Monday, October 14, 2019

Polynesian Resort, Walt Disney World, 1972

It's time for a MEGA-EXTRAVAGANZA, courtesy of Lou and Sue! Today's photos come from 1972, and feature views of the wonderful Polynesian Resort. For years I always fantasized about being able to stay at the Contemporary Hotel - it seemed to get the lion's share of publicity. But from what I've read and learned over the years, the Polynesian was a wonderful place to stay.

Sadly I have little knowledge of this hotel (or WDW in general), so I'm going to rely on you folks to fill in any pieces of info that you think would be interesting!  

I believe that this is the Great Ceremonial House. For birthday parties and bar mitzvahs? 

I'm pretty sure that this is where they put guests who went crazy. They just couldn't handle all of the fun, and their brains melted.

You don't see a Chinese junk every day. Here's the "Eastern Winds". It didn't spin or go upside-down or nothin'. 

There's the Great Ceremonial House again!

Were water slides a fairly new thing in 1972? I'd love to know if this modest (but nice) swimming pool still exists.

I love this wonderful sign, and have seen variations of the graphics on things such as matchbooks.

Meanwhile, on the lower level, guests stroll through the atrium, with plenty of bamboo decor, tropical plants in the middle, and that cool tile floor in shades of greens and blues.

Another nice shot from the same area; wasn't there a famous fountain or waterfall nearby that was recently removed? I can see why people liked staying here.

Well, there you have it, nine awesome snapshots, from Lou and Sue. There's lots more to come from them!


Nanook said...

"For birthday parties and bar mitzvahs?" Let's not forget bat mitzvah's-! (And you said you have 'little knowledge'). You know plenty.

Great memories from Lou and Sue. Thanks.

steve2wdw said...

Ahhhh....these pictures really take me back. At one point in time, I used to be able to get an $89 per night, stockholder rate. I think a standard, non view room is around $599 per night now. Way out of price range. One of the reasons I bought into DVC back in 2000. Sadly those cool teal and beige tiles are long gone, along with that version of the lobby in the Great Ceremonial House. You don't have any exteriors of the GCH in this collection. The exterior view you have is of the Tuvalu Longhouse, located to the left of the marina as you're looking toward the Seven Seas Lagoon. The guest rooms facing the water must be mucho dollars in this day and age. That shot of the pool slide just oozes "grooviness" in all its curviness. Thanks to Lou and Sue for taking me back in time, this morning.

Stu29573 said...

Unfortunately although I've been to WDW many times, my knowledge of this resort comes from passing through on the monorail. It looks wonderful, and it's probably the deluxe resort that I'd most like to stay at, but I feel like I'm splurging on a moderate, so there's no way I'm springing for deluxe!


MAJOR; while East Wind did not spin or go upside down, it did offer hotel guests cruises of The Seven Seas Lagoon & Bay Lake - in fact it was one of the watercraft used for the MOONLIGHT CRUISES in the resorts early years. It was also used for private floating cocktail parties.
I have a vintage wooden sign from the Junk that reads “ The East Wind is currently Sailing - please visit another time”

Great shots of a Walt Disney World long gone.

Andrew said...

This is a really nice series of pics. It's always fun to catch a glimpse of that junk. I also especially like how the first one shows a Monorail cruising through the lush greenery, just like what the Imagineers proposed when they were building that Alunai resort in Hawaii some years ago... it would've connected all of the Hawaiian islands, but sadly it never came to be. (I hear it's the safe and efficient way to travel, though!)

Mike said...

Steve2wdw is correct that the building you thought was the "Great Ceremonial House" is actually one of the guest room buildings. In fact, it's where I stayed with my parents during our first trip to Disney World in 1976. The names of the buildings have been changed a few times over the years - back at the time these photos were taken in the early 70s, that Tuvalu building was actually known as the Samoa.

The pool you see was replaced by a Volcano pool in about, I'm guessing, the late 90's. And my understanding is that even the Volcano pool was in turn replaced and remodeled during the most recent refurbishing that also removed the waterfall from the lobby.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I didn’t forget bat mitzvahs, I just didn’t list those because I am afraid of bats.

steve2wdw, I thought you might like these! Wow, $89; the fact that a non-view room would be basically $600 a night, and out of somebody’s price range, is really awful. They raise prices and raise prices (etc) until it becomes a place for the wealthy only. For those who can’t afford whatever it would cost to board a family of four for several nights, too bad. Thanks for the correction on the Longhouse.

Sstu29573, well, you’re still ahead of me, as I’ve never been to Florida at all. There are so many other hotels on property these days that I don’t know what they consider to be “moderate”. A friend stayed at Art of Animation “Little Mermaid” hotel in WDW a few years ago, and he said the constant loud music from the pool area was unbearable.

Mike Cozart, I assume that the East Wind is long-gone? A moonlight cruise on a warm summer evening on the Seven Seas Lagoon sounds like a pretty nice thing to do with your significant other. Cool that you have that sign!

Penna. Andrew, just a small correction, that Monorail that would have connected all of the islands was going to be underwater! ;-)

Mike, just shows that I really don’t know anything about WDW! 1976 still would have been peak Disney World - early enough so that everything was new. I think their Peoplemover would be working by ’76, so that’s an added bonus. Thank you for the information about the Volcano Pool (and for the photos!).

JC Shannon said...

I love themed places like this. You can lose yourself in the illusion and you actually look forward to returning at the end of the day. These are some great pics, thanks to Lou and Sue for sharing. I suddenly have a craving for a fruity rum drink, with the little umbrella please. Thanks to Island Major for today's awesome scans.

K. Martinez said...

Wonderful WDW 1970's Polynesian Village photos. You can't go wrong with "The Lou and Sue Show". Exceptional as always and a big plus to this blog.

Thanks for sharing more of your collection with us Lou and Sue. And thank you for hosting, Major.

Warren Nielsen said...

The last 2 pics (thank you Lou and Sue and Major) show the centerpiece of the Great Ceremonial House that MADE it what it was. The garden/waterfall area in the middle made one feel like you were right in the center of some tropical locale. The temperature (pleasant) the sound of the water (relaxing) and even the smell (lush plant life) set the tone for an elegant place to stay. The guest houses and pools and grounds surrounding the GCH added to the illusion of escape to a tropical paradise. We always felt it was the best resort there.

But so much has changed since we were last there. Hard to know if the same illusion exists.


Bryce said...

I was lucky enough to stay at both of the hotels when WDW first opened. The rooms were the same, pre-fab modular units in both; they slid them into the "shelves" of the Contemporary with cranes. The decor was different, of course, but the amenities and fixtures were practically identical. Being on the opposite side of the lake from the Magic Kingdom, you felt far away, although you could always see the castle in the distance. The lobby plants and waterfall were magical! Thanks for posting it all!

Major Pepperidge said...

Jonathan, it’s funny, back when WDW was new, I was curious about it, and looked at plenty of articles and photos, and thought it was neat but kind of sterile. Now I look at it and think it looks wonderful. There’s a lesson here, but I don’t know what it is!

K. Martinez, yes, Lou and Sue have shared a lot of wonderful photos with us! Glad you liked these.

Warren Nielsen, I love water features in general, and I can see why you would love that central fountain with the plants. I love the sound of running water - one of my favorite sushi places has an indoor waterfall and I like to try to get a table right next to it. From all that I’ve heard, most of those classic old WDW resorts are drastically changed.

Bryce, I’d heard the story of the modular rooms at the Contemporary Hotel, but did not know that the same method was used at the Polynesian. Interesting! You are very lucky that you were able to see both hotels in the early days.

"Lou and Sue" said...

Nanook and Everyone - thank you for your kind compliments, as they mean more to my dad (Lou) than you'll ever know. We love the humor, too! (Nanook, I left you a message today on yesterday's post, btw.)

Steve2wdw and Stu29573: I hear you! The Disney hotel prices (especially for the deluxe hotels) are outrageous! And did you ever dare to look at the WDW Polynesian Bora Bora Bungalow prices?!? They start at $2,610.00 a night (not including tax -- and hotel taxes are higher than normal taxes). Now, a family can choose between a vacation or buying a car!

Mike Cozart: What did they use the smaller, white boat for? BTW, you must have the best Disney collection ever!!

Andrew: That was a new, young monorail that the staff had to coax out of that lush greenery. He was hiding and wouldn't leave that spot for over an hour, shaking on his track. It was sad to see.

Steve2wdw and Mike: I couldn't match up the Polynesian signs with the correct buildings, if my life depended on it. You two are good! I think my dad has 15+ photos of the different building names at the Polynesian - it would be fun to see if either of you could match-up all the names with the right buildings . . . it sounds like you could! :)

Warren Nielsen: And didn't they have those big beautiful parrots in the main building, too?

Major: You were spot-on regarding that Nursery. ;)

Does anyone remember the love bugs in the air, during WDW's early years, before they started spraying? (serious question)

In the 2nd to the last pic: I love how that lady matches the floor tiles! Blue and green was a popular color-combo, in that era!

Thanks, Major!!


Dean Finder said...

As mentioned above, there is a newer pool and water slide that have replaced the ones in these shots. I think it's newer than the 1990s, to keep up with the more elaborate pools available in newer and less expensive hotels on WDW property.
The remodeled lobby is nice, it still has a water feature with a larger tiki modeled on the one in the directional signs, but doesn't feel distinctively different from many other high end resorts. It's "generically fancy" in a way that a 4 Seasons or might be. I don't feel like I'm at a Disney resort in the lobby until I hear the monorail whoosh by or I'm in Trader Sam's or having a Dole Whip.


MAJOR: yes the EAST WIND is long gone- as time went on it east getting to expensive to maintain it and was too small for increasing WDW crowds. To my understanding it was built by a wealthy business man to use for business entertaining. Disney bought it used and overhauled it for use at The Vacation Kingdom. Disney names it EAST WIND.

LOU & SUE: I don’t recognize that small speed boat. Probably a resort utility craft and not for guests. At first I thought possibly it was a security boat- but it’s tarped up and not at “the ready” . Because it’s a high speed boat it may be for the “The Wonderful World of Water” Ski Show. Well I’ve been collecting Disney park stuff since the early 80’s back when very few people were.

Anonymous said...

I co-wrote an article about the Imagineer who built that 2 story waterfall in the center of the lobby, for "The E Ticket Magazine" issue 44. His name was Fred Joerger, and was one of WED's premier model makers, and the go to guy for rock work. one of the interviews I did for the piece was with fellow WED model maker Harriet Burns, who told me he constructed that waterfall without ANY plans! It looked so natural, as if it was always there and the hotel was built around it. Such a pity they destroyed it. Joerger also did the rock work at River Country, 20,000 Leagues, and countless other attractions.

"Lou and Sue" said...

Anonymous, thanks for sharing that information about Fred Joerger. I would love to read that Fred Joerger article that you co-wrote! Is there any way you could scan and send it to the Major (to his email listed above) so that he could post it on this blog? I'm sure others would enjoy reading it, too!


Anonymous said...

Hi, Lou and Sue-
Thanks for your interest. Fred was a fascinating guy! I would be a little concerned about scanning the article for posting. Not because of financial gain, we did the article for love of the subject, no pay was received. My concern is that The walt Disney family Museum owns this material. When Jack Jantzen decided to stop publishing, he sold the magazine to The walt Disney family Museum, so I don't know if it would be allowable to do so, especially since they still sell the magazine. Does the major have an opinion on this? He may know if it is permissable to do this sort of thing. I would love as many people to know about the late Mr. Joerger as possible. He was a remarkable man. He worked on Disneyland, WDW's Magic Kingdom, EPCOT Center, Tokyo Disneyland, and WDW's Vacation Kingdom! If you are not familiar with "The E Ticket Magazine", it was a fantastic magazine that was published for about 20 years by the Jantzen brothers, for Disney imagineering diehards like us. It was sold at Disneyland and on their website, and now at The walt Disney family museum store. Here's a link if interested:

"Lou and Sue" said...

Thanks, Anonymous! From the facts you stated, it doesn't sound like the article can be legally displayed on this site without permission. But please keep sharing info on this site, as that's why a lot of us LOVE to read this blog! The pictures, interesting facts and behind-the-scenes info - along with the laughs - make this the BEST blog!


Anonymous said...

Hello, Sue-

I spoke with the Major via email, and he is giving it some consideration. Thanks! I will continue to hang around here, and "chime in" if I have something of interest to share. If the article doesn't get posted, let me know if you would like me to send you a xerox.


Unknown said...

I have always wanted to stay at this of these days!! Thanks to Lou and Sue and the Major for sharing these great views! :)