Exploring Disney's Polynesian Resort...at Home

Jeff Lange's first DVD dedicated to a specific Disney resort is the scenic Polynesian Resort hotel. As this was the hotel my family stayed in for most of my visits to Walt Disney World in the 1980s, Jeff Lange Experiences: The Polynesian Resort not only had sentimental value to me but was a much-needed nostalgia trip to a location I've only passed through in my recent visits.

Lange sets his video tour to soothing Polynesian music and aptly starts the DVD with an approach from Bay Lake, canvasing the coastline of the resort before heading into the Great Ceremonial House. There he makes sure to capture images close and wide, from exterior shots of the monorail and pans of the various gift shops and eateries to close-ups of the various Tiki characters inhabiting the house. Seeing the waterfall in the interior rain forest, a scene that seems unchanged from decades ago, was only missing that familiar, welcoming smell.

After leaving the vast confines of the Great Ceremonial House, the film heads to the Nanea Volcano pool and further exterior strolls, including different approaches to the longhouses as well as views from the marina. Once sunset arrives, we witness the torch lighting ceremony which sends the film into a nice montage of the Polynesian at dusk. And eventually at nightfall, with the grand finale view of the wonderful Electrical Water Pageant and lastly, fireworks over Cinderella's Castle from afar.

Lange's films tend to be some of the best of their kind. Though ultimately amateur, there isn't much separating his videos from what you might find on the Travel Channel. Steady shots, sound volumes, sharp editing and great framing of shots all add up to an enjoyable experience, especially in comparison with some lesser quality products on the market. Some may rightfully claim that you can find Disney theme park videos online for free (and may even scoff at someone selling their videos), but in this case I find that Lange is selling high quality product of scenes that are not easy to find. And many people simply don't have the multitude of hours needed to hunt for such videos in the vast, oft-disorganized online realm.

As per the other Jeff Lange DVDs I've seen, this is entirely scenic without any narration or theme. There probably isn't much that could be added that Disney fans wouldn't already know about the resort, but I can't help but wonder how cool these would be with some historical narration. That's not to take away from what they are, but it would be interesting to see Lange's excellent images matched up with some historical info and trivia. Of course, it also lends itself to a dialogue between family or friends while watching. I could imagine my Dad offering up a narration of many of the points of interest. And I think I myself recognized that corner of the Ceremonial House, not far from the monorail platform, where my weary family would stop in after a long day's visit to the Magic Kingdom or EPCOT for a late snack. I can still remember sitting around the hotel room table drinking a Mello Yellow and scarfing down pizza combos. Maybe, just maybe, we are our own best narrators.

Jeff Lange Experiences: The Polynesian Resort DVD weighs in at just over an hour long and is presented in widescreen format. More information can be found here.


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