This story starts in 1999. I had a receipt from a purchase I made when visiting the World in 1998 and on the back was information about purchasing a brick around the world. These are the bricks that surround the Seven Seas Lagoon that you can have personalized. They were fun for the guests and a great way for Disney to get you to pay for their paths. I decided months ahead of time to purchase one and have it say “Tara will you marry me? Steve” I knew this visit would be special and life changing but never guessed it would turn into what it did.
I had everything planned out 9 months before. I ordered the brick and I found a ring that I really liked. The funny part was we were walking in the mall and Tara walked over to the window and said she liked the same exact ring. We had been looking at rings and talking about marriage but I was keeping it cool because I wanted to use the trip to do the proposing. I had to live through her birthday, Christmas, New Years and other special occasions with out talking about when we might get engaged. She was getting to the point where she thought I would not ask and little did she know I had the brick and the ring. We just needed to plan the trip and when her brother was getting married in Michigan we figured we would go out there and then down to Disney World. I did not even tell her family since I did not want someone to slip but I did fill her Dad in since I felt I needed to at least ask him if it was ok.
We went on the trip and I stuck the ring in a pair of socks in my bag because I did not want to have it on me going through the airport but I was a little nervous not having the ring on me. The night before we left Tara was looking for something in my bag and had the socks in hand. I figured she found it but then she threw the socks down and continued looking for what ever it was. I don’t remember because I was too busy having a heart attack.
We got to Michigan and all I could think was I wanted to get to Disney World. It was not a fun week when you just want to get to the vacation and to top it off I had to go through all the wedding stuff which just made Tara even more upset that I had not asked. Tara also got so sick with a sinus infection that we had to go to the hospital to get something for it. She even mentioned maybe having to skip the trip and go home. Yeah it was a fun week!! Well she started to feel a little better and we were off to Florida.
Tara had no idea that Disney World was this big and as we drove in I don’t think she could take it all in. We were checking into the Polynesian and we happened to be going during my birthday. Also some of my family knew about the engagement. At check in we were told the room was not ready yet but we were upgraded to Lagoon View Concierge. I was thinking a family member called and told them about the engagement and Tara was thinking it had to do with my birthday. We later found out that we were both wrong because no one at the resort knew about either thing. It ended up being that lagoon view rooms were overbooked through some online travel (like Expedia or similar) so the people that paid the full rate were upgraded to the next available lagoon view rooms that happened to be in the concierge building. Someone at Disney decided to do something special by bumping us up. By the way they removed the higher rate for the upgrade from standard Lagoon view to Lagoon view Concierge and the difference was $595.
Being in the concierge building allowed more one on one interaction with the Cast Members. We even got to sit and talk about the engagement and they shared in our excitement. Right off the bat they felt like friends and family. From this trip and the Cast Members that went way above and beyond with making our visit special I went home and expanded my one page Polynesian photo web page with the story of our trip. That web page turned into people asking about the resort that was so magical to us. There were so many questions about details that I got to the point where I could not write fast enough.
We checked in and we had a ground floor room with a perfect view of the castle. For Tara it was already a trip of a lifetime. We really liked having the ground floor to walk out to the beach. I think Tara was surprised to be able to see the castle from the bed and we were very close to the lounge and concierge desk. We decided to go check out the lounge and when we returned we were surprised with a cake and balloons in the room for my birthday even though it was a week from that day. We hit up the parks and then headed to Kona Cafe grabbed something to eat.
At Kona Cafe we ordered:
- Pot Stickers $5.99
- Teriyaki Beef $16.99
- Chilean sea bass $19.95
We came back from our dinner to find a surprise from turn down service. This was all new to me having turn down and after talking to some of the Cast Members they told us that the towel animals and little gifts are not something Disney has them do. They do it on their own if they want to. Any gifts are also paid for by them.
The next morning I was a little anxious to see where the brick was. Now I started a story before we left telling Tara about these bricks and I told her a friend at work ordered a brick when he was on vacation but it takes a few months for them to go in so he did not get to see it. I told her he gave me a map and told me to go take a photograph of it. I got up and told Tara I was going to take a morning walk while she got ready. We were heading for Blizzard Beach that morning. I walked over to the Transportation and Ticket Center to find the brick and I saw it. My heart was pounding not because I was nervous but I wanted her to see it.
I got back to the room and grabbed the video camera. I actually recorder the whole walk. I gave her the map and told her she would be better at finding it and then we could head off to the water park. We got to the general area but she was sort of heading in the wrong direction. Eventually she was figuring out the pattern and was heading to the brick. She sort of hovered over it and was looking for a different name so she was confused. All of a sudden her face changed, she put her hand over her mouth and sat down on the planter that was near by. I was shaking with the camera and had to set it down and trying not to cry I pulled the ring out of my pocket. On the video you can see people just staring at us but I don’t remember a thing around me. I just remember her shaking hand as I put the ring on it. Then she stood up and said yes as she gave me a big hug.
Off we went to the water park and all I could think is how could I ever top this trip. We shared our news with the concierge staff and they were so excited for us.
After a day at Blizzard Beach we decided to try out the new mini golf place next to Blizzard Beach (Winter Summer Land)and use our Flex Feature we got with the Disney package. It allowed us a free round of golf. We really enjoyed Winter Summer Land and played the Summer side. It was one of the coolest mini golf places I had ever seen.
I had been to Disney World a few times before so I sort of had an idea on how to get around and where to go when. We also would skip things if they were too crowded and continue on at another time or day. We never really spent more than 10 minutes in any line and this was 4th of July week. I had never experienced the 4th of July in Disney World or the Polynesian but after that trip it became our normal time to go. It was so fun to be in Disney World during that time and to be at the Polynesian for the fireworks was the best place in the world.
After we got cleaned up I took Tara into Epcot and they had everything set up for the Millennium so the 2000 and wand was over Spaceship Earth. I was never a fan of that but it was ok for the Millennium. It should have gone away after that.
We decided to try the Coral Reef. I knew she liked seafood and the view of the tank made it a fun lunch. We both ordered this Lobster that was huge and tasted so good. It was really a nice lunch and I have always enjoyed the Coral Reef. Alot of places we ate on this trip and we mentioned our engagementthey would usually give use free dessert or something. We were mentioning it just because we were excited but it was nice to get some extra goodies.
At Coral Reef we ordered:
We stayed in the park all evening and hung out to watch Illuminations. We went over to the area near the water at Italy to grab a good spot. As we sat there Tapestry of Nations went by. That was always a fun parade and I was sorry to see it go.
The next day we headed over to MGM Studios. We hit just about all the rides and shows. The Back lot tour still had props from Armageddon. Tara really liked Rock 'n' Roller Coasterbut was not a fan of Tower of Terror.
We decided to go eat at Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater. I always though it was a fun place to eat but I have never been overly impressed with the food.
- Penne Pasta $13.95
- Top Sirloin $16.25
- Onion Rings $6.95
- Jupiter Juice $5.25 ea
We hit up a few more things like the Indiana Jones stunt show and than I made my first mistake. I took Tara to Downtown Disney and showed her the World of Disney store. We had half the room full of stuff that we got. I still don't know how we fit it all in our bags for the trip home or where we put it once we got home.
We returned from a full day and turndown came to the room and left a nice little gift. We also had a knock on the door and someone sent us champagne for our engagement. Over the years people use to say that we got special things because of my site but this was before it really was known or existed as much of anything. The Polynesian was always known to have surprises especially when someone was celebrating something special.
We went back to what was becoming our favorite place to eat, kona Cafe for dinner.
At Kona Cafe we ordered:
We headed off to Animal Kingdom. The last time I had been in that park it was a few weeks old. Some things had changed and were added. Asia was new and the boats that I went on the first time were gone. The Tarzan Rocks show was new and we really enjoyed it. It was always one of our favorite shows. Tara really liked the Tarzan movie also and she was excited to get up close and personal with Terk.
We ate at Rainforest Cafe and ordered
When we got back to the Polynesian we were surprised that someone left a message on our bed. I spend some time relaxing and watching the lagoon while I fed the wildlife. The one thing I really enjoy about a lagoon view room is to just be able to sit and watch what goes on around the lagoon or listen to the sounds of the Magic Kingdom. I also really enjoy having the ground floor patio so I can stretch out and walk to the beach. I had a lagoon view room in Tahiti one year on the second floor with a balcony and it was nice but sitting in the chair you are looking through the wood slats or at the railing.
We decided to go have dinner at the California Grill. It is funny to see all the rooms named after all the citys around our home in Northern California's wine country. The dinner was good and the view was great.
I did not write down what we ordered but it came to $100.83 so I guess it was good.
The next morning we enjoyed breakfast in the lounge and then spent some time enjoying the pool. This was still the old pool but it was still a fun pool. Little did we know it would be gutted shortly after this trip. Tara went back to the room as I enjoyed the sun a little more and she found a surprise on the floor. Someone had given her a little Genie with the word ALOHA in towels. She was so excited she had to run out and drag me back to the room. It seemed like every day was full of surprises.
We decided to go check out the mini golf. At that time Fantasia Gardens was the only mini golf on property. It had one side that is a fun Disney themed course and the other side was Fantasia Fairways that was like a mini real golf course that you putt through.
We then headed back over to Epcot for a while to try and get on Test Track. Every time we tried it broke down or the line was way too long. I still remember being there in 1996 and their being ads for it coming that year but it was delayed.
We decided to eat at San Angel Inn for dinner. I always have to go ride the boat and I enjoy eating there. I have always had a good meal.
Another surprise awaited our return to our room. It was sort of like we would get excited to see what was going to happen each day. We had a towel alligator on the bed with the words Mahalo.
With all the thoughts now of weddings and we had seen the Disney Wedding video at home, we decided to walk over to the Wedding Pavilion. We checked out all the stuff and talked to them about some of the stuff that you can do. The problem for us would be getting everyone to travel from California to go to the wedding in Disney World. Also we would rather spend the money on the honeymoon trip.
we spent much of the day checking out the other resorts on the monorail. The Grand Floridian is a nice resort but not really our style and reminds me of my Grandmothers house. The Contemporary is one of my favorites and I always have to visit it. I have wanted to stay there ever since my first visit to Disney World in 1983 but so far have not. One of these years I will spend a few nights in the Contemporary.
That night we were eating at 'Ohana. The dinner for two cost $59.67 and has always been a favorite of ours.
Well the time had come. It was our last full day and we were not ready to go. It was really a magical trip and we had quite a lot of stuff to pack up to go home. We hit a few parks that day and as we headed back to the Polynesian they were closing the entrance to the Magic Kingdom to non resort guests.
We went into the park for a while and had Brunch at Liberty Tree Tavern. After a while in the park we went back to the resort to see all the activities going on. People were trying to get into the resort to watch the fireworks from the beach and security was checking guests for resort ID at the monorail. We had front row seats on out patio so we hung out there for the show. After the fireworks which are much larger then the regular ones we head over to the Magic Kingdom to see the Electrical Parade (that came over from Disneyland).
It was time to say goodbye to everyone who made our trip so special. Tara started a tradition of having Tonga Toast at Kona Café on our last morning and it is still what she does on the last morning.
This trip convinced us that concierge was a special experience that we would want to do every trip if we could afford to. The people there were like family. We even decided that going for 4th of July was a special time for us with the holiday, my birthday and our soon to be anniversary being around the same time.
It was a special trip and as much as I thought we could not beat that trip we have had many special trips after that with different things that made them special.