Disney World's Polynesian Resort Closed For A Year For 'Moana'-Inspired Renovation

Walt Disney World's Polynesian Resort, one of the best and most popular hotels in the Disney stable, was slated to reopen this October. But now Disney says the resort is staying shuttered until next summer, and it's all because of Moana.

Disney's Polynesian Village Resort has been closed since mid-March, when the coronavirus pandemic caused basically the entire world to pause. As of now, it's open with limited operations for guests staying at the Polynesian Villas and Bungalows on Disney property in Florida. But the resort was slated to open its doors again on October 4 – that is, until today, when Disney updated its website (via WDWNT) to note that the Polynesian wouldn't be reopening until Summer 2021.

In a statement sent out to travel agents, Disney explained the reasoning: "This schedule adjustment also allows us to complete some refurbishment work at the Resort hotel, including enhancements to the Great Ceremonial House and Guest rooms. We expect work to begin in early October and look forward to sharing more about these changes in the future. The Villas and Bungalows at Disney's Polynesian Village Resort will remain open during this refurbishment."

But according to the Orlando Sentinel (again via WDWNT), "a Disney World spokeswoman on Monday 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 partly on the Polynesian island of Motunui."

Earlier this year, carpets were installed at the hotel's restaurant, 'Ohana, that featured overt references to Moana, including imagery of Maui (the demigod voiced by Dwayne Johnson) and the Heart of Te Fiti, a mystical object that's integral to the plot. Now it sounds like the rest of the Polynesian is getting a Moana-themed upgrade, which makes a lot of sense given the resort's Oceania-influenced design and the success of the 2016 animated musical at the box office. Why would kids be excited about staying at a hotel that kind of vaguely resembles Hawaii, when instead they can keep an eye out for references and art that specifically point to a movie they know and love?

Weird trivia: the Polynesian was built in 1971, and just three years later, it became the unlikely but official place where The Beatles broke up. John Lennon was staying at the hotel during the Christmas season, and that's where he signed the paperwork confirming the dissolution of one of the most iconic bands of all time.