This iconic Disney resort will reopen in summer of 2021 with exciting new theming

Sep 1, 2020

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Disney World unlocked the gates to its theme parks in early July, but that doesn’t mean that everything is back to normal at the Most Magical Place on Earth. Many Disney hotels, popular restaurants, shows and more remain closed even as summer turns to fall.

Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, one of the original properties that opened with the Magic Kingdom in 1971 (and my personal favorite), was set to fully reopen in October. But we just learned that’s not going to happen. In fact, after shutting its doors due to the pandemic in March, the hotel will remain at least partially closed for more than a year. It now isn’t scheduled to fully reopen until the summer of 2021.

Related: What it’s really like at a reopened Disney World 

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

Monorail service to this resort will also be suspended in early October as favorite venues at this property, such as Trader Sam’s and Ohana, also remain closed.

But this isn’t actually all bad news.

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Disney is taking advantage of the closure and decreased demand to give its Polynesian Village Resort a refresh.

“Due to ongoing refurbishments at the Great Ceremonial House, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort will remain closed until summer 2021,” the company said.

This may not be a standard makeover either. The iconic hotel is reportedly getting an infusion of “Moana” theming.

As first reported by the Orlando Sentinel and confirmed to TPG, a Disney spokesperson said “changes to the rooms will include a move to a Pacific Ocean-inspired color palette as well as details, patterns and textures from Disney’s ‘Moana,’ an animated film that takes place on the Polynesian island of Motunui.”

Related: What to expect from a Disney hotel stay right now

Disney traditionalists shouldn’t worry, though, as we were told it will be “‘Moana’-inspired in places,” not a completely themed experience.

If you had your hopes really set on a Disney Polynesian stay before the summer of 2021, there’s still a way to do that while the standard hotel rooms and some amenities remain closed for refurbishment. The Disney Vacation Club (DVC) rooms and villas at the Polynesian are open — and will remain open. Best of all, you can stay in those rooms even if you aren’t a Disney Vacation Club owner.


We rented DVC points to book a villa at Disney's Polynesian Village. (Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)
We rented DVC points to book a villa at Disney’s Polynesian Village. (Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

At times, you can book these DVC rooms directly from Disney on the Disney website. You can find even more availability (and potentially a better price), however, by renting DVC points from a Vacation Club owner and having him or her book the stay.

I rented DVC points to stay at the property in July after Disney transferred my original booking to the Contemporary, as standard hotel rooms weren’t going to reopen. If you already have a room booked at the Polynesian that will be affected by the extended closure, I’d expect Disney will also offer to move your reservation to another deluxe hotel, such as the Contemporary.

But for travelers who do stay in DVC rooms during the refurbishment, an added perk will be far fewer people at the pools and using other amenities, since only the DVC rooms are open.

Related: Review of a stay at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

Even in a pandemic, Disney is always up to something.

While some new Disney World offerings have been delayed or canceled, and the Polynesian Village Resort will stay in partial hibernation-mode longer than we expected, it should emerge on the other side even more enticing for travelers who want a touch of “Moana” and Maui to go with their Mickey and Minnie Disney getaway.

Featured image by Summer Hull/The Points Guy.

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