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Disney World announces changes for re-imagined Polynesian Resort

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Walt Disney World Resort released more information on its extensive renovation of its Polynesian Resort, one of the two original resort hotels. In its May 15 update, Disney revealed some of plans for re-imagining the deluxe resort as the renamed Disney’s Polynesian Village.

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Included in the Disney Park Blog’s update are the following changes to the 39-acre property: a new children’s activity center, a renovation of the feature pool area complete with a Dole Whip kiosk, and the addition of Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto. These changes will take place in stages through 2015, with some elements opening as early as next month. The Polynesian will also receive renovated guests rooms and a redesign of the Grand Ceremonial House, the resort’s main building, during the multi-year makeover.

One of the first changes guests will see is the new children’s activity center that is scheduled to open next month. Club Disney will be themed to stories and is inspired by Disney Little Gold Books tales such as “Pinocchio,” “Lady and the Tramp” and “Alice in Wonderland.” Club Disney replaces the Neverland Club and serves children ages 3-12. Reservations are now being taken for June dates.

The resort’s main Nanea Volcano pool area is being completely renovated for the resort's transformation to Disney’s Polynesian Village. The Polynesian’s pool will close in late July, with the renovations expected to last until early 2015. According to WDW Magic, resort guests affected by the closure will be offered one complimentary ticket to Blizzard Beach water park.

When finished, Nanea Volcano pool area will debut a new children’s water play area with slides, a larger deck with more poolside seating, and a hot tub that offers a view of Seven Seas Lagoon. The area will also be home to the Pineapple Lanai kiosk, a new food and beverage experience. The kiosk will sell Dole Whip, a pineapple soft serve that has become something of an iconic treat at Walt Disney World and Disneyland. Dole Whip was available as a self-serve option at the Polynesian’s quick-service location, Captain Cook’s, until March of this year. When Pineapple Lanai opens, it will offer resort guests a dedicated spot to enjoy the treat without the need to visit Magic Kingdom’s Aloha Isle.

“In size and scope the renovation and expansion of Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort is a significant investment in the guest experience at Walt Disney World Resort,” said Tom Wolber, senior vice president of resort operations and transportation operations for Walt Disney World Resort, in a press statement. “Once completed, the iconic resort hotel will be completely re-imagined with a level of detail as only Disney can deliver.”

Walt Disney World also released more information on the Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto, a food and dining experience inspired by the Disneyland Resort bar. When it opens in 2015, Trader Sam’s will serve handcrafted tiki cocktails served, souvenir mugs optional, and Polynesian-themed small plates. Like its Disneyland counterpart, Grog Grotto will offer a highly themed, immersive experience.

The addition of Trader Sam’s is part of the renovation of the Polynesian’s Grand Ceremonial House. Other changes to the building include the removal of its signature lobby waterfall, a decision that has been met with some ambivalence. Some Disney guests who want to preserve the signature look, and have signed a petition addressed to George Kalogridis, president of the Walt Disney World Resort.

The re-imagining of Disney’s Polynesian Resort includes adding Disney Vacation Club, Disney’s timeshare program, options. Twenty DVC bungalows will be added to the property.