So much for getting this done before we left for our next trip! Before I move on to our July Coronado Springs trip, let’s flash back to our two amazing days at the Polynesian Resort before getting on our cruise.
The Polynesian Village Resort at Walt Disney World is one of those resorts that people take their once-in-a-lifetime trips at or it’s a bucket list item. For us, it was a bucket list. Amazingly enough, two nights were available, standard view for a steal the two nights before our cruise. Corey and I jumped on that fast and I immediately started planning for a few dream nights at the Polynesian.
My mom and sister snagged a studio at the Polynesian for Wednesday night because they wanted a relaxing pool day at the Poly. The three of us were eager to get to the Polynesian, check in, and receive leis. We didn’t have our luggage transferred by the hotel, so we wanted to take care of it ourselves and get into our room early. Unfortunately, they were fully booked the previous night, so it took until the actual check in time to get into our room. That was unusual for us. I also wanted to get over to the resort early to meet Corey coming in off the Magical Express. If you remember from part 1, my mom, sister, and I had already been at Disney World for three nights by ourselves. His plane landed at 9 AM and he was pulling up to the hotel at 10 AM. That’s a nice perk if you’re staying at the Polynesian and taking the Magical Express bus from Orlando International– you’re the first stop. Our friends had also arrived the day before who were joining us on the cruise, Nicole and her husband, Cameron.
After chilling in the lobby for a few hours, soaking in the ambiance, enjoying the sights, sounds and smells, we decided to head to the Contemporary for lunch and dined at the Contempo cafe. I had the best Turkey BLT in my life there. It was perfectly toasted. The avocado was creamy and fresh. Bacon crispy. I highly recommend it and can’t wait to go back. We rode the resort monorail all the way around before getting off at the Poly to wait for our room to be ready. After grabbing a coffee at the sushi bar upstairs at the Polynesian, which was very good by the way and Joffery’s if you’re wondering, Corey and I went to tour my mom and sister’s room in the DVC area of the resort.
We chilled with my sister and mom at the pool for a little while, moved into one of the many lounge areas inside the lobby and finally received the text just a few minutes before check in time and headed to our first floor room in the Fiji longhouse to nap. We found the standard view to be stunning and loved all the space in the bathroom and bedroom available to us including two very large nightstands since we were in a king room. The first floor was nice as well because you could walk out and enjoy a patio.
The second and third floors of the long house only had sliding doors and a railing, no balconies. Napping proved to be tricky due to the first Spirit of Aloha dinner show, but it was accomplished and we headed out to Hollywood Studios for dinner and the Star Wars fireworks.
Waiting for the bus to Hollywood Studios was the longest wait we had for a bus and we also stopped at the Grand Floridan before departing to the park. The ride wasn’t long at all and the bus wasn’t crowded either. We arrived and headed straight to check in for our Springtime Dine meal with Minnie. We unknowingly had booked the Fantsmic dinner package when I booked the dining reservation on the app, but this was a great use of one table service credit on the Disney Dining Plan. The dinner would’ve been about $55 each for an adult without the dining plan and to only use one table service credit– this is one of the best uses of a credit on property. There were several meat options on the buffet including freshly carved turkey and a roast, salmon, baked buffalo chicken, lobster mac and cheese just to name a few. There were some great options that would please everyone in the family at Hollywood and Vine. The lighting was great for photos with the characters and Mickey, Minnie, Daisy, Donald, and Goofy were present. Since we did have the dinner package, we were given paper tickets that admit us into the reserved area and instructions to line up early, even though the time noted was 30-45 minutes prior to start.
Even though we weren’t there for Fantasmic this was still good to know because it’s remains a popular night time attraction at the park. But we were there for the Star Wars fireworks. In May, we were there for Symphony in the Stars. We took a spot dead center on Hollywood Boulevard in front of the theater to watch the fireworks and as always were wowed by this amazing display. If you have any appreciation for the films and their scores at all, you would definitely appreciate Symphony in the Stars. I’m hoping it returns in the future, but the current show, Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular, is just as amazing. Once the fireworks finished, there was still about 30 minutes left before park closing, so we wandered around through the stores before heading out to catch a bus back to the Polynesian. We grabbed a snack at Captain Cook’s, the quick service restaurant, milled around enjoying the ambiance of the resort before heading to the room for the night.
After the success of After Hours at the Magic Kingdom Sunday, I had convinced Corey, Nicole, and her husband to all go Thursday night before we headed out to Port Canaveral on Friday. It was going to be a long day, but we started it with something new and fun that none of us had ever done at Walt Disney World– mini golf! Nicole and her husband drove to Fantasia mini golf near the Swan and Dolphin hotels. Since Corey and I didn’t have a car anymore (my sister and mom had headed home) we took a bus to EPCOT and then got on a bus that was visiting the Swan, Dolphin, Beach and Yacht Club, and the Boardwalk. Needless to say, we were late to mini golf. Both Winter Summerland at Blizzard Beach and the Fantasia Mini Golf open at 10 AM. We were there by 10:30ish and I was surprised how many families were already there taking on the courses.
At Fantasia mini golf, there are two 18-hole courses, a fun one and a challenging one. We did one hole of the challenge course and all double or triple bogied the hole and decided to switch to the fun one. The challenging one was definitely “mini golf.” The fun course was what we affectionately referred to as putt putt. The obstacles were so cute on the fun course and there was a storybook open at each hole that had a cute rhyme to tell the story of Fantasia and neat themed obstacles. We had SO much fun. The four of us used the vouchers that came with Corey’s and my room package. If you don’t have a package, mini golf is $14 per adult and $12 per child and definitely worth it. They were a fantastic bonus with the package where we got to try something new that we can’t wait to do again.
From mini golf, we headed to Disney Springs to eat lunch at Raglan Road, Nicole and Cameron’s favorite restaurant on property. They both swear by the gluten free fish and chips and that’s what they got. I ordered an open faced steak sandwich of sorts that I can’t find on any of the menus right now and Corey just got a steak. Our waitress wasn’t quite up to typical Disney standards in my opinion, but both Cameron and Nicole mentioned that her waitressing style was atypical to their many previous experiences at the restaurant. While we weren’t blown away by Raglan Road, it was nice to try something new again and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to others. The four of us wandered around Disney Springs, checking out the Town Center portion that was going to open Monday when we stopped back by before heading home. Since we were planning to take the Magic Kingdom by storm that night, we opted to take a midday break at our resorts. Cameron and Nicole dropped us off at the Polynesian and they headed back to Pop for a bit.
After a relaxing afternoon at our respective resorts, we reconvened for the amazingness that was After Hours. After Hours was this awesome limited time event at the Magic Kingdom. While a bit pricey, they started offering it to annual passholders for half off towards the end. You may remember from part 1 that my mom, sister, and I got our Sunday night tickets to After Hours complimentary from concierge at Port Orleans Riverside. We arrived at the ticket booth at the Magic Kingdom gate to purchase our passes. We enjoyed a few of the rides that weren’t going to be available once After Hours started like the Peoplemover in Tomorrowland. We milled around and I felt like a switch was flipped when we went into the bathroom around 11 and when we came out because the park once again emptied out and the carts were available with drinks and ice creams. While we didn’t quite get our monies worth in ice creams, but we definitely did in drinks. We stayed until 2 AM even though they quit replenishing the drink carts around 1:30 AM. We checked everything off the back of the cards that night including two very amazing bucket list moments for me.
First, Corey and I decided to ride Peter Pans Flight since we hadn’t in several visits. We rode once and the cast members ask if we wanted to ride again… with the lights on! We were totally game for that. Funny thing is, the lights didn’t go off. When we got back to the beginning, the cast member said their supervisor had gotten on just behind us. He said he promised the next time he turned the corner he’d turn the lights on if we stayed. We agreed and the moment we rounded the corner and started to “fly” the lights went on showing all the inner workings of a ride. That’s the kind of thing I enjoy a lot– learning how something functions. Once we arrived back from Neverland, we helped stop the ride for the night. It was an incredible experience that was followed right up by getting my photo taken with Anna and Elsa in the streets of Fantasyland. After Hours was worth every penny we spent on it. We were dropped at the front of the Polynesian and wandered into an empty lobby. I took a moment to snap some photos without people in them. This resort has risen to the top five of my list for sure.
This ends our land portion of the trip. Check back for a cruise recap soon!