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Old 04-22-2012, 12:16 PM   #1
DaveinFallsChurch
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Our First Magical Poly Vacation: April 14-21 2012!

We just returned from our 8-day vacation at Disney and had an absolutely wonderful time! Over the next few weeks, I hope to put together a nice trip report mostly as a method of therapy to help me wean off from the week long Disney euphoria. I'm already feeling the effects of withdrawal this morning. Not having any princesses or furry giant creatures greet me while I'm eating my breakfast is just downright depressing.

I'm going to take my time with this one - I learned my lesson from building my PTR when I breezed through the 8 day touring plan in less than 10 days.

Table of Contents

Saturday, April 14th Part I - Get me to SeaWorld!
Saturday April 14th Part II - Shamu Gives us a Proper Welcome!
Sunday, April 15th Part I - Aloha!
Sunday, April 15th Part II - Loving the Mania
Sunday, April 15th Part III - An Italian Lunch, Ariel Strikes Out, and Exploring Another Dimension
Sunday, April 15th Part IV - Enjoying the Nightlife at MK
Monday, April 16th Part I - A Morning with the Princesses, the Fab Five, and Puddy
Monday, April 16th Part II - Learning How to Say Duuuude, Sound Financial Advice from a Piggy, and Eating like a Canadian
Monday, April 16th Part III -Touring the World and a Meltdown to Remember
Monday, April 16th Part IV - A Birthday Surprise for DW
Tuesday April 17th Part I - Tonga Toast, Main Street, and The Castle. What a way to start the day!
Tuesday April 17th Part II - Flying with Pan, Singing Dolls and Birds, and a Splash Down the Mountain
Tuesday April 17th Part III - Star Light, Star Bright, First Star I See Tonight
Wednesday April 18th Part I - A Poly Sunrise
Wednesday April 18th Part II - Surfing with Lilo and Hanging Loose in the Cabana
Wednesday April 18th Part III - Fun on the Beach and Skipping Across the Pond for a Parade
Thursday April 19th Part I - A Breakfast and Safari in Africa
Thursday April 19th Part II - Partying with Simba and Co., Dino Adventures, and a Beautiful (Concrete) Tree.
Thursday April 19th Part III - Here Come the Birds! And the rain.
Thursday April 19th Part IV - Going Commando for Everest and Boma
Friday April 20th Part I - The Rapunzel Run
Friday April 20th Part II - An Abbreviated MK Day and Dining with the Tremaines
Saturday April 21st Part I - Staying One Step Ahead of the Storm on Our Last Day
Saturday April 21st Part II - Saying Goodbye

If you're interested, the links to my PTR and Live Report are on my sig which can serve as a preview of this TR.

As for my first post, I'm going to give a brief summary report and impressions of the trip and post a few of my favorite pics.

The Polynesian: It was everything I had hoped it to be. Beautiful landscaping. Very friendly staff. Great pool and beach. Wishes from the beach gives a completely different look and feel compared to the views inside MK. Awesome restuarant and shopping options. And being on the monorail. Yes, the room was a little outdated and worn, but in my opinion, you are paying extra for all of the other amenities and services, AND the atmosphere is one of the most unique and other-worldly of all the Disney Resorts.

We found our next resort!:This will be a tough one. We would LOVE to go back to Poly again for our next trip in two years. But we also enjoyed our brief tour of AKL after our dinner at Boma. Both DW and I agreed that we'll have to stay at AKL.

Best Food/Restuarant: Overall, it was Boma by a mile. Actually, we didn't have a bad meal at any of the Disney restaurants we ate at. I ate so much, I'm afraid to step on the scale. Pretty sure gained at least 10 pounds.

Best Character Meal: Best character interactions were at Ohana. The characters took their time with us and we never felt rushed. In fact, three of the four came back again as they were passing by to play with the kids again. Best food for a character meal was at Tusker House.

Best Live Show: FOTLK is still the best one for us. We tried Flights of Wonder for the first time and enjoyed it as well.

Favorite Rides: For DD5 and DS2, it was TSM. For DW and I, it was ToT which we tried for the first time this year.

Best "Celebrity" Moment: When CM Hiram (sp?) from Poly helped me with our bags. He was the CM from one of my favorite youtube videos by Bosox01 who helped out with the pronunciation with Aotearoa Longhouse.

Favorite Moment: Watching Wishes from the Dessert Party with DD on my lap.

Least Favorite Moment: Not being able to go PoTC as each time we went by, the ride was temporarily closed.

Perfect Snack Moment: The enjoying a shaved ice snack while sitting at Japan Pavillion's garden around 3:00pm with temps reaching the upper 80s.

Best Looking Garden at Epcot: Canada.

Longest Line for a Ride: The Seas Pavillion with Nemo which was still only 15 minutes. I don't know what was going on that day but it was also the same day TT started its refurbishment. Anyway, I consider this a success. The Disney Mobile Magic app was a godsend as I could time my fastpass runs with better accuracy by monitoring the return time windows.

Best Souvenir: Mickey Mouse Hands/Gloves.

Overall, everything was GREAT! CMs were once again nice and friendly all around. The weather was warm and hot except the last two days. But the rain actually made our touring a lot easier as it kept the crowds away. Here are a few of my favorite pictures I got to keep you enticed while I work my way to posting our Day 1 happenings. Once thing I learned, I wish I had a bought a better camera instead of our point-and-shoot.

Dumbo's Flight at Night:


Rope Drop at MK:


View from our Illuminations Cruise:


O Canada!


Tree of Life Up Close


While waiting for the Resort Launch Boats at Poly


DD at Poly Beach


Sunrise on Poly Beach


Wishes Dessert Party
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Discovering A Whole New World of Disney - An October Photo Safari 2013: Trip Report /PTR
A Winter Escape to the Enchanted Forest - January 2013 Trip Report/PTR
A Solo Trip to Disneyland 28 years in the Making! A Trip Report for October 16 and 17th, 2012
Our First Magical Poly Vacation! April 14-21, 2012 - Trip Report/ Live Report/ PTR


Last edited by DaveinFallsChurch; 06-27-2012 at 05:40 PM.
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Old 04-22-2012, 01:08 PM   #2
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Old 04-22-2012, 02:09 PM   #3
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I'm joining in! I love first-trip trip reports! Looking forward to reading
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Old 04-22-2012, 03:12 PM   #4
204charity
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Oh Dave - what beautiful pics. (I was lucky enough to see some of those before anyone else!) LOL!

I am very excited to re-live my week in time again with a trip report too. It will certainly be nice to see how our 2 trips compare. LOL!
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Old 04-22-2012, 03:30 PM   #5
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Love your photos of the Poly. My trip in January for marathon weekend, I stayed at the Poly and loved the proximity to everything, plus the wonderful staff. Look forward to reading the rest of your report.
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Old 04-22-2012, 03:37 PM   #6
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Can't wait to read your report! Poly is my dream resort. We stayed at AKL in 2010 and you can't beat it for the price. You can have a club room and/or savannah view for the price of the Poly. You won't be disappointed!
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Old 04-24-2012, 02:41 PM   #7
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I see you will go back in 2 years ~ will you go in April again? We are also planning a 2014 trip, just not sure what time of year yet. A lot will depend on the school schedule. Luckily we had a late spring break this year (I live in AL and most of the schools had their break in March).
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Old 04-24-2012, 02:48 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by auprincess View Post
I see you will go back in 2 years ~ will you go in April again? We are also planning a 2014 trip, just not sure what time of year yet. A lot will depend on the school schedule. Luckily we had a late spring break this year (I live in AL and most of the schools had their break in March).
I don't think we're going to be able to go in April next time but not completely sure. It all depends on what kind of flexibility we have with DD's school schedule. Our spring breaks are always on Easter week so definitely will be avoiding spring break week. I would love to go back during late January like last year, but I really enjoyed using the pool this time around and would like to do that again. So that leaves us with summer months, possibly late August? I know the heat and humidity will be an issue.

So I'm in the same boat as you. Not sure yet.
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Discovering A Whole New World of Disney - An October Photo Safari 2013: Trip Report /PTR
A Winter Escape to the Enchanted Forest - January 2013 Trip Report/PTR
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Old 04-24-2012, 02:58 PM   #9
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Joining in! We took our first trip this last Feb and stayed at the Poly. We loved it so much. I am now planning a trip with my cousin for her graduation and I really can't afford it, but I just can't stray from the Poly! I had such a wonderful time in Feb and I just can't give up the conveniences of the transportation, 24 hr Capt Cooks, etc. So I am along for your TR to get excited for my July trip
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Old 04-24-2012, 03:24 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by DaveinFallsChurch View Post
I don't think we're going to be able to go in April next time but not completely sure. It all depends on what kind of flexibility we have with DD's school schedule. Our spring breaks are always on Easter week so definitely will be avoiding spring break week. I would love to go back during late January like last year, but I really enjoyed using the pool this time around and would like to do that again. So that leaves us with summer months, possibly late August? I know the heat and humidity will be an issue.

So I'm in the same boat as you. Not sure yet.
We've been late January 2 years ~ the crowds were great, but I enjoyed the pool this time too!! It will be hot in August. We actually start school the first week of August, so it's either summer (not what I want to do, IF it is the only option, we would probably go last week of May/first week of June). I'm hoping the girls will have a couple days off in October for a fall break; if they do, I might just pull them out for a few days then.
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Old 04-24-2012, 03:27 PM   #11
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Dave,

What resorts have you guys used over the years?
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November, 2012 - Barcelo Maya Palace, Mayan Riviera, Mexico
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Old 04-24-2012, 03:28 PM   #12
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The intro photos definitely reeled me in :
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Old 04-25-2012, 09:13 PM   #13
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Shamu Gives Us a Proper Welcome

Saturday, April 14th Part II - SeaWorld Afternoon

Now it was time for a lunch break and we decided to try the Voyager Smokehouse. It was mostly BBQ items to pick from. The food was just okay. And I was glad we didn’t purchase the all day dining. The lines were long even if you were getting in one to get just a drink. If we had purchased the dining plan, we would have felt obligated to eat our dinner as well in the park to break even. But since we didn’t enjoy the food all that much, we decided that we would do carry-out at one of the restaurants outside the park after we leave.

After lunch, we headed over to the Wild Artic exhibit. Since DS and DD aren’t tall enough, we skipped the introductory simulator ride and walked straight into the exhibit. I had remembered enjoying this exhibit a lot more the last time. There were fewer active animals but that could have been the timing of the day. The beluga whales were being fed by a couple of visitors who must have signed up for one of the VIP tours. The walruses were just veging out without much movement. I can’t even remember what the polar bear was doing. Napping I think? We got out of the exhibit a lot sooner than I thought and through the exit gift shop. Of course the kids found all sorts of souvenirs they wanted to buy but we had to get going to find a seat at One World (Shamu’s show).

DD once again piped up and said she wanted to sit in the soak zone. So we headed down the stadium and tried to find an available row in the zone that was furthest away from the tank. Once we sat down, we realized we were smack in the middle of the soak zone, and there were water puddles all over the floor. This was going to be a lot wetter than the previous show! I had packed some ponchos for everyone, so I pulled them out of the backpack and everyone put them on except for FIL. He just kind of draped it over his front like an apron. Based on the puddle patterns on the ground, he figured he would be safe from the splashes on his side of the row. Now, I remember being quite disappointed by this show the last time we saw it. There were more video footage than live action. But this time was a completely different story. There were a lot of live action performances by the whales. DW and I talked about it later and she thought this year’s show was a lot more jam packed. We think it was because the last time we were here it wasn’t that long after the tragic accident where one of the trainers was killed and they had just re-configured the show. Anyway, the show was great!



So about half way through the show, DS fell asleep cuddled against DW still wearing his poncho. And a little after that, we reached the splashing part of the show. The first time one of the whales splashed our half of the stadium, it completely missed our section and even areas that did get splashed were a good 5-6 rows below us. So part of me is letting out a relieved sigh as it looked like we would be safe. I could see DD starting to pout again with her arms folded. While the whale was splashing the other half of the stadium, one of the trainers up front pointed to our section and mouthed “Did you guys get splashed?”. Everyone in our section shook their heads no, and the trainer gave us a reassuring thumbs up and mouthed “Get ready”. Even at this point, I was still thinking we were safe. I had my poncho on but not the hood. DD, DW, and sleeping DS had their hoods on. And FIL still had the poncho draped across his lap. As soon as I saw the whale position itself getting ready to splash with its tail, I knew we were going to get soaked. I quickly reached for the hood and tried desperately to cover my head with it but I wasn’t fast enough. Next thing I saw were bucket loads of water hurling straight towards us. We got SOAKED!!! We were all laughing. DS woke up (obviously) with this shell-shocked look at first. DD was giggling at how much Grandpa got wet. And boy, did he. Not only was he not wearing his poncho, but he was practically in the center of the splash! And about two minutes later the whale got us again. The kids loved it. DS, once he regained his equilibrium, all he could talk about after the show was how “Shamu splashed me with water and woke me up!” We all had a great time.



So, here’s a public service announcement. When wearing a poncho while seated in the soak zone, please remember to make sure you have the poncho tucked underneath the seat of your pants and not just flapping in the wind behind you like I did. When the water splashes down, it streams down the back of the bleachers to the seat of the bleachers. And when you forget to tuck in the poncho on your seat but have everywhere else covered, you’ll have a very very heavily soaked spot on your bottom but nowhere else when you take the poncho off. And when you have a very soaked spot on your bottom and nowhere else, it looks like you had an unfortunate accident in your pants. Don’t be that guy who looks like he had an unfortunate accident in his pants! It was very uncomfortable for at least 30 minutes.

After the show, it was time to head towards the meeting place for the start of the “Behind the Scenes Tour.” I had initially bought tickets to the Penguins Encounter Tour as I had noticed that the penguin exhibit was closed for refurbishment. The Penguins tour sounded very interactive and youtube videos showed families interacting and petting penguins and puffins so I thought this would be something the kids would enjoy. Around mid March, SeaWorld Reservations called me to let me know they were no longer offering the penguin tour, but they could sign us up for the Behind the Scenes Tour which included petting a penguin and it was a lot cheaper. Sounded good over the phone so I went with it. Overall, we were a bit underwhelmed by it. Our tour guide was very nice and informative. But I don’t think we got to get as much interaction experience as I would have expected in a 90 minute tour. We got to look at some of the rehab/treatment tanks and heard how some of the turtles and manatees ended up in them. We then drove to the shark building and heard about different shark species. Everyone got a chance to pet a baby tiger shark. Then we went over to the Wild Artic building where we sat in next to the polar bear enclosure and they transported one of the penguins here. Everyone got a chance to pet it. In retrospect, I guess we were getting what we paid for.





Once the tour finished at the Wild Arctic building, we walked over to the Shark Encounter. They have one of those aquariums where you are walking “through it” with the tank extending over the ceilings. It works out great. Then we briefly visited the Sea Lion area and watched for a few minutes. We could tell the kids were starting to get tired and DS was getting very cranky. So we headed towards the exit and stopped at the dolphin nursery for a few minutes, then out the exit. All in all, a fun day at SeaWorld.

We checked in to Buena Vista Suites for one night. We figured since we were spending the whole day off site, might as well save us some money and avoid an extra weekend rate that still fell under the peak period. The room was nice. Had a bed room and a small living room area with a pull out sofa bed. The kids were hungry and so were the grown-ups. While everyone was settling in, I went to Chevy’s near DTD and picked up some carry-out. Much better than what we had in SeaWorld. Everyone was in bed by 8:30pm.

Next Up: Checking in at Poly and DHS!
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All We Want Is To Spend Halloween with Mickey! October 2014 PTR with MiniTRs to Disney Cali Adventure, Oahu, San Diego, and Vegas
Don't Fear the Rain, We have the Ducky of Death! - Jan '14 Trip Report
Discovering A Whole New World of Disney - An October Photo Safari 2013: Trip Report /PTR
A Winter Escape to the Enchanted Forest - January 2013 Trip Report/PTR
A Solo Trip to Disneyland 28 years in the Making! A Trip Report for October 16 and 17th, 2012
Our First Magical Poly Vacation! April 14-21, 2012 - Trip Report/ Live Report/ PTR

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Old 04-25-2012, 09:37 PM   #14
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Glad you all had a nice afternoon at Sea World Dave.
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December, 2010 - Barcelo Maya Tropical, Mayan Riviera, Mexico
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November, 2012 - Barcelo Maya Palace, Mayan Riviera, Mexico
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Old 04-26-2012, 07:08 AM   #15
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Glad you all had a nice afternoon at Sea World Dave.
Thanks Charity! I was sort of surprised how much fewer pics I took at SeaWorld. I've got a lot more pictures on the way for my late night tour of MK and Epcot day coming up so stay tuned!
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All We Want Is To Spend Halloween with Mickey! October 2014 PTR with MiniTRs to Disney Cali Adventure, Oahu, San Diego, and Vegas
Don't Fear the Rain, We have the Ducky of Death! - Jan '14 Trip Report
Discovering A Whole New World of Disney - An October Photo Safari 2013: Trip Report /PTR
A Winter Escape to the Enchanted Forest - January 2013 Trip Report/PTR
A Solo Trip to Disneyland 28 years in the Making! A Trip Report for October 16 and 17th, 2012
Our First Magical Poly Vacation! April 14-21, 2012 - Trip Report/ Live Report/ PTR

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