More Walt Disney World Resort Stories

Vintage Walt Disney World: Disney’s Polynesian Resort Through The Years

Nate Rasmussen

by , Librarian, Walt Disney Archives

With all the exciting changes coming to Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, I thought it would be fun to look at a guest room through the years. (No signage changed yet! This picture below is from 1989.)


Inside the photo gallery you can take a look at guest rooms from 1972 until 2013. (Please note this is not a comprehensive look – just select photos from our archives.)


  • Thanks for sharing these photos! I love seeing how WDW looked in the past!

  • The first time I went to Walt Disney World was in 1981. My parents took us to celebrate my graduating High School, as well as my mom’s 50th birthday. Our family was staying at the Fort Wilderness campgrounds, but on our last night at the park my sister and I took the monorail to the Polynesian and walked through the lobby. We were so taken with the beauty and exoticness that we swore to each other one day we would come back and stay there.

    It took 32 years, but last year I celebrated my 50th birthday at the Polynesian with my husband and kids. It was magical beyond my expectations! Not only is is still incredibly beautiful, but all the cast members are so warm and wonderful!

    My sister hasn’t stayed at the Polynesian yet but she’s got three more year till her 50th… Although I keep telling her she shouldn’t wait!

  • Oh gosh…my heart just skipped a beat! I lived in Florida in the 70’s and we stayed at the Polynesian every summer since WDW opened un until the early 80’s.

    Thanks for the memories!

  • Used to stay at this resort all through the 80s and still my favorite now. I still miss the parrots in the lobby! Anyone else get just as much a kick out of the old TVs in the rooms? 🙂

  • Love the Polynesian. I hope the water garden stays in the renovations.

  • Do you hae the years these pics were taken? I’m really curious when that 4th pic was taken. Look at that carpet!!!

    • Hi Michael,
      I do, in order as they appear above: 1972, 2005, 2013, 1985.

  • Love this post! Its fun to see the room changes through the years. I like 2 the best. We’ve stayed here many times. Thank you Nate!

    • You’re welcome. 🙂

  • It was our first resort at Disney my wife and I stayed at, and we took our son there a couple of times thereafter – we now enjoy visiting the resort to enjoy ‘Ohana!
    Disney has a lot of different resorts to choose from so we like trying different resorts regularly…however, this past May on Mother’s Day we ate at ‘Ohana and thought it might be fun to go back to the Polynesian since it is being spruced up!
    It still feels like Hawaii to us and we love going to Hawaii! Mahalo!

  • Thanks for the look back. This has always been my favorite resort. Even though I have never stayed at the Poly, I always make a point of visiting when we are at Disney. My children love breakfast at Ohana! I hope Disney does not change it too much in their renovation. We have several years worth of family pictures in front of the garden inside the main building. One of my favorite places!

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