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Fridays with Jim Korkis: The Bou Tike Shop at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort

By Dave Shute

Welcome back to Fridays with Jim Korkis! Jim, the dean of Disney historians, writes about Walt Disney World history every Friday on


By Jim Korkis

One of the most intriguing shops at the Walt Disney World Resort Hotels is the one in the lobby of the Polynesian Village Resort called the Bou Tiki Shop. Besides selling souvenir merchandise specifically themed to that particular resort as well as other items, it is also a playful location.

Dave Venables, the General Manger for the resort when the shop first opened, said, “Bou Tiki dramatically changed the look of the entire first floor of the Great Ceremonial House when it officially opened in May of 2005. It is a much more warm and welcoming feeling for our Guests as they enter our resort.

“Our merchandise Cast Members are very pleased with the way the location has turned out, and we have received many favorable Guest comments from our repeat Guests.”

Walt Disney Imagineering (WDI) created a storyline for the Bou Tiki Shop, and the shop design reflects that concept. A group of mischievous tikis magically awaken from their slumber during the day and decide to frolic at night causing chaos in the shop.

Image of Bou Tike Store

(c) Disney

These naughty tikis rearrange tables and racks, play with the shop’s offerings, pose with new hats and shirts and send the postcard rack spinning. They are unexpectedly caught in the act of this mischief when the morning comes and they are frozen wherever they have been playing. They might have been trying to hide merchandise, push carts and more while disrupting the area.

One is caught looking through a window, another has a finger to its mouth to try to encourage guests to keep the secret of their misbehavior and yet another has eleven triangle-shaped teeth broadly displayed.

WDI managed the project, including the fabrication of fixtures and theme elements.

The tikis were so popular that the resort created the “Bou-Tiki Tiki Trek” where young Guests follow clues to help them find all the frozen tikis throughout the shop.

The first year the shop was open, it won the 2005 Retail Store of the Year in the Theme Park/Attraction Retail category by Chain Store Age magazine, a trade magazine for retail executives.

Chain Store Age described the shop as “an exotically themed design drawn from Polynesian culture that updates the main lobby gift shop at Disney’s Polynesian Resort, marrying its theme with the other shops in the resort.

“Intricate, authentic Polynesian textures and details give the 5,100 square foot shop a unique ambience.

“Eight-foot-tall tiki statues, hand-carved in Bali, add authenticity and an underlying character story to the shopping experience. Merbau hardwood flooring, bamboo surfaces, shells, carpet resembling silver moonlit beaches and hand-woven and painted wall-coverings inspired by authentic Polynesian culture work together to engage Guests in a fun, fantastical experience that is pure Disney.”

Connie Blowe, who was Manager of Retail Sales for the resort when the shop first opened, said “all of the tikis were hand-carved in Bali and we’re all proud of the natural finishes and level of detail in the shop.

“The project team had a lot of fun choosing a name for the shop. We had several to choose from and we decided on Bou Tiki because it’s a play on the word ‘boutique’.”

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Thanks, Jim! There’s more on Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort here. And come back next Friday for more from Jim Korkis!

In the meantime, check out his books, including his new books Vault of Walt Volume 9: Halloween Edition, and Hidden Treasures of the Disney Cruise Line.


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1 Bruce Miller { 06.15.21 at 12:22 pm }

I am looking for a surf board shaped towel with the name Polynesian resort on it (colors white and blue. I had previously bought one at Bou Tiki.

I would appreciate any help you can provide

Thank you very much

2 Dave { 06.16.21 at 10:14 am }

Hi Bruce, not sure what help I have to give. Ebay, a google image search, or Etsy might be your best options…

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