Tikiman and Tikifestby Mike Scopa, contributing writer
I?m sure you?ve heard the name Steve Seifert. What? That name doesn?t sound familiar? Well, you?ve heard of Disney?s Polynesian Resort at Walt Disney World haven?t you? Ah, I see. That certainly rings a bell.
Well you see, Steve Seifert, affectionately known to his friends as ?Tikiman? is without a doubt the number one fan of Disney?s Polynesian Resort at Walt Disney World.
At last count I believe he and his wife Tara have visited the Polynesian Resort a hundred gazillion times, give or take a few.
Pineapple to Tikis
Seifert has gone so far as to create in my opinion the most comprehensive and thorough site ever devoted to a specific Walt Disney World resort. You can find his unofficial site to Disney?s Polynesian Resort here and no doubt you will get lost amidst the information and details contained on its pages.
What Seifert had started with just ?a one page collection of some trip photos? has become ?a multi-page information site? which continues to grow and evolve and there is no end in sight.
Steve Seifert, a.k.a ?Tikiman?.
The evolution of the site stems from the early attention given to it by its readers and the questions spawned by these visits. During the site?s early days Seifert would get emails from visitors asking questions and he found himself spending a considerable amount of time walking around the resort, collecting information, and talking to the staff, taking pictures and doing just about anything necessary to fill in the informational gaps that he felt were on his site.
How has he done in filling those gaps?
I?m not sure where to begin, but I do know that today I have yet to find any remaining gaps. The site is best described as being robust with details on all aspects of Disney?s Polynesian Resort. You can easily declare this site as offering everything from soup to nuts, or should I say pineapple to tikis?
However, its one thing to collect all this wonderful information but what good is this knowledge if you cannot share it effectively? No problem here. Seifert has designed his site so as to allow his guests quick navigation to whatever slice of Polynesian resort information they so desire. Every page brings with it a navigation bar that allows you to jump from one area to another with just one click, and there?s plenty of clicks.
The site can take you back to the origins of Walt Disney World and of the Polynesian resort with history and photos of the resort during construction.
It can also escort you through the Polynesian?s salad days so to speak and talk about the growth of the resort and how it has evolved through the years, and keep you up to date with current changes on the ?New in 2007? page or updates through his mailing list.
Seifert devotes sections to such areas as the Great Ceremonial House, resort maps, shopping options, and of course dining opportunities.
An example as to how much detail Seifert has put into his site can be seen in the various sections that are devoted to the individual longhouses of the resort. Each section spends considerable detail describing that particular building and offers many details and photos of the building and the rooms found within it.
For instance do you know that the Tokelau longhouse was built in 1978 and that the last rehab was in 2006 and that the room size is 476 square feet and that it?s closest to the Neverland Club, the quiet pool and the beach?
Seifert offers opinions on the various longhouses. Regarding Tokelau Seifert says, ?This longhouse is very centrally located. The laundry room is right next to it with the Neverland Club in the same building as the laundry. These rooms are slightly larger (see layout on room page). You have a very good chance of getting a side view of the lagoon and maybe the castle with a garden view room on the beach end of the building.?
Screen Capture of the Tokelau Information Page.
He is also quick to mention drawbacks for each building. Seifert says of Tokelau, ?Bathrooms only have one sink. The two lagoon view rooms are not as good a view as all the other lagoon view rooms in the other longhouses for the same money.?
My point here is that the site also serves as a guideline for anyone who is looking towards the Polynesian Resort as a resort destination on their next visit and desires some insight as to choices that await them.
It is a virtual tour that gives perspective guests a very complete rundown of what this resort has to offer.
Seifert plays to a wide audience including those who may be interested in the finer levels of a Polynesian stay. Are you interested in details on such areas as what the Princess Suite, Ambassador Suite, King Kamehameha Suite, Suite Concierge Room looks like or what?s waiting for guests at the Concierge buildings? It?s all here.
There is a section that is devoted to transportation and tells you how to make the best use of all the transportation options given to guests of the resort.
Lest I forget there is also a section devoted to the resort?s pools, and might I add the volcano pool is awesome.
The site is designed so that you can navigate from one area of information to another area without having to backtrack to the home page. This design makes for quick information retrieval; I like that.
Seifert remarks, ?Over the years I have been open to suggestions on things to add or improve from the readers and many of the changes and additions are due to suggestions emailed to me. I also could never have done this or keep doing this without the help of so many great people I have met at Disney and other online communities.?
As you spend more and more time on the site you begin to get a sense that this was very much a labor of love.
It was the love of many other fans for the Polynesian resort that drew visitors to this site.
Over the years Polynesian fans who visited Seifert?s site eventually made contact with Seifert and other Polynesian fans and soon the emails were flying across the internet as they enjoyed discussing their own fun times at the resort.
From time to time Steve and Tara Seifert would find themselves vacationing at the resort and even meeting with some of those who have visited ?tikiman?s? site.
About a year or so ago Seifert had a thought. Wouldn?t it be nice to hold some kind of a get together where a large group of Polynesian resort fans could meet one another and spend some time together?
Seifert starting putting ideas together and came up with, drum roll please! Tikifest 2007.
The Official Tikifest 2007 logo created by Steve Seifert himself.
Tikifest is a time set aside where all Polynesian friends can plan on coming to WDW and meeting those Polynesian ?fan friends? known only via email. Seifert saw this as an opportunity for his site?s community to finally hold a true get together and share their interests in the Polynesian resort.
Steve and Tara Seifert. Shown with their Imagineer friend and family who are planning to attend Tikifest 2007.
Tikifest 2007 takes place between July 27th and August 5th, 2007. Seifert and his team have worked with the Polynesian to come up with reduced rates for those planning to attend this special event. If you?re just interested in looking for a great group rate on a room at the Polynesian resort you can get the group rates and not attend the event. You can also stay at another resort and attend the event. You can find more information at here, especially on how to find out more about the rates and room availability.
The highlight of Tikifest will be the special event party that takes place on Sunday, July 29th from 6-8 at EPCOT?s Living Seas VIP Salon. This event will include a huge dinner buffet and dessert, and much more.
Those attending this special event will be able to talk with Polynesian CMs who will be on hand to talk about the resort. There will be special giveaways.
Imagine that special giveaway is a hand carved tiki made by the same people who carve tikis for the Polynesian Resort.
Also some lucky guest will get to enjoy lunch with an imaginer at Kona Caf. Order the teriyaki steak tips, my favorite.
One special giveaway will be a replica of one of the tiki room drummer seen in the Magic Kingdom?s attraction. This is a limited edition tiki room drummer from Disney Imagineering.
This tiki drummer will be given away to some lucky attendee at Tikifest 2007.
There are also a few more surprises to be announced later.
Due to space this one day event is limited to the first 150 guests who sign up to attend. Visit here for more details on how to register.
This is one of those occasions where a Disney webmaster, namely Steve Seifert, has taken steps to show his appreciation for all those who have visited his site and who have helped him build a website that has evolved into a model for others to follow.
Simply speaking, it?s his way of helping his guests?
...Remember the Magic!
Have you noticed something interesting about certain areas in certain Walt Disney World theme parks? I have. I?ll share my thoughts with you next time.