Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Disney World Trip Report... 2 months Later. Part 1

What is up folks.  I decided that it was time to write about my recent trip to Walt Disney world with my family. This trip took place on August 21st through the 27th 2011. I know, 2 months ago, but I have been slack.  I don't know how long these things are supposed to be, but I will try to make it as short as possible... no promises.  I also apologize if I get the name of certain attractions wrong, use the wrong terminology, or misspell the names of certain things. I am a MILD Disney Geek, not an expert.  Some of the pictures seen here are not the one's that I or my family took. So thanks to everyone for sharing their photographs for all to enjoy.

Not only did we deal with the typical August in Florida daily rain storms, we had to vacation during the typical Florida rain storm, with Hurricane Irene rain added in.

The wife, mother-in-law and I have been planning this trip for close to 18 months.  We would be staying in the Polynesian Resort and with the help of our travel agent, the concierge level.  We also were taking part in the Dining Plan. Our advance dining reservations (ADR) were booked, and I had been reading every book I could get my hands on and listening to every podcast about WDW.  We had been in the past, sans-child, but I didn't take planning a serious as I did for this trip.  I found out the best restaurants, what to get at the restaurants, the best places to watch parades and the best time to get in line for rides.  Now all we had to do was survive.  We didn't have a set touring plan, just knew what parks we were going to be in and what we wanted to see.

The car was packed the night before with enough snacks and "just in cases" to fill the entire rear of a Dodge Durango.  We left Chapin, SC at 5:30 am on Saturday August 20th.  I wanted to leave earlier, but I was out voted.  The kid was strapped in, his DVD player was on, everybody else was asleep and we were off.  Our big stop is always Brunswick, GA.  It is the "half-way" point.  That is usually breakfast at the Cracker Barrel and a quick stretch.  After that break we headed on and stopped only a couple of more time before we hit WDW.

We arrived at 3:30ish pm. Our first night was spent at the POP Century Resort, and we had no park tickets so we headed to Downtown Disney.  And in true Orlando in August fashion, it was raining.  We took in a couple shops and headed to Raglan Road.  I had made ADR's for the Irish Restaurant, but was not set on it if we didn't go.  We arrived and saw the menu.  I'm an adventurous eater, and everybody else was not.  We couldn't recognize most of the items, and decided to abandon Raglan Road.  We then settled on T-Rex cafe.  I didn't hate it, but for the expensive price, I would hope for better food.  I ordered the chicken and ribs platter, and tasted like it could have came from a fast food BBQ joint.  Not impressed.  After dinner we headed back to POP and turned in for the night.

Polynesian Lobby
We all slept pretty bad that night.  The first night at any new place is always hard for me to sleep, no matter if it a Disney Value resort or the Waldorf.  However, it was a new day and we had to check into the Polynesian.  We arrived, got our bags unloaded and checked in.  Our room was not ready, but they would text when it was.  Breakfast of pastries and cereal was enjoyed at the concierge lounge, and we took a ride on the monorail to the Magic Kingdom.  The Magic Kingdom day was turned into Fantasy land Day.  We rode most of the rides, the favorite was Dumbo.  The boy enjoyed all the rides, except for Snow White.  He came out crying and a cast member at the gift shop gave him a sticker and all was well.  I think that was her job, give stickers to crying kids as they came out of Snow White.  I enjoyed Peter Pan and Winnie the Pooh.  I saw Philharmagic for the first time.  I was a little weary because all the fastpasses we received came with a bonus fastpass to Philharmagic, and thought they were just trying to fill seats.  And of course, we had to ride It's a Small World.  I hate this ride, but it's a classic and Tyler enjoyed it.  Plus, how can you say no to a 5 minute stand by line. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Lunch was eaten at Pinocchio's Village Haus.  Not bad. Then I received the text that our room was ready for the Poly.  We headed back and took it easy until it was time for our 5:30 ADR at the Liberty Tree Tavern.  The kid enjoyed a nap, mom and grandma took a dip in the pool, and I enjoyed the free beer served in the concierge lounge.
It's a Small Wold

The Liberty Tree Tavern is awesome.  Dinner is served family style and the food is great.  A huge plate of turkey, pork and beef is brought out.  Along with bowls of mashed potatoes and green beans.  If you run out, just ask for more.  I ate a little too much and was not feeling well, but it was time to wait for the Electro Magic Parade.  The parade started at 9pm, and we were sitting on the bridge that separates Main Street from the castle at a little before 7.  I had ate too much for dinner, and was not feeling too hot.  The wait was long and boring, but I'm glad that we didn't decide to go walk around.  The parade took place, nothing too exciting, but Tyler really enjoyed it.  We got back to the Poly and watched the fireworks from the beach.  It was awesome because the music from the show was piped into the speaker system for the hotel.  

Monday was Epcot day.  This was also the day that I was attempting around the world.  Which is a drinking game to try to get a drink from every country in the World Showcase.  I'll write about that on a separate post.  The first thing we had to do was get fastpasses for Soarin'.  Which is the probably the most popular ride at Epcot, if not in WDW.  The plan, I would run to get the fastpasses and then catch up with everybody else.  The gates dropped and about 90% of the crowd headed to Soarin.  I headed to the fastpass, only to discover that it was broken.  The cast members were telling everybody that it was down and did not know when it would be up again.  I waited for about 10 minutes and they were still broken.  The stand bye line was already at an hour.  So I counted it as a loss and reunited with the family.  We took advantage of the crowds being at Soarin and took Tyler to the character stop.  It was great because Tyler could see the popular characters (Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Donald and Pluto) in one spot, and not have to chase them around the parks. When then rode the Living Seas with Nemo.  My first time riding it, and probably my last.  I like the idea, but I was not feeling it.  Turtle Talk with Crush was next, and that was great.  I know it was for the children, but I found it very entertaining and funny.  After the talk, the world showcase opened up and we started from Mexico and started to work our way around clockwise.  We stopped in Mexico for a little, walked past Norway and straight to the American Pavilion for lunch.  It was ok, typical hot dog and hamburgers found throughout the resort.  It was time to head back for our afternoon naps, drinks and dip in the pool.

We returned to Epcot for our 6:00 ADR at the Coral Reef restaurant.  Now, I have heard people bash this place and say that the food was horrible.  I thought it was pretty darn tasty.  I had the Sea Bass and thought it was awesome.  The only complaint is the portion were a little small for the price.  But we had the dining plan, so no worries.  After dinner we headed to Canada and worked our way around the showcase counter-clockwise.  We didn't do too much touring in the showcase during the trip.  We stopped in some shops walked around each country, but we didn't ride anything or stay in one place too long.  The Illuminations light show started at 9pm.  By that time, Tyler was about to pass out and I was feeling good after around the world.  The show started and immediately Tyler was scared of the noise.  We headed out of there and was able to get out of the park before the show was over.  Therefore, no crowds and no pain trying to get out of there.  Got back to the room, watched the fireworks and turned in.

Tuesday was water park day and more Epcot.  First off, I hate water parks.  But this is what the rest of the family wanted to do, and I went with no protest.  The water park of choice was Blizzard Beach.  I rode the team boat thing with the family and went down the dark tube water slide.  The rest of the time was spent at the children's area as Tyler played.  I grabbed me a margarita and sat as Tyler went down the slide over and over again.  I enjoyed watching him having fun. We must have been in that area for about 2 hours.  When it was time to leave, Tyler was not ready.  We got back to the room at about noon, and planning to head back to Epcot about 4ish then head to dinner in Mexico.  It was hot, we were tired and it started to rain.  So we stayed at the hotel until it was close to time to eat.

Dinner for the night was La San Angel Inn in the Mexico pavilion of the world showcase. I forgot what I had ordered, but I do remember that it was good. I was little disappointed that the food did look and taste like the food at my local Mexican joint, but it was good none the less.  After dinner we headed back to the hotel and called an end to the day.

Wednesday was Animal Kingdom day.  This is the only park that had morning extra magic hours that we took part in.  In fact, this is the only park took advantage of any extra magic hours.  We wanted to hit this early so we could ride the Kilimanjaro Safari first while the animals were waking up and moving.  When the rope dropped we headed to the safari and stood in line.  The ride was great, one of my top 5 attractions in the world.  Most of the animals were out and our "guide" was not too great.  After the safari I headed to get fastpass to Everest for the wife and I, while the family went toward Dino land.  My mother in law and I rode Dinosaur while Cindy and Tyler hung out in Hester and Chester's of Chester's and Hester's play area.  After Dinosaur we headed to Everest and the wife and I rode it.  It was fun, and of course, the Yeti was still broken.  When the ride was over, I ran and got fastpasses for the safari, and we saw the Festival of the Lion King.  That was awesome.  I'm not a huge fan of shows, save the comedic or street actors, but this was great.  You can't argue with a show that combines Cirque Du Soliel acrobatics and Lion King Music (The greatest Disney movie ever).  When that was over it was time to ride the safari again.  And by the time the temperature was pretty high and Tyler was starting to feel the heat.  We rod the ride, but Tyler was not into it.  He looked like death and about puked a couple of times.  After the ride we booked it to a family center so Tyler could cool down.  The child center was a glorified changing area, but the A/C was on full blast, and they had Cinderella playing on a TV in a playroom. We chilled out little (literally) and headed back out.  I think we all needed that break.  We ate lunch at Flame Tree BBQ.  That was awesome, large portions and a decent price for a quick service restaurant.  After dinner we headed back to the hotel.  We had no ADR for dinner, so we ate at Captain Cooks at the Poly and stayed at the resort.

This concludes Part 1 of the trip report. I apologize for the length and thank you for sticking with it.  The next part will not be as full with details (hopefully).  The rest of trip was more returning parks to hit stuff we missed.  I will also try to include what I learned and missed, but depending on how long the next post is, it might be in a separate post.

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