Friday, January 18, 2019

The Polynesian - November 1971

Somebody once asked me, "Why do you collect slides of Walt Disney World if you've never been there?". I don't know, because I like them? The early years especially fascinate me, and I can never see that WDW in person. 

Today's scans are all from Mr. X's November 1971 trip to the brand-new park; and while we tend to see plenty of photos of Main Street, and Cinderella Castle, and the Contemporary Hotel, it seems that interior shots of the Polynesian Hotel are not super common. Meanwhile, I am somewhat hampered by my lack of knowledge of the park and its resorts. Maybe you guys can chime in if you notice something of interest!

How many people took photos of "Village Drugs & Sundries"? Not many I'll bet. There appears to be various vases and glassware, probably some ceramics, and who knows what. I think I see a Mickey Mouse plate along the back wall. Why yes, I will eat my brussels sprouts if they're on a Mickey Mouse plate! This place is now called "Trader Jack's", selling "Exotic Imports and Native Exports".

It looks like this atrium was very pretty, with palms and other tropical plants, and diffused natural light. I sense that there was a Monorail nearby. But maybe my Monorail sniffer is confused. 

Here's "Trader Jack's Grog Hut", not to be confused with the store seen in the first photo. Does Trader    Jack know Trader Sam? The Grog Hut sold liquor and gourmet snacks, not surprisingly. It became "Samoa Snacks" 


Nanook said...


I remember that carpeting; and of course, the signage-! Ahhh - the good old days of WDW. (And on a side note - I believe Brussels sprouts were outlawed at the Polynesian Resort-!)

Thanks, Major & Mr. X-!

K. Martinez said...

As long as the "Samoa Snacks" sells Girl Scout Samoas then I'm good.

Nice interior Poly pics. Thanks Mr. X and Major.

TokyoMagic! said...

I remember department stores having display tables like those in the first pic. There were storage areas with sliding doors right below the counters, where they could conveniently store additional stock.

In that last pic, I think the lady in blue is looking at a selection of "mini liquor bottles" just like the ones they serve on airplanes.

These are wonderful (and rare) images. Thank you, Major and Mr. X!

Anonymous said...

I hate to use the stereotypical radio call-in show phrase "long time listener, first time caller" but that's going to be me.

Major's first line about "why do you care if you haven't been there" rings a little close to home here, mostly coming from a *very* amateur historian but perpetually curious individual. I love these pictures of a Disney (Land/World) as I wasn't even on "the right side of the dirt" when many of these were taken. They are an unintentional time capsule to things that came before. Unfortunately, we can't go back in time to see these places for ourselves, but these great pictures allow that to happen.

Not just Disney. I get a great jolt when you (Major) break out of the theme a bit and bring us a snapshot of some beautiful old downtown, a small town parade, or my personal favorite, old Las Vegas (you led me to a Twitter feed and Tumblr page that are both bountiful with Vegas goodness).

I've been to DL twice, the last time several decades ago when I was 13 and we took the foreign exchange student from Finland who was staying with us. It's really like going back for me, even though most of the pictures pre-date me by an embarrassing amount of time.

Thanks, and keep up the great work!!



Some great rare views of a Vacation Kingdom (and America ) long gone!

MAJOR: I think the view you decribe as the atrium is actually taken from the Monorail station at the Polynessian - to the left is the entry “bridge” to Monorail station. The atrium was located in the Great Long House and would probably have photographed much darker . The original atrium was horribly reduced in landscaping, atmosphere and grandeur- the original was spectacular with its volcanic rock, waterfalls, tiki and LIVE parrots!! It was a perfect “welcome” to really give Walt Disney world guests a feel of the South Seas!

Today Disney parks really have dumbed down all design - while they up their prices. But it doesn’t matter - the guests keep coming to spend lots of money to stare down at their cel phones the entire trip.
I guess I didn’t realize how great the 70’s really were while I lived through it!

Alonzo P Hawk said...

Shouldn't the Grog Hut have morphed into an ABC Store? No trip to the islands would be complete with a visit to one of those.

We have seen lots of photos of Disney World's various bits and pieces but "Never on Sundries".

Stu29573 said...

I agree with Mike that the advent of the cell phone was a dire time for the parks. Why design wonderful immersive worlds when no one is going to pay attention to them? I will admit that on my last trip I was just as bad as anyone else in that department, but the trip prior to that one I left my phone in my room every day. The difference? Fastpass now almost requires you to be "plugged in" to take advantage of it. Maybe next time I'll be that weird guy without a phone again. I think it was worth the sacrifice.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I don’t tend to remember things like carpeting, except for that time my family stayed at the Overlook Hotel.

K. Martinez, strangely, all they sold was Thin Mints. Customers were enraged!

TokyoMagic!, I didn’t notice before, but you can see the sliding panels on the display stands. That’s where they hid the good stuff! Even now I’m not much of a drinker, but I always liked those little liquor bottles, just because they were miniature. Perfect for taking to school in your lunch box.

AlbinoDragon, it’s always nice to hear from a “long time listener”! It’s no surprise to anyone that I like old pictures of Disneyland, but it isn’t just about the park itself; it’s the families, the clothing, and the general sense of the era in which they were taken that I enjoy. And while my collection of non-Disney slides is small, I get a real kick out of a nice vintage parade on an anonymous street in the midwest, or Las Vegas, or a good view of New York City… etc! I’ve only been to Vegas one time, but that doesn’t mean that “old Las Vegas” doesn’t exude a ton of mid-century charm. And nowadays, I think sometimes think I enjoy the photos of vintage Disneyland more than I do the actual park. Maybe it’s a mood thing! Thank you for the nice comment.

Mike Cozart, aha, I knew I sensed a Monorail, I just didn’t think it would be behind me. I have heard about the alterations to the atrium, although I’m not sure of the details. When you say it has been reduced, did they add a store (maybe one that sells plush toys) into a formerly open area? I never knew there were live parrots, that’s pretty cool. Although I wouldn’t mind a good animatronic parrot too. It really does seem like, to many people, there is no such thing as a bad decision by the park management. They love the places no matter what. Maybe that’s a better way to be, instead of grumpy like I am! Thanks.

Alonzo, when you say “ABC store”, do you mean a store that sells “the basics”, or do you mean a store featuring merch from ABC network shows? If it’s the latter, it sounds dreadful. I should add that I’ve never been to Hawaii, because I am afraid of poi.

Major Pepperidge said...

Stuart Powley, The thing that mostly makes me nuts about cell phones in the parks is that everyone is always filming and photographing everything. You can't just enjoy the Haunted Mansion, you're surrounded by 50 bright glowing screens. I remember Tony Baxter talking about maybe adding changes to It's a Small World so that you might have to use your phone for some interactive elements, and I thought, "The last thing I want is to be on my phone while on a ride at Disneyland". Maybe that's just me being an old fart?

Mike said...

Wow - my parents took me to Walt Disney World for the first time in 1976 and we stayed at the Polynesian. It still looked pretty much like these 1971 photos, complete with the green and blue checkered flooring and the merchandise areas pictured. I always love seeing pictures of the "old" Polynesian. Thanks for posting these!

Warren Nielsen said...

The Poly was always our favorite. There is (or was at least) a more 'exotic yet down home' feel to the buildings, the landscaping and theming. I understand that the centerpiece waterfall/indoor garden has been totally removed, and that's a shame. It was always so relaxing and refreshing to walk into the atrium area as you departed the monorail after a long day in the park and hear the waterfalls gurgling over the rocks.


Major Pepperidge said...

E Michael Gannon, you are lucky that you got to see the Polynesian (and the rest of Walt Disney World) before they mucked things up so much!

Warren Nielsen, the original hotels are worlds away from things like “Pop Century” and so many of the newer places that are there to be affordable (great, fine), but that are loud (I’ve literally read about people being unable to sleep due to music being blasted at the pools late at night), cheap looking and have no sense of style. Just my opinion of course. The rooms are places to sleep and bathe, but that’s about it.

Melissa said...

I love the Polynesian! I'm so glad someone has virtually preserved the original Interiors by taking these lovely pictures that could be screenshots from a documentary.

I think that walkway is where I took a picture of the flower bed below all full of poinsettias for the Christmas season. Another fond memory is sitting on the balcony waiting for our Kona Cafe reservations and watching a hula lesson going on below.

The Poly is where John Lennon signed the paperwork that officially dissolved The Beatles.