The Polynesian Updates Its Dining and Plots Its Future Expansion

For the past several years, Disney officials have modernized one of the original Walt Disney World resorts. Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort already designed its Great Ceremonial House and rebuilt the monorail station from scratch.

Now, Disney has announced several other changes either happening now or soon at the Polynesian. Let’s talk about the updated dining options and the status of the DVC expansion tower.

Photo courtesy of Disney Tourist Blog

Characters Are Back at ‘Ohana

Let’s start with the news that makes me happiest. Disney has brought back the Best Friends Breakfast Featuring Lilo & Stitch. Remember that ‘Ohana officially reopened on July 9th, 2021.

So, breakfast fans have waited more than a year to hang out with Lilo & Stitch again. The Hawaiian Roller Coaster Song playtime show for kids had remained on hiatus until then. But here it is again!

During the Best Friends Breakfast, the restaurant asks the children to walk around and dance to this song, which they happily do. You’ll notice that Mickey Mouse has returned and is wearing his Polynesian shirt and lei again.

DVC members hadn’t had the option to eat at the Best Friends Breakfast since March 2020. So, we are all thrilled with this change. I have two reservations for this meal later this month. Along with Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant, it’s my favorite dining experience at Disney.

Obviously, ‘Ohana has hosted breakfast since 2021. The difference is that the characters weren’t appearing before this week. It matters.

Kona Café Will Reopen Next Month

On August 15th, Kona Café closed at the Polynesian. Frankly, the circumstances were strange. Disney announced the closure in mid-July but provided no details about the refurbishment.

Photo courtesy of Disney Tourist Blog

At the time, nobody was even sure that Kona Café would return. After all, we’re not that far removed from The Wave… of American Flavors converting into Steakhouse 71.

All Disney would say at the time was that the place would reopen later with an “enhanced table service experience.” That could mean anything.

Of course, the refurbishment didn’t impact resort guests much. Kona Café To-Go remained an option, albeit with a limited menu. Diners just picked up their meals at Kona Island instead. Also, the coffee remained available, which is all that matters to many guests.

Now, Disney has confirmed that Kona Café will reopen on November 1st. So, if you’re like me and will be visiting at that time, you’re in luck! My Disney Experience already lists reservations available on this date. So, you can go ahead and book today. In fact, you should in case there’s a rush.

We still don’t know what will be different about Kona Café. In the (admittedly unlikely) scenario that Disney has added something new and unique, the restaurant will sell out quickly after the announcement.

You’re getting ahead by booking now. You can always cancel later if the “new” Kona Café is just the old one with an(other) updated menu.

The Polynesian Tower Expansion

Here’s an aerial view of the Polynesian that Bioreconstruct posted in March:

And here’s one from mid-June:

Sadly, Disney has demolished Luau Cove and the Spirit of Aloha stage. The cove had worked as the celebrity/journalist hosting early in the lead-up to Walt Disney World’s 1971 opening. So, this change is bittersweet for Disney historians but a massive win for DVC members.

In 2024, the Polynesian will open a DVC expansion tower. Its construction has forced some temporary changes at the parks. Here’s another Bioreconstruct that’s important for resort guests:

Yes, the walkway from the Polynesian to Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa has temporarily changed its course. The new walking path takes guests away from the current construction and briefly under the monorail tracks. Here’s a quick look:

The most interesting part to me is that you can look right into the area where Luau Cove was and examine the debris. I wonder whether Hurricane Ian knocked away the covers meant to block that view. Anyway, you can see that demolition has finished everything but the clean-up. So, this project is running smoothly and appears on schedule for its planned opening during the second half of 2024. We’ll continue to monitor the project and update as needed.

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