I haven’t admitted this yet, but here goes: I’m a Walt Disney World Resort junkie. Ever since a fluke stay at the once-and-future Polynesian Village Resort Hotel in summer ’87 I’ve kept up with the changing times. I know people obsessed like I’m not. If you’re one of them, and, if you’re like me, hovering on the edge of obsession, then the changes Disney’s thinking of making to the Polynesian strike at the heart of what makes this resort essential and not a South Seas ski lodge whose new lobby deserves an update that will transform it into the Wilderness Lodge or Animal Kingdom Lodge. Well, the removal of the Great Ceremonial House’s waterfall and the addition of Trader Sam’s, familiar to Disneyland guests.
I’m no nostalgist but the waterfall has proven an essential component for distinguishing the Polynesian from the assembly-line quality of Disney’s let’s-profit-off-a-theme ethos. Transforming the lobby into a “spacious” mercantile area for credulous guests is too brazen even for Disney. However! Kudos to building on the premises a Florida version of Disneyland’s beloved Trader Sam’s.