some new hand-carved stuff on display inside the store.
Apparently, it is going to sell mostly clothing items, but there will be a new pin released for the shop opening for those out there who collect that type of stuff.
The store opens the 15th of this month, and the grand opening celebration is the 24th. (these dates could cahnge...call ahead if it's something you're interested in)

And I also wanted to add my favorite thing to do while at the Polynesian : head to the beach close to fireworks time, grab a hammock, and catch the Magic Kingdom fireworks and the electric light parade on the lagoon with practically no crowds. Bringing a cocktail is also a nice touch!

[ Edited by: Tangaroa Ed on 2005-05-12 18:23 ]

Tangaroa Ed: that is definitely a cool and romantic way to check out the fireworks with the wahine.

my lovely wife and i were there a few weeks ago, and she nabbed a lounge chair and a snooze while i walked around and took some photos of the more 'out-of-the-way' tikis on property.

first, here's the new Bou-tiki that Ed was talking about... sorry, the lighting is not the best, due to the fact that it was still under construction..

and a closeup of the carvings:

here's a few cool statues that are interspersed amongst the longhouses:

note the broken left foot on this guy that is located by the bus stop; i picked it up and had a fleeting e-bay thought, but then dutifully put it back so that it was not as apparent as it is in the photo.. and yes, they are made out of fiberglass.

Those pictures are great! I unfortunately left the digital camera at home for this trip, but those definitely show off the carvings out in front of the shop. I love wandering the grounds and checking out all of the others as well.
The beach is a really great retreat for the fireworks...just remember your bug spray. There were tons of mosquitoes out last week (which I haven't had a problem with at Disney before).

glad you like the pics... that was the first time that i really took my time and walked around actually looking for tikis. usually we go in the front entrance and head to a restaurant or the pool area.

the mosquitoes are really bad here right now; i had to stop working on my newest tiki tonight because of them.

I really hope that someday the Polynesian will sell miniature reproductions of the tikis on the grounds. At least some of them are exactly the same as the tiki room merchandise coming out for Disneyland's 50th. When I stayed there about 9 years ago, I loaded up on the Coco Joe's tikis in the gift shop.

that would be sweet if they would sell those; sadly, i think they're too busy pushing the ridiculous Stitch merchandise.


Nice pics...when I visit in July I need to go while it's still daylight so I can check out the tikis on the grounds.

[ Edited by: Juno on 2005-05-21 18:12 ]

Juno: there are some cool tikis around the quiet pool area (as well as the volcano pool). have fun on your visit!



For what it is worth.. I just finished two large paintings that Disney commissioned me to do for the New renovation of the Polynesian opening this summer. I was told they would be printed and hung in the next few weeks.

They will be reproduced and put in all the suites. I was asked to paint something very tropical,festive and detailed..but more generic..as far as Polynesia. I also was asked not to put tiki's in the paintings because some guests are afraid of them...especially foreign visitors...funny story.

Anyway, hope you enjoy the work. It should suggest a glint of the festive beaches of the Islands to add to your stay while in the room. They were fun to paint... Have a great stay if you or anyone here at TC stays there!! All fond Aloha's!!

[ Edited by: THOR's on 2005-05-21 21:23 ]

Thor, thats awesome! Unfortunately, we're not actually staying at the Polynesian...that place is kinda pricey. Instead we're staying at a nearby resort. I plan on visiting the Polynesian after we do the park with the kids during the day. We'll be there for 7 or 8 days so hopefully I can make several visits. Can you post pics of the prints you were commissioned to make?

I also was asked not to put tiki's in the paintings because some guests are afraid of them...especially foreign visitors...funny story.

No tikis??!! There are tiki's all over the place....why the hell would anyone stay at the Polynesian if they were afraid of tiki's? Pretty strange if you ask me.


I agree!! Strange!! What they said was that "in the rooms" guests get freaked by tikis "glaring at them" from a picture on the wall...I just went with it...what can you do.

I can't show pics of the work yet..until it's up and running. I will be at Disney next week and ask for digital copies and permission to post. Lemme know if you visit the place.....


On 2005-05-23 10:41, THOR's wrote:
I agree!! Strange!! What they said was that "in the rooms" guests get freaked by tikis "glaring at them" from a picture on the wall...I just went with it...what can you do.

When a group of us including Bigbro were at the Polynesian earlier this year, the lady behind the counter at the gift shop pointed at a tiki pendant I was wearing (carved by Benzart) and said "we used to sell those goonies. The manager took them out because they scare the children and they are ugly... but I like yours."

We laughed about her comments for days. Goonies?

[ Edited by: Kailuageoff on 2005-05-23 13:30 ]

[ Edited by: Kailuageoff on 2005-05-23 13:32 ]


There's hope yet! If tikis scare the children, I can still beleive! It's good to know tikis have some power still! I am all for scaring kids.


They didn't have those goonie pendants last time I was there in 2003. Just goonie shirts, goonie mugs and goonies with Mickey Mouse ears.


I am actually not surprised by this to tell you the truth. I'm reminded of how the MGM Grand in Las Vegas uses an alternate entrance for Asian high-rollers -- entering a lion's mouth (main entrance) just rankles the sensibilities and seems inauspicious to many. We associate tiki with a certain laid-back playfulness but many in other parts of the world (esp. Asia I suspect) would tend to think, why "play" with images that suggest mysterious powers and are associated with foreign religious beliefs? It just doesn't seem right, and as they have invested quite a bit in their vacation, they may well not at all appreciate having this extraneous factor enter into their (not inexpensive) trip. We are programmed to cue in on human (and human-like) faces. Babies focus in on them very quickly after birth; it's "wired" into our brains. It's not surprising that someone from another culture might find a highly stylized face, seeming to "stare" at the room's inhabitants, unwelcome. Disney's decision seems pretty rational given the range of people they accomodate.


You are right Tropical.. I understand in the long run the reasons...especially when you consider other cultures that are not exposed as liberally to images as we are in the US.
Many times, I was asked to design attractions in Asia dealing with adventures in the jungle or even "haunted themes" but told not to show skulls or things like that. Just depends on the regions. So, yes, Disney covers a broad market of visitors and just covers their butts by avoiding controversy when they can.
One funny comment I recall when designing attractions for Disney Sea in Tokyo was a simulator ride idea I developed based on a submarine race with "evolved" sea creatures of tomorrow that raced humans underwater.

It was a humorous thrill attraction. All at Disney internally loved the idea and the characters I developed, but when I pitched it to the Japanese side for approval to devop the idea further, they red flagged it. They said" In Japan, we just don't think of sea creatures as "funny". Then they added.."Oh..except for an octopus...now, they are funny!" With that , we looked at eachother and again realized that at times, you can't fight the perceptions of a culture. Also, can't expect them to understand the psyche of the "warped Americans" sense of what they find amusing! All in fun though.

Do you know what happens when you paint Tiki's and hang the pictures in the bedroom? Late at night, when the moon is hiding and a chill runs through the air, the Tiki's come to life and drink the drool out of the corner of your mouth. After that, they mess up your hair. And you thought all this time it was the pillow that gave you that lovely hairdo each morning. Now you know why people are scared. :)

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