BRADDICK FAMILY POLYNESIAN/MK WHIRLWIND TOUR-NOVEMBER 21-23---FINISHED!!!!!!!
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Cast of Characters: Wendy, 29
Where: Polynesian, Concierge, ...
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My birthday is actually the same day as Mickey's, November 18th. Back in July, we found we had extra points from adding on this year. We had 110 points leftover, so we only borrowed 70 points from 2004. Two nights at the Poly, lagoon view concierge, total 180 points.
Ben had a voucher from June when he didn't go with us. After the $50 fee they charge(ATA) to re-issue the ticket plus difference in airfare, his plane ticket only cost $10. We paid a total of $593 for all four of us to fly out of Indianapolis, non stop. Not super great fares, but that is about as good as it gets for non stop from here.
This was supposed to be a surprise trip for the kids. We lasted for 4 months before Ben told the kids to start thinking of what they want to pack for WDW. Typical Josh, he says, "Why, that's almost 2 years away" Ben said, "not according to my planning, we have only three weeks to go". Both kids were shocked. Joshua was really excited. Carlee just said in a bored voice "hooray". She didn't want to go! Later I found out that she just didn't want to ride Splash Mountain because of the last drop, but promised she would close her eyes during that part.
November 20, 2003, Night before D-Day
Finally the day is here and I've got all the back packs packed. New camcorder all charged and ready to go. Gameboys, various hand held games to fight off the boredom. Four legged kids are at boarding school. Fish are fed and filters changed.
We leave our home at 3:30pm after the kids get home. We drive backroads and highways so we're not on 465 very long. 465 is the loop that goes around Indianapolis, and we knew it would be busy at that time. We have no trouble at all, but near the 10th street exit on 465, traffics all but stops. There's an accident involving two cars, but they're northbound and we're south. We get off at exit 11, Airport. As far as the eye can see, traffic is stopped in the northbound lanes. I think we had went 5 exits after the wreck, but I really don't know how far it was. We arrived at 5pm.
Check in at the Radisson at the Airport. Whenever we fly, this is the hotel we stay in. Lobby has marble floors and looks real ritzy. We're on the ground floor, which is a first to us. We didn't know the hotel was this big! We walk and walk and walk. Finally we're there. Nice enough room. Has two double beds, a chair, desk, TV, and of course bathroom! The toilet was at an angle, which we thought was weird and took a while to get used to.
We order room service. I've been at that hotel for 4 visits, and have never found the restraunt. Ben and I order the Salmon steak. It came with a baked potato, veggies(zucchini, summer squash, carrots, cauliflour, broccoli) and a salad. The kids get their standard, chicken strips. We also order 3 slices of chocolate cake and a Tiramisu. We keep forgetting how big the portions are. Both Ben and I are big meat eaters, and quite frankly, pigs in general. We both could have shared one plate, and the kids will definitely from now on, share an order of chicken strips.
I tried so hard to eat my cake(it was chocolate after all), but failed. Josh ate half of his, and Carlee was too full to even touch hers! Ben, being the pig that he is, finished his dinner and his Tiramisu. I had a taste of that, and it was YUMMY!!!! But chocolate is the best.
I was so stuffed, it was hard to breathe! I didn't even finish my meal, although I did eat the salmon and baked potato. It was many hours later that i finally felt better.
We tried so hard to go to sleep at 8pm. We were bushed from the day and driving. I've heard they're supposed to do some work on 465 making it 12 lanes around the airport. I can't imagine that.
Anyway, I think we finally fall asleep by 10pm, our usual bedtime. Guess even though the kids and I had been to WDW twice this year and Ben once, we were excited!
Re: BRADDICK FAMILY POLYNESIAN/MK WHIRLWIND TOUR-NOVEMBER 21-23
Friday, November 21, 2003
Wake up at 5:30am, typical day for us. Room service brings our breakfast before 6:30am. Ben and Josh eat Bacon and Eggs,hashbrowns and toast. Actually, Josh ate a little of the eggs and all of his bacon. Carlee and I shared the Continental Breakfast. Neither of us are big on breakfast. I don't usually eat breakfast, unless I am on vacation. How weird is that??
Time to get to the airport. We're dropped off by the Radisson shuttle van. We shared with another family who was going to Disney(and that other park), we were even on the same flight!!
I did web check in Thursday, so we're all ready to go. It was nice walking past the ticket counter, no line there though. I stop at the security and ask the guy just for curiosity about my boarding passes that I printed off. He said they probably wouldn't take them so we might want to go back to the ticket counter. Just because they didn't look like the typical boarding passes, but the bar codes were there!
So, back to the ticket counter. The man was a real help. He said of course those are the only thing we need. I told him what was said by the security guy, so he printed off more passes for us. His reassurance helped though. I won't do web check in again, I'll do the self check in instead.
Go thru security with no problems and head for gate C7. Sure was nice only carrying on 4 backpacks. We know we won't ever be able to do that again. Our plane is there and we're at the gate by 7:30am. At about 8:10am, they announce that the plane is having mechanical difficulties. We're supposed to board at 8:20am. I'm starting to get ticked because I just knew we'd be really late. At 8:40am, they have us change gates, fortunately, it's just across the way, not far at all. We were to take off at 8:50am. We start boarding at 9am. Lucky for us, we're in row 2. Last on, but first off.
We're in the air by 9:40am, almost 1 hour behind schedule. Originally, we're supposed to be in MCO by 11am. We arrive at 11:30am. Down to the baggage claim and there's our TTC driver, Gerard, just as I requested. He recognized us immediately! Imagine his surprise when I say, well we're all ready to go, we have no checked bags! Since the flight was late, he had had to move his van to the B side. I think the A side might have been full. So, we had no problem walking with him over to B Side. I always thought the airport was much bigger than it is, but it didn't take long to walk to the other side. We wait for him to bring the van around. Enough time for 2 cigarettes.
Ahh, that lovely Florida sun. I much rather visit in November than in June, but with school schedules, it makes it hard.
Time passes quickly as we chat with Gerard. He feels like a friend by now. We ask about his son in NYC and if he gets to come home for Christmas. He does. Gerard said he was telling one of his passengers about us and our painted luggage. He still thinks that is the neatest idea. I said, don't tell too many people! Ha!!
He lets me know when to get my camcorder turned on so I cam film the gate. I did and he even slowed down for me to get it. This guy is fabulous. Drops us off at the Polynesian where we were greeted with an Aloha. Told them CMs there we're concierge. They ask, where's your luggage? We say, right here! I don't think they get very many people with so little luggage! We hop into the golf cart and are whisked away on the 'grand tour'. Didn't take long. Ha ha!
We check in with Phil. It seemed to take forever. I had to have him cancel our 12:55pm lunch PS at Liberty Tree Tavern, since it was almost that time. He said, you're all set, you'll be in room 25**. I asked if that was smoking, no he said because it was requested non smoking. I said no I didn't. I had requested smoking when I reserved with DVC(not guarenteed of course), and also in the various emails with Tara of the concierge. I was almost in tears by then because smoking is the only thing I ever request and almost never get it. I don't usually care what kind of view, or where the room is located, just give me a smoking room! Please!!
He gets it straightened out and said it's not ready yet. I say that's fine, because we'll just head to the park. We set our back packs in the check in area and off we go.
We jump onto the Monorail. I've got my camera on and I'm filming already! I wanted to get a ride on the monorail taped. Don't really know why! We get to the Magic Kingdom and I see the 75 Mickey statues. I'm still up in the air about these. On their own, each one is really cool, but together, well, I thought they looked tacky. They were everywhere!!
Down Main Street USA we go. First stop is the Columbia Harbor House, since we missed our lunch at Liberty Tree Tavern(darn it, I really wanted their Pot Roast). After a quick bite to eat, we head to the Haunted Mansion. Neither Josh, nor Carlee like this ride. Ben and I love it. Each of us saddled ourselves with a scared kid and off we go in our Doom Buggy. This was a complete walk on. Nice crowds!
It was almost time for the parade. Josh didn't want to stop at all, he wanted to go to the bears, but I made everyone just sit tight. We found a really nice spot in front of Liberty Tree Tavern. There were a couple of bands before the parade. Something about the Florida Classic was that weekend?? The bands were great. Love to see large marching bands.
Here comes the parade!! I had seen the parade once before, but the rest of them hadn't. I also wanted to tape it. The kids didn't get pulled into the parade, but that was fine too. I got a really nice shot of Mickey and my other favorite, Eeyore. Oh, and Dopey. He was in great form!!
We next head to see my bears. I absolutely ADORE Country Bear Jamboree. This was the first time I have ever seen the Christmas show. I like the original the best. I filmed in here also. Came out great! Just like you were watching it in person!
We next head over to Splash Mountain. Of course, I rode in the front seat, on the right side. I always try to get this seat. I love the front! But I have to say, of the many times I have ridden this ride, this time, well, I was completely soaked!! Maybe I noticed it more because of getting my hair all cut off(over 12 inches) and I no longer have a ponytail. Anyway, then we were in a log jam at the waterfall, so I was even wetter!!
Done with Frontierland since Big Thunder Mountain Railroad was still down, we head to Adventureland. We went to Pirates of the Caribbean where we waited for about 10 minutes before getting on. This was the longest line the whole trip. I didn't film on here because I wasn't sure if it would come out, since it's so dark. Later I found out that my bears did, so I could have filmed.
Out of the Pirates, we head to the Tiki room. I really enjoy this, but it does not compare to my bears. The Tiki song gets stuck in my head worse than It's a Small World. Next, I don't know what is going thru my mind, but I suggest the Magic Carpets of Aladdin. At least this was a walk on also. I got spit on by the camel. Carlee and I rode in the front and the boys rode in the back. After getting spit on, I kept the Carpet up high.
Off there, we start to head out of the park. It was five o'clock and I wanted to head over to the Contemporary for our 7:20 seating at the California Grill, praying we'd get in sooner. We were starved. We browse thru the shops on the 4th floor, go down to the lobby to see their decorations, head out to smoke. I didn't know the silver mickey thing outside lit up and changed colors! Cool!
We head up to the 15th floor. We checked in at about 6:20pm. We were seated right away. I love the view! It was noisey, but I had heard that. I ate there in 1986, when it was Top of the World. I didn't remember anything, except the view. I imagine, it's probably had changed alot since then. The menu was okay. We didn't know what to expect. There were only two items that I would have tried. Ben and I decided the Oak Fired Filet sounded edible and the Hearts of Romaine salad. Of course it was the most expensive thing, I think. Josh had the macaroni and cheese and Carlee had the child's chicken breast with mashed potatoes and sugar snap peas. It took forever for our server to even take our drink order(iced tea and cokes) and even longer for our dinner order, but it was within 20 minutes, it just seemed longer! He told us all about the observation deck and how the kitchen stops while the fireworks are going on. We head outside about 6:55. Those fireworks were awesome! Wow! Excellent! Totally Rad!! Head back in and our salad was there. It was okay. Luckily we had decided to split it because I don't think either of us would have wanted a whole one.
Later, our server tells us that since it is taking so long for our food to arrive, we needed to pick out dessert, a free dessert!! Well, I was getting the birthday cake because the server had seen my Happy Birthday on the table. Chocolate!! YUM!! Ben ordered their French toast thing. Said it was the CG's version of Bananas Foster.
Finally the food comes. The steak is atop mashed potatoes and the Tamarind BBQ is covering it all. I never thought I'd eat BBQ sauce on Mashed Potatoes, but that was good. I just didn't think the steak was worth the $33.50(or something). The portions were alot smaller than what you get at your local steakhouse. Their complimentary bread was just okay.
We're finally served the bill and it came to $101.98. We gave him a rather nice tip, he was very good, very nice and we wanted to make up for the free dessert.
It's 8:30pm by the time we get back to the Concierge and find out our room number. We head to the room, try the keys and nothing works! Ben went back down and they re-issued the keys for us. Those worked fine.
In our jammies, enjoying the view and just in time for the Electric Water Parade!! Cool!! It was right in front of our building! I had seen part of it last year, but hadn't heard the music. We really enjoyed it.
We call it a night at about 10:30pm. I say, hey, we can sleep in tomorrow, so no wake up call.................
Re: BRADDICK FAMILY POLYNESIAN/MK WHIRLWIND TOUR-NOVEMBER 21-23
Saturday, November 22, 2003
So much for sleeping in. Ben and I were awake at 6am! Seven Seas Lagoon sure was peaceful and serene. I love water views. There were a few people out jogging and a few ducks out swimming, that's about it!
We have breakfast in the lounge. I had a bowl of oatmeal with brown sugar and a couple mini blueberry muffins, and coffee. The kids had cereal and muffins and juice. Ben had the oatmeal also. I didn't really take a good look around, but I know there was a big bowl of mixed fruit(cantelope, honeydew, grapes), apples, pears, oranges and bananas. Several cereals were offered. Just point me to the coffee!
We get on the monorail and were lucky enough to ride in the front for a whole loop and half! We were just killing time. We got to the Magic Kingdom at about 8:30am. Walked right thru bag check and only waited at the turnstiles for about 30 seconds. Hardly any crowd!! I was able to get the opening ceremony on film. I love that:"good morning, good morning.....". It sticks in my head!
We head thru the Castle and into Fantasyland. First stop is Mickey's Philharmagic. Totally awesome 3-D!! I loved it!! The theater was not even half full. I really like it when Donald..................hmmm, you'll just have to wait and see it yourself!
Next, off to Neverland!! No, not to visit Jacko, but with Peter Pan!! I try to film on this ride, but I figured that since it was really dark and the things you would film are down below, it would be hard to tape it. I love this ride though. We totally walked on it. When we got off, the line was backed up and it was about 15 minutes wait.
Right across the way to It's a Small World!! I was able to film the entire ride. After we got done, I told Ben that I wished I would have thought and asked the CM to put us in the front of the empty boat behind us!! Would have made it better!! I know it's cheesy, but I really like this ride!!
We bypass the Carousel for another time. Actually, Carlee didn't even mention it this time!! She always likes to ride the Mickey-go-round. Instead, we go and try to convince Snow White to eat the apple. Cruel, we know, but we always like to encourage her eat! This ride came out all right. The way it whips you around makes it just hard enough for the camera to focus. But at least we got the story.
The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh was next up. We had missed it both trips this year due to rehab. I can't see where they did any work. Looked great as always. I love when you bounce with Tigger. On the tape, you could tell(if you've ever ridden the ride) that you are bouncing. Otherwise, it looks like I couldn't keep the camera still.
Out of Pooh, we decide whether or not to ride and film the Mad Tea Party. We decide against both. It was time for a restroom and smoke break! Besides, we had a date with Space Mountain!!
On the way to Tomorrowland, Ben's nose decides to bleed. Poor guy. We stop by the restrooms/smoking area near the Tomorrowland Stage. He feels so much better after his nose bleed. It cleaned out his sinuses.
On to Space Mountain! This line is really long, but it says a 10 minute wait. I get fastpasses because the return time was only about 1/2 hour away, and just in case we actually do wait that long, we'd have the passes. Well, they must have opened the other side up because the line started moving rapidly. We don't have to stop again until we are almost at the loading area. We're riding along, really enjoying the ride when it stops near the end and the lights come on. This is the first time I've ever been on it and the lights were on. I'd seen it before while riding the TTA. Once the CM pushed us back into the station, we're asked if we want to ride again. Sure!! So, we wait until all the trains had come in, there were 4 or 5 after ours, then we were lead back up and cut in line!! There wasn't really a line at all anyway. Our second ride seemed so much faster.
We get off and I'm starting to get a very bad headache. My eyes are starting to cross. I don't say anything though.
We see that the Carousel of Progress is starting to load, so we hurry into that one. I hadn't seen it since 1980 or 1986. This was really a great story! I think some of the stuff was lost on the kids though. I filmed in here too. Came out great. I don't have an external light, but it doesn't need one at all! Now, I think of the song, There's a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow! Kind of like It's a Small World! Gets stuck.
We go ride the Tomorrowland Transit Authority and I film on here too. While watching the video at home, we like to fastforward this ride. It's funny! I'd love to be going that speed around tomorrowland!! Haha!
We were going to ride Buzz Lightyear, but it had the longest line of all the rides in the park! 25 minute wait! But we had lunch PS at Crystal Palace with Pooh and the Gang. I figure my head will ease up once I get something to eat.
So off to that area and I check in. We just sit down when we're called. We're seated and start to see the characters. Our waitress doesn't show for about 10 minutes, so I send Ben and the kids to go get started and I would order the drinks. She finally came by. I was really quite disgusted by then, but I think if my head wasn't hurting, I'd been more in the mood.
The food was okay. We won't eat there again, simply because I now know the kids don't get into the Characters while eating and I won't pay that price for just a so so meal. But, one thing I really loved on there was some sort of pasta dish that had mushrooms. I love mushrooms. I tried the Kale. I won't eat that again.
The characters just did a walk by, waving the arms. I think maybe they could tell that we just weren't into it, but they did interact well with other diners.
We're finished and waiting on the bill. I can't take it anymore, I tell Ben that Carlee and I are going to head to the First Aid station. The nurse asked how she could help me and I told her I have a terrible headache. She asks me what do I want for it. I say what do you have? She says what do you normally take. I say anything that works super fast! Geesh lady, just give me the drugs!! I was prepared to pay park prices for the little package when she says there's no charge! That was cool! They must have been fast acting Tylenol because it sure didn't take long, only about 30 minutes before it started to ease up.
We head towards Frontierland so I cant watch the Bears without taping. It was cute! We take a good look around because we're done with the park and it's time to shop. We go into the Frontierland Trading Post and I pick up a couple Mickey Ice cube trays for my nephew, Dexter, to give to grandma for Christmas. One red and one blue. They're $4 a piece. Nice little gift. Next stop is the shops on Main Street USA. I tell Ben that he can take Josh and I'll take Carlee incase we get separated, we'll just meet up at the Poly. So off we go and buy sweatshirts for the trip home and various other stuff. I pick up the Where the Magic Lives video. I wish I had bought it in April or June so I could have gotten the DVD. But, VHS is just fine too. I also pick up a calendar. $10 for a calendar! I also get an It's a Small World and Disney Bus little ride vehicles for the kids for Christmas.
We see the boys while we're shopping and Ben has his arms full. I think he was getting my Christmas presents. Of all the registers, we end up at the same spot opposite each other. He spends more than I do, so I'm really wondering what all he bought!
We all head towards the monorail. We've had luck in catching one right as it arrives therefore not waiting at all. Back at the Polynesian, we head into the room. I've got my camera on because I want to catch the room clean before we mess it up. No such luck, the maid hadn't been in yet.
There was a wedding at Sunset Point, so we watched it from our balcony. The bride arrived in style, in the back of a golf cart!! She was wearing white tennis shoes!! I thought that was very smart!! Finally, we head off to the Grand Floridian and Wilderness Lodge so I can tape their decorations. Wow! Those trees are very impressive!! The lodge is more my style, but both were very pretty. We catch the bus to DTD from the Lodge. I wanted to buy a Christmas Tree Skirt. Went into Days of Christmas and World of Disney and came out with.........NOTHING!! I've never been down there and not bought anything! Ben said he was going to mark this day on the calendar.
We go back to the bus stop and wait for over 20 minutes for our bus. By the time we got back to the room, it was 6pm, so I knew we wouldn't be able to watch the Spectromagic parade, which started at 6pm. We were all starving, so we ordered room service. $76 for four cheeseburgers and a piece of chocolate cake and cheesecake!! We also had plenty of stuff from the lounge. Wonderful chocolate chip cookies!! We certainly made use of the beverages!
We got out on the balcony and film the Wishes fireworks. You can barely hear the music on the film, and non of the narration, but the fireworks came out awesome.
We get into our jammies and Josh decides to make a giant thank you card for the Concierge people from the paper he got the night before at the California Grill. It was really cute. He and Ben took it down and presented it to Christine who raved about it. Ben also inquired about getting a robe. When he found out they were $75 he decided he didn't want it after all. We don't wear robes anyway, so what would be the point???
Time for the Electric Water Parade. I've got my camera ready and I think that this is my most favorite thing to see! Love that music!! After it leaves, I put my camera away and we start getting ready for our trip home Sunday.
Re: BRADDICK FAMILY POLYNESIAN/MK WHIRLWIND TOUR-NOVEMBER 21-23
Sunday, November 23, 2003
We set a wake up call for 6:30am. Right on the dot, Mickey calls! We were all awake by then anyway.
We start moving around and getting ready. Carlee and I make a couple of trips to the lounge. I get coffee and a banana, she gets a bowl of Froot Loops and we pick up oatmeal a pastries for Ben and a couple of cereals for Josh.
I wanted to try Tonga Toast this time around, but I had tasted part of Ben's dessert at the California Grill. It had bananas in it, and I realized I do not like cooked bananas. Just give me fresh nanners please!! But I think if the Tonga Toast were available all day long, I could try it. Just not for breakfast.
We're satisfied though and all set to go. We head out to the front to wait for Gerard. He arrives promptly at 9am and whisks us away to the airport. By the time we had gotten there, I was starting to get sad that we might never see him again. We plan on driving the next time. He keeps wishing us Happy Holidays and we do the same to him. It's like saying goodbye to a long time friend!!
Well, we head into the airport where I do the self check. Those are so easy. First time I used it in April, I didn't like it, but it's getting much much easier. We get right thru security and on to the gate. We sit back and relax. It's a little before 10am. Our flight doesn't leave until 12:10pm. We're always super early. Never know how the lines will be and we refuse to be rushed. Ben and Josh head down to Burger King. It had seemed ages ago that we had eaten breakfast(almost 4 hours) and we're hungry!! Burger Kings changes menus while the guys are waiting. Good thing cause I was wanting a cheap cheeseburger!! They arrive back at the gate abotu 1/2 hour after they left, explaining about the change over. Cool! Next thing I know, my burger is gone! I think I ate it in three bites! Haha!! The rest of them finish up and we settle in with our Gameboys, handheld Yahtzee and Tetris and we people watch too. Next thing we know, it's boarding time! At least at MCO, the double board and we're quickly loaded and in the air! I think I fell asleep during take off.
The flight home was smooth and passed quickly. Next thing we know, we're at Indy, calling the shuttle to pick us up. He's here and quickly takes us to the hotel where we pick up the van. We're home before 4pm. No traffic really and we made good time.
Unload the van. Sure didn't take long with just 4 backpacks! Carlee and I head off to my mom's and the grocery store. We're back by 5:30pm!! Didn't even take an hour!!
Things we loved:
We loved the weather and the very low crowds.
We were able to walk on all rides with minimal waits(Pirates was the longest).
The Mickey statues were neat, but looked tacky all together.
The decorations at the Grand Floridian and Wilderness Lodge were awesome!!
Electric Water Parade!
Watching Wishes from atop the Contemporary!
Things we didn't really care for or would do again:
We probably won't eat at the California Grill again. The view was awesome, but there's not much food on the menu that we would eat.
We wouldn't dine with the characters again.
We wouldn't stay at the Polynesian again on points alone. It was great for a one time quick trip, but definitely can't stay there for a week on points alone!!
That's it! We did have a great time with just the four of us. The crowds were just awesome. It was a nice treat to not be tripping over anybody.
Thanks for reading this everyone!! We did have a fabulous time!
Re: BRADDICK FAMILY POLYNESIAN/MK WHIRLWIND TOUR-NOVEMBER 21-23
Wow -- what a whirlwind trip!! I have been thinking about a couple days at Poly Concierge for our Oct 2004 cruise/birthday trip. We loved poly back in January (I think it was the monorail) and Cheryl thinks we are staying at Coronado Springs and then moving to the Contemporary for our last night -- maybe I will suprise her with Poly Concierge..... hmm.. thinking thinking... dangerous thing for me to do.