Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Disneyland Hotel Tahitian Terrace 2.0 - Part 1

A few weeks ago, the net was buzzing with a news story that Disney released on their Parks Blog involving a makeover project at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim, CA. The existing swimming pool is getting a makeover, but more exciting, the large restaurant is also receiving a makeover and will be redesigned as a classic Polynesian Pop tiki establishment along the lines of the former Tahitian Terrace restaurant in Disneyland.

The current Hook’s Pointe restaurant that will be gutted and transformed into a tiki restaurant and bar.

Several website sites have versions of the story and follow up discussions, including:

DisneyParks Blog

Tiki Central

The Orange County Register

Mice Chat Blog

Tiki Talk Blog

OC Historical Blog

According to Disney’s blog, “Two new dining locations will be introduced in the current location of Hook’s Pointe, Croc’s Bites and Bits, the Wine Cellar and the Lost Bar. A new “smart casual” dining concept will feature Tahitian architecture that is reminiscent of the ’50s and ’60s era of the hotel and the original Tahitian Terrace restaurant in Disneyland park.”

According to the story in the Orange County Register, “The overall design is meant to be an homage to the early Disneyland years and resurrect the original mid-century style of the hotel, which first opened in 1955 with two-story bungalows. The dining area next to the pools will be redone with Polynesian architecture, similar to the Tahitian Terrace restaurant that used to be inside Disneyland starting in 1962. Demolition is planned for buildings housing the Lost Bar, Croc’s Bits ‘n’ Bites, an arcade and shop. Hook’s Pointe Restaurant and Wine Cellar will be gutted. A fast, casual restaurant and enclosed bar with 1950s, retro Tiki looks will take their place, John Mauro said, development manager for Walt Disney Imagineering, who oversees hotel design.”

As part of the announcement, Disney released an aerial plan of the new project.

Here is a detail of the new Polynesian building. The footprint of the current 2-story restaurant, Hook’s Point upstairs and the Wine Cellar downstairs, will remain but will be gutted and both the interior and exterior will be redesigned.

The Disneyland Hotel will lose some long-time features: the Koi ponds, the waterfalls, the “Peter Pan” theme at the Never Land Pool area and existing water-side restaurants. The dining locations are set to be finished in the summer of 2011 and Disney is wasting no time. Last weekend while I was in Anaheim, I stopped by the site and saw workers were already starting to put up construction walls.

Workers erecting construction walls at the entrance to the waterfalls.

Disney was also in the process of draining the koi ponds….

….and removing the koi. The fish were being swept up and placed into the large coolers for transport.

I asked one of the staff who was collecting the koi what was happening to them. She told me they had been donated to the Huntington Library up in Pasadena and were being relocated to their beautiful themed gardens, including,

The Liu Fang Yuan Chinese garden at the Huntington….

…and the Japanese garden at the Huntington.

This will be a multi-part series with the next few installments looking at Disney’s tiki architecture and then exploring some of the concepts for the interior that I have been able to gather about the project.


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  3. I just just looking for a group to petition the bringing back "Tahitian Terrace". I am super happy to see this (kinda) in the works! It will never be what I had in my childhood... But it will be a place I can enjoy sipping zombies in my adulthood.

  4. Awww, so sad to see the koi ponds and waterfalls leave. I first saw them as a child, it's really too bad. I wish they would keep those.

  5. I came across this while looking up an entirely different topic, but I'm glad I'm here. Like some of you, I also will greatly miss all the cool things in the DH area. The caverns and waterfalls, the dancing water show, the mini jungle cruise boats and the offroad racing cars from the late 80's, the shops, the arcade ( both the recent one above ground as well as the underwater one of the 80s ). As much as I'll miss all of these things, I just had drinks with some friends at Trader Sam's 2 weeks ago then dinner at Tahitian Terrace later that same day. It was completely awesome. Something this blog isn't mentioning is how cool Trader Sam's is. ( the building above is cut in half, Tahitian Terrace is the restaurant on the north, Trader Sam's is the bar taking up the south half ) The bar is like a combo of the tiki room, jungle cruise and Indiana Jones all in one. Much like the Tiki Room in the park, this bar has many hidden interactive elements that I will not ruin by revealing here. Go there and see for yourself.