We got up early to go over to Hollywood Studios and get on a few rides. We also had a special private character meet set up by one of our friends at Disney. She was nice enough to give us a few minutes with all the characters at once. It was quite a treat. All we had to do was hang out in a special area for a few minutes and next thing you know all the characters came out. The kids went crazy and people were wondering what was going on. It was another hot day but we did get to see what we wanted to see and then head back to the resort. A few of the crew stayed behind and went on a few more things.
This whole trip I feel the resort was doing such a good job of keeping the place in good shape. I had observed them dusting everything even the light fixtures in the halls. They had been replacing filters in the rooms. Some rooms were flooded out before we go there and they had completely replaced the carpets. On this day they had the stairs to the lounge closed off and they replaced all the carpet up to the 3rd floor of the lounge in one day. They also had the East Pool (quiet pool) closed off for some cleaning and resurfacing of the deck. The interesting thing about this is I read a report on a Disney forum that will remain nameless that someone said they were there and they observed the pool being closed for several days. Shows you that you can’t believe everything people report. The were also painting the roof of the Great Ceremonial House during our stay. I felt very good about the work they were doing to keep the resort up and I must say that I was pleasantly surprised with the response of the maintenance for our issues and others.
We all met up at the resort and got ready for an adult night out. Kai was going to get to do the Neverland Club at the Polynesian for the first time. We walked him over and checked him in. It was a fun place inside and the check in desk was Wendy’s bed. The kids go through the window into Neverland and there is so much to do inside. You can find out more on my Activities page http://www.tikimanpages.com/tiki/amenities-quick/quick-activities
Tonights Adult night out was going to be at the California Grill. Seems appropriate since we all lived in California. It is funny that all the rooms are named after cities that we live near in the Wine Country.
We had a great dinner at the California Grill. We headed back to get the kids and go into Epcot for the extra magic hours. Kai wanted to go on Mission Space again and we got a bunch of the other kids to try it also. Megan was not to sure about going on it but she did an awesome job and was glad she did it. I think the ride might have done something to Sean and I though. We were not the same the rest of the night.
We had breakfast in the lounge as usual and then went and hung out at the pool. On this trip I think I spent the most time around the resort enjoying it more then the parks. We for sure got what we spent for club level back from all the food and drinks we had. It would have cost us a fortune just in beer. A game of vollyball started on the beach. Its is nice to enjoy a nice beach and just look over at the castle.
Steve won the lunch at the Wave so Sean, Ed and I took him and Kelly over to the Contemporary at lunch. I really enjoyed the food at the Wave and the service and atmosphere were very nice also. We had a nice lunch and enjoyed hanging out with Steve and Kelly.
Once we got back to the pool it rained so we hung out in the lounge. Lucas and Chris had checked in so I sat and talked to them for a little while. Lucas was at the first Tikifest and won the Big Kahuna basket from Hawaii. He also was very helpful in the preplanning of this Tikifest. Lori and Sharon also arrived to meet up with Lori’s cousin Angel. They were are other neighbors and Lori and Sharon were at the original Tikifest party. The girls room became the tiki lounge.
Speaking of some thing that were removed because of new budgets at the Polynesian, there have been some items no longer around like the Pineapple but Chef Dick and the rest of the staff have been very creative and are still making some excellent items for the evening. There were many nights that we were going out to eat but things smelled so good we had to go try them. From what I observed the items throughout the week seemed to be pulled pork sandwiches, sushi, noodle bowls, kona wings, lettuce wraps, and chickens skiwers, crackers with cheeses, carrots, celery, cucumbers with a ranch dip, and an awesome pasta salad that I could have eaten all day.
While I was in the lounge one day I finally got to meet Caroline Baggerly who writes some blogs for the Touring Plans site like this one about last minute trips to Disney World http://blog.touringplans.com/2009/06/11/a-very-very-last-minute-trip-to-walt-disney-world/
She decided to come to the party last minute with her two sons. We got a chance to sit and talk for a while in the lounge and her son had an awesome Epcot Center (retro) shirt on. Makes me remember my first visit in 1983.
I spent most of this night trying to do the live trip report and just get some down time to prepare for tomorrow. I always worry because I want it to go well for everyone so it can be a trip and party to remember like the first Tikifest was. You will see it did not quite turn out that way.
I got up this morning and took a jog and then met Gabe at the Grand Floridian Spa and fitness center. This is available to Polynesian guests and is very close to the Polynesian since it is located between the Wedding Pavilion and the Grand Floridian. In fact it is closer to many of the Polynesian rooms than the Grand Floridian rooms. The fitness center equipment is decent and there is a mens and womens room off the fitness center. When you enter there is a sitting room with fresh fruit that goes into the bathroom area and off that is a large spa and sauna. The day before, Tim and Steve mentioned doing a Tikiman Trivia as a pool game at the pool. By the way, TIm and Steve are some of the nicest guys in WDW and they make great drinks so stop by the Barefoot bar anytime you are near the Polynesian and say aloha. Well it was time to do the trivia but unfortunately a storm came in and the activities person had to pack up for the day. We headed in to clean up for the party and everyone reported hearing the loudest thunder ever. They said it hit the resort. I took my camera to the front where people said the fire department was at and a tree next to the monorail platform was on fire. People at the bus stop still had ringing in their ears.
So it was the night of the party and we headed over to Epcot. I was not nervous this time because the first Tikifest went so well and there was a lot less to have to control with the dessert party. Actually it was out of our control at this point. There was a threat of rain and we got a call that they were moving the desserts indoors to the Norway pavilion. I was trying to call Lisa and see what the story was and I was just beat so Sean was feeding me espresso from the lounge.
When we got into Epcot we walked past the Italy spot and it was roped off with staff keeping people out. They were also supposed to redirect people over to Norway. We got to Norway and the first CM that was asked about the party said they knew nothing about it. We all stood around so I handed out the name tags as people came up. Unfortunately that was the only time I got to talk to some of them if they had not gone to the beach giveaway. For me the best part of these parties is meeting and talking with the people attending. This whole idea started back when people that visit my site always asked when we would be in Disney World because they wanted to meet. Well with the way this party was run there was no time to socialize and I think I had one piece of a dessert and one drink on the way out the door.
They finally got someone to let us in so Chris and I stood at the entrance looking for people and giving out nametags. Everyone I saw seemed like the best group of people and I was hoping to talk with them all more.
Once we got inside I find out that there was no communication to the guests to start getting their desserts, the drink machine was broken so they were trying to make the drinks with a blender in a back room at the rate of 3 or 4 at a time and many of the items we paid for were not even available. Lisa was very upset and I was trying to keep a positive attitude. I skipped desserts and tried to talk with a few of the guests but next thing you know we were told we needed to head over to the viewing area in Italy. Since we all got in 10 minutes late and we were leaving 20 minutes early the hour became 30 minutes. If the tables and offerings had been at the Italy location then we would have had more time and time to relax instead of getting rushed around. All this and it did not even rain. We did find out that we were not the only party this happened to but that does not really make me feel any better.
Disney knows they screwed up and they have decided to give all the money back. Initially that night it was going to be a partial refund but Lisa fought (even emailing that night) to get all the money back. I wish it could have been even more than that. Luckily there are people we met before and they were very understanding and many of the new people I met understood there was nothing we could have done. I know there were a few that were not happy with us at all but I don’t think they realized we worked for 6 months or more on this event and much of our own money for all the give-away stuff.
In the end some went home with some nice stuff from the give-away and they ended up with free desserts and private viewing of Illuminations. For those that spent time at the Polynesian and got in on the awesome discount I would think it was a good trip. I am glad I got to spend a lot of time with some of the people that were staying at the Polynesian. That was some quality time for me. Some told me they were there and did not want to bother me but I look forward to meeting new people there. Some of my best memories are sitting in the pool talking with people.
I can honestly say that I am glad that next year is in Maui. It will be some of that quality time just hanging out and getting to know people and we figure we will all get together for some different excursions like maybe a snorkel excursion or a sunset cruise and maybe a luau.
After the party or lack there of we got with the Lingle’s and DelPrince’s and Steve and Kelly to hit Test track before bed.
On our way back to the Polynesian we were on the monorail with Christina and Rob Fahndrich. They had told us that they had a room in Hawaii that had been flooded and the whole carpet was replaced before they checked in. They seemed like a nice couple and I wish I had run into them again. There are so many of the people I greeted at the party that I am very disappointed I could not spend time with and get to know better.
Most of this day was spent hanging out at the pool. Some of the group when over to Down Town Disney to shop one last time. We decided to hang out and enjoy one more day of relaxing in the zero entry of the Volcano pool and stare at the castle.
At one point I was sitting in the lounge and I remember a woman sitting down next to us because she was mentioning how they got rid of the pineapple in the lounge offerings. I was not going to but into the conversation but it is too bad I did not. It was someone I met on one of the forums long ago and the funny part is her son’s name is Kai. I saw Kai a few times and thought he looked familiar. I had seen photos of him from before when we talked about having sons named Kai. I would have loved to have met the family in person while I was there but we did not know who each other were.
So it was our last morning and the tradition is to eat at Kona so Tara can get her Tonga Toast. Kai got his Mickey pancakes and Tara got her toast. I should have had one last pot of Kona Coffee but I did not. I really enjoy hanging out at the Café with the view of the lobby and the monorail going by. We were discussion what to do before we had to leave.
We decided to do one of the things that make the Polynesian a great place to stay. We were going to hop on the monorail and ride it over to the Contemporary. It is nice having easy access to other resorts by the monorail. It sort of makes the other resorts feel like an extension of your resort. We thought we would go check out the new shops at the Contemporary and the Bay Lake Towers. Also Kai wanted one last ride on the monorail.
On the way around we could see where they keep the Electrical Water Pageant over near the Magic Kingdom. One we got there we looked at the stuff in the new store and just watched the monorail for a while from the lower observation deck. We could not get over to the Towers without trying to sneak the door open when someone else went through so we decided not to go over. Looks like a great place and a few of the people that stayed there already said it was very nice with a great view but a little small in the rooms. I would still love to try it.
We got back to the Polynesian and saw the Robb’s so we thought we would take our traditional photo in front of the waterfall. It might be the last time we are there for a while. While we were in the lobby I saw Auntie teaching some kids to dance. Things like that are what make the Polynesian special and you will not find someone as famous as Auntie hanging out in any other resort lobby doing stuff for the kids.
So as we were taking our photos with different groups of our crew we needed one with everyone so we asked someone to take the photo for us and a nice couple was outside of Boutiki and took the photo for us. When I got back I found out it was someone I had emailed before. It was Carrie and Russ Dickerson and she emailed me one I got home and asked if it was me. It is funny how I can run into people I met online but never even know it was them when I am standing right next to them. I really enjoy the people I meet on my trips so if you do run into me, please say aloha.
Well time to head back to the cool 100º of California….well actually it was hotter but felt cooler since there was no humidity. Unfortunately we were leaving in the middle of the day when Orlando airport is very crowded but we actually got through security quickly. Now as we went through the airport we saw this huge line that wrapped all the way around from the airline check in to the security and we found out the line was for Southwest. I will just look at this photo any time I might even consider booking Southwest so it will change my mind.
Next year will be Maui and I hope to see some of you there.