Tuesday, July 9, 2013

New vs. Old: Polynesian Room Review

The pixie dust on the blog this week is going to be very POLYNESIAN.  Yesterday we talked about the cupcakes there, and today we're going to look at the rooms!

The rooms and hallways at the Polynesian recently got a facelift, so I thought we'd both reminisce with some pictures of the old look and take a peek at the new look!

As you paced the hallways of the longhouses in years past (or, in fact, as recently as last summer), this is what they used to look like:

Now you will find yourself stepping into a whole new world...

It's MUCH brighter, which is very nice.  Although...somehow it feels less...Polynesian.  Before it was like stepping into a tropical jungle.  Now it's so modern!  (And just in case you're thinking to yourself 'Did they shrink the hallways??' - no, these pics were taken in two different longhouses!)

A close-up of the flowers.  It's nice...but just not quite tropical enough.

ANYway, shall we step inside the room and see what's waiting there??

So remember, this is what the old rooms looked like:

And here's the new design:


The fabrics are the main change; the basic furniture - the drawers and headboards etc. - are much the same as before.  Here's an old pic...

And here's a new one for comparison...

The walls are now a minty green, the carpets are different as well, and if we really want to get down to the nitty gritty, that lamp shade is now a different shape. ;)


The new pic is on the left; the old on the right.  So the lamps are the same (and there is still a drum table just out of the frame in the new photo), but the cushions and curtains are new.

The biggest change is the bedding!  When I first saw pics of it online, I thought the white looked almost too white; but there is a pattern on the white that makes it prettier in person.
You can see the pattern a little bit better in the above pic...
I kinda miss the turtles, but I do like how much lighter it is - they even lightened up the woven part of the headboard.

The "Sweet Dreams" pillows are a fun addition.

The paintings at least still seem to be the same!  This is one of the few places in the room where you'll be able to find a hidden mickey.  I really don't get why they left the hidden mickeys out of this redesign (unless they're so well hidden we couldn't find them!).  It's almost as if they wanted the rooms to be more modern and sophisticated.

But I don't come to Disney for sophisticated...I COME FOR THE HIDDEN MICKEYS!!


Another little detail that's gone are the green bamboo stalks embedded in the closet doors.  Now they just have ordinary glass doors (the new pic is the one on the left).  Pretty boring.  At least the bamboo is still in the glass on the drawers.

But the biggest change of all is the bathroom.  Prepare yourselves...

It's ironic, because the rest of the room they made lighter, but the bathroom they made darker!  The mirror goes across the entire length of the wall (you almost can't tell because it's reflecting the wallpaper).  The turtles at least are still in evidence on the wallpaper...

It's very swanky, but it's just a little too brown for me.  I feel like they let whoever did the Contemporary redesign loose at the Polynesian and the result is that these rooms look a little like they belong at the Contemporary Resort - not the Polynesian!


Do you see any hidden mickeys on that shower curtain??  Yeah, me neither. :(

I suppose there weren't so very many hidden mickeys in the old room/bathroom, but it was just so atmospheric...

I always felt like a Polynesian princess getting ready for the day in front of that mirror, with two little tiki gods in attendance, holding up the candles!

I'm sorry, but the new bathroom just can't compete with the old bathroom.  But I am glad to report that those tiki god lamps are not gone forever.  They've just been moved out to the hallway...

And since we're noticing absurdly tiny Polynesian details, here are the old and new toiletries.  The only change is the color of some of the labels.

I know I'm kinda crazy for caring about all these little things that are different, but the Polynesian is one of my favorite places.  At least some things haven't changed.  Like this...

There are still plenty of palm trees.
...and a Polynesian sunset is still as magical as ever. :)


  1. well my goodness!! Why didnt they lighten up the bathroom??? I hated trying to get ready in there because the light wattage was so low you couldn't see...now it appears to be even worse. I do love all the other changes though!! Maybe now Mike will want to go back....we loved the Poly but didnt like the dark and depressing atmosphere...if only they had made the same changes to the bathroom I would have him convinced!!!!

  2. Your post inspired some nail art that I'll be posting on Friday. I like the mint color of the comforters but I wish they would've stayed with the turtle theme.

  3. Hi, Sorry to interrupt but can someone tell me the name of the artist in the painting with the Hidden Mickeys. Or tell me where I could purchase this painting. I asked all around Disney and they do not seem to know or want to share... Since the Polynesian Resort is my families favorite, I would like to add this painting to the family room. Thank so much for helping out. Love the page!!

    1. The artist is Tom Thordarson. There are two different alternating prints in the rooms, both of his the same size. He also did four paintings that hang over the registration desk area. Disney contracted him to do the paintings and they own the rights. I contacted him directly and he is not able to help in any way to get a copy. He suggested I contact Disney asking them to consider selling prints. After two years of searching I was able to get the one shown above on eBay, from a seller who claimed it was an overstock from a 2006 renovation. Apparently a few were removed from rooms during a renovation and found their way to eBay years ago prior to my search. Mr. Thordarson is really nice and approachable. He has several other prints in a similar style available, although without the hidden Mickeys.

  4. We have been four times, and I consider the Polynesian to be my home away from home. I have to admit that after seeing this there is a very good chance I will never return. What a complete waste. They have completely ruined the bathroom. I will admit that the wallpaper needed replaced. Wouldn't it have been easier and more cost effective to simply replace that? The room isn't too horrible, except for the hideous fabric on the couch I guess, but what did it accomplish to chance certain things like the grass in the glass doors. It looks like that would have gone with this mod green garbage they have going on. It all makes me sick to my stomach. Luckily on our last visit they were renovating long houses and ours was the last to be changed so it was still in the older style. I am so grateful.

  5. arrghh - thanks for the update. I LOVE the old bathrooms with the green marble - so sad now

  6. UNBELIEVABLE!!!! The Poly was our all-time favorite. I can't believe how they changed the fabrics and styles! And the replacement choices are almost all bad and sterile-looking. :(

    And, the bathrooms were always too dark, yet at least "Polynesian" in feel -- now they look HIDEOUS! Who okayed that horrible wallpaper?! I feel like they ripped all the Polynesian out of the Polynesian! I'm in shock.

    Thank you for sharing all these details though ... you really did an excellent job showing old vs. new. Now we have to decide whether to go back and deal with all this mint green, or go somewhere else. Not to be repetitive, but I'm in complete shock.

  7. I am planning our first trip to Disney and I just love your site. So cool that you took the time to compare the rooms in such a nice visual way. Thanks for putting time into the site to make Disney planning easier for the rest of us,