This report is far overdue. We came back from Orlando more than
a month two months ago, but the task of re-capping the essence of a trip that inspired more than 500 photos in less than a week and many, many happy dreams since … well, it’s a bit daunting. Subconsciously I fear that this post will actually bring closure, a depressing type of it’s-all-over, shut-the-book type of ending. And I don’t want that. We had such an AMAZING time!!! You can never re-do a “first”, so this trip was extra special for all of us. Maybe one day we’ll get back and that will be very, very cool, but it won’t be the same. I am slowly coming to grips with that.
I could probably ramble on about the trip forever, so a simple Q&A-type post might be best to start. Don’t worry — this is just Part 1.
When did you go and how long did you stay?
We went in February. (I’ve noticed that Rick and I almost always go on vacation over Valentine’s Day. It’s never planned that way and I don’t know why this pattern has become consistent, but … well, it makes it easy to remember. I guess the start of February is right when we’ve had enough of winter.)
We stayed for 6 nights, 7 days.
Where did you stay?
Thanks to a super-cool deal found by our travel agent, we were able to stay at the Polynesian Resort, a “deluxe” resort in Magic Kingdom.
It was AWESOME. Love, love, loved it. The kids thought it pretty nifty that our resort was the only one that spoke a different language. “Aloha!”
The greatest benefit of staying at the Polynesian is the location. First, it’s right on the Magic Kingdom monorail and within walking distance to the Epcot monorail. Buses to everywhere else come about every 15 minutes, so you’re never far from anything! Besides transportation, the location is great for the views. The Polynesian sits straight across the Seven Seas Lagoon from the Magic Kingdom Theme Park, so we could see Cinderella’s castle across the waters and watch the fireworks from the beach outside our room every night. So, so cool.
And the grounds were absolutely amazing. We really felt like we were on a Pacific island, complete with smoking volcano next to the pool.
Our other favorite part of this resort: Tonga Toast. If you ever go to Disney, no matter where you stay, you must get to the Polynesian for breakfast and order the Tonga Toast. It is a sourdough French toast stuffed with grilled bananas then fried and coated with cinnamon and sugar. They serve it with the best sausage I’ve ever tasted and a lovely strawberry puree. Of course, it also comes with syrup and fresh whipped cream, though with all that sugar, it needs none of that. Absolutely divine. So good, in fact, that I made it for Rick for his birthday a couple weeks ago. (Follow the link above for the recipe.)
What was your favorite park? Our favorite park was Animal Kingdom. Most people kind of poo-poo this one because it’s so far from everything else and because it doesn’t have many rides, but we loved it. Zach has been asking to visit Africa since the moment he could say the words, and the kids are absolutely fascinated by animals (as long as they are secured in cages). The safari was great, but I think we enjoyed the shows most of all. We saw The Lion King and Finding Nemo, both of which are condensed Broadway-caliber stage shows. Fantastic stuff! And then Dino Land was fun, too. Zach is our little paleontologist, so that … well, it was found worthy of this dance. (Sorry I can’t seem to turn it upright.)
Favorite place to eat?
For date night (yes, we had a date night while there) we went to the Yachtsman’s Steakhouse and it was a-maz-ing. Seriously delicious food. It was expensive, but it was so worth it.
For family dining, though, I loved the Ohana at the Polynesian Resort. There are a number of restaurants at the resort including a couple cafes. One restaurant does an outdoor luau complete with fire dancers. Not knowing how the kids would react to that, we chose the inside one instead. It shares chefs and menus with the outdoor luau, so the food was tremendous and it just kept coming. The kids had fun with coconut races and the limbo. Oh, and I got to watch the sunset between palm trees over Cinderella’s castle from our table. It was perfect.
I may need a few separate posts to answer this one! Our date night was definitely one of them. We had a superior meal in a wonderful restaurant, then took a quiet walk through Epcot after dark … it was absolutely delightful! And, of course, seeing the kids faces all week. They were so awestruck. This post is already long, so I’ll post separately some of our little incidences that will forever tickle me.
What advice do you give for first-timers?
Yeah … that should probably be a separate post, too. The quick-and-dirty: (1) Do your research. (2) Get up and to the parks early while everyone else is sleeping in. (3) Prioritize.