View Full Version : Sharon & Evan's Magical Adventure - Day 1

07-22-2009, 09:20 PM
Sunday, May 31st
Hi Ho Hi Ho, It’s off to Play we go

I’m not sure if this could be considered a prelude to Day 1 or not, but the night before was rather fitful. Following my nephew’s graduation on Saturday night, we managed to make it home by 10:00 and finish the last of the packing (sans bathroom stuffs) very quickly. Evan left to go celebrate a friend’s graduation with a promise to not stay out too late.

Knowing I’d re-live the “I’m too excited to sleep” commercial, I opted to take my post-surgery pain and sleep meds. The funny thing about these meds combined (or maybe just the meds in general), is that they do not allow me to rest very well (I can’t help but ask, what’s the point of the sleep meds, then?). I toss and turn every which direction (except I’m unable to sleep on my right side per doctor’s orders), and still notice the porch light on into the wee hours of the morning. I call Evan and we share a few choice words and he assures me he will be up and at ‘em in plenty of time (his alarm was set for 5:30, mine for 6:00). I do finally fall asleep and thankfully, when my alarm goes off at 6:00, the porch light has been turned off so I know he is home, but he is not yet up. I wake him without too much trouble (although I may have been told how mean I was for waking him – how dare I wake him in time to catch a plane for Walt Disney World!) and we scurry to get ready and do the last minute packing in time for our friend Jo to pick us up at 8:00.

We’re almost ready to go, when Evan starts asking about luggage tags. Now, if you’ve read my pre-trip report, or been privy to the surprise resort stay, you know this is exactly what I had dreaded, but fully expected. I tell him there’s something I need him to look at first and I pull out this poem that I have written to clue him in on where we’ll stay for the next 7 nights:

This trip is special, this trip is neat.
Because you’re 21, this trip is unique.

Drinks all around, don’t fall to the floor.
A drink around The World, is what’s in store.

Kev and Tam, the girls and Dot
You, me, and Susan, we’ll hit every spot.

Magical moments await us at every turn.
Be sure to wear sunscreen – you remember last year’s burn?

We love Walt Disney World, yes, this is true.
I wouldn’t have it any other way, than to celebrate with you.

But there is a confession I simply must make,
One that I hope you will graciously take.

You see, our resort, the one I told you about …
Does have a beach and plenty of water about.

But I’ve pulled a fast one, too quick for your eyes,
With the deal I found, I just had to buy!

You see, at this resort, the one where we’ll really stay,
You can get yourself a Dole Whip any time of day.

It’s a tropical paradise, waiting just for us,
The torch-lighting ceremony is an absolute must.

Upon arrival, we’ll both get lei’d,
Couldn’t find our Hawaiian shirts, I’m sure that’s okay.

A short monorail or boat ride, to the Magic Kingdom we’ll go.
Or sit on the beach and watch the skies over the castle glow.

We’ll lie in a hammock and have a cold drink.
You’re 21 now, it’ll be a pina colava, don’t you think?

Aloha and Mahalo are heard all around,
Not to mention the train whistle from the MK will sound.

‘Ohana and Kona are but a short walk away,
Our adventure begins this last day of May.

Yes, it’s true, we are staying at one of our dream resorts,
The decision was mine – I hope you don’t retort.


Luckily, my camera is sitting on the kitchen counter (as the battery has been charging overnight) and I grab it and start snapping as he reads on. His smile grows with each verse of the poem and he figures out pretty quickly that our destination is none other than the Poly.

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07-22-2009, 09:26 PM
It’s not long after this, that the doorbell rings and Jo is at the door. We say some quick hello’s and I hurry to get the Magical Express (ME) luggage tag onto Evan’s bag, crate the dogs, and get out the door. We make a stop at Starbucks (must have coffee!) and we enjoy our ride to the airport (this should surprise none of you).

We are flying Southwest this trip and check-in goes very quickly, as does our trip through Security. By the time we make our way to the gate, it is 9:00 and our flight is scheduled for a 9:45 departure. We each make a pit stop and barely have time to warm up our seats before they announce boarding. We’ve managed to get group A seating and it doesn’t take long before we’re settled into our seats. We push back from the gate 10 minutes early – it’s a full flight and the fact that every single person on the plane has managed to arrive on time seems to be a miracle – then again, I have to remember this is a non-stop flight to Orlando, home of The Mouse! Our flight is fairly smooth, with just a smidge of turbulence thrown in for good measure. Evan (who later tells me he got home around 4:00 a.m.) sleeps, and I listen to my iPod, doze off and on, and read just a bit. Our course takes us over Tampa and we are lucky to be seated on the side of the plane from which we can see the Walt Disney World resort – we spy the Magic Kingdom hub and Seven Seas Lagoon and if I squinted really hard, I could see the Poly! We land 30 minutes early and that happens to be the same amount of time it takes us to make our way to ME check-in, wait for a bus, and grab a seat on said bus. We are happy to be riding on one of the actual ME busses (as opposed to the generic Mears’ busses that don’t show the cute video to kick-off the holiday in the proper manner), and even happier when our driver tells us the Poly is the first stop and we should arrive there in approximately 20 minutes!

When we arrive at the Poly, you couldn’t pay us money to wipe the grins from our faces! I have to stop and take a picture with the welcoming committee.

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We walk directly to the front desk for guests who have checked in on-line and are greeted not with our first “Aloha”, but probably our 3rd (as the gentlemen standing at Bell Services have been the first and second to greet us in the manner in which we would become very accustomed to throughout our stay). We are given the obligatory welcome packet, arrange for charging privileges, receive our lei’s, and told our room isn’t ready, but that we will be placed in the Tokelau longhouse – the exact location I had requested! They would not, however, give us our room number and we are asked to call back. We rearrange a few things from our carry-ons and leave a bag with Bell Services before we head upstairs for lunch at Kona Café.

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I decide to try and listen to my doctor and order what I think will be soft food - the shrimp coconut curry soup and an order of crab cakes as my meal. Evan orders the Kona Burger (bacon cheeseburger) and fries. Our waitress seems a bit distracted as we are trying to give her our order while she is busy watching other guests get up and change tables – out of her section. The fact that our order came out correctly still amazes me. Her service was poor at best and after we witnessed one of the staff from the podium reprimanding her for something, we scarcely saw her. Nonetheless, the food was excellent. My thanks to Dina for the soup recommendation – it was heavenly!

We have plans to meet our friends, the Stringers and Susan (from England and Oklahoma, respectively) at some point this evening and exactly how and when that will happen depends on what Evan and I decide to do upon arrival. We decide to soak up a little of the atmosphere and head out past the Volcano pool and down to the beach. We find an empty swing directly in front of one of the Theme Park View longhouses and quickly throw off our shoes and get comfortable. We have a perfect view of the Grand Floridian, the water launches (both at the Poly and the ferry which travels to the TTC from the Magic Kingdom), the Contemporary, Space Mountain, and most importantly, The Castle. With our toes in the sand, we gaze at that beautiful structure for a long time. I made some phone calls to let friends know we had arrived and what a wonderful view we had in front of us.

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We decide to make our way to Epcot and the only way to do this is by way of the monorail. After a couple of wrong turns, we manage to stumble upon the pathway to the TTC and just miss a monorail. The joy in this is that we are able to sit with the pilot on the next one. We stroll through Epcot, all the while trying to call Susan (who has a cell phone and who will be our main point of contact as the Stringers were unable to activate their trac phone). After our obligatory stop in the Art of Disney (Evan is fixated with this store!), Susan returns our call just before we are headed in to ride Journey into Imagination. The Stringers are at the pool and she promises to get back to us when she can find them and we will firm up our plans. She has managed to track them down before we even finish the ride (and there is less than a 1-minute wait!) and we agree to call when we get into the Magic Kingdom later.

Next it’s off to World Showcase, passing through Mexico first and picking up a couple of margaritas along the way. When we arrive at our destination (the American Gardens Theatre), I hear music and there is a line forming. We get in line, assuming this is for the 5:45 show – but are told they have changed the show times and the 5:15 show is going on now and the next show is not due to begin until 6:30. Thankfully, Evan doesn’t throw too big of a fit about waiting as the Flower Power Concert guest for this weekend is none other than my childhood crush, Tony Orlando.

While waiting, I put in a call to the Poly and our room is ready – Room 2911 (Tokelau). Now … I have no idea whether this a good thing or a bad thing, but I’m hoping for a sprinkling of pixie dust over this room assignment.

When we get into the theater, we manage to get a seat pretty close to the stage and we warn the people sitting next to us that we may sneak out after he sings his hits – we are anxious to see our friends and can’t wait to get to the MK. Evan judges that he is the youngest person in the crowd and I must be the second-youngest. He cannot fathom why I must see this man. The couples on either side of us, one from Orlando and one who used to live in the northeast and now also resides in Orlando, both convince him he will enjoy this as Tony apparently puts on quite a good show. Boy were they right! Tony’s band is excellent and the fact that he doesn’t sing a single one of his hits (he sings all cover songs, beginning with a Led Zeppelin song that immediately peaks Evan’s interest) is okay too. Even Evan enjoys it.

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07-22-2009, 09:32 PM
Another monorail ride later, and we manage to find Tokelau without too much trouble (did I mention I am directionally-challenged?). As we looked at the range of room numbers, I knew our room would be closer to the lagoon side than to the other (private pool/garden view) side. We walked down the hall, and walked some more. The more we walked, the more excited I became, and I could barely contain that excitement as Evan announced each room number as we passed because I knew the longer we walked, the better our chances of having a partial lagoon view. We were four doors down from the end of the building and thus, the end of the lagoon. When we walked in, we marveled at the size of the place and immediately knew we’d be spoiled forever. I darn-near knocked Evan over as I sprinted towards the balcony and opened the curtains. With about as much annoyance in his voice as he could muster, he asked what I was doing. I asked him to join me on the balcony and all he could say was “WOW! Wow Mom! Look Mom! WOW!” (oh – and by the way, our bags had already been delivered.)

Looking to the right (towards the castle – I suspect it is just beyond these palms).

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Looking towards the left and the quiet pool.

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If you look closely, you can even see the Grand Floridian through the trees (looking slightly to the right).

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After unpacking and freshening up (and yes, taking another look off of our balcony and pinching ourselves), we’re on our way to the MK via the Poly’s boat launch. It’s a nice evening – very comfortable out and I couldn’t think of a better way to be transported to the MK (well … except the monorail … or maybe the ferry from the TTC).

It’s always exciting to get that first glimpse of the castle and this trip proves to be no different (well … the first glimpse from inside the MK itself. J). Once we make our way past the entrance plaza, Evan repeatedly says “Look Mom – the castle.” This is without a doubt our favorite structure in all of Walt Disney World and we both smile and giggle over the fact that we’re “home.” There are people lining up for Wishes already, so Main St. seems a bit crowded. The plan is for us to meet the Stringers/Susan in Fantasyland, so we maneuver through crowds as quickly as possible and try to call Susan as we enter near the teacups. And try again. And again. All the while keeping our eyes out for them. Evan and is getting anxious and so am I. It’s been five years since we’ve seen our friends and we can’t wait to get this party started! My phone finally rings and they are on Main St.. It seems they walked into Crystal Arts just in time for a glass-blowing demonstration and they’re all fascinated and unable to move. Back to Main St. we go. When we walk in to Crystal Arts, we first spot Tammy, who in turn spots us and nearly knocks over every person in her path to get to us with the others following closely behind. Before the hugging and kissing commence, she’s sure to ask which is the “good cheek” and she hugs me on the left side (my fracture was on the right side). Afterwards, it’s a series flailing arms and showing of teeth. The last person to reach us is Dot, Kevin’s mom and someone who Evan and I both adore. She is 84 years old and just an absolute fireball (her favorite ride in all of Walt Disney World - Tower of Terror – enough said)!

Our party of 8 finds a perfect spot in the center of Main St. to watch Wishes together. I think everyone in our group is smiling. Afterwards, it’s a quick walk to Casey’s for dinner. Most everyone from the English contingent gets hot dogs, while the American contingent opts for corn dog nuggets. We manage to get the Brits to try the corn dog nuggets and they are all intrigued, but I think decide they like hot dogs much better. Now I’m not quite sure if corn dog nuggets could be considered soft food and to be fair to my doctor, I did not finish my whole order. They were a little on the crispy side (and certainly not the best corn dogs in the world – yes, I am in fact, a connoisseur), so small bites are definitely necessary. The French fries go down smoothly though. We catch up over dinner and already are sharing loads of laughs.

It’s Extra Magic Hours at the MK tonight and I promised a CM friend, Jim, that I would come see him at the Tomorrowland Speedway. I don’t exactly know where he’s working and we find out he’s loading vehicles. So we must ride if we want to see him! It’s been 21 years since I’ve ridden this ride and no one else has ever ridden it (except maybe Susan). Kevin declares this is the biggest waste of space in all of Disney World, but resigns himself to riding once his wife agrees to do so. I finagle my way to Jim’s side of the Speedway so that I can see him directly. Evan gets his attention first and when he yells “Jim!”, Jim is shocked to see how much Evan has grown. We quickly give Jim big hugs (it’s been five years since we’ve seen him as well) and we’re off to race on the speedway. We all ponder how many brain cells are being killed by inhaling the fumes from the cars. I think this is a fun enough ride, but not fun enough to stand in line for it again. Jim tells us he will be off work at 10:00 and asks if we can stop back by. He’s unable to go anywhere with us because he didn’t bring any other clothes (so can’t walk around in his uniform). I agree I’d like to catch up a little more.

Next up is Buzz Lightyear and we have just a small wait before we’re riding. Susan and I ride together and she ends up with the high score of all of us, shaming the men with her score of 551,000 plus! How she did it, we’re unsure, but we were both shocked by it – she tried to take a picture of it, but it didn’t come out (or the scores were erased by the time she snapped the pic); I, however, will gladly vouch for her. Neither Kevin or Evan won their bet as neither bet that Susan would win!

On our way to Fantasyland, we stop briefly and chat with Jim, who is working the front of the ride now. He updates us on his kids and again says how he can’t believe how much Evan has grown. Because we’re anxious to keep moving, we make plans to meet with Jim on Friday in Epcot and say our good-byes.

In Fantasyland, we see that Peter Pan’s Flight has a 30-minute wait – and we continue on to Haunted Mansion. This is a walk-on and we love riding this in the dark. The Stringers/Susan are impressed with the changes and point out some additional new things that Evan and I had not noticed last year. The ride was delayed while we were in the dining room and it was great to really study everything about it.

Big Thunder Mountain is always fun to ride in the dark, so to Frontierland we go. Tam and I end up in the very last seat with Kev and one of the girls sitting in front of us. A warning to Kev not to flail his arms too wildly, lest he smack me in the face. He tests this before we pull away from the platform and insists this is not physically possible. We hoop and holler throughout the ride (what else would you do on the wildest ride in the west?) and arms are up, but not flailing, as well. Splash Mountain is next, except Tam and I decide to sit this one out as walking around in wet clothes doesn’t appeal to either of us and after an incident on Kali River Rapids several years ago in which Tam and I got soaked to our undergarments, we think it best not to tempt fate on water rides. Dot joins us and we grab drinks at Pecos Bills while we wait for the other brave adventurers. Much to our surprise, they arrive seemingly dry (except for Evan and Susan’s backsides, which were the target of a sheet of water at some point). We decide that no EMH at the MK is complete without a ride on Pirates of the Caribbean. We (at least the women-folk) love the Jack Sparrow additions. We stop for a bit of fun in the shop on the way out where Kevin dons a Capt. Jack hat, complete with dreds. We are told he has been waiting for Evan to arrive before he would do this – so the two of them can swashbuckle together, I guess. These photos courtesy of Susan.

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A leisurely stroll through Adventureland leads us to Main St. and more importantly, to the Main St. Bakery. Oddly enough, I don’t think I’ve ever been in here and Susan’s description of the cinnamon rolls have me frothing at the mouth. Unfortunately, at half-past midnight, there are no more cinnamon rolls to be had. Evan partakes in two different kinds of goodies.

We agree to meet the very weary Stringer/Yates clan for our 9:50 ADRs at Kona in the morning. Bless ‘em, they were totally worn out now having officially entered week two of their trip. I don’t recall what mode of transportation we used to return “home”, but whatever it was, it was only a short ride later and we were back at our already-beloved Poly. As we finish unpacking, Tam calls (or as they say “rings us”) and says they are too pooped to pop and won’t make tomorrow’s ADR after all. Evan and I will, given the short walk to Kona, not to mention that we love the breakfast offerings there. We were to bed way too late (sometime around 1:30 I believe), and were off to Neverland shortly.

07-23-2009, 02:07 AM
Terrific report. Precious pictures of Evan learning about the surprise stay at the Polynesian. Have to say about the shots of Kevin and Evan in pirate hats--the most danger from those two "pirates" is the possibility that seeing them in those hats might make a person laugh themselves to death. By the way, don't you think that "Kevin and Evan" sounds like a 60's group that could have been the opening act for Tony Orlando?

07-23-2009, 03:15 AM
I'm going to respond to the poem before going on to read your second post. You've made me cry and laugh at the same time. I'm an emotional mess! There I was, with tears streaming down my face as I read the unfolding clues to your destination, until I reached this line:

Upon arrival, we’ll both get lei’d,


I literally laughed out loud at this. Actually, I think I guffawed. I'm not sure whether or not you intended it to be funny - I'm guessing you did - but either way, it's made my day!

07-23-2009, 03:37 AM
Tony Orlando, eh? Now Donny Osmond or David Cassidy I could get behind, but Tony Orlando? Really? ;)

That view from the Poly is pretty special. I always think this is one resort where I wouldn't mind having a ground floor room. I once read the trip report of someone who had one overlooking the Magic Kingdom. I don't think I'd want to leave my patio.

You certainly packed a lot into your first day and I'm loving seeing your photos.

07-23-2009, 03:48 AM
wow, what a fab 1st day. poly looks amazing

Tammy Stringer
07-23-2009, 07:48 AM
Great first day Sharon and lovely photos.

Have to agree your room at the Poly had a wonderful location

Can't wait to read more


Kevin Stringer
07-23-2009, 07:53 AM
Enjoying the report Sharon.

It has to be said, Evan and I do make a handsome pair of pirates. :cool1:


07-23-2009, 09:26 AM
Now Donny Osmond or David Cassidy I could get behind, . . ..

. . . not if Disney Security saw you first. Stalker!

07-23-2009, 10:36 AM
What a fab surprise, the pics of Evan's face as he realises where he is going are brilliant :thumbsup2

07-23-2009, 12:04 PM
What a great day Sharon. I love the photos of Evan as he realises where you're both staying :thumbsup2

Lovely pics of The Poly too, I can't wait to stay there, even if it's only for two nights :)

07-23-2009, 01:19 PM
Terrific report. Precious pictures of Evan learning about the surprise stay at the Polynesian. Have to say about the shots of Kevin and Evan in pirate hats--the most danger from those two "pirates" is the possibility that seeing them in those hats might make a person laugh themselves to death. By the way, don't you think that "Kevin and Evan" sounds like a 60's group that could have been the opening act for Tony Orlando?

Thanks Susan! I think "Kevin and Evan" could take their act on the road - though I'm not sure that the "who can drink more beer?" tour would draw much of a crowd -- maybe the college set.

07-23-2009, 01:21 PM
I'm going to respond to the poem before going on to read your second post. You've made me cry and laugh at the same time. I'm an emotional mess! There I was, with tears streaming down my face as I read the unfolding clues to your destination, until I reached this line:


I literally laughed out loud at this. Actually, I think I guffawed. I'm not sure whether or not you intended it to be funny - I'm guessing you did - but either way, it's made my day!

Thanks Deb! Hope you didn't have anything liquid in your mouth at the time!

07-23-2009, 01:23 PM
Tony Orlando, eh? Now Donny Osmond or David Cassidy I could get behind, but Tony Orlando? Really? ;)

Yes, really. How do you feel about Willie Aames? ;)

07-23-2009, 01:24 PM
Thanks for the kind words everyone.

Mandy - you'll LOVE the Poly! It's beautiful! And you simply must have a Pina Colava for me when you go!

07-23-2009, 03:21 PM
Your description of the Poly has got me even more excited about staying there.

07-23-2009, 05:25 PM
I loved your poem and the pictures of Evan as the surprise dawned on him!
The Poly sounds like a fantastic place to stay . . . . we'll make it there one day!!

07-27-2009, 06:47 AM
Great first day and some awesome pictures!

All Star Paul
07-28-2009, 10:51 AM
Great trip report Sharon. I read Kevin's report a while ago and enjoyed it very much and its fascinating to see it from your point of view. The Poly looks great. I am off to read day 2 now.