It’s quite the whirlwind of activity around the Polynesian lately!
Construction continues to affect the lobby, the Nanea Volcano pool, and the entrance of the resort… not to mention the recent name change back to Disney’s Polynesian Resort Village.
Slowly but surely, some results of all that work are starting to be seen, beginning with the newly reopened Captain Cook’s: the Polynesian’s Quick Service location. We gave you a tour of the temporary location when Captain Cook’s refurbishment began in April, and now we’re excited to share the results of the past four months with you!
Say “Aloha” once again to Captain Cook’s!
The entrance feels very familiar… mainly because it’s the same 😉 .
In fact, though, the entire location feels familiar since most changes are cosmetic (with a few exceptions that we’ll explore a little later).
If you’ve visited Captain Cook’s before, you’ll still know exactly where to go. Upon entering, you’re greeted by the main dining area.
The breezy, palm-trees-swaying vibe has changed to a darker color palette, which is offset by two things: attractive light wood flooring and super fun vintage travel “posters.”
The one thing competing for your attention with the artwork are the light fixtures on the ceiling. These ones kind of remind me of the type now hanging in Tangaroa Terrace in the Disneyland Hotel.
There’s also a nod to the old Captain Cook’s palm tree decor in the old ceiling fans.
The view from the windows, for now, are scenes on temporary walls to block views of construction.
To your right is where the culinary magic happens… because that’s still where you get your food 😉 ! This is also where a few of those functional changes come into play.
Gone are the touchscreen ordering kiosks, and in their place is a stand where you speak to a Cast Member to place your order (we’ll get to those eats in the next section!).
You’ll still receive a receipt and a buzzer, and you’ll still move to the left to pick it up. The major difference here is that the bakery/pastry case is no longer there.
Instead muffins, pastries, chips, whole fruit, and other grab and go snacks can be found under the menus.
Meanwhile, cold cases line the farthest wall, where you can grab bottled beverages, cold fruits and veggies, salads, yogurt, and the like.
Cupcakes (now individually packaged with ingredient lists) are still available, but on the day I visited the case had yet to be completely filled, so I’ll definitely be curious to see what populates those bottom shelves.
Have you noticed what’s missing on this wall? Of course you have! The Dole Whip Machine is gone. But it’s on the way friends, don’t worry! You’ll be able to order up your Dole Whips at the Polynesian once more when the all-new Pineapple Lanai opens at a later date (unconfirmed, as of yet).
Cash registers remain in the center of the ordering area (be sure to keep those receipts on you so the Cast Member can ring you up easily!).
Then it’s off to pick up whatever condiments you need…
… or grab your beverage of choice.
The smaller seating area on this side caught the new vibe, too, with the new light fixtures and similar table seating.
What will you carry to your table? Let’s take a look at the expanded menu and find out!
Classic Disney starters including Mickey Waffles and the Bounty Platter can be found on the Breakfast Menu, as always. Of course, no morning trip to the Polynesian is complete without Tonga Toast, which – naturally – is still here :).
And we were curious to see what – if anything – would be new on the menu, and now we have our answer. Noteworthy new items include Fish Tacos, Coconut Curry Meatballs, a Lobster Roll, and Chicken and Waffles.
But allow me, please, to collect myself as I mourn the loss of the Grown-up Grilled Cheese. 🙁 (That said, I’m wondering how the Grilled Ham and Cheese compares? I don’t know yet. I didn’t order it as part of my silent protest.)
Okay, moving forward! I’d wanted to try the Coconut Curry Meatballs since they showed up as Thai Coconut Meatballs on the temporary menu, and was also curious about the Fish Tacos.
But since nothing says “Aloha” quite like Chicken and Waffles (?!?), I just had to get those, too!
I’ll walk you through in the order I tried them, starting with the Chicken and Waffles. The description on the menu informs you that these are Crispy Buffalo Chicken Fritters on a waffle topped with Romaine and Ranch dressing.
Knowing that, I expected a bit of that spicy bite typically associated with Buffalo Chicken, and I wasn’t disappointed. Personally, I much prefer Ranch to cut the spice over Blue Cheese, so this combo worked for me.
The waffles themselves reminded me of the cute little Sweet Potato Cinnamon Waffles at the Flower and Garden Festival from a size perspective, but I have to admit that I was expecting a larger portion.
I’d figured that I’d had my spice for the day, but I didn’t realize what was coming: introducing Fish Tacos.
Here’s the thing: I like to think that I’m able to handle some heat, but I was completely unprepared for this. From the first bite, the heat seriously blew me away. Unfortunately, I don’t mean that in a good way.
I thought it my duty to try again, to at least attempt to tell you where the heat was coming from: the seasoning on the fish or the dressing on top of the slaw. The answer is: both. The fish had an immediate, strong heat when I bit into it. The dressing had a slower build but ended up higher in intensity and duration. I’d love to be able to tell you what the fish tasted like, but it was entirely overwhelmed by the spice.
May I propose a new name? These are Somebody-please-pour-a-gallon-of-water-in-my-mouth Fish Tacos, and the menu description should have a sign next to it saying, “For Heat Seekers ONLY… and even you might need to think this one over a bit!”
Okay, I’ve calmed down now 😉 … Last – but absolutely not least – are the Coconut Curry Meatballs.
The simple appearance might not be too exciting, but with this dish, I was blown away once more. This time, in a great way!
At once fruity and spicy (ginger-spicy; not, you know, Fish Taco spicy ;)), and pleasantly creamy thanks to the coconut milk, the sauce is the perfect complement to the meatballs. I’m a curry fan, but honestly couldn’t detect a strong curry – just a hint.
And I know it’s just rice, but I’m often impressed with sticky rice at Disney – it’s usually pleasantly sticky without being congealed, and stays fluffy, which was the case here as well.
But even if the rice hadn’t been so good, I would have been happy with anything that helped me gather up all that yummy sauce. I’ll remain bummed about the Grilled Cheese, but the Coconut Curry Meatballs are my new go-to at Captain Cook’s.
I guess the reopening of Captain Cook’s has officially rung in the start of a new era at the Polynesian Village Resort! Yes, there’s a way to go. But this refreshed look at Captain Cook’s is quite promising, as are some of the culinary surprises within.
I look forward to spending a little more time at the new Captain Cook’s. And we’ll be sure to be back soon. After all, we’ll have Dole Whips nearby to try! As always, we hope you stay tuned… 🙂
What do you think of the new look at Captain Cook’s? Please let us know with a comment!