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Disney’s Polynesian Resort Refurbishment – Updates & Info

One of Walt Disney World’s most beloved hotels is getting a BIG refurbishment. Find out how Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort is changing and everything new coming to this resort for the 50th Anniversary!

Disney's Polynesian Village Resort refurbishment concept art

In this post, we are going to break down everything we know so far about the Disney’s Polynesian Resort refurbishment and what is included in the project. Everything from the Moana-themed hotel rooms, the new porte cochere and monorail station will be included.

Just think, even though the Polynesian Resort underwent a substantial refurbishment only a few years ago, we are already getting more changes. Let’s hope they will make one of Disney World’s best Deluxe Resorts even better!

(NEWS 9/24/20): New Concept Art for Polynesian Resort Refurb Released

Recently Walt Disney Imagineer Zach Ridley shared the new concept art which shows what the Polynesian Resort will look like when completed. The concept art is the image at the top of the page. Here is what he had to say:

“I’m thrilled to share the first look at the new arrival experience from our design teams coming to Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort! As you can see in the rendering above, we were inspired by the iconic mid-20th century architecture that the Polynesian is famous for.

The colors, patterns and textures found throughout the resort are reflected in the design of the new porte cochere with a high-pitched open-truss roof covered in a thatch style and a bold façade that complements the Longhouses.

The monorail station will be transformed with bold new wooden screens covered with geometric patterns in bright, tropical colors. The Polynesian is a fan favorite and our Imagineering and Walt Disney World teams are excited to bring these new changes to life in this iconic resort.

Polynesian Resort Refurbishment Overview

Disney's Polynesian Resort Lobby

Here are the main details to know about the refurbishment at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort:

  • The work is concentrated on the Great Ceremonial House
  • New Moana-themed rooms coming
  • New porte cochere
  • Changes to the Monorail Station
  • Bolder, more colorful facades on the Longhouses
  • Enhanced gardens and fountains
  • New chandeliers in the resort lobby

As you may know, like many Walt Disney World Resorts at the moment, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort has yet to fully reopen since the Disney World closure in March 2020. Disney has recently announced that the Polynesian Resort reopening has now been delayed until Summer 2021 with a big refurbishment coming to the Great Ceremonial House and rooms.

Since attendance and demand for hotel rooms in Disney World is at an all-time low, Disney has decided to use this time to refurbish the one if its most prized resorts.

When is the Project Starting?

The refurbishment will be starting on the Polynesian Great Ceremonial House and guest rooms in October 2020.

Moana-themed Rooms

Moana themed rooms coming to Disney's Polynesian Resort

We still don’t have all the details about the project at this time, but we do know that the guest rooms are being re-themed to Disney’s Moana. The rooms will be complete with details, textures, and patterns from the film and include a move to a Pacific Ocean-inspired color palette.

It’s unclear is EVERY room will get the Moana treatment, or select rooms like the Little Mermaid rooms at Art of Animation. From what we understand it will be ALL, the rooms, but we have to confirm that.

Guests have been complaining for years that the Disney World Hotel rooms are boring and too much like standard hotels you can find anywhere in the country, and this move definitely changes that line of thinking.

I’m torn because on the one hand, I want to see more immersive, themed hotel rooms at Disney, but on the other hand, I’m not sure I want them ALL to be based on an IP. I guess it will depend how “in-your-face” the new theming is and we’ll hold final judgement until we see them.

New Porte Cochere

One of the main components to the Polynesian refurbishment is the newly designed Porte Cochere, or car port, which will be front and center when guests arrive.

This is the description given by Disney:

“We were inspired by the iconic mid-20th century architecture that the Polynesian is famous for. The colors, patterns and textures found throughout the resort are reflected in the design of the new porte cochere with a high-pitched open-truss roof covered in a thatch style and a bold façade that complements the Longhouses.”

The Lobby

Disney's Polynesian Village Resort lobby statue

Here is a description of what more changes come to the hotel entrance:

“Enhancements will also be made to the lush gardens and fountains that have welcomed guests to the resort since opening day.  The open and airy design of the entryway will feature dramatic lighting elements, including beautiful chandeliers inspired by glass floats, fishing nets and oversized bamboo elements.

The new chandeliers will match the existing grand chandelier in the resort lobby, artfully bridging interior and exterior spaces.”

Monorail Station

Disney's Polynesian Resort reopening

Starting on November 2, 2020, the monorail stop at Disney’s Polynesian will be temporarily closed due to construction happening at the Great Ceremonial House.

The monorail station at the Polynesian is not expected to reopen until July 2021.

A large part of the work is concentrated on the Great Ceremonial House (Main Lobby). That is the building where the monorail stop is located, so at least for a while during the construction period, that stop will not be available to guests.

The official description says “the monorail station will be transformed with bold new wooden screens covered with geometric patterns in bright, tropical colors that complete an exciting new composition that will greet you when you arrive.”

It sounds like it will be pretty eye-catching once it’s done.

Guests will have a few options for transportation during the refurbishment…

Options for getting to the Magic Kingdom or Ticket and Transportation Center include by boat or by walking, using the new Grand Floridian to Magic Kingdom walkway.

The Magic Kingdom monorail line will continue operating during this time, and guests can walk from the Polynesian Resort to the Ticket and Transporation Center and get the monorail there.

Disney also announced it is offering bus transportation to Magic Kingdom Park and the other 3 theme parks from the Polynesian starting in October.

Is Anything Staying Open at the Polynesian Resort?

Inside Polynesian Resort Disney World

We do know that the Villas and Bungalows at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort will remain open during the refurbishment, so you still can plan a trip to the resort in the next few months.

The restaurants are a bit of a problem because they are located in the Great Ceremonial Hosue, right where the majority of the work will be taking place. Guests will still be able to dine at the restaurants located there, but they will be on limited hours and closing earlier than usual.

When Will the Polynesian Resort Refurbishment End?

Disney's Polynesian Village Resort Lobby

Originally, the Polynesian Resort was supposed to reopen on August 12, then it was delayed until October 4. The current refurbishment is now scheduled to be complete in Summer 2021.

We understand the change in plans as it just doesn’t make sense to open the resort right now during Disney World’s phased reopening. If Disney had these upgrades it wanted to get done to the Polynesian Resort, this is the perfect time to do it since reservations are extremely low right now.

Once we get closer to Disney’s World’s upcoming 50th Anniversary in Fall 2021, demand will start coming back and there will be a need for the Polynesian, so it’s better to get these things taken care of now.

Your Thoughts

I want to know what you think about the refurbishment happening at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort…

  • Are you looking forward to the new changes?
  • What other improvements should they make?

Let us know in the comments section below!

If you enjoyed this article, as always I appreciate it if you’d share it with others via social media.  I work hard at making this website into a useful resource for you and your family to plan your visit to the Disney Parks and I hope it can help you! Thanks 🙂

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Terry Nelson

Wednesday 30th of September 2020

When will they bring back the character meals and Bippity Boopity Boutique


Wednesday 30th of September 2020

Good question Terry. Right now they haven't given any word on that. We have to assume both will stay gone until sometime in 2021

Ruth Szeto

Friday 25th of September 2020

The changes sound very exciting. We almost stayed there on a very recent trip but didn't find the resort and room theming it sounds like the changes will make the atmosphere more immersive!

jeannette Sanchez

Thursday 24th of September 2020

The new Polynesian village resort will be my favorite resort for next year and I can't wait for next year to come and stay in this Polynesian village resort awesome!