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01-07-2007, 08:18 PM
Judi Lazoff -- July 2000 -- Polynesian Resort

July 16 - 25, 2000

"Cast" - Me - 37 y/o, Evan 10 y/o son, Dave - 43 y/o

Day 1 "Attack of the Lizard"

Well, this certainly didn't turn out to be the trip that I thought I'd be writing about this summer. (for those who are unaware, I was originally supposed to be spending 2 wks in Italy! LOL) But with all that's going on with the house on the market, it really was the best decision. WDW is so familiar, and is just a much more relaxing (believe it or not! LOL) trip.

Dave's friend James offered to drive us to the airport for our 7:50 pm flight out, so we took him up on it. I always find it a much more pleasurable beginning to a trip when someone else drives! LOL There was really no line to check in, so we quickly did that and then went to get some reading materials & candy for Evan & I, while Dave went outside to smoke. Everyone was getting a little hungry and TGI Friday's wasn't crowded, so that made the decision easy.

Our flight took off on time and for the first time in I don't know how long, I actually had a flight that WASN'T full!!! BUT ... did that mean a nice, calm, relaxing and quiet flight? Noooooo!! LOL Of course not - I was on it!! There was a very large family traveling together who MORE than made up for the lack of people on the plane. The plane configuration was 2-3-2, and the three of us were seated in the middle. This family had the entire row in front of us and my head was spinning from the number of times these people got up & changed their seats!! And despite the fact that they were sitting right next to each other, they were shouting across like they were at a soccer match or something!! One of the men was particularly annoying in that he just would NOT sit down!! The flight attendant kept telling him over & over and like a petulant child, as soon as she'd walk away, he'd get up again! (and the icing on that cake was that this guy REEKED from way too much cologne! LOL) There were 4 small kids, and while the adults were busy slamming back the drinks, these children were literally running thru the aisles of the plane - squealing, chasing, etc. Adults were totally oblivious to this!! Did I complain to the FA? No, because they must have seen this going on, and should have said something to them themselves. They didn't though .... so I just had a glass of wine instead!! LOL

We landed on time at 11:35 pm, and since they unloaded the plane from both sides, it was relatively quick. Our baggage took a few minutes to come 'round, so we dashed out for a cigarette. Loaded up the cart, and proceeded right to the Hyatt there in the airport. I've got to say that this was sooo nice & convenient, especially at such a late hour. If we'd gotten in earlier, I would've gone right to WDW, but it was just better this way. I'd found a good deal on the room too, on the Hyatt website, combined with AAA.

We stumbled into the room around midnight. I'd packed what Ev & I would need for tonight & the next a.m. in my carryon so I didn't have to sort through the whole suitcase pile. There was actually a balcony in the room, and I stepped out to see our lovely view of a runway! LOL As I stepped back in the room, for some reason, I happened to look on the decorative shutters on the side of the sliding balcony doors ....... and what did I see? A BIG ol' lizard!! EWWWWWW!!!! LOL

Yes, I KNOW zillions of lizards everywhere in FL but that doesn't mean I have to like them!! In the 30 years or so that I've been going to FL on a very regular basis, I've never gotten used to them & I never will! Naturally, I screamed, and made Dave & Evan get it outside and pitch it over the balcony, while I stood in the tub with the shower curtain closed! LOL

After that, THEN I was ready to go to sleep - once the room was 'searched thoroughly' for any little 'friends' of the lizard!

Day 2, Arriving at the Poly & MK

Just a note before I really start these reports. I'm going to put the dining portions in a separate report, so I'll just say where we ate, and move on in these daily reports. Also, when I'm done with these, I'll post about the Poly in detail.

The first "official" day of the vacation started right on schedule, at 6 a.m. I wanted as early of a start as I could get!! LOL There was a coffee maker in the room, so while we were getting ready, I just brewed a little up & drank it quickly.

The driver from Transtar was right on time, arriving at 7 a.m. He was very, very nice and it was a pleasant way to start the trip.

I must admit, it was REALLY strange to pull into WDW for a "big" vacation, and NOT be staying at the Grand Floridian! LOL In fact, I actually started to say "Excuse me, but you're turning too soon" to the driver when he headed into the Poly!! Nevertheless, it was great to be back at the world!

As I expected, because we had such an early arrival, getting in to the resort by 7:40 a.m. or so, our room wasn't ready. We were driven back to the Hawaii concierge building, and had a seat at Diane's desk. She was pleasant and helpful - and YUM to that Guava Orange juice they give you! LOL

We were able to get a smoking room assigned, and a third floor room, which meant a balcony, which was good. I do realize that some rooms don't have them because of the age of the resort, and the fact that they were trying to preserve the integrity of the theme & design....but I was glad to get one. Quickly went over some things, and then it was off to the MK for us!

We caught the launch over from the Poly dock, and it was so strange to be standing there, looking OVER at the Grand instead of looking back at it!! LOL I really do like using that though - it's quick & really efficient and hardly ever too crowded. I think that in all of the times that I've used that particular launch, I've had to wait just one time for another boat to come because of a crowd.

As we always do, Evan & I did our little "skipping down the middle of Main St"!! We stopped for a picture by the Main St. photographers, though when we went back later, I was not too happy with it! LOL so we passed this time!!

Since we had such an early start, we were actually there at the entrance to Tomorrowland for the 'rope drop' - not something I'm particularly fond of actually! LOL I think it's ridiculous the way people race for the rides like they are dismantling them & giving them away!!! LOL We were able to get on Space Mt. WITHOUT running to it with only a 15 min wait - not bad at all!! After just being in DL in May, I really do like their version of Space better - it's a little ... livlier, I guess you could say.

After a quick cigarette break (in the designated area!! LOL) it was time to get to Cindy's for our character breakfast. There was just about a 10 min wait. There were two families seated in front of us by the windows, sitting together. One of the girls was about .... 8 or 9, and was wearing a beauty pagent type sash - don't recall where it was from. Anyway, there was another little girl at the table too, and you know .. when the various 'princesses' came to the table, it kind of bothered me that they all 'made over' the girl with the sash!! They shouldn't have done that, imho. Only Aladdin DIDN'T do that, but instead paid more attention to the other girl.

Once breakfast was over & we were back outside, we rode Snow White, Pooh & Peter Pan, with only about 15min waits each. (and that was the only time we got to do Pooh! they need a FP for this!!) The park still wasn't really too crowded, which was nice! LOL

The next stop was the Haunted Mansion, which we walked right on!! - which btw, was something we pretty much did the whole trip. I don't get it - don't get why this attraction isn't more crowded! I'm not complaining, mind you! LOL but I love it, and can't see why it's not more popular.

I hit the shops in Liberty Square next, and saw some pretty Christmas decorations that I ended up going back for later in the trip. This is something I try to do every time I go to WDW (or any other trip really)

buy ornaments. It's fun looking at them each year, and remembering when & where you bought 'em.

Next attraction was HOP - it's been a while since I've done this, it was hot & I wanted a little nap! LOL so this was as good a place as any for that! I suppose it's really not THAT bad of a show ... it's just that as a kid, we always HAD to do this, when us kids wanted to be actually 'riding rides'! LOL maybe that's why it doesn't thrill me now, as an adult!

Amazingly - and it really was amazing! LOL - we got on BTMRR with only a 10 min or so wait, in the REGULAR line!! I've gotta say, I hear people all the time in line saying how they like this, and not Space Mt. .... imho, this is pretty much the same, except it's not in the dark! LOL Just as quick & jerky really!!

POC was next, and again, walked right on! In fact, even got to sit in the front of the boat, which always thrills Evan! LOL This remains one of his favorites, along with HM.

We strolled the stores in Adventureland next, enroute to getting my first eggroll & Dole Whip of the trip! There was a cute dress in the one store, so I picked that up, and Ev got a POC beach towel. (like we really needed another towel! LOL) I let Evan go on POC alone, and sat & had a cigarette break in the Adventureland area, and checked phone messages. Evan will be 10 tomorrow!!, and I do let him go on a ride alone, with me sitting in close proximity outside if I want a 'break' for the moment. I don't think he's quite old enough to wander the parks alone, but I think testing him out, with little bits of 'freedom' is fine. He's very very familiar with the parks, he's grown up there!, and so far, he's proven quite responsible with coming right back to where I say I'll be when I let him do a ride alone.

It was time to leave the park for a while after this, so we could get checked into the Poly, and have lunch at the Kona Cafe. Walked quickly thru the stores on Main St on the way out, and caught the monorail back around.

The room was ready when we got back, so we waited for the suitcases to be delivered and then went to lunch. (Poly "report" will be separate, so details will be in that) After lunch, we headed back to the room, got everything unpacked & put away, then got the monorail back to the MK.

It was a bit more crowded now, I guess about 4 pm or so, so a train ride was in order. Decided to take it around to Frontierland to see how the lines were for Splash Mt. Of course they were killer long! LOL so we got Fast Passes for this, for about an hour & a half later. Since we were over there anyway, we checked out BTMRR again, and though the line said 30 min., it was just about 20 actually.

We still had time to kill before our FP for Splash, so we decided on a snack! LOL Remember, we were on the Grand Plan, so it was covered, and throughout the trip, I did my best to make this work for me ... I still need to grand total it, but I really DO think I made it pay. But more on that later. The snack this time was at the Diamond Horseshoe revue. It was just so hot out that cold a/c was in order! LOL

Our FP time for Splash was here now, and I'd say the wait was barely 10 min - man I love this system! LOL Once we finished with this, we walked back through Adventureland and did the Jungle Cruise with no wait, and timed it just right for the Tiki Room too, then walked through a side cut & saw Country Bear Jamboree - something else I've not done for a while. I'm no country music fan, but this is pretty cute! LOL

By the time we got out of the 'show', it was time to leave the MK again for Chef Mickey's. I know - 2 character meals in one day??? LOL But when I make dining plans, I TRY to let everyone pick favorites, and just the timing of these things happened to be both for today.

Once dinner was finished, we decided to just head back to the Poly. It'd been a LONG day, and with 9 more days ahead of us, we could spare a few hours in the MK for rest in the air conditioned room! LOL When I got back in, there was a message from my mom - my sis had had her baby early, and I have a new nephew!

After calling her back (though it was too late to call my sis since I figured she'd be sleeping), I caught up on journal writing, read some emails quickly, and dropped into bed.

Day 3, AK / Golf Lessons

Today we were up REALLY early! LOL 5:30 am! I got dressed quickly, but getting Evan up & ready was a much slower process! Since it was SO early, the breakfast things were not yet out in the concierge area, and room svc. wasn't even running yet, so Dave walked to Cap'n Cook's to get coffee & juice. By the time I could actually drag the two of them out of the roon, it was about 6:45 am when we got to the bus stop.

We waited about 20 minutes for the bus to Animal Kingdom - the longest wait for any bus on this trip. We got to Animal Kingdom around 7:15 or so ... and dufus me screwed up, thinking AK was opening at 7:00 am .. nope, it was 8!! LOL so we had some time to stand in line!! Naturally, Evan was getting very antsy, and Dave was NOT thrilled with me because I'd messed up with the opening time .. oh well!!!! LOL

One good thing though, is that this put us right close up to the front and we got to see the "opening" ceremonies at AK. We've seen this several times before, on previous trips, but it's really neat - try & make it a point to see it the next trip if you haven't already!

As soon as AK opened, we (along with tons of other people!) walked right back to KS, but if you can believe it, as quickly as we got back to it, there was STILL already a 1/2 hour wait!! There was a 40 min FP time, so we got those, and went and found more coffee, and strolled the stores in the area, sneaking off for a nice smoke break as well! LOL When we finally did get on the ride, we lucked out again this time & saw both the male & female lion out on the rock!! They're my favorites, and I love it when you can see them both!

After the safari, Ev wanted to do CTX/Dinosaur, and I couldn't believe it when we walked back and there was virtually no line for this! We did it once, then went & got a FP for it, to make for a quick return after breakfast at Donald's.

Once breakfast was finished, and we'd done our FP for Dinosaur, we walked in the stores in the area. This was turning out to be just an incredibly hot, hot day. And because of all of the plants (and people! LOL) at AK, it's just that much worse. We trekked back to Kali to get a FP for that and walked around Asia waiting for the time to come up. You know, Kali is fun, and it felt GOOD to get wet on such a hot day! LOL but ... I really do think this could have been a MUCH better ride if only they'd made it more 'wild' and exciting.

Dragging our VERY wet selves off that ride, Dave & Ev went on the Maharajah jungle trek next, but I declined I absolutely HATE lizards and do NOT like bats either, and I have NO desire now or EVER to go thru this trek! LOL P e r f e c t l y fine with me to let them go alone! I said I'd meet them at Pizzafari when they were finished

I was content to sit there & revel in being alone for a little while! LOL just having a tea & writing in my journal, catching up. (why I never thought of this before - taking the journal with me, instead of making notes & having to recopy at night - I'll never know! Much easier this way! LOL)

Once they were back, we timed it AMAZINGLY well & had almost no wait for ITTBAB - this is one of Evan's favorites because of the stink bug part of course! LOL I just like doing this show because I enjoy checking out the Tree of Life so closely - it really really is amazing!! I think I could definitely handle having all the tree's in my yard be like this - they're perfectly manicured, they've got cool carvings on them, and require absolutely no maintenance! LOL

A hot, smashed in ... but well worth it as always wait for Festival of the Lion King was next, and then it was back to Pizzafari for .. pizza! LOL

Once we'd looked thru just a few more stores, it was time to leave. Evan & I were having our first Golf lesson today, and besides, AK was really getting to maximum capacity by this time! LOL I love it here, and all I can hope is that someday, they expand .. or should I say sort of re engineer this park to provide better traffic patterns.

The wait for the bus back to the hotel was about 10 or 15 minutes.... and it took almost an HOUR to get back to the Poly!! ARRRRGGHHH!!! That is one thing I hate about the AK buses. It just seems to take SO LONG! However ... now I was sort of tired, and closing my eyes on the way back ... but I absolutely could NOT help but overhear these women around me talking .. and they DID provide some "enroute entertainment"!! LOL They were VERY VERY loud & boisterous, and what's SO funny about it is that they were just fonts of MISinformation! LOL Let's see - (I was actually writing this crap down for you guys so I could remember! LOL) According to them, Cinderella lives at the Grand Floridian; you can take a boat from the Polynesian to EPCOT!! LOLOL ... just all sorts of ridiculous stuff like that!

Once back in the room, we all just sort of lied around almost comatose, soaking up the air conditioning! LOL Evan & I left for our golf lesson after about a 15 min or so rest, and Dave had a massage appt. at the Grand Floridian, so he went to that.

Ev & I needed to get a taxi voucher for the ride to the lesson, so we went to the Valet stand, got that, and the taxi was there in just a minute. Once at the Magnolia Pro Shop, we signed in, got our clubs & shoes fitted and were off. We got to drive the Golf Cart!!! LOL Our teacher was "Kit" and he was great! Very patient, and both Evan & I got the lesson at the same time.

Once it was over & we were back to the Poly, Ev immediately went swimming .. and I immediately took a shower! LOL On the way back to the room, I'd stopped by the concierge lounge & picked up a nice cool glass of Chardonnay, and I just sat sippin' it before doing anything else. This is just one of the many many reasons that, for me anyway, concierge level rooms in any hotel are worth it. I honestly DO make use of them on a daily basis.

Once I was freshened up, I went back down & grabbed some snacks and just sat & relaxed for a while. Our dinner tonight was at Citricos, so I didn't eat TOO many concierge things, as I wanted to be good & hungry for this meal!! It's one of my favoites!

After Citricos, I walked back from the Grand alone, pausing for a while to sit in one of the blue & white awning striped swings and just totally & completely 'chill' and relax ..... everyone has their own favorite spots in & around WDW & resorts, and the beach at the Grand Floridian is one of MY favorite spots :)

Day 4 - Epcot

Up today @ 6:15 am (oohhh we slept late!! LOL) I'd put the hang tag on the doorknob last night, so we could have coffee & juice in the morning as we were getting ready. (We're on the Grand Plan, btw - I mentioned that before I left, but don't think I have since I've started writing these reports)

Our breakfast today was right at the hotel - Minnie's Minneheune (I'm sure I've spelled that wrong! LOL) Anyway, right as we were walking in there, a group of about 100 - yes, one hundred! LOL - Brazillians came in. I started gnashing my teeth, Evan was freaking, Dave was saying "let's leave NOW"!!! BUT ... They were FINE!! Yes you read that right! LOL It's so funny because right before I left, there was yet another one of the infamous "tour group" discussions going on on RADP, and I was definitely ... not 'bashing' them, but certainly not paying them compliments either. They didn't affect our meal, our service, our interaction with the characters, nothing.

After breakfast, we walked over to the TTC (about a 10 min walk from the Great Ceremonial House) and caught the monorail to Epcot. The first thing Evan & I did was get our "Leave a Legacy" picture done - it was included in the Grand Plan.

Once that was finished, and it didn't take very long, btw, we headed to the Wonders of Life Pavilion, and walked around doing all the little activites there. I haven't been in there in a while, so it was fun doing this again. Evan did the thing where your golf swing (or baseball swing) is analyzed, and we also saw "Cranium Command". This is a darling movie! and I can't remember when we saw it last. After grabbing a soda, we went & got Fast Passes for TT - THREE hours later!! LOL

One of my fav's in Future World was next -the Innoventions Pavilions. Even though I'm not a fan of video games, there's still plenty to do & see in here. I only wish people would be a bit more considerate when it comes to those email postcard stations!! I had the misfortune of being behind a family who had 4 people and EACH of them was sending 4 or 5 email cards to different people!! Sorry but I think that's sort of rude when you know there's a line forming behind you! LOL

We were thirsty & wanted a snack after this, so a stop was made at Pasta & Pizza Pavilion (we took advantage of the snack offering on the Grand Plan that's for sure! ) I came outside & found a table - it was empty there! - and while eating, we had a great time playing with the squirrels there! It is amazing how bold they are!

All the while, Evan was dying to do Ice Station Cool! LOL so that was next. At one point, he even said he wished that whole thing was his bedroom, so he could just have a TV in there, and watch tv & drink Coke all day! LOL Once he'd had his fill, it was time to head towards World Showcase for our lunch PS at Morocco. On the way, we stopped at this temporary tent pavilion that was set up (only for that week) for "Space", near the Rose Gardens path. It chronicled different space explorations .. frankly it was a bit of a snooze to me! LOL but Dave & Evan liked it.

During our lunch at Morocco, there's a belly dancer performing. Since we were at "ringside" seats right along the dance floor, she tried to coax Evan up into joining her, but he was having NO parts of this! LOL and then the little devil pointed ME out to the dancer, so ... eyp!! I got up & bellydanced!! LOL It was fun actually and I like joining in those shows!

Of course I had to stop at the stores there in Morocco - all of those robe type things are always so gorgeous! But I've yet to buy one because I'm afraid I might not really wear it when I get home. I have gotten a couple shirts from there, and those I do wear and really like.

Evan wanted to make the next shopping stop, in Japan. There's a character (and I know I am spelling this wrong!) called Batz Moreau ??? that he likes and there was all sorts of little stuff with this thing on it. And the $$ that Evan had was naturally burning a whole in his pocket! LOL so he paid for it himself.

It was SOOOO hot this day that a stop at the American Adventure was in order, so that I could take a nap!! LOL Sorry to all AA lovers! I find that show VERY boring! But a good place to nap in coolness it is!

When we came out, we stopped & I had a MM ice cream bar, walked a bit slowly and then hopped the boat back across the lagoon to use the FP for TT. I'll tell you, if TT was the first thing you'd ever used FP for, you would think it didn't really work! LOL We waited 30minutes, and more actually because the ride kept breaking down. In speaking with a CM, he said at 30 min for FP line we were lucky - it's been averaging 90 minutes - for Fast pass!!!

Once we finally got out of there (and it is a fun ride!) I ended up shopping around in Mouse Gear for WAY too long! But it's such a good store!LOL Had time to do Universe of Energy next and then we had to head to Canada for dinner at Le Cellier.

After dinner, the movie in Canada was just about to start, so that was next. I do like this show because I've been to Canada many times & it's fun to see it again. We had time for a fast run thru of the England stores, and then made our way over to YC for the Illuminations cruise covered under the Grand Plan. Of course, I made us a little late, because I could NOT remember where the restroom was in the YC and I HAD to go before we left! LOL

The cruise was on a Pontoon boat, with 8 others who were also on the GP. Same type of boat that's used for birthday parties. There was complimentary fruit, waters, sodas & a nice display of desserts too. The driver was super nice & let Evan 'drive' the boat all around and on the way back, two other kids got to do this too. Seeing Illuminations from one of the boats is really worthwhile!!!

It seemed to take forever to get back to the Poly!! The bus made a zillion stops, but finally it was back at the MK dock, where we got off & took the launch back to the Poly.

Day 5

MGM/parasailing/spa

Well, today was my birthday! :) I do love celebrating it in WDW! LOL The wake up call was for 6 this morning - and for some reason, it was tough getting out of bed today! LOL I'd ordered room service for breakfast for 6:30 a.m. so we ate that and were out of the room by 7:20 or so. The bus wait was very brief, but when it did arrive, it was packed already.

As SOON as we got there, I headed straight for Rock N Roller Coaster! In previous trips since this ride has been here, I've never had the nerve to do it .. but I was determined to this time!! The regular line was only 15 min., so I got in it. Dave & Evan opted out of this, and they went to TOT instead (where they also had just a short wait) BOY was I nervous standing in this line! LOL But I sucked it up and stayed .... and ... I LOVE THIS RIDE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It is now my absolute favorite!!!!!!!!!! WOW what I've been missing!!! LOL Of course, I rode the whole thing with my eyes shut! But hey, ya gotta start somewhere! LOL By the time I got off, the regular line was 45 min and the FP was for 2 hrs later.

Once this was done, I met Dave & Evan just outside the RnR area, and walked down to the Villians/Candy store, to get a chocolate covered strawberry! LOL (see Wendy, I didn't forget you!! ) Sat & ate that, and talked on the cell phone a couple minutes - I just HAD to call someone & tell them I just did this ride! LOL I just in the past few years have worked up the nerve to ride ANY 'real' rides, so this was a big deal for me! After the break, we went back around to TOT (forgot to say we got FP for it right after RnR) The group in my car was a big family reunion where no one of the people had ever ridden the ride before - what a hoot riding with them! LOL Women screaming, men whooping it up - I could have followed these people around & ridden with them all day - they were fun!!! LOL

I strolled thru a few stores and then it was time to leave, for me. I was headed off to the Contemporary to parasail again. I took the bus back to the Contemporary, and walked down to Sammy Duval's on the docks and signed in. This was also covered by the Grand Plan. I did it here for the first time last year, and it was just as exhilirating this year!!! If anyone's ever even thought of doing it, you should go for it!!!! WHAT a rush!!!! LOL It was a bit windier this time, though that may have been because when I did it last year, my niece and then SIL went with me, so perhaps the weight of two people made you sway less.

When I finished here, I was starving, so I decided to go up & see if I could get a table at the Concourse Steakhouse for lunch. I had to wait a few minutes, as they weren't seating yet, so I looked in the stores there at the hotel. I sorta liked these better before they were rennovated I think ....

After lunch, it was then time for me to head to the Spa at the Grand Floridian for some pampering! Again, this is included in the Grand Plan - well, one treatment per guest is. I arrived the requisite 15 min early, and checked in, and also at that time, purchased a BUNCH of things I was running low on, or out of. I've been here many times before and LOVE their skin care line - Jurlique. You can order these direct from them too, once you get home, but since I'd just run out, I figured I would wait & do it when I was here. I also adore that Grapefruit body products line the Spa carries, so I did go back with a shopping bag heavy with these products! LOL

I had a 50 minute (WHY don't they just make these things a hour??!! LOL) massage with Aromatherapy oils, and then a Grand Floridian Deluxe Facial. The massage was covered under the Grand Plan, and I paid for the Facial. Honestly, I don't know how much it was because of the total being in with the products I bought! LOL BOTH treatments were superb as always!! They give THE best facials here that I have ever had anywhere, anytime and I always do this 'spa thing'!!! They do a massage technique on your face ... I don't know what it's called .. but it's purpose is to clear your sinuses and it works!!! It's just very relaxing and pretty and serene here.

As I was getting my massage (facial was first) just as she was finishing, I could hear HUGE LOUD cracks of thunder outside! LOL I didn't even bother to shower here this time - just got dressed, paid and practically RAN back along the path to the Poly! LOL In fact, I'd accidentally left my room card/charge there and a CM came racing after me to give it back! LOL I JUST made it back inside before a big storm came rumbling through. Dave & Evan were already back. They'd actually been back a while and had been swimming at the pool.

I just chilled a while in the room, and got a little snack & a glass of wine from the concierge food area. I didn't wanna spoil my dinner because tonight was the Grill! Alone! LOL Dave hates it here and I wanted to eat here for my bday (well actually I WANTED V&A's but couldn't get it for ANY night... )

Dave & EV went to the MK, and I was off to the Grill for a perfect!!! dinner as usual. This is without a doubt one of my absolute favorite restaurants ANYWHERE, not just in WDW!!! Was I bothered by the fact that they didn't go? Nope! LOL I have no problem with dining alone and besides, I got a window table! :) That's one of the advantages to being the person who plans these trips - I'm in charge of my own birthday! LOL and while yes, it'd be GREAT to have someone do this FOR me, at least I know it'll be done right since I'm doing it! LOL

I got back about 11, and they weren't back yet. I was tired (from the day, and the food & drink at the Ca Grill too! LOL) so I went to sleep pretty darned happy! :)

Day 6 - MK

Wake up call at 6:30 am again, and we were out by 7:30. Just a note here - I swear it takes my now 10 y/o son longer to get ready & showered than it does for me to do hair, makeup etc! LOL Heck, he takes longer than my teenaged nieces when they're along!!

The first thing we did was the Crystal Palace breakfast. We had just about a 2 min wait! This places always has a great efficient system for getting people seated.

Evan had seen some shorts in a store in Adventureland that he wanted the other day, so this was our first stop. We actually browsed thru all the stores here. I saw two dresses I liked, casual ones, but since I couldn't decide, I just didn't get either one! LOL I hate trying things on, and would've had to .. so I passed.

We were able to walk right on Jungle Cruise afterwards, which surprised me. In fact, we did it twice! Dave & Evan stopped and played with the remote control boats right outside the ride after for a few minutes & I sat & caught up on the journal. I hustled them along and we made Tiki Room with no wait either, AND no wait for Pirates!! This was all just too good to be true!LOL

Beyond Pirates you could see the people heading in droves for the Splash/BTMRR area, so we backtracked over to Tomorrowland, with me making a quick pit stop to check & see how crowded the Main St Bakery was. VERY CROWDED!! so I figured I'd come back. Buzz Lightyear was busy as always, so we got FP for it, and did TTA in the meantime, then COP. After a smoke break, it was time to use the FP for Buzz, and it worked well here. Totally lucked out & caught AE with very little line (last time THAT would happen this trip!) and went in, followed by a stop at Space Mt for a FP, then Timekeeper. Evan was being very secretive about wanting to go in the stores in Tomorrowland, so we obliged and I had to go off & "not look" at what he was buying! LOL When we came out, he was so tickled that he bought me those women's socks with the sort of pom pom Mickey heads sticking out the back of them! LOL It was cute! I'd commented on them in passing soemone else wearing them the other day! :)

Only Evan & I did Space this time - Dave's not wild about it at all. We wanted a snack afterwards, so met up with Dave & I was all set for my chicken wings that I like so much at Cosmic Rays .. they don't have them anymore!! !!! They got some ...what did they get?? LOL I forgot!! anyway while they sat to eat, I ran over to the bakery and the line was less, so I got a couple chocolate chip cookies -mmmmmmmmm!!!!!

After the snack pit stop, we walked thru Fantasyland - IT WAS MOBBED!! ALL of the rides had long long lines so we kept walkin'! LOL IASW had only a 15 min wait and while this is NOT my favorite, we did it anyway to get out of the heat for a bit.

**warning warning** LOL A strong personal opinion coming up here!! so avert your eyes if ya don't wanna read it! ;O

I have now seen it all! LOL I could NOT believe this! While we were online for IASW, there were 2 rows. In the row next to us (and the rows were moving) there was a woman, walking along, breastfeeding her baby RIGHT THERE IN THE LINE!! It was ALLLLLLLLLLLLL hanging out!!! UGH! Sorry but that is SO unacceptable to me! For God's sake, at LEAST find a bench somewhere semi private to do this!! Or the baby stations they have! Yes, I know - it's "natural" and all that!! But .... Do you REALLY need to go on a damned ride THAT BAD that you have to breastfeed in LINE?? LOL

Of course since we were passing HM, we had to do that again. Sucked down a cigarette at the smoking area then retreated into Liberty Tree Tavern for lunch.

We wandered Frontierland after lunch (for some reason, I didn't write what we did!! LOL) and then plopped down for the parade wait at about 2:30 or so. Just about 5 min before it was due to start, my cell phone rang. (yes I had it with me the whole time! LOL as did Dave. Our house was on the market and it really was necessary to keep in touch, and for Dave's work also)

Anyway .. the call WAS from the realtor and we had a contract offer!!!!!!! He was just starting to give the details, and I was countering back with what I wanted him to say when the "Remember the Magic" music came on. Well I just told him "I'll have to call you back shortly" because I didn't want this interrupting my parade! LOL I LOVE that music!! both the parade version and especially the version by Brian McKnight!! I was REALLY dancin' around during the parade this time, 'remembering the magic' of gettin' the heck OUT of TX & back home to Maryland!!!! LOLOL!!! In fact, at one point in the end of the parade, the float stopped by us & they invite people to join in with the character & dance, so myself & these three teens just hopped right in! LOL Too funny!!

Armed with a Dole Whip & an eggroll I sat in the quiet smoking spot in Adventureland right past the bridge & called the realtor back. YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It was accepted - SOLD! LOL Wooo HOOO!!

Despite my elation at this news, it was STILL ungodly hot & crowded here! LOL so it was decided that it was time to go for now, so we shopped the Main St stores, Dave got a hot dog from Casey's corner (of course! LOL) and we caught the launch back to the Poly, to just chill there for a while, swim etc. When we got to the room, there was a message on the phone that the realtor needed to fax us the contract to sign, and we had to fax it back right away, so I went down and took care of this. I will say, the Poly concierge was good about handling this - and this was important, and one of the #1 reasons I cancelled the Italy trip in favor of WDW - being able to handle this sale expediently. I would NOT have been able to do this from Capri! LOL and could have lost the sale.

NOW it was time to totally chill! :) Lounged by the pool a bit, then I rented a Water Mouse for the 1st time this trip, while those two swam. Didn't stay out long though, because we needed to get ready for dinner at Narcoossee's.

We were supposed to be doing Cirque this evening. But during dinner, Evan was saying he REALLY did NOT feel like going this time ... SO ... even though I wanted to, Dave was neutral about it ... I just gave in & thought "Why fight about this too? LOL" so we didn't. Instead, we walked around the Grand (with me ::sighing::: ) and then took the launch back to the Poly, where Ev & Dave went swimming and I just relaxed, and later watched the fireworks from the concierge lounge before turning in early tonight.

Day 7

Blizzard Beach & Misc. Fun

Ohhhh got to sleep in "late" today - until 7 am! LOL This was Blizzard Beach day, and it doesn't even open 'til 9, so there was no HUGE rush to get out of the room. Because of this, I had used the hang tag for room service breakfast again. It came several minutes late however, despite it having been out there on time.

We left the room around 8:30 to catch the bus, arriving at BB just before 9. Were able to get a locker in a decent spot and got RIGHT on more than 3/4 water rides there! It pays to get there early & move quickly if you want to do this. NO I STILL didn't do Summit Plummet!! LOL I chickened out! I think I need to go there with someone else who is doing this so they'll MAKE me do it too! I want to .. but I'm afraid!! ;O

Those two wanted to do the Lazy River next, so we hopped on rafts & drifted a while. This is the longest lazy river! LOL I don't know ... those things are ok, but I much prefer the more exciting water rides!

Once we got off it, the park was wall to wall people!! You had to elbow your way through all sorts of crowds to get ANYWHERE so enough was enough for today! LOL Everyone gathered up their things and Evan & I shopped the store there real quick, got Ev a tshirt, while Dave was on the phone for work. (yes, it's annoying and it's constant! LOL) The bus back took FOREVER (or so it seemed) to come.

When we got back, we went to the pool again, stopping by Cap'n Cooks for lunch (dummy me forgot to get the picnic lunch from rm service that I was going to get from the Grand Plan!!) After eating, I called my sis to see how she & the baby were doing, and made a few other calls back home too. It's so cool to be sitting in WDW talking to people back home! LOL

I was itching to do something, so I rented a Water Mouse again. This time I got nabbed for "speeding'! There I was, buzzing along, and I hear a motor coming up beside me. I thought it was someone else on a mouse, so I was racing them! WELL .. it was the water patrol or whatever it's called! LOL When the gal finally called out to me & I turned to look . boy did I feel funny! I apologized and she was very nice about it, and I was a "good little boater" after that! LOL

Once I brought it back in, it was time to get changed for another golf lesson for Evan & I. But the lesson was not to be, because a tremendous storm blew in JUST as we were ready to walk out the first floor door! Thunder lightning loads of rain.... so I turned to the concierge & she called the pro shop & yes, the lesson was cancelled. We went back up, got a snack from concierge & sat & played checkers there a bit. Afterwards, we got changed & ready to head over to Ft Wilderness for the Hoop Dee Do - our first one!

This was one CUTE CUTE show!!! I can't believe I've just never thought of doing it before! It's very entertaining and I'd definitely do this again!!

We had the 7:15 HDD and when it was finished, and we were on our way back to the MK (we'd taken the boat from there to Ft Wilderness, on the advice I'd read on the boards) Ev asked to stop by the MK. We caught the fireworks from a nice spot, and we AMAZINGLY able to get on Dumbo (awww:) but boy everything else was jammed with bodies! LOL We just did HM and left after that, stopping at the Candy store on Main St for a chocolate covered marshmellow on a stick! (nods to Sue!

On the launch ride back, the boat driver told us that a man working on the Grand Floridian roof rennovations had fallen & was killed today :( He didn't have any more details, and I didn't hear any more about it while we were there. He did tell us that he'd also seen a wedding going on too, earlier this week, on the ferry boat! LOL Sounds sort of cool actually!!

Day 8 - Epcot

Well, we got up later than I wanted to today, because I forgot to set the alarm or put in a wake up call! LOL Didn't get out of bed until 8!! For me, in WDW, that's like .. unheard of!! :O I REALLY hustled everyone along, but needless to say, we totally missed Spoodles for breakfast! Ahhh just an extra pound I probably didn't need anyway! LOL Instead, we just wolfed down some cereal & coffee from the concierge area.

We walked over to the TTC & caught the monorail to Epcot. Oh yeah - for those of you who are familiar with "evil SIL" of mine guess what? She got her real estate license - so Dave has told her she can rep us buying a house... isn't THAT special? NOT!! LOL I know he really had no choice but UGH UGH UGH UGH UGH UGH!!!!!!! GOD I do NOT look forward to THAT! What reminded me of this is this day, as we were walking to TTC, I had called her to thank her, as she DID send a nice basket to my room for my bday (which the Poly concierge delivered a DAY late!!) Dave had talked to her before, and I'd left her 2 messages trying to catch up w/her & thank her -- so when she finally got me on the phone, she immediately starts in about houses and how she's found several .. several that are about $25,000 OVER what I said I wanted to freakin' pay! LOL I am VERY VERY set in what I will spend! You all know my philosophy of spending less on a house itself, and more INSIDE to make it nice, even if it does have to be smaller, and putting the extra $$ to travel. I am NOT out to impress anyone at all with a tremendous house that I cannot ever imagine using all of it and I'm quite adamant about that. She damned well knows this but ... oh forget it! LOL I'm just getting annoyed writing about it!! Anyway, I cut her off and said "oops gotta go losing the signal here" and that was it. All she'll have to do is get me appts for seeing the houses when I'm there and that's it! LOL

Once at Epcot, we did SE, which surprisingly had not much line yet. I actually could just ride this over & over - I really like it! LOL We did a few stores there, and Mouse Gear of course, and then headed to Innoventions & West. I didn't see the area anymore where you could check your mail via AOL.com but did notice that if you have a BIGFOOT.com mail acct, you could check that - I'll have to remember to do this the next time I go I think - before I go I should say.

TT had outrageous lines both for standby & FP so I didn't bother at this time. I dragged them over to the "Land" Pavilion and in to see "Circle of Life" - they snoozed I watched! LOL I think this is a nice show!! Then it was "Food Rocks" which is a perennial favorite of mine & Evan's! :) We also got in line just in time for the boat ride there, before a huge group got in. Afterwards, they were getting hungry, so we had a snack in the Land Pavilion.

With our stomachs half full for now we walked 'round to the World Showcase, stopping at Mexico first. Evan & I did the boat ride there twice it was so not crowded!! In fact, that whole pavilion wasn't too crowded. We quickly went through Japan next, then onto to Norway, where again we got right on Maelstrom. Didn't bother looking too thoroughly in the stores here though, because I never buy anything there. Their sweaters are beautiful but WAY overpriced imho.

On the way to Italy, I saw something I don't ever remember seeing before - on the bridge across from Italy, there were 2 people dressed in these incredibly beautiful, elaborate costumes, as if it were Carnival time in Venice, complete with masks!! They were strolling elegantly, playing with people who passed by - very very cool!! LOL

Once finished with Italy & lunch, we happened to time it right & LOD was about to start. Dave & Evan didn't want to see it, but I did! LOL so I was able to get a seat in the back row luckily!! and sat & watched. When it was over, we walked a bit more, then headed over & took the boat to FW again, for a 'special Millennium party' for Grand Plan guests at Imageworks, on the second floor. While it was no big huge deal, it was cute and worth the time. All of the Toy Story characters were there, and since it was just us & a couple other people, only about 4 kids total, each kid got LOTS of attention & got to really play & interact with the characters. There was a craft & coloring station, an "ice your own cookies" station for the kids, and cookies & coffee, tea, punch for the parents. There were round tables set up for people to sit at also. It was just a real nice break in the day and I'm glad I took the time to do it.

We went on JIYI afterwards .... sorry but this is a lame version of the old one! LOL Played around in Imageworks afterwards - several of the things were broken in there though! HISTA wasn't too too crowded so we hit that after, and then walked back thru the rose garden to WS.

"Oh Canada" the movie was, of course!!, on the agenda! LOL and next was the Millennium Village. Ev loves the golf set up in here, so I let him play that for a while and I walked around. I missed the little coffee ceremony at that one spot - can't remember what country it is ... Somolia maybe??? .. anyway, if anyone see's this going on when you're there, stop & do it! It's interesting and it's fun.

We got down to England, and the Rose & Crown, for dinner. Got lucky & had a table outside, which meant a pretty nice view of the 6:30 TON parade!! I love this, love the music from it too - I could watch a thousand times & not get tired of it!

After dinner, we headed to France for the movie there too, and to shop. I always like looking in the Perfume store to see what's new, and did end up buying one. Naturally, I had a glass of wine while just sitting & people watching afterwards! and in fact, sat there long enough to have another one, and catch the 8:15 TON too!LOL

Decided to leave before Illuminations this evening, so as to beat the rush of people back. Once back at the Poly, we sat & watched the MK fireworks from the lounge ... although it wasn't quite as pleasant as the first time I did it. There happened to be a family next to us who WOULD NOT stop talking LOUDLY the WHOLE time! Couldn't even hear the music!! Grrrr!! LOL

After this was over, it was back to the room, writing in my journal and off to bed, to rise early again tomorrow!

Day 9

MGM

I DID get up on time today! LOL the wake up call came at 7 this morning. I don't know what it is about sleeping & me & WDW, but I just hate wasting my time asleep when I could be out doing something!

Once again, it was just a quick bite for now for breakfast from the concierge area, which I picked up for everyone. (If I didn't move them along, I swear they'd spend the day in the darned room! LOL) I've already explained the mess with the Fantasmic seating & concierge, so I'll skip that part.

Just as we walked out of the hotel, the MGM bus pulled up, so there was no wait for this - perfect timing! But by the time we got to the park, it was already getting crowded. I went & immediately checked the update board to see the wait time for RnR - OWOWOWOO! It was like 3 hrs!! and FP was real long too, and since TOT was a shorter FP time ... so instead we got a FP for TOT. In the meantime, we went to GMR and did that. Once out of there, we walked in a few stores when we started to get hungry again! LOL so what else is new right? We got a bit of breakfast from the commissary, and sat outside eating it, since it was FREEZING inside and not too hot yet outside.

Since we were practically right next to the Doug Live! show, we did that next. No I didn't get to be a "Beet" this time either, and Evan didn't get to be "Quail Boy"!! LOL But we did end up in the front row, right next to the seats where Doug & Skeeter sit for the 'concert' and Ev thought that was way cool! LOL Skeeter talked to him and he was just tickeld with that! LOL Then it was back to TOT to use our FP for that.

We went 'round to Honey I Shrunk the Kids playground - well Evan went in & we sat and had a soda & I wrote in the journal. Luckily he got tired of this pretty quickly!LOL so next was over to LM to get a FP for that show, then I walked through the store next to the Animation attraction. Still didn't see my "Baby Mine" scene from Dumbo cell! There are several other Dumbo cells out I know, but I'm after that specific one. Oh well, one of these days maybe! Used the LM FP and saw this - Ev is not too fond of this - he thinks it's too "girly"! LOL

It was just about time for lunch, so we went on into the Sci Fi - this was one of Evan's choices - he just thinks that whole drive in movies concept is kewl!! LOL We had the GREAT misfortune however, of having a lady & her son seated in the very back of the car we were in, after we sat down, and this woman absolutely, positively REEKED to high heaven of some AWFUL cologne!! YUCK! people hate cigarette smoke smell? Well I hate overwhelming amounts of cologne on men or women!LOL Just as offensive to me! Thank goodness we were more than 1/2 way done our meal at this point!

After lunch, we saw Muppets 3D, but I was so so SO hot & it was soooo nice & cool in there that I promptly fell asleep! LOL I like the show a lot, but I could not keep my eyes open! LOL When we came out of here, it was raining, so we all donned our ponchos and trudged to the Hunchback show. This is as great as always, and really, if they wanted to, I think Disney could charge extra for this, it's that good!

Pizza Planet & the games inside were calling Evan's name afterwards so I obliged and I sat while he played, and Dave did too. It was nice having my journal with me today, because I would just sit & catch up from time to time.

We managed to catch the Backstage Pass tour just as it was ready to leave, and since it's been a while since we did this, we tagged along. I just HAD to go back to RnR to check that status - it was STILL dismaying long .... so again, I thought "later I guess!"

We did the stores on Main St, and I did Sid's and then just took a soda & cookie (chocolate chip of course!! ) break for a bit and sat & people watched. On our way back to dinner, we first stopped & did "Sounds Dangerous".

Dinner was at Mama Melrose, then when it was over, everyone was just drained from the heat & humidity & rain today. I checked RnR one time more .. still long waits ... I was not happy! LOL BUT I really really lucked out!! As I was ready to give up, some family walked by, and handed me TWO extra Fast Passes, for right then!! (2 kids chickened out so they had extra) and I got to go twice!! LOL YES!!!!!! This ride just gets more & more fun the more you ride it! LOL

Due to the mix up with the whole Fantasmic thing, and not a single seat being available, we decided to call it a night. We caught the bus back to hotel, and stopped at the concierge area to get a snack, then retired soon after.

Day 10

Epcot

I set the wake up call for 7:30 this morning. Evan & I had another golf lesson for 9, and after some coffee & juice for me, we left the room by 8:30. Dave just stayed behind again & waited for us to get back, making some work calls & doing a few things of paperwork.

When we got to the Pro Shop, and I went to check us in, it turns out that there was a mistake

on the paper that I had with me, from the Poly concierge staff, my lesson time said 9 am, clear as could be. Well, the Pro shop said it was for 8:00 am!! She even showed me the book. VERY luckily there was an opening for 9 - 10 anyway because someone had cancelled. I thanked her profusely, and also made an appt for a lesson the next day too.

After golf was finished, Evan & I went back to the room, showered, and got ready to head out. We all walked over to the TTC again, to catch the bus to DD from there. It took an HOUR to get there because of all the stops!! GRRR!! LOL Last time I do that! From now, I'm taking a taxi like I usually do when going to DD! Just as SOON as the bus pulled into the stop at Westside, where we were first having lunch, it got almost pitch black out, and thundered! I BOLTED for cover! LOL and made it to the little ticket booth at HOB when the skies opened up!! Dave, who'd been laughing at me for running, didn't think it was so funny then when I was dry & he was not! LOL We quickly ducked over to Wolfgang Pucks for lunch.

After stuffing ourselves silly we lumbered over to the Virgin Megastore & browsed a bit. But Ev was dying to get to Disney Quest, so we didn't stay too long. WOW what a cool cool place!! I'd never been in here before (don't know why, just never got to it I guess) I think because of the weather (still pouring very hard!) it was EXTREMELY crowded!! I almost think maybe they should limit the # of people they allow in or something. Anyway, I had fun for the time I spent there, doing the virtual games & all. After a while, I decided to walk on over to DD stores myself. The rain wasn't going to let up obviously any time soon, so .. what the heck? Donned a poncho & off I went, with Dave & Evan to meet me later.

I actually bopped through the stores there fairly quickly, because they too were jammed with guests. I honestly didn't buy a WHOLE lot here this time, at least compared to what I usually do! LOL I did see this gorgeous Limited Edition Disney Golf bag, but passed on it for now ...

Dave & Evan met me at the appointed time, and we had a break at the Gourmet Pantry and just sat for a little while. It was getting close to 5:30 by this time, and we were all getting hungry. Originally, the whole plan for the day was to do DD, then AK, then dinner ... but once it started pouring SO hard, I really didn't feel like (nor did anyone else) trudging allllllll the way to AK. So what we didn't get to do this time we'll catch on another trip.

Since we were done with the shopping, and were hungry, we decided to go to the Flying Fish early and see if we could get in early. Our PS were for 8, and it was only 5:45 or so by this time, but I figured we may as well try. We took a taxi over to the BW, and luckily were able to get seated right away.

After dinner, since we finished earlier than originally planned, we decided to take one last trip through Epcot. I wanted to go to PI, but Dave did NOT, and I had no one to watch Ev if Dave went to Epcot alone so ... we just went to Epcot. Took the boat over from the Boardwalk. It really is pretty in the Epcot resort area at night!

Now Dave was insisting on going to the movie Oh Canada again, and Evan wanted to go to SE again! LOL Since these are opposite sides of the park, and neither would relent, I sided with Evan & took him up to Future World. Besides, it was nice having time alone with him in Epcot. We had no wait for SE at all and in fact rode it twice, and they let us do this without getting off! I can't remember if this has ever happened before! Nice way to end the time in Epcot this trip!

We met Dave at the fountain just beyond SE a short while later, and got right on the monorail back to the TTC. Walked back to the room again, and I ordered coffee from room service. Then it took about 40 min or so to get everything packed up except for what we'd need the next day, after which I wrote in the journal, read a bit of email & went to sleep.

Day 11 - MK, home & final thoughts

Once again, on our last day, Evan & I had a 6:45 am wake up call. Our golf lesson was set for 8 am (and I know this was right because I did it myself! LOL) We got some quick breakfast from the concierge area again, and we were off. Originally I'd planned on 1900 Park Fare character breakfast for this day, but decided to cancel it & do the golf lesson instead. These lessons are included in the Grand Plan and it's just too good of a deal to pass up in favor of a breakfast.

After our final lesson, we came back to the room, getting a danish on the way back, and showered, finished packing the last bit of stuff and called for the bellman - we were just having them hold our things until it was time to go that late afternoon. I'd bought a vase that I was afraid to take home & wanted it shipped, so I went to the concierge to take care of that while Dave waited in the room. By the time I finished with this, Dave & Evan were down, our luggage was headed for the front and we were headed for the back, to get the launch for the MK.

The trolley happened to be pulling up to the front of Main St as we approached so we took it to the foot of Cindy's castle. Gosh I don't think I've ridden this since I was a kid!! LOL It was absolutely, unbelievably, enormously CROWDED WITH WALL TO WALL people today!!!!!! UGH!! LOL A zillion hot, sweat, tank top wearing armpits everywhere! LOLOL!! EVERYTHING had incredible waits! The FP line for Space Mt was 105 minutes!! The line for the cars was THREE HOURS!!! Insanity!!! We did COP and had a farewell cookie from the bakery, walked in a few stores and got the heck out!! LOL

We decided at this point to hit the Grand Floridian Cafe for lunch, and we took the launch over. After lunch, I walked around the hotel sighing again! LOL and THEN .... :::::Drumroll please! ::::: I walked outside for my final, farewell cigarette by the fountain at the pool at the Grand!!! LOL I quit smoking (OMG it is SO HARD! LOL) and I figured what better place to do it than my favorite place!

Took the monorail around to the Poly after purchasing a few things in the Sandy Cove store at the Grand, and wandered around the Poly for a bit, let Evan play in the arcade and killed a little time 'til the towncar from Transtar came. The flight home was fine, uneventful and I'm now back in TX for just a few more weeks! LOL

Just a couple of general observations

Except for that last day, in general, none of the parks really seemed all THAT crowded to me this time!! They weren't empty by any stretch of the imagination, but not packed to the gills either.

The infamous tour groups were not ONCE rude, loud, chanting, butting in line, nothing like that! Yes I HAVE seen this done on OTHER trips time & again, but not this time I am happy to report! LOL

However!! the rest of the world seems to have developed a bad habit of wanting to stop dead in the middle of a street, a sidewalk .. whatever! and read a map, chit chat amongst the family , etc! ARGGHH!!! LOL Has the whole world just totally lost all of their manners???

It was a great trip for the most part (LOL!! inside joke there! ) and I can't wait to go back as usual!!

Poly Concierge Experience

I thought I'd write up a separate note about my hotel experience - mainly because when I was searching for such information, I said I would do this! LOL

I want to preface this by saying ..... this are just MY personal - very personal! LOL - opinions of the Poly. Everyone has different hotel preferences, everyone looks for different things out of a hotel, out of a trip, etc. and has different reasons for doing so.

I did my absolute best to keep a very open mind throughout my stay here, and NOT be constantly comparing it to the Grand, where I usually stay, or any other places I've stayed either. However ... that's sort of hard to do! LOL But unless specifically asked, I do not want to trash the Poly here ... it doesn't deserve 'trashing' ... it's just that ultimately, MY experience was that ... I stayed there once ... and would I do it again? Hmmm ..probably not. I've been there, I have seen it, it was fine .. and that's that for me.

As I expected, because we had such an early arrival, getting in to the resort by 7:40 a.m. or so, our room wasn't ready. We were driven back to the Hawaii concierge building, and had a seat at Diane's desk. She was pleasant and helpful - and YUM to that Guava Orange juice they give you! LOL We were able to get a smoking room assigned, and a third floor room, which meant a balcony, which was good. I do realize that some rooms don't have them because because of the age of the resort, and the fact that they were trying to preserve the integrity of the theme & design....but I was glad to get one. I had requested one from the beginning, so I'm not real sure why it was such a surprise to them that I wanted one but ... that's ok, it worked out.

I will say that Diane turned to be by far the most knowledgable of the concierge CM's that I dealt with. That isn't to say that the others were 'bad' - they weren't ... I just thought she knew her stuff a bit more thoroughly. Arnold was nice enough, but seemed to have to 'call someone' to ask LOTS of ?? I don't know how long he's been there, but ..... I also dealt with Orlando, who'd helped me & was the Grand Plan coordinator - actually he wasn't bad either, but did end up being NOT clear on the Fantasmic thing which really screwed me up :( To make a REAL LONG story short, I was told BEFORE I left home when I called to ask, that on the Grand Plan, YES there WAS priority seating for Fantasmic! but it could NOT be booked BEFORE the day of the show. Well, when I got there and asked AGAIN at check in, I was told the same thing .. HOWEVER, when the day OF Fantasmic came, I was THEN told it had to be booked BEFORE!!!!! and that there were NO available seats in PS now!!!! AND when we just went up to get our seats on our own an hour ahead of time, it was standing room only!! I was SO MAD that I just skipped it this time :( I've seen it before several times & will see it again.

In the Hawaii building, you need to enter by inserting your room key into a slot outside the doors. The first floor is the concierge 'working' area, with 3 desks. The second floor is where the food/lounge area is located, and the 3rd floor is another lounge area, dubbed 'the library' - there are bookshelves, chairs and 2 tables with checker tops, and a half wall that overlooks the 2nd floor lounge. The back wall of these three concierge areas is all windows, so that you're looking out onto the lagoon.

We had room 3532. You enter, and as usual in the deluxe resort rooms, one wall is a walk in closet in the "hall" sort of. One thing I didn't like here was that the closet doors weren't mirrored - only mirrors were in the bathroom. This can be rather inconvenient while more than one person is trying to get ready at a time. The bathroom itself was a green marble floor, shower surround & vanity. Only one sink, with a small mirror above it -- not the best set up for getting ready as I said. I definitely prefer the sinks outside the actual shower area, as they are at the Grand .. and lots of other non Disney hotels too! LOL The shower was the normal standard shower, and the toilet was sort of in the back of the bathroom, separated from the room by a partial wall.

The rest of the room

to the left were the two beds

hanging over them was a bamboo "canopy" sort of, and a nightstand inbetween them, with one drawer. To the right was an armoire containing the TV, and 5 drawers, as well as the mini refrig. On that same wall was the daybed, and against the sliding doors at the back of the room were the 2 chairs & round table. The balcony was standard sized, and held 2 chairs & a small table also. Our view in this room was .. an obstructed pool view - you could sort of see it. The decor was earth tones, browns, greens - not knock down drag out gorgeous! LOL but perfectly fine, and what one would expect from a 'tropical' themed resort.

I DO have to comment on one thing right off the bat -- BOY am I glad that our room wasn't on the first floor, anywhere from say ... from where you got off the elevator to a little more than halfway down that hall. It SMELLED - bad!! Like wet dogs & wet feet!!!! LOL YUCK!! and sometimes, add the smell of someone spraying air freshner around to try & cover that odor up! EWW! I would've been a very unhappy camper if I'd had one of those rooms.

As for the service ...... welllll .... I know this contradicts many people's opinions but ... I just didn't find it to be the same as that of the Grand Floridian. I think the GF's is more attentive, and more detail oriented -- at least that's been MY experience. The Poly's service wasn't bad, but there were a number of small things that weren't quite on the mark, and when you add up small things, they become big things.

A few examples -- housekeeping. Since we had Golf lessons several times, and also come back to the room during the day, we were in & out a lot. Several times, when we'd get back by 2 or 3 and the maid would still be in the room!! Also, since we were there for a longer stay, a couple times we didn't get out 'til 7:30 or even close to 8 a.m., and EVERY SINGLE time we left at that hour, she was knocking on the door to get in ... and when we told her we needed just 5 more min or so, twice she actually stood outside the door in the hall & waited!! LOL (and I know this because both times, Evan walked down to the lounge to get a bagel to eat on the way to wherever and he saw her!) Also, twice - separate from the times I'm talking about above, the "privacy" sign was on the door because of Ev & I showering inbetween lessons and she opened the door anyway & came in!! yes, I DID complain about this to them - what's the point of the sign if they don't pay attention to it?? LOL Additionally, she never did anything like arrange the stuffed animals or cute things like that either... and yes, they did do that every single night at the Grand. It's minor, but it's an 'added touch' .....

There were many, many, MANY!!! unattended kids quite literally running around! The halls, up & down, ALL times of day - banging against the doors while playing in the halls, playing on the elevator, running all over the concierge area, spilling their food & drinks.

I also missed having the VCR in the concierge room like they do at the Grand.

OK enough of that. LOL I have some other things I noted but no use complaining now, because they didn't 'ruin the trip', they were just annoyances.

On to more important matters, like the food! LOL

FOOD:

Breakfast: Assorted Danish, cut up fruit such as honeydew, cantaloupe, grapes, strawberries; also whole fruits - apples, bananas, oranges & grapefruits; yogurt, bagels, English muffins, dried fruits, 4 different cold cereals (Froot Loops, Frosted Flakes, Raisin Bran & one other one); muffins - blueberry & bran. Also coffee, tea, oj, water & milks.

Afternoon: 4 types of cookies - Macadamia Nut sugar cookie; oatmeal raisin, peanut butter and chocolate, with white chocolate chips (definitely the best, imho!LOL) There was the always present whole fruit, and lemonade, sodas, and bottled waters.

Cocktail hour/early evening: This varied from day to day. During my stay, some of the offerings were: 3 different types of sushi one day; brownies; cookies again; cheese/crackers/veggies & dip one day; a marinated olive salad one day; a pasta w/marinara sauce one day; the eggrolls that are served in Ohanas', which are GOOD.

Later in the evening: There were the four cookies again, as well as the fresh pineapple & caramel dessert thing like they have at Ohana's; coconut tarts; the banana tarts; M & M's & Gummies for the kids, brownies for the kids, as well as several different liquers - Grand Marnier, Bailey's, Courvosier (sp?), Amaretto. I just wanted a glass of Cabernet, so I asked & they obliged. One thing that was really really cute -- the CM in charge of setting this up this evening had done all these little 'carvings' out of fruits!! For example - a banana done as an octupus, an apple carved like a dragon, a grapefruit like Pikachu, another apple like a swan, etc!! I do have pictures that I'll get up on photopoint eventually! LOL

I'll just end this here (before I REALLY make you Poly lovers mad! LOL) and if anyone has any more specific questions, feel free to ask. Don't get the totally wrong impression - I had a decent stay here. But for me personally, it wasn't that "Ahhhhhh .. I'm at my second home" , with a warm warm welcome and the service to match that welcome, type feeling that I get when I walk into the Grand, that's all.

Dining Report

Here's the dining portion of my trip report

I guess I should apologize up front for how long it is! LOL

Cindy's Castle (MK) (breakfast) - This was the first character meal of the trip. I've done this a couple of times before, and you can't beat the atmosphere here! The food was the same as always - Eggs, sausage, cheesey home fries, French toast made of cheese danish & fruit for the adults, and a choice of waffles or pancakes for the kids - although they did allow my son to have scrambled eggs, since that's what he wanted this time. The food is fine - not outstanding, but adequate. I'd say if you have girls, this is sort of a 'must do' ... but do it for the atmosphere, and not the food, quite honestly.
Kona Cafe - (Polynesian hotel) (lunch) - This was a first for me, and I'd been dying to try it ... it didn't disappoint! Really great place for lunch!! The decor is reminiscent of ... Citrico's, CA Grill, Flying Fish, on a smaller scale. I had the Kona Crab Cakes, and they were darned good!! Dave had the Chicken Wings and these were OUTSTANDING!! LOL Yes I am shouting, they were that good! Just the right amt of crispiness & sweetness. We both had the Beef Teriyaki Salad, which was a field greens type salad, with strips of Teriyaki marinated beef & cheddar cheese in it. It was good, and a large portion too. Evan had the kid's spaghetti & meatballs and ate every bit. I also had a Mai Tai. The food was all MOST satisfactory! LOL The service was a bit spotty to be honest, but I would go back here again. They had some absolutely incredible dessert creations (also took pics of these! LOL) but I was just too stuffed to try them.
Diamond Horseshoe Revue (MK) - This was a snack stop for us, but I figured I'd mention it anyway. Great root beer floats, and pretty good chili too! Really, for a good snack, or a lighter meal, it's not a bad choice at all. It's airconditioned, you have entertainment, and it's nostalgic.
Chef Mickey's (Contemporary hotel) (dinner) - Chef Mickey's is .. Chef Mickey's!LOL I can go here and eat nothing but mashed potatoes honestly! No I did have a few other things, but not much. This isn't a huge favorite of mine .. that's not to say I HATE it or anything .. it's amusing .. the first 20 times! LOL BUT .. it was Dave's choice, so .. I complied , is the best way to put it! LOL The food hasn't changed, so unless someone has NO idea of what they have on the buffet, I won't bother listing it all here.
Donald's Breakfastasaurous (AK) - You know, I've read a pretty fair amt of negativity about this place on the boards here ... but I had to try it anyway! LOL I have to say ... I'm really glad I DID try it, because I liked it - a lot!!! I thought the CM interaction, play with the kids & families was particularly good!!! In fact, just about the best of any of the character buffet meals! Those guys were great! Lots & lots of joking around with Evan, with me too! I dont' want to give away exactly what they did, because it would spoil it! LOL As for the food, I thought it was good also. It contained : western omelet; bacon; sausage; plain scrambled eggs; corned beef hash; hash browns; pancakes; french toast; several different flavored syrups; fruit; cottage cheese; grits; biscuits & gravy; cold cereals; yogurt; juices.
Pizzafari (AK) (lunch) - I was a bit disappointed to find that they no longer have the Veggie Pizza here. Even though I went thru it & picked off all the onions! LOL I really did like this! Instead I tried the Italian Cold Cut sandwich this time, and it was tasty! Dave & Evan got Cheese Pizza's, and we sort of split things up.
Citricos (Grand Floridian) (dinner) - This is one of my favorites. I know that people are certainly aware of it's existance, but honestly, I've only rarely seen it crowded. I'm not sure whether that's good or bad! LOL This trip didn't disappoint either, though I will say it was odd, sitting in the dining room with all of the windows blocked out due to the rennovations going on in the main building. What they've done in here (as in other spots as well) is to put a covering on the window that's actually a photograph of outdoor views around the Grand's grounds! Clever, and it's not unattractive. I had, for an appetizer: Vichysoisse - just about my favorite soup, and it's not often that I get to have this. Their version was slightly unusual in that it had more pureed leeks than usual, and this gave the soup a rather greenish color - but the taste was great. Even Evan had some of this and he liked it too. My entree was something I haven't had since my first trip there (think that's when I had this) and that's the Veal Shank. This is SUCH a succulent wonderful dish - the meat is sooooo tender & perfectly cooked it literally falls off the bone with the touch of your fork. It's served over Orzo pasta/rice, which is mouth wateringly good when you scoop out the marrow from the shank bone & spoon it over the Orzo!! Dave had the Shrimp Cocktail, and for his meal, the Beef Tenderloin. Evan had the Bow Tie Pasta w/Marinara sauce from the kid's menu. Oh and I had the wine pairings with my meal also, but unfortunately I didn't write down what they were .. and once I got back to the room, I'd had too many & didn't remember what they were!! As for desserts, Dave & Evan didn't stay for this, so I had dessert alone, which was HEAVENLY!!!!!!!!!!!! Chocolate Ravioli's filled with Chocolate Mousse and a Sambuca flavored ice cream with them!!!
Minnie's Miniheune Character Breakfast - This was another CB I hadn't been to up until now. It wasn't bad, I'm glad we got to see it, but honestly, with all the other choices I don't think I'd go again. The food was served family style, in a big wok, and included: Scrambled eggs, ham, sausage, biscuits, fruit & pineapple & coconut bread.
Marrakesh (in Morocco, Epcot) (lunch) - This is a sort of hidden gem I think. it's a gorgeous place inside, with all the cool tile work, and it's never crowded, at least not any time I've ever eaten here. I had as an appetizer, the Beef Brewat - a finely ground beef layered between phyllo dough & sprinkled with powdered sugar. Sounds odd, but it's delicious! Dave had a Veggie Salad - he didn't care for it, but I did! For my meal, I had the Chicken shish ke bab with Veggie Couscous - this is my favorite there!! The chicken is marinated then grilled, and a light sauce is poured over it onto the couscous. Dave had the Beef Shish Ke bab & Evan had the kid's hamburgers in this really tasty tomato sauce. Naturally I had 2 glasses of the Moroccan equivalent of Cabernet - a GREAT wine!!! I discovered it at the F&W Festival 2 yrs ago and really like it!
Le Cellier (Canada, Epcot) (dinner) - This place has become SO popular!! (probably from all the talk of cheese soup on these boards! LOL) It was one of the few places that we actually had to wait a little while for our PS. Not terribly long, and I didn't mind really, because it's cool, dark and air conditioned. The decor in here is very cozy I think, and though I've never been to WDW in the dead of winter, I imagine Le Cellier would be even more wonderful then! I, of course, had the Cheese Soup to start! and Evan did too. Now I've got the recipe for this, and have made it several times at home. I'm a pretty good cook, but somehow .. it tastes so much better here! LOL Dave had a Shrimp Cocktail. They place 3 different kinds of bread sticks on the table - a multi grain, a sourdough and the pretzel bread. I know I've read raves about the pretzel bread, but ... I liked the multi grain better. For my entree, I had the Mushroom Stuffed Filet, which comes with Parmesan Mashed Potatoes (not the same as Chef Mickeys) and Mixed Veggies fantastic!! Sorry but imho, the steak here beat the Yachtsman's by a MILE!!! LOL Evan had the child's steak, and Dave had the Porterhouse steak, which looked like it could feed a family!!! I had 2 glasses of a nice Canadian Cabernet with dinner, and we all had dessert too. Evan's was adorable - a child sized strawberry shortcake, sort of shaped like a snake! I took pics of it, and they'll be on photopoint shortly. Dave & I both got a mixed fruit cobbler, with vanilla ice cream. For a hearty, VERY filling meal, this is a wonderful choice!!
Polynesian Room Service (breakfast) - Room service is an indulgence I really do enjoy! LOL and it was even easier to do so being here on the Grand Plan! This morning, I had their version of Eggs Benedict, which came with "Island Potatoes" - basically just chunks of roasted pototoes, not very seasoned. The eggs benedict was ok - the hollandaise sauce really tasted more like .. cheez whiz or something! LOL and could've been a lot better. Dave & Evan had just sides of bacon and bagels & cream cheese, which were fine.
Concourse Steakhouse (Contemporary) (lunch) - The soup of the day was an Asparagus/Crab bisque and BOY was it good!! It's been several years since I've eaten here and the food was quite good. For lunch, I had the special entree of the day also, which was sort of like an Empanada - really well seasoned, rather spicy ground beef, wrapped in a dough with a spicy, thin creamy red sauce poured in a ribbon over it. I skipped dessert because I was stuffed! LOL Oh & I did have a glass of Sterling merlot with this as well.
California Grill (Contemporary)(dinner) - Totally fab & wonderful & great as always! LOL As you all know, I'm a HUGE fan of this place and it didn't disappoint me!! I LOVE the fact that you can get ANY and I do mean ANY of the offerings from the wine list by the glass. Since it was my birthday, I ... well I truly chowed down here! LOL I skipped the sushi this time (in honor of you Wendy! LOL ) and had the 3 cheese & pesto flatbread appetizer. Of course I didn't finish it since I was alone so I took it back to the room & stuck it in the fridge! For dinner, I also went traditional and had the Pork Tenderloin - which I've had before and it was heavenly!! It's marinated, then cooked with a slightly sweet sauce, served with balsamic vinegar cooked mushrooms & luscious polenta! Dessert was this really cool creation! LOL of Key Lime filling, between layers of hardened meringue and raspberries, blackberrries & blueberries, and a berry sauce over it!!!! The whole meal was wonderful! :)
Crystal Palace (MK) (Breakfast) - This is one of my favorites, along with Spoodles, for a buffet breakfast in WDW. I pretty much have a meal here every time I go. It's always good, lots of food and it's a lovely place inside. The items on the buffet were the same as always, that being: a veggie Frittata, regular hash browns, Prime Rib Hash, scrambled eggs, omelets to order, cheese hash browns, biscuits & gravy, grits, oatmeal, breakfast pizza, waffles, pancakes, tons of fruit, pastry,muffins, bagels, english muffins, breads, breakfast lasagna (sweet, custardy), yogurts.
Liberty Tree Tavern (MK) (lunch) - This isn't a character lunch, as the other meals are here - it's just ala carte - and it was pleasant! This is a very attractive space inside and they did a great job reproducing an authentic colonial feel. I've been to many places in Williamsburg and this is just like them inside! It's also a nice break from the heat & crowds to have waiter service. I had a salad to start, as did Dave. Got a really really good Reuben sandwich for lunch!! I didn't expect it to be great but it really was! Evan had Mac & cheese (that seemed to be a theme with him this trip! LOL) and Dave had the turkey dinner thing and they both enjoyed their meals.
Narcoossee's (Grand Floridian)(dinner) - It's been a while since I've eaten here, and I was glad to come back. This is a nice spot and when there aren't construction things going on, it will again actually be a decent place to catch the MK fireworks from a distance too! I had a chilled Lobster salad for dinner, and a light entree - a Tagliatelle (sp?) Pasta with shrimp, tomatoes, artichokes and a garlic cream sauce. Very tasty! Dave had the "Crab & Shrimp tower" also served cold, and the steak & lobster for his entree, which he said was good. Evan had -- you guessed it! LOL Pasta! with meat sauce this time. I'd overheard the waiter telling the next table about the desserts so I had to have one! LOL It was really unusual and very good - a cheesecake flavored lightly with Earl Grey tea!!! YUM! I'm a big big tea drinker so I thoroughly enjoyed this.
Captain Cook's (Polynesian) (lunch) - I wasn't too thrilled with it here at all. Granted, I got a burger & fries only, but the burger was tough, way way burnt and the service was lousy! LOL The people here seemed that they could care less about their job and really, it wasn't very "Disney-esque" at all! This was my experience each time I went in here too.
Hoop Dee Do - (Ft Wilderness) (dinner) - As I wrote in the other report, this was a great show! and I was surprised that the food wasn't too bad either! A family style serving of salad is brought first, with an Italian dressing on it that was good, and fresh bread & honey butter also. For the meal, you get GOOD fried chicken, ribs (I didn't eat these) baked beans and corn too. For dessert, it's also family style strawberry shortcake and I was SO stuffed from the chicken I ate only a bit of this dessert but it was decent too.
The Land Pavilion (Epcot)(snack) - This was just sort of an inbetween meal snack here (for me anyway!LOL) I had one of the baked potatoes w/bacon, cheese & broccoli and of course a chocolate chip cookie. Ate all the cookie, and half the potato! LOL Dave & Ev had the chicken soup which was yummy!! and Dave said the tuna sandwich was great - I wouldn't know because I HATE them! LOL
Alfredo's (Italy - Epcot)(lunch) - If for no other reason, go here to drool over the waiters ladies! LOL ;o) Naah go for the food too - it wasn't bad at all! It's been a LONG LONG time since I ate here - I'll bet 10 yrs!! - because I have so many good Italian places at home I usually just don't bother. The service was VERY NICE () and efficient too. We all 3 shared the Antipasta Misto appetizer, which was fried calamari, proscuitto, some fruit, fresh parmesan, fresh mozarella & tomatoes, olives & roasted peppers, all of which were well prepared. For my entree, I had the Tricolore Pasta, which was linguine w/pesto & pine nuts, lasagna & fettucine alfredo. The lasagna was good, the others were too! No way did I finish it all! LOL but I wanted to leave room for dessert. Dave had the Veal Parmigan w/roasted potatoes, spinach & carrots - he said it was good, not outstanding but good. Evan had the child's fettucine and he loved it. Their gelato special was Pistachio so I got a serving -- WOW!! Now I love this in Italy and let me tell you .. it was as good here as it is there!! perfect!!
Rose & Crown (England- Epcot)(dinner) - First I have to say, we had wonderful service here! Such super friendly servers - they really stand out in my memory. Now this is well into the trip, and being on the Grand Plan is beginning to take it's toll on all of our appetites! LOL I'm not complaining at ALL but I can only eat so much! So again we shared an appetizer. It was the fruit & cheese platter, which contained a great blue cheese, a medium cheddar cheese, grapes, strawberries & Carr's water crackers. Went perfectly with the "Hooch's Brew" that I tried. This is like an alcoholic lemonade and it was very refreshing!! I hate beer, ale, any of that, and the waitress suggested this and I loved it! I'd like to find it around home somewhere! For dinner, I had the "Pie Sampler" which consisted of Steak & Mushroom pie (YUM!!!!!!) Cottage Pie (grd beef, mashed potatoes baked on top) and Chicken & Leek pie, which was good too!! She even brought me a side of Yorkshire pudding! LOL I LOVE this and she heard me talking about it to Evan, so just took it upon herself to surprise me with it! Dave had the Prime Rib, that he said was great & Evan had the fish 'n chips and he ate it all! No dessert for me, since I was stuffed!! but Evan got the kid's dessert and it was darling!! They get a plate with a gold cardboard "crown" on it, and a little variety of candies & Teddy Grahams - I think it was called like "crown jewels' or something.
ABC Commissary (MGM)(breakfast) - Simple, quick, easy and pretty decent here. It's counter service, and just a few offerings but they're adequate for an on the run bite. I had the scrambled eggs & bacon (which was surprisingly good); in fact, everyone had the same thing. Hash brown rounds & a biscuit also come with this.
Sci Fi (MGM)(lunch) - If we weren't on the Grand Plan and meals included, I don't know if I would've gone back here, as I think $11 for a burger is a bit much! LOL But we were, so we did! Actually they've added some other items to the menu too since I was here last, but I ended up with a burger anyway, and GOOOOOOD chocolate shake!! We all had that actually. I like these burgers because you can get them cooked to order, which for me is medium rare.
Mama Melrose (MGM)(dinner) - I was a tiny tiny bit disappointed this time, because the potato & bread crumb crusted veal w/salad that I like so much isn't available at dinner, and they wouldn't make it .... the meal did end up being good though. We shared (again!) a 4 cheese pizza as an appetizer (Love pizza could eat it every day!LOL) Dave had the Lobster Ravioli for dinner, which he liked well enough, and I had the Shrimp Risotto w/artichokes, mushrooms & tomatoes - this is VERY GOOD!! and a LARGE portion! If you have 2 people who want this, it is easily shared!! Evan had pizza for dinner too! and no desserts again - I cannot handle all this food! LOL
Wolfgang Puck's (Downtown Disney/Westside)(lunch) - Before we left for this trip, I wasn't sure if the upstairs, more formal part of the restaurant was open for lunch. Turns out that it wasn't, so we ate in the sit down cafe downstairs. They too have a nice by the glass wine list, and I had 2 nice glasses of a Pinot Grigio. Again I made a pig of myself and had a flatbread pizza to start! LOL I got the 4 cheese variety. For lunch, I had the Pumpkin Ravioli w/marscapone cheese, pine nuts & browned butter - OHHH!!! out of this world!!! Dave had a Pizza Margherita & a shrimp salad club, and Evan had .. yep, mac & cheese! LOL For dessert, I had the vanilla creme brulee and I have to say .. it was about the worst I've ever had! LOL Evan's sorbets were much better. But dessert's not the important part to me, so this meal was a HUGE success. Excellent!!!
Flying Fish (Boardwalk)(dinner) - This is a definite star in the Disney dining skies!! It's the younger, more carefree sister to the California Grill's sleek chic and I really like this place! I started the meal with a Bellini champagne, white peach juice & raspberries. For my appetizer, I had the most amazing Lobster appetizer, poached in butter and served atop a small mound of buttery chived mashed potatoes - it truly melted in your mouth. I could've had a double order of this for my dinner! Dave actually had the same thing also. For dinner, I had their signature dish - Potato Wrapped Snapper in a merlot reduction w/braised leeks, and it is easy to see why this is a house favorite!!! Dave had the Charred NY Strip Steak and Ev had Pasta with Marinara sauce. And yes, I did have the Chocolate Lava cake with Tarragon Ice cream for dessert - MMMMMMMMM!!!!
Grand Floridian Cafe (Grand Floridian! LOL) (lunch) This is such a nice, quiet, calm, serene place! LOL I try to have lunch here every trip if at all possible. This time, I had the French onion soup, a great!!! steak sandwich with marinated 'shrooms and tea. Dave also had soup - chicken noodle - and a Reuben, and Evan had soup & a kid's pizza.
Well ... it's done! LOL Sorry it was so long everyone!! but I hope it helps others when making their plans. If there are any questions, feel free to ask!

Grand Plan Experience

Up until 2 weeks or so before this trip, which was planned VERY last minute, I've never really thought about doing the Grand Plan. I don't know why! LOL I just never have. Now that I've done it ... sure wish I would've thought about it sooner!! No, I've still not sat down & figured out if it really 'paid' for me to do this package, but I intend to. What I'll do here is type out as best I can what is included in the Grand Plan, and whatever questions anyone has after this, they can feel free to ask. I will say that I believe the Grand Plan changes what it offers from time to time

I don't know how often it changes, but just from speaking with others who've done it in the past, I know what they experienced & what I experienced this time is slightly different.

With the Grand Plan this year, there will be at least two 'gifts' in your room upon arrival these: Grand Plan Gifts As you all know, we were staying at the Poly, and there was also a little wicker "chest" type thing, with snacks in it, waiting after the first day. I'm not sure whether this was because of the GP, or because we were on the concierge level. Now on to what's included (and this applies to each person in the party.)

** Note - alcohol is NOT included in this plan (unforutnately! LOL) I have heard of people being able to include wine pairings with dinner, but it didn't work that way for me.

MEALS/FOOD

Breakfast, which includes one juice, one entree, one hot beverage, one bakery item OR one buffet.
Lunch, which includes one appetizer, one entree, one desseert, one beverage, one coffee/tea
Dinner, same as lunch
TWO snacks, which include one beverage, one appetizer OR entree OR dessert
You can use these at ANY WDW restaurant, including Victoria & Albert's, as well as the Downtown Disney restaurants. You can also use it at Hoop Dee Doo & the Poly Luau.
You cannot use the food portion at:

Chef's Table @ V&A's OR the Chef's Domaine at Citricos
Can't use it to get refillable or any drink in a souvenir glass type things
SOG restaurants, or Swan or Dolphin
Outdoor food carts
In room mini bars
Can't use it for food at recreational rental counters
McDonald's
Can't use it at any of the "official" but non-Disney hotel in the DD area
RECREATION

(for me, this is where I really made the GP pay I think. I would have done all of the restaurants that I did anyway, but likely would not have done some of the recreation things I did.)

You can use/do any of the following, as many of the following, as many times as you would like

Bike Rentals at: BWI, CBR, CS, DL, FW, PO, OKW, WL, DI
Cane Pole Fishing at: BWI, DL, FW, DD Marketplace (includes equipment)
Guided Fishing Excursions at: BWI, Contemp., DL, FW, GF, Poly, PO, WL, YC, BC, DD Marketplace (Note: this includes equipment, boat, guide, refreshments & it runs approx 2 hrs. There's also one specifically for kids 6 - 12 that is also 2 hrs long - however, children may go on the adult excursion also)
Miniature Golf (WinterSummerland or Fantasia)
Golf (You can play any course; you can take private lessons or clinics; all equipments, shoes & electric cart are included.)
Horseback Trail Rides
45 min rides (Pony rides available too)
Hay Rides
FW, depart from Pioneer Hall, approx 1 hr long
Health Club
Can use them at: BW, Contemp., CS, GF, OKW, YC, BC, DI
Tennis
You can do private lessons or clinics
Parasailing, Wakeboarding, Water Skiing
Contemporary/Sammy Duvall's
Watercraft Rentals
You can rent: Water Mice, canopy boats, pontoon boats, canoes, pedal boats & sailboats. The "Grand I" & "Breathless" are NOT incld. You can rent these at: CBR, Contemp., CS, DL, FW, GF, Poly, PO, OKW, WL, YC, BC, DD Marketplace, DI

TOURS/PROGRAMS

Backstage Safari at AK
Disney's Architecture (starts at DI )
The Magic Behind our Steam Trains at the MK
Gardens of the World at Epcot
Hidden Treasures of World Showcase
Inside Animation at MGM
Keys to the Kingdom
Camp Disney
Disney's Family Magic
Behind the Seeds
Any of the DI programs (for as long as they're still running I guess - read on the boards here somewhere that this is being discontinued)
(** note - I didn't do any of the tours this trip, and wish I'd had a chance. I've done KTTK & FM before but really .. would like to do them all! LOL I opted instead for the private Golf lessons. Considering what it would've cost for these for my son & I, I really wanted to take advantage of this feature.)

Cirque Du Soleil is also included.
Spa Treatments
one per person per trip, at either the Spa at the GF, or DI.
You get a Fireworks Cruise, on a pontoon boat, at a preset time, for Illuminations 2000
The Disney Millenium Party, which is in Epcot, 2nd floor of Imageworks - described this in my trip report
You get one Leave a Legacy tile, with up to two people on it
Atlantic Dance Hall is included - admission to it only, not the drinks
Babysitting services, either in room or at a kid's club, unlimited
Pick up/ drop off at the airport transport by towncar (Transtar was used)
Do I think it was worth it? For us, yes - BUT that's because we were there for 10 days, and MADE it worth it! LOL By doing lots of recreational things & using the Spa at the Grand.

Would I do it again? Probably yes!! I enjoyed it very much.

How is it priced? I believe it's priced depending on the resort you stay at, but I'm not sure which resorts it's offered it

I believe only at the deluxe's. I don't know the per day price on it however.

I think that's it! LOL If anyone has questions, feel free to ask & I'll try to answer.

Judi Lazoff