Today we are looking at Kona Cafe, a place I have never been to but have always wanted to visit. Kona recently went through a remodel, and it officially reopened on November 1st. The purpose of this change was for the restaurant to match the rest of the Polynesian Village Resort, which had gone through a refurbishment last year.
A kind cast member walked me through all the changes, what the intentions were, and how they made it happen. Imagineers partnered with Pacific Islanders to make the space feel more authentic and create a respectful environment that pays tribute to their culture.
The chairs, carpet, and other textures, like the entrance, are inspired by basket weaving which is a big part of their culture. Guests will find a lot of the pieces in the dining location are inspired by basket weaving.
The lighting fixtures have also been changed. They are no longer the wide-rounded black and yellow pieces. These new lights resemble fishing traps but also give that wicker basket look. On the walls, they have huge beautiful flowers showcased. The cast member said these flowers are modeled after those found in the Polynesian islands. Behind the flowers, the wall resembles volcanic rock, which I thought was pretty cool.
For the ceiling in the restaurant, they brought in a Polynesian tattoo artist to create the artwork. In the mural, the red parts symbolize lava, the blue represents the water, the triangles resemble shark teeth, and the pointy circles are sea urchins.
The most remarkable thing I learned today is about the tile work in the restaurant. At the entrance of the location, guests will find blue flooring, and as they walk deeper into the area, they can find brown tile, which represents the land. This color change shows that you have entered the island of Kona. I thought that piece of the theming made it ten times more immersive. Every time I enter Kona Cafe, I will think about how I am entering from the water and making my way onto the island.
It is incredible how much thought Disney Imagineering put into this remodel. I loved the space the minute I stepped into it, but after hearing everything the cast member told me, I loved it even more. I can’t wait to eat here one day, so I can sit and take in all its beauty.
What do you think about this refurbishment? Let us know in the comments.