Polynesian Village Archives

July 1, 2017

Lilo's Playhouse at Disney's Polynesian extends hours for daytime children's activities


Beginning tomorrow (July 2), one of the most popular children’s centers at Walt Disney World will offer extended hours with complimentary activities for resort guests. Lilo’s Playhouse at Disney’s Polynesian Village will open during the daytime for families of kids ages 3 to 12 to experience together.

From 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day, parents are invited to play videogames, watch movies and make arts and crafts with their little ones in the clubhouse. (The extended hours are not part of the nighttime babysitting service, so guardians must stay with the kids in Lilo’s Playhouse.) Most of the activities are free, but some special arts and crafts may have a nominal charge. Activities at Lilo’s Playhouse are open to guests staying at any of Walt Disney World’s hotels, not just those at the Polynesian.

In the evening, Lilo’s Playhouse will continue its immersive experiences for kids whose parents would like an adults-only night out. Modeled after the award-winning programming in the kids’ clubs on Disney Cruise Line ships, Lilo’s Playhouse and The Sandcastle Club at Disney’s Beach Club offer cooking activities, adventures in science and character interactions for ages 3 to 12.


Disney cast members seek to entertain and educate kids with activities such as building a model volcano, watching the lava flow and then seeing the volcano explode. During Ratatouille’s Cooking School, kids will learn how to make some very special chocolate chip cookies and then sample their tasty treat! Brave children also will have the opportunity to train as pirates and then come face-to-face with Captain Hook.

In addition to the special programming, there still will be toys, games, costumes for playing dress-up, crafts, dancing and storytelling in Lilo’s Playhouse.


Pricing for Lilo’s Playhouse and the Sandcastle Club is $55 per child from 4:30 p.m. to midnight. Your child can stay as little or long as you like, and it’s the same rate. Children who check in by 5:30 p.m. will be served dinner between 6 and 7 p.m. A snack also is included and served at 10 p.m.

Children must be potty-trained and able to feed themselves to participate. Payment is due at the time of booking, and cancellations must be made the day before to receive a refund.

Walt Disney World’s has two other children’s activity centers – Simba’s Clubhouse at Animal Kingdom Lodge and Camp Dolphin at The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin. These locations offer supervised free play all evening, allowing kids to choose from games, playing dress-up, toys and arts and crafts.

Simba’s Clubhouse is open from 4:30 p.m. to midnight, and kids in the club from 6 to 8 p.m. are served a complimentary dinner of their choosing. The cost is $15 per child per hour with a two-hour minimum.

To make reservations for Lilo’s Playhouse, The Sandcastle or Simba’s Clubhouse, call 407-WDW-DINE.

Camp Dolphin operates with a few differences because of the hotel’s Westin ownership. The price is $12 per child per hour with no minimum, and a kid’s meal from Picabu can be included for an additional $10. However, each adult who orders an entree at Shula's Steak House, Todd English's bluezoo or Il Mulino New York Trattoria in the hotel earns two complimentary hours for a child at Camp Dolphin. This offer also applies to an adult who purchases a spa service at Mandara Spa. Children must be ages 4 to 12 to participate in Camp Dolphin.

Reservations are required for Camp Dolphin. To book, call 407-934-4000 or go online to the hotel’s website 72 hours in advance.

April 2, 2015

Families will find a lot to enjoy at renovated Polynesian Village at Walt Disney World


One of the original hotels at Walt Disney World, Disney's Polynesian Village has long been known as a favorite among families. And the completion of the recent renovations and expansion have reinforced that family comes first at this South Pacific-inspired resort.


The biggest change certainly is the addition of Disney Vacation Club villas and Walt Disney World's first over-the-water bungalows. The Polynesian is the third and final hotel on the monorail loop to add DVC accommodations. Although DVC membership appeals to many types of repeat visitors, there's no denying that families often consider the timeshare company because it allows them more room and more dining options when traveling.


"With the DVC bungalows and studios, you have so much more flexibility," said Kate Melody, a Disney Parks Moms Panelist and DVC member. "I have four children and so really the bungalows would be a better choice for us. Being a larger family, we like the flexibility of the villas. The new setup for the studios actually has a split bathroom, so for us in the morning trying to get four children plus Mommy getting ready - you want to look good for those PhotoPass photos - is a little bit of a challenge in a standard hotel room. That's one of the reasons we purchased Disney Vacation Club."

Kate Melody (left) and Juliette Merchant

Juliette Merchant, another Disney Parks Moms Panelist, DVC member and mother of four, agreed, adding that she enjoys cooking when staying at Walt Disney World. "I cook every day of the week at home except Fridays. And when I come to a DVC resort, that's what I do," she said. "We may do one meal outside the villa each day, and that's probably lunch so the kids get a little bit of a treat. I cook breakfast in our villa, and I cook dinner. I love being able to feed my family the foods that I want to feed them. Of course, it's cheaper, but I know that they're going to eat what they're used to eating. For our family, coming to the resort is such a big draw for them they don't feel deprived if we're not going to every park (or restaurant.)"

Regardless of whether guests stay in hotel rooms or the DVC villas and bungalows, they share access to the resort's many amenities. The centerpiece for many families is, of course, the pool deck. At the Polynesian, the main pool -- the Lava Pool - has been under construction for almost a year. It's expected to reopen within the next two weeks with an additional 35,000 square feet of deck space, said Polynesian Village General Manager Norm Noble.

Norm Noble

"The volcano [by the pool] has been redesigned, and it has a much more natural feel," he said. "I think people are going to connect with that. It's unique and different."

In addition, a new children's interactive water play area, Kiki Tikis Splash Area, has been added. It contains two smaller slides, while the volcano in the Lava Pool still houses one water slide.

A new eight-person infinity hot tub that overlooks Seven Seas Lagoon opens with the Lava Pool this month. That's an addition that guests repeatedly have requested because the Polynesian was the sole deluxe resort at Walt Disney World without one. A renovation completed in 2001 added warmer water areas and seating to one end of the pool, but they were a far cry from a hot tub.

The quiet pool is set to close for renovations when the new Lava Pool opens to guests.

"Nothing has changed with the marina and its offerings," Noble said. "However, the one thing we have created is the lawn where we are going to be able to do some different experiences. We're going to be able to move the lighting of the torch that we typically would do at 6 o'clock every evening. That's now going to be done on the lawn. And then we're also going to show movies for kids on the lawn. We did show them on the beach."


You can read about other entertainment, such as hula lessons with Disney Legend Auntie Kau'i and the Spirit of Aloha luau, in my blogs from when we stayed at the Polynesian two years ago. Those entertainment aspects remain unchanged. Also, my AllEars newsletter feature gives an overview of our vacation experiences.

Disney's Polynesian Village houses two table-service restaurants, Kona Café and 'Ohana, plus two bars on the second floor of the main Ceremonial House. The recent renovations extended to the quick-service Captain Cook's restaurant and the new Pineapple Lanai, home of the famous Dole Whip ice cream, on the first floor.

The most-talked about location for adult beverages and small plates of food, however, is the new Trader Sam's Grog Grotto. This intimate, interactive bar and lounge is modeled after its very popular counterpart located in the Disneyland Hotel. The Florida edition also has additional seating outdoors at Trader Sam's Tiki Terrace, which has its own bar with live entertainment that is Polynesian-themed.


Trader Sam's is the first bar at Walt Disney World to restrict access during some hours to those only 21 and older. You can read more about the policy in my previous blog.

In California, Trader Sam's Enchanted Tiki Room is set in the 1930s, while the Orlando location has 1,200 props based on a 1960s theme. And that timeframe is indicative of the newly designed areas throughout the resort.

"What we had here was an opportunity to look at that time period when tiki really hit its stride: post WWII to mid-20th century," said Kyle Barnes, the Imagineer responsible for overseeing the design and direction for the entire renovation at the Polynesian Village. "So we took that era as an inspiration for our furniture and then melded that with the original design of the resort itself."


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This page contains an archive of all entries posted to A Mom and The Magic in the Polynesian Village category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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