Thoughts on a Disney World Vacation: Part 4: Going Polynesian!

Day 4 was moving day.  Heading from CBR to the Polynesian Village Resort.  Let me put it bluntly:  resort "hopping" isn't much fun. (It deprives you of much valued time...and at Disney every second is treasured by me.)  But if you have to do it (and we did because I couldn't afford a full stay at the Poly and I know how important it is to my family to stay at a monorail resort), my recommendation is to go a step up for the last part of the trip (so that you end on a high) and definitely go via cab. As a family of three we didn't have that much luggage, but it was more than enough and it was worth the cost (about $20) to quickly and easily get from one resort to another.  We used the Checker Cab Company (which is actually Mears: and I have only good things to say about them.  I was up by 6:30 and we were all packed and out the door by a little after eight.  We were in the Jamaica parking lot by 8; 10 and the taxi was there two minutes later (3 minutes early!).  The driver was very polite, He put our bags in the trunk and the three of us got in the back of the cab.  There were three charging stations for us to use on the drive; which with my never draining phone was a BIG plus!  The drive from CBR to Poly took under 15 minutes (would have been faster if we hadn't gotten stuck behind a line of buses) and was very pleasant.  (Smooth jazz playing softly on the radio!)  If you need a taxi, I would highly recommend Checker/Mears.  Clean, courteous and ON TIME!

We checked our bags with bell services and went inside the grand ceremonial hall.  We were immediately greeted (and lei-d).  We were escorted to our longhouse:  Hawaii / King Kamehameha Club.  Sat down with a cast member who told me that for my food allergies, I would need to call in room dining to discuss morning options and that I should speak to a chef during the evening service to see how they could accommodate me.  We then went upstairs to the lounge to have some breakfast.  It was VERY crowded.  (I had heard that this is usually the case and summer wouldn't make the crowds any lighter.)  My husband commented it looked a little like a Hampton Inn lounge.  (Not a good thing.)  We did manage to find a small seating area by the windows (which overlook the lagoon; this is the view that I love).  I found the coffee machine (not quite as cool as the one that they have/had at the Contemporary) and got myself a mocha latte.  (Which would be the trend for the coming days.)  The boys got some breakfast items and I had some fruit.  We enjoyed the view.  (Those bungalows are certainly nice.  I know they are costly, but wow!)  We relaxed a bit.  Then it was time to move.

But before we went anywhere, I wanted to give my son something for his allergies.  I HAD packed some allergy medication, but couldn't find it that morning.  (I neglected to do something I had done before for a long weekend vacation and now I will ALWAYS do.  On my phone's notepad, I make a list of items and where I pack them.  I.E.  Crayons are in the small side pocket of the carry on.  This way I can easily find small items that always seem to disappear.)  So before heading to the Magic Kingdom, we stopped in Samoa Sam’s and purchased a small (expensive:  we're not at Walgreens!) bottle of children's Claritin. (You know I found the bottle I brought later in the day, right?) With the child medicated, we decided to take the boat over to MK.

Lovely relaxing ride, but we were greeted by HUGE lines (and crowds) when we got there.  With FP+ just about ripe for the 7 Dwarves Mine Train, I sent the boys ahead and told them I would meet them there.  I went through bag check and then carefully weaved my way back to Fantasyland.  (I'm good at getting through crowds quickly...I can bob and weave with the best of them!)  The boys were amazed at how quickly I made it back to them.

Despite large crowds, with FP+ and proper timing/maneuvering, we managed to take in:  7 Dwarves Mine Train (first time and a wonderful experience, wish we could have done it again and again!), Big Thunder Mountain Rail Road (would never have been able to do it without FP+ and we love the wildest ride in the wilderness), Tiki Birds (which helped kill time between FP+ waits; we considered PotC, but the wait was 50 minutes), Splash Mountain (I made my son sit on the right hand side, which tends to get wetter) and finally the Country Bear Jamboree.

It was now time for the boys to have lunch at the Liberty Tree Tavern.  I would have loved to have eaten there too, as I have in the past (they have a wonderful pot roast there), but in recent years I have been told by cast members (including the restaurant's chef) NOT to eat there as they are concerned about poultry cross contamination.  (The biggest selling meal there is the pilgrim's feast.)  So it was to be a "boys only" meal and I was off on my own.

But not quite; today was the day our good friend Ken had off and he planned to meet us in the park.  Having phone trouble (surprise), I could only message him where we were.  (I could not make phone calls, but I could send texts.  Makes no sense I know.)  I went over to the Plaza Restaurant to see if they could accommodate two walk ins, but there was a 2 hour wait!  (Glad I made an ADR for here later in the week.)  So instead I met Ken on Main Street and we headed back OUT of the park (he'd just arrived) via boat and tried the Kona Cafe for lunch.  (Where there was no wait!)  I looked at the allergy menu and had some concerns (it looked like what I wanted would not necessarily be safe), so our server brought out the chef who was happy to modify the grilled teriyaki steak lunch plate (rice was fine, but the pasta salad was a no no, so he substituted sweet potato fries and lots of pineapple salsa).  The restaurant was not crowded, but service was slow.  (Perhaps the result of too few staff?).  We had a nice long lunch.  So long that my boys caught up with us.  (They had a great Pilgrims Feast.)

Our room was ready so we went up and hung out there for the afternoon (and had our luggage delivered). My son liked to be able to go down to the lounge and get soft drinks.  (Unlike at the Contemporary, there didn't seem to be snacks out during the day.  Of course maybe this has changed at the Contemporary as well, but the last time we stayed there were snacks out pretty much all the time which included fruit [bananas, apples] and less healthy options [gummy bears, cookies].)

Late afternoon, the four of us headed over to Epcot.  We had a dinner ADR at La Hacienda de San Angel that evening.  Had a pleasant monorail ride over and at my son's request did Spaceship Earth again.  (With Ken teaching us how to email our future back home after the ride was over.)  We moved onward into World Showcase and visited the three Caballeros in Mexico.  (We loved the audio-animatronics at the end of the ride.)  We passed by Norway where the Frozen attraction had just opened that day.  The FP+ wait was over 2 hours!  (Can't imagine what the standby time was!  It was obvious that we were NOT going to be able to try out Frozen on this visit.)  Continued onward to China where we saw the film, The Wonders of China.  (We had seen it years ago before my son was born.)

We then backtracked to Mexico and checked in for dinner.  We did not have to wait long.  At the restaurant, I did NOT speak to a chef, but a manager.  We narrowed down what I could eat and then the manager went to confer with the chef to make sure everything was ok.  What I didn't realize was that La Hacienda de San Angel, San Angel Inn and La Cava del Tequila all share the same kitchen. Guess I should have done more research because if I had known that I most likely would not have made an ADR here.  I had problems at the San Angel Inn back in the last century and had similar problems here.  Cross contamination would be an issue for pretty much everything they made.  My only real choice for dinner was the steak (which I really didn't want since I'd just had steak at lunch; I'd been hoping for pork or fish).  Additionally, the chips they serve are made/fried in the same fryer as they do chicken, so I could not have any chips and salsa.  I was very disappointed and as it turned out the steak was not very good either.  My son wasn't happy with his steak taco either; partially because when it first came out it was obviously NOT steak.  The service was incredibly slow. (It was obvious that we were not a priority for our server or ANYONE at the restaurant.) I paid the bill, leaving a small tip.  We all departed the restaurant feeling unhappy and annoyed.

We made our way out of Epcot and took the monorail to the TTC (Ticket and Transportation Center) from where we could walk back to our room.  We stopped in the lounge and I talked to the chef about possibly having some evening offerings.  We all had snacks and desserts (even me; they had pre-packaged cookies with no egg).  Then Ken headed home and the three of us headed over to the Magic Kingdom via monorail.  (During which time I made a FP+ for PotC.)

Making our way through the crowds on Main Street (waiting for the parade and fireworks), we arrived at PotC to find that it was down.  We could use our FP+ on other attractions, but the Jungle Cruise was pretty much a walk on.  Our captain on the cruise was Logan, and he was HYSTERICAL.  (Why does the JC seem funnier at night?)  After our marvelous tour, we walked back towards PotC and found it up and running.  Since dead men tell no tales, we headed back to the Haunted Mansion.  Heading into Fantasyland, we found long waits (PPF was at 50 minutes and Pooh was 30).  Headed into Tomorrowland to find that the TTA was also down. Bummer.  We did walk into the Monster Laugh Floor which always makes me feel great.  After which hubby decided to head back to the hotel.  It looked like TTA was running, so my son and I walked over, only to find that it was still closed (but cars were running).  So we headed back to the hotel too (stopping on Main Street to have some photos taken).

As it turns out we all arrived back at the Poly at the same time!  (We took the monorail; my husband took the boat.)  We showered and headed to bed as it somehow got to be nearly midnight!  How these days (full of ups and downs) fly by!


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