We Bet You Didn’t Know This Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort SECRET

Disney World resorts are filled with so much history, especially opening-day resorts.

Disney’s Contemporary Resort opened on opening day on October 1st, 1971

Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, one of the opening-day resorts of Disney World, is a treasure trove of history, details, and secrets. But here’s the catch-we’ve discovered a secret that’s been hiding in plain sight at the Polynesian, and we’re willing to bet you didn’t know about it!

I used to work at the Polynesian, and while working at such an iconic Disney World resort, I learned A LOT about the Polynesian’s history. This resort has so many details, and while some are more noticeable, like the hidden Mickey on the floor in the Great Ceremonial House, there are some details that you may overlook.

Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort

On their first day at the Polynesian, Cast Members participate in “Aloha Day.” This is a day for Cast Members to learn about the resort’s history and welcome them into the Polynesian’s Ohana. 

Polynesian Village Resort

On my Aloha Day, after dancing the Hula in the lobby in front of guests (yes, imagine a bunch of people in business casual, dancing for guest entertainment in the lobby), we officially started our tour of the resort. 

Pool at Polynesian Village Resort

While a lot of the tour had information that most Disney-loving fans would know, there is one secret that stuck out! 

Polynesian Village Resort

To see this secret, you will first want to head over near Pineapple Lanai. Since you are there, you might as well pick up a Dole Whip! To the right of Pineapple Lanai, there is a very large tree near the turf area. This tree is a Kukui Nut Tree, and it plays an important role in Hawaiian culture, as it is seen as a symbol of protection and peace.

Pineapple Lanai

This tree was brought to the Polynesian from its native state of Hawaii and is a rare sight in the state of Florida. This tree grows Kukui Nuts. In the past, Kukui Nut leis were considered to be sacred and were only worn by kings of Hawaii. These nuts were then used to extract oil from them as a fuel source for lamps. Important figures would wear these leis to “light the way” for others, as they held the fuel to light the lamps.

Head down this path

Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort took inspiration from this. You may notice that certain Cast Members at the Polynesian wear Kukui Nut leis. These leis are worn by coordinators and leaders who “light the way” for Cast Members. Just like important Hawaiians who wore these leis, coordinators and leaders assist guests and Cast Members, which is why they are given these leis. It can also help Cast Members recognize someone who is higher up and can help them.

Kukui Nut Lei

Today, Kukui Nut leis are given as meaningful gifts, and unlike a flower lei, this lei will last forever. If you are looking to have one of your own, you can purchase one in BouTiki on the first floor of the Great Ceremonial House, or you can even make your own on certain days in the lobby of the Great Ceremonial House.

Make your own!

The next time you visit the Polynesian, visit this historical tree and enjoy a Dole Whip while laying this knowledge on all of your friends!

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