Captain Cooks and Pineapple Lanai at the Polynesian | March 2015 Walt Disney World Trip Report Update

Chapter 9
DIY Fail

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We needed to get some dinner, and we knew that the food options at the Magic Kingdom pale in comparison to those at the surrounding resorts. So we scoped out some options online and made the decision to head to the Polynesian.

If there had been a launch boat at the dock, we might have taken that, but instead we opted for another monorail ride (hoping that we wouldn’t encounter similar issues to those earlier in the day).

The resort monorail was traveling counterclockwise today because of the construction, so we passed the Grand Floridian before pulling into the Poly.

The “new” Polynesian lobby was still a subject of intense debate at this point in time, and we were interested to judge it for ourselves.

The thing we noticed immediately was that the wonderful musty-water smell was gone now that the big fountain and waterfalls had been replaced. We definitely missed the old lobby layout, but the new version does have its pros. For one, it looks much more modern, and there is also a lot more seating in the lobby than there used to be. I do feel like it lost some of its personality, however, and it’s a little more boring these days.

I do very much approve of these hanging light fixtures.

We walked over to Moana Mercantile to look around. Even back in early 2015, the name of the store rang a bell since the movie of the same name had already been announced.

I like of all the artwork around the Grand Ceremonial House. It still really gives a nod to the Polynesian theming.

Here’s some of that aforementioned seating.

We walked outside, where there was still a lot of construction going on. We knew that the pool was closed for refurbishment, and there were several buildings walled off. The bungalows had just recently opened for business, so the renovated resort was beginning to take shape.

Okay, so what really drew us to the Polynesian—and specifically Captain Cooks—was that we wanted to be able to make our own Dole Whips at their self-serve machine. What we realized upon walking through the courtyard and seeing the new Pineapple Lanai, however, was that we had come a few months too late. We confirmed this fact when we entered Captain Cooks and saw that there weren’t even any Dole Whip machines left in the restaurant.

For our first dinner of the night, we decided to split an order of the Chicken and Waffles, with a plan to get dessert (and maybe even split another dinner) before the day was over.

These buffalo chicken tenders on a waffle with lettuce and ranch dressing were pretty good. The actual chicken pieces weren’t huge, but it also wasn’t super pricey. On the whole, I don’t know that we would get these again, but they satisfied our immediate hunger pangs.

Having come all the way to the Poly with a Dole Whip in mind, it seemed foolish to forgo one now (even if we couldn’t take advantage of the DIY machines to give ourselves an extra-large dessert). We went to the Pineapple Lanai counter and ordered a Pineapple-Vanilla Swirl—a treat that hadn’t been available at Disneyland!

Tracy had also grabbed us leis when we walked through the lobby.

We wanted to take our treat to the beach to eat, but that ended up being a little more difficult with the maze-like construction going on.

We took a few wrong turns, but we were finally convinced that we had found the right path.

We took a seat on a beach chair and looked out over the water while we dug into our Dole Whip. The bungalows are such a double-edged sword. I can see how it would be incredible to stay in one, and I do think they fit in with the resort’s theme. Still, they act as a huge obstruction to a view that used to be one of the best in Walt Disney World. The fact that it’s now almost impossible to watch the Electrical Water Pageant or take in the castle from the Poly beach is a little sad.

Honestly, before the bungalows were built, I would have argued that the Polynesian had the best views of the Magic Kingdom, but I think the Grand Floridian might now hold that title.

Still, there are certainly worse places to spend an evening than on the Polynesian beach, and we very much enjoyed snacking there.

Once our dessert was gone, we walked back toward the heart of the resort.

This was right before they finished changing over the branding to reflect the Polynesian Village resort name.

Dusk is always the best time of day at any Disney property, and the natural light made the lobby come alive.

Here’s some more of that authentic art.

Having gotten our fill of the monorail for the day, we did decide to take a launch boat back to the Magic Kingdom. Finding the dock was another wild goose chase of sorts, but we eventually made it there.

Here you can see just how much construction was still going on.

I think we waited a few minutes before the Mermaid 1 pulled up to the dock, and we climbed aboard the vessel so that it could take us back for a few more hours of park time.

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About Wandering Mouseketeers

We are Taylor and Tracy — husband and wife from Boulder, CO — and we love all things Disney, as well as general travel. This website was originally created to showcase our Walt Disney World, Disneyland, and Disney Cruise Line trip reports, but we've also got an entire series of blog posts about what it was like to live for a year and a half in Orange County, CA. Hopefully you'll enjoy reading about our various adventures. All of our Disney trip reports have lots of pictures and details that you can use to plan your next vacation!