Slow down, you move to fast...you've got to make the memories last! TR Nov. 2012 - UPDATED 1/3 - PassPorter Community - Boards & Forums on Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, and General Travel
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Old 11-22-2012, 03:29 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Slow down, you move to fast...you've got to make the memories last! TR Nov. 2012 - UPDATED 1/3

The story of our 3rd visit to Walt Disney World:

Who
Myself – Mark (44)
DW – Michelle (now 40)

Where
Disney’s Polynesian Resort

When
November 9th – November 16th

Why
To celebrate Michelle’s 40th Birthday.

Preface
On our last trip in 2011, Michelle and I had discussed that it might be nice to do an “adults only” trip to WDW. Our two previous trips were in May and we also discussed maybe wanting to try a different time of year, possibly Halloween or Christmas. After we were home I brought it up a couple times and Michelle at one point said, “Take me for my 40th Birthday.” So around last December we started planning. My mother-in-law lives just down the street from us, so arranging for her to keep our daughter Alex (12) and our dog Mickey for the week was the first step. We decided on the 2nd week of November and the planning began for real. We had never planned a trip that far out. While it was nice being able to plan our ADRs a month or so before needing to make them, having to wait 7 months for the trip was hard! I’m not used to taking vacations at the end of the year.
We originally booked Saturday the 10th to Friday the 16th. But a few days later we decided to fly out on Friday the 9th (Michelle’s actual birthday) after we got Alex off to school and the dog over to Michelle’s mom’s house.

Goals
It was my intention that since we would be without our daughter that we could spend more time exploring the World Showcase in Epcot. I also wanted to do a tour, but we ended up not planning one. I was also hoping for a more relaxed approach, but as we planned our days that goal seemed to vanish. We had a lot of park time planned. We’ll see what happens to the plan!

Links
I will link for each day’s recap.
Day 1 – Fri., Nov. 9th – Travel
Day 2 – Sat., Nov. 10th – Magic Kingdom
Day 3 – Sun., Nov. 11th – Hollywood Studios
Day 4 – Mon., Nov. 12th – DTD & MVMCP
Day 5 – Tue., Nov. 13th – Animal Kingdom & Epcot
Day 6 – Wed., Nov. 14th – Magic Kingdom & Epcot
Day 7 – Thur., Nov. 15th – Hollywood Studios & MVMCP
Day 8 – Fri., Nov. 16th – Travel Home
PhotoPass Photo Book
Wrap Up
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Last edited by Mystic6; 02-01-2013 at 10:18 PM..
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Old 11-22-2012, 03:46 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Looking forward to reading the next installment
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Old 11-23-2012, 12:53 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Great start!
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Old 11-23-2012, 09:06 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Old 11-23-2012, 09:55 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Great start! Can't wait to read more!
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Old 11-23-2012, 02:00 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Great start.....even if I have Billy Joel stuck in my head now
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Old 11-24-2012, 12:23 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Thanks all! I finally got around to getting all our pictures off our cameras and phones so I can use some. I took this week as vacation too but spent the first three days on the couch with the typical post-trip cold, so I anticipated being further along than this! I'm catching up now though.

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Great start.....even if I have Billy Joel stuck in my head now
Now I'll make it worse by reminding you it is Simon & Garfunkel. Feelin' Groovy!
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Old 11-24-2012, 12:31 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Day 1, Friday 11/9 – Travel:
Today was Michelle’s 40th Birthday and the reason for this trip. With all the last-minute trip stuff, I had forgotten to get her a birthday card. I was having trouble downloading that week’s PassPorter Moms Podcast to my iPhone, but I was finally able to get it on the pc. So I somewhat made up for the card when I played her our celebration being announced on the podcast. (After all that took more planning, right?!)

Our flight was scheduled to leave at 2:55pm. We are not used to leaving so late – we normally leave first thing in the morning. After getting Al off to school, breakfast, and showers, we ended up with 3 hours to kill before our Town Car pickup. Our driver was a very nice older gentleman, but he was a terrible driver! After a white-knuckle ride we arrived at O’Hare at 12:45pm. There was no traffic, but he was really moving to make it that fast. After checking our luggage we hit the TSA line, which was very long. 45 minutes later we were finally through and headed to our gate. We only had a half hour before boarding, so we didn’t eat. I just bought a water and some M&Ms for the flight. This will come back to bite us!

The plane was full. It was a 757, so I expected it to be better than our planned 737 on the return flight. But it turned out to be an older 757 and was quite small. The seats were very narrow. It was a smooth flight, but really loud, with lots of ear popping and one tight turn towards the end that we both felt. I had nice views out the East side of the plane with the setting highlighting the terrain below. Since we were seated in the first exit row we were first off the plane at 6:30pm. It felt strange going to baggage claim instead of DME. When we first booked the trip we were scheduled to arrive at 6:00pm so we booked HDDR for 8:30pm and I decided to use Quicksilver to make sure we got to the resort in time. When our flight changed to arrive at 6:30pm we decided not to chance the HDDR reservation and cancelled it. We changed to a later Narcoosee’s dinner instead. We had a 20 minute wait for our luggage, then found Pedro with Quicksilver waiting for us. It was also strange arriving after dark. We arrived at the Polynesian about 7:40pm. In hindsight, we could have made the 8:30 HDDR, but it would have been tight and not worth sweating over. And that’s assuming the flight was on time.

I didn't do online check-in this time, but there was no wait at all. We had two very nice CM's at check in. They gave Michelle her birthday button, and I told them it was a “Big” one to tease Michelle. They wouldn’t put “40” on hers, but they made a button for me that said “I’m Celebrating Michelle’s BIG Birthday”. The one girl then went and got a container with real leis. Mine was made from tea leaves, and hers was real flowers. They had us put them on each other and kiss each cheek. I later heard from a CM at ‘Ohana that those with real leis were celebrating something special. I didn't mind the new smell in the GCH. I had read some negative comments about it, but I didn’t find it too strong or overwhelming.

In 2008 we were in the Tokelau longhouse and while we liked that building, for this trip we wanted something closer to the GCH. We had requested 1st floor of Samoa or Niue, and I would have been fine with either side. We were assigned Samoa 1610. It is on the first floor, on the volcano pool side, at the very end of the building by Hawaii. It was a nice short walk from the GCH, and we liked not having to go up an elevator or stairs. The only negatives is that being right by the end door we had some traffic noise, and the noise from the pool activities in the afternoons made naps difficult. But if you were using the volcano pool it would have been great to walk out the patio door right to the pool. They were doing some construction on the quiet pool side, so I think those first floor rooms were not being used. I would also add that it would be nice if they had screen doors on the patio so you could get fresh air without critters. When we got to our room there was already a voice mail for Michelle with Mickey & Minnie singing Happy Birthday.


I never get tired of seeing the Mickey towel when we arrive!

We freshened up and headed out for Narcoosee’s. We walked through the Poly gift shops on way to the monorail and still got there a half hour early for our 9:05pm ADR. We were starving by this point, Michelle was getting a headache, and we were both feeling the effects of the plane ride. They told us we could try waiting for a window table, but we might not get seated in time for the 9:30pm MVMCP fireworks, so we chose to take the first available table. We were seated 5 min later on the upper level. We still had a nice view, just a little obstructed for the aerial fireworks. We had the hearts of romaine salad and calamari appetizers. The calamari was good but chewy, and I found the combo of olives and calamari interestingly good. Michelle had the lobster & filet, I just wanted the filet. Both meals were delicious, but both steaks were slightly under cooked than our requests. Narcoosee's was louder than I expected. I guess I was expecting a fancier environment for a Signature dining restaurant. The Holiday Wishes fireworks started as we were waiting for our desserts. Neither of us felt like going outside to watch, so we stayed at our table. We both chose the sorbet, which was disappointing. It was ok, but not quite what we were expecting and I didn’t like that that was the aftertaste I was left with after a good meal. Unfortunately, Michelle didn’t get to enjoy her birthday dinner much since she wasn’t feeling well. We should have eaten something more than the cheese & crackers on the plane. We learned not to plan a nice meal the night of our arrival.

We walked back through the Grand Floridian and got on the monorail back to the Poly. It was chilly that night – 68° when we arrived, 58° at 10:30ish when got back. Michelle was freezing, I thought it was pleasant. LOL At the Magic Kingdom stop we were surprised at the number of people that were already leaving MVMCP just after 10:00pm. But the monorail wasn’t too crowded though. We stopped at Capt. Cooks for our refillable mugs, some bottled water for the room, and some snacks. When we got back to our room we found a Disney Floral snack basket for Michelle that my sister and her family had arranged. That was a very nice surprise! Lots of chocolate! It also had the Chip & Dale pretzels in it that we really like.

It didn't stay wrapped for long, but most of it made it home.

The Wi-Fi was excellent in our room, and it was like that the whole week. Prior to the trip I had upgraded my phone to a 5GB data plan so I could tether our iPads if needed, and I never had to do that. This trip I chose not to take a laptop or netbook and rely only on the iPad. My main concern was if I would need to offload pictures from my camera or phone during the week, but I didn’t take enough to make that necessary. And I could have moved them to the iPad if I needed. After unpacking we watched a little TV, and called Alex to wish her a goodnight. Michelle was asleep by midnight, it was closer to 1:00am for me. And now I wasn’t feeling that great and starting to have stomach issues. We were off to a bit of a rough start.
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Old 11-24-2012, 01:51 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Oh no - sorry about the rough start. I hope you're feeling Ok for the next day.
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Meeting Captain Mickey on our magical Mediterranean vacation - the trip report is now underway. The trip report for our vacation around southern England also continues.

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Old 11-24-2012, 07:20 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Too bad about the rough start . Hopefully you felt better the next day.
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Old 11-24-2012, 07:43 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Sorry Michelle wasn't feeling well and Narcoossees was a bit of a letdown!
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Old 11-24-2012, 08:47 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Great start! We just missed you, we left on the 10th to head home

I'm sorry that your first night's dinner wasn't as great as it could have been.

Looking forward to more!
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Old 11-25-2012, 07:09 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mystic6 View Post
Now I'll make it worse by reminding you it is Simon & Garfunkel. Feelin' Groovy!
Mark great to see you back on the boards. What a great reason to go to the bubble and what a great location to celebrate in. But have to throw a bucket of water on you That Feeling Groovy is from the 59th Street Bridge Song
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Old 11-25-2012, 11:42 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Quote:
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Mark great to see you back on the boards. What a great reason to go to the bubble and what a great location to celebrate in. But have to throw a bucket of water on you That Feeling Groovy is from the 59th Street Bridge Song
Thanks Mike! I'm always here reading, I just don't post much. I was going with the subtitle.
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Old 11-25-2012, 07:00 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Day 2, Saturday 11/10 – Magic Kingdom:
Our original plan for today was to do a quick breakfast at Capt. Cooks, then hit the MK for a couple hours before a 12:00pm Tony’s Town Square ADR. Then we would head back to the Poly, possibly take a boat ride and chill. We had a 5:20pm Kona dinner reservation before going back to MK which was open till 3:00am with EMH. We slept in and got off to a slow start, not even waking until after 9:00am. My stomach was not good and I just felt punky. We finally made it out around 10:45, stopped to exchange the voucher for our PP+ card, and headed to MK. As expected, it was very crowded. This was our first time being in WDW on a Saturday, and it was a busy one. I knew the weekend would be bad because it was the last weekend of F&W, the F&W Half Marathon, Festival of the Masters, and the PGA golf tournament. But there were more people in MK than even we expected.





This was the first time we were seeing the Christmas decorations in person.


We did the Town Square Theater Mickey meet and greet since the wait time was only 10 minutes and then checked in at Tony's. But as we sat to wait my stomach was doing flip flops. It didn’t help that I had gotten sweated up getting to the MK and the A/C wasn’t working in the Mickey room. I decided not to chance it and so we let them know at the check in desk and headed back to Poly. Michelle was hungry and I knew I probably should try to eat something, so we grabbed sandwiches at Capt. Cooks, then I laid down for a bit while she went shopping at all three monorail resorts. I felt better after having slept a bit. Shortly after I woke up, I got a call from Agata Tesmer the room inventory mgr. for the Poly. She was calling to check if everything was satisfactory. Several weeks before our trip I had had some contact with her and the GM over both the Poly and GF regarding our reservations. (I don’t want to talk about it here, but I will say that they were very accommodating. Great Disney service!) That was very nice of her! Thirty minutes later there was a knock on the door and it was a delivery. She had sent us this Aloha gift basket. I’m still amazed at how Disney goes that extra step!





This is the card that was attached.

When Michelle got back she showed me what she had purchased. I had to take this picture of the Christmas Perry stuffy to send to Alex back home. He lights up!




We then went and sat in a swing by the beach for a bit, then stopped at Boutiki so Michelle could get this watch she found earlier that she liked.




We went back to the room, changed for dinner and went to Kona. I ate lunch there on our last trip, but this was our first dinner here. Michelle had the pot stickers and teriyaki strip steak, I had the fried rock shrimp and coconut-almond chicken. Both were very good! When planning this trip we knew we wanted to be more adventurous with our dining choices since it was just the two of us. Alex is not one for trying new things. For dessert Michelle had the banana crème broulee and I ate a little of my pineapple upside down cake. I was feeling better, but I wanted to go easy and we had TTDP reservations later.

After dinner we went back to MK. It was still quite crowded! This was our first time seeing the castle up close with the holiday lights. Pictures don't do it justice! We passed on Jungle Cruise because the wait was too high. We then tried Pirates of the Caribbean but it was down, so we ended up at Haunted Mansion which was only a 15 minute wait. We love the HM! Since our last trip I had downloaded a lot of Disney music to my iPhone and have listened to it a lot, so I was able to sing along quietly now that I know all the words. After that we went by the New Fantasyland, but they were not letting the general public in. As the weeks led up to our trip, we had seen how they had been doing previews fairly regularly. We were really hoping to get to see it, since when they first announced the official opening date of 11/19 we were disappointed that we might miss it by just 3 days. We knew we had a good chance it would be open during our MVMCP nights, so we weren’t too disappointed this first night. We rode Small World, then walked over to Storybook Circus. On the way I made her take this picture of me.

I emailed this to friends and family and my Mom called us “Twins”. Michelle thought that was funny, but she’ll get hers later in the week!

We shopped and explored the new tent. It is very cool! The level of detail in the theming is great. After that we headed through Tomorrowland, rode the People Mover and then got in line for the dessert party. We chatted with a nice younger couple in front of us, then ended up seated next to them at a table right up front. Bonus for being a party of two! Some of you might remember that our daughter got sick at the dessert party in 2011 before Michelle had a chance to eat anything. So this was her “make-up” visit. When I booked it I originally intended to surprise her that night, but I ended up spilling the beans a couple days later. LOL I’m not good at keeping surprises! She sampled just about everything, and I had a few things without loading up too much. We had a great view for Wishes and didn’t even need to leave our seats. We could still see over the people who stood at the rail.

After Wishes we stayed away from Main Street to avoid the crowd. We watched Philharmagic, then rode HM again since it was a walk on. We made our way over to Jungle Cruise again because we really wanted to ride it at night. We had never done that before. We had a great skipper and passengers - which as you know can really make JC fun! We then rode the Magic Carpets, which was a first for us. I'll admit, I've also never been on Dumbo! We were alone in our carpet. Can someone please explain if the back seat control does anything? I tried reaching back there but the ride ended before I could. From there we visited the Tiki room. I ended up liking this "old" version better than the new mgmt. one. Michelle wasn’t impressed. I then talked her into seeing the Country Bears. I do have to say that the bears looked a lot better since the refurb. Neither of those last two is on her list of “must-dos”, but I like them from a historical standpoint and it was a nice short break from all the walking. Neither of us felt like riding BTMR, and by this time it was too chilly to do Splash Mountain. So we rode Peter Pan and then Winnie the Pooh with less than 10 min waits each. I love late-night EMH! Being able to pass on attractions earlier in the evening because you know the lines will be a lot shorter later is great.

We strolled back around to Tomorrowland where we walked right on Buzz Lightyear. It was literally empty! That felt very strange! This was our first ride where we needed to add the picture to the PP+ card, and it was pretty easy to do since we were the only people in any of the pictures. We then stopped to have our picture taken with the castle lights as a backdrop.

Sorry for the resolution, we haven’t ordered the PP cd yet so I had to take a screen capture.

We decided to try PotC one more time, so we crossed the park but it was still closed. It had been down the entire night. I grabbed a Dole Whip on the way back to Main Street. It was surprising how many people there were getting them at 1:30am! We then did some shopping on Main Street. On the way out I wanted to try taking a panoramic pic with my phone of a mostly empty Town Square.

I love this feature of the iPhone. I had to brighten this one up though. I’ll post a daytime one in a later post. I’m hoping to get one printed for my office.



Michelle said, “Take my picture with the tree and shopping bags. That’ll look like Christmas!”


By now it was 2:00am and we were out of steam. This was our first time at EMH since they stopped running the monorail early and I figured it would be too cold on the boat, so we headed for the bus stops. A bus arrived in less than 5 minutes and we were the only ones on it. We were back in our room at 2:30am – exhausted but happy. I have to unwind before I can fall asleep, so it was almost 3:30am before I turned off the TV. So we were moving slower than usual, but we had an enjoyable night and still did a lot of attractions. And we were starting to realize that maybe taking it easier than originally planned would be a good thing.
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My Previous TripsWDW May 2008 - POFQ; WDW May 2011 - Poly; WDW Nov. 2012 - Poly

Last edited by Mystic6; 12-02-2012 at 05:22 PM..
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