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What gloom & doom? It's still "Happy Poly Days" over at Disney's Polynesian Resort

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What gloom & doom? It's still "Happy Poly Days" over at Disney's Polynesian Resort

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Alright. I know. It's been kind of a scary week for all you folks who live and work in Central Florida. What with all the stories that are making the rounds about Walt Disney World's projected occupancy rate for the month of January as well as how miserable things have gotten for all those hotels & resorts that are right off property.

But it's not like everything's gone to the dogs in and around Lake Buena Vista (Okay. Admittedly a certain portion of Downtown Disney has gone to the dogs, what with that retail entertainment complex's new "Santa Paws" promotion ) ...

But it's not like every single day next month is going to be a struggle for the Resort. Just try and book a room on property between January 8 - 11 (which is when the 2009 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend is being held) and you'll definitely see that there are going to be times when this place is mobbed.

At the same time, it's important to understand that the current credit crunch is affecting individual WDW resorts in markedly different ways. Some of the on-property hotels have already experienced double digit drops in their occupancy rates. Which is why they're truly dreading January's soft advance bookings.

Meanwhile over Disney's Polynesian Resort ...

Photo by Jeff Lange

... it's just another day in paradise.

Ask anyone who works on Disney's Reservations Center what WDW's most popular resort is. And they'll immediately tell you that it's the Poly. This monorail hotel is No. 1 when it comes to customer loyalty (i.e. Guests who've previously stayed at the Polynesian will almost automatically request a room at that resort the very next time they book a Disney World vacation). The Poly is also WDW's No. 1 choice when it comes to honeymooners or / and couples celebrating their anniversaries.

And given that there are 31 other beautifully designed, highly detailed resorts on property, you just gotta ask yourself: What is about the Polynesian that makes it so popular? Why is that this hotel -- even in these tough economic times -- still enjoying a daily occupancy rate that's rumored to be in the 90s?

Is it the lush grounds?

Photo by Jeff Lange

Or the fact that families who have been coming here since the Resort first opened back in October of 1971 have such fond memories of the place. They recall those days when you were still allowed to swim in the waters of Seven Seas Lagoon ...

Photo courtesy of Jeff Lange

Back when the Poly's theme pool area wasn't quite as impressive ...

Photo courtesy of Jeff Lange

... as it is today.

Photo by Jeff Lange

Mind you, there are some pieces of this Resort that have slipped away forever. Like the wave machine that was located just off-shore. It used to send ocean-style curls crashing onto the Polynesian's white sandy beach ... Until -- of course -- the beach erosion began. The photo below shows all that now remains of this once-amazing mechanism.

Photo by Jeff Lange

So why is the Polynesian a hotel that WDW visitors return to again & again? If you ask Cast Members who work at this Resort, they'll tell you that it's because the Poly is the one hotel on property where people can actually relax ... If they want to, of course. Where you could spend a week and have a truly great vacation without entering a single Disney theme park.

Photo courtesy of Jeff Lange

Me personally? I think that this Resort's high return rate has a lot to do with the addictive nature of Tonga Toast.

But whatever the reason ... Know this: In this age of aint-no-good-news-comin'-out-of-Orlando, there are still some reasons to remain optimistic. Like the news that -- no matter how bad the current credit crunch gets -- the occupancy rate at Disney's Polynesian Resort still remains ridiculously high.

So before you go climb back up on Mickey's misery-loves-company merry-go-round, where the online Disneyana community has to pick apart & carefully examine every last bit of bad news coming out of Lake Buena Vista (And speaking of merry-go-rounds, have you see this video of the Gingerbread Carousel over at Disney's Beach Club Resort ?) ...

... remember that -- even though it's been 37 years since what-was-then-known-as-the-Polynesian-Village first opened -- people still continue to flock to this hotel.

Photo by Jeff Lange

So I guess that Disney must be doing something right.

Your thoughts?

The photos featured in today's article were provided by Jeff Lange, who recently released a DVD & Screensaver CD that pays tribute to Disney's Polynesian Resort. For further information on these discs as well as the other titles available through JeffLangeDVD.com, please click on this link.

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Happy Holidays!

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  • There's no school like the old school!

  • Inbred addiction to the TIki Culture.  It's the American way of life. ;)

  • I have had the pleasure of visiting several lesser known polynesian islands. while these islands are drop dead gorgeous, there are some that can be dangerous just traveling there. Have you ever been on the South Pacific Ocean, in a small speed boat with six people and no radio and no compass and no land in sight. Oh, and out teenage captain was making his first unsupervised tour? We made it to our destination, but what if the outboard motor had quit? You get what I'm saying? Going to WDW's Polynesian is safer, less expensive, and just as gorgeous as the real islands and you have all the parks at hand. Who can ask for anything more in a vacation?

  • My dad still has our bill from staying at the Poly in 1974. It shows a room rate of $29 per night. After the 3 PM parade at the Magic Kingdom we always take the free boat across the SSL to enjoy an adult beverage at the poolside bar.

    In 1982 -- as a member of the Magic Kingdom College Program -- we'd spend evenings enjoying the live entertainment (someone remind me of that comedic guitarist's name) at Captain Cooks Hideaway.

    And speaking of bars, if you pass through the Poly drop in and see Clinta who runs the Ohana bar. He's been at WDW for (I believe) 30-plus years (!!!). He moved to the Poly after a long stint pouring drinks (and probably losing a good portion of his hearing) at PI's Beach Club.

    Great Story, Mr. Lange! Thanks for Posting!

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