One week, three resorts!

anricat

DIS Veteran
Joined
Feb 20, 2014
I offer up this trip report for our recent stay. It was me, my DH and our 12 year old DD (she'll be 13 next month and reminds us of this fact often). We arrived Sunday May 30, stayed one night at VGF, then moved to Riviera for two nights, then to the Polynesian, checking out and heading back home on Sunday June 6.

This trip was originally supposed to be a cruise with two days at WDW bookending each side of the cruise. So we booked originally 11 months out at our home resort (Riviera) on either side of the cruise. It became apparent that cruises were going to be off the table for longer than anyone had anticipated so at the 7 month mark, I started trying to rework things so we could change it to an only WDW trip. So we then had 2 nights at Riviera and then 4 nights at the Polynesian.

But I had made a couple of changes prior to that (when the cruise was still on the table) and had borrowed points and in the midst of cancelling and rebooking, somehow I ended up with borrowed points left over. By the time I realized this had happened, I Member Services couldn't help me and I realized we had 18 points that we needed to use. In the midst of this, I was booking flights and realized it was cheaper to fly in a day earlier. No problem, I'll just get one night somewhere. Ha! Wait list. Stalk. Stalk. And hey, stalking worked, I found one night at Grand Floridian. Booked!

I packed strategically knowing that we had just one night so I made a packing cube with everything we would need for that one night. Only one suitcase would need to open and one cube would come out. Our flight was delayed by nearly 2 hours for maintenance and then of course when we got in there was no gate for us so we sat on the tarmac for another 40 minutes. Such a long trip. I mobile ordered Gasparilla on the way over and we quickly dropped luggage in the room and went over there. I must have accidentally pushed the button at some point because as we were leaving the room, I opened the app and it said our order was ready! We hoofed it over there and it was yummy but my grilled cheese was completely soggy from hanging out in it's little box for so long.

We had about an hour left before closing of MK and a park reservation so we went over and rode BTMRR a couple of times before grabbing the cookies and cream cupcake at Gasparilla on the way back (recommended).

Grand Floridian isn't really our sort of place, generally. I dunno, it always struck me as a little snooty or something (I feel your side-eye since I already told you we own at Riviera). Anyway, we were surprised how much we liked it. It was clean and comfortable and quiet. I would definitely stay there again.

The next morning we dropped our bags a Bell Services for a transfer to Riviera walked to Capt. Cooks for breakfast because I wanted Tonga Toast. Having done that, we headed for Epcot where we enjoyed our day primarily in the World Showcase. We ate at Regal Eagle for lunch and I'm vegetarian so I tried the plant based option and it was really good. I would definitely eat it again. I haven't had barbecue since I became a vegetarian over 20 years ago so that was a trip!

We hung out in the member lounge (aaaaaahhhh...) until we got the text that our room was ready right around 4. We took the Skyliner and I checked in at Bell Services and they said the luggage was there and they brought our luggage to the room. I had also placed a grocery order with Amazon for Whole Foods and that arrived shortly after we got there too. When I called to have that brought, they said it would be $6 or I could come get it for free. That was new, but whatever, I went and got it.

I wasn't a huge fan of our room location. The great thing was that it was really close to the Skyliner. In fact, it was literally the LAST room in that hallway on the first floor as you are about to go out the door to get to the Skyliner. The patio (on the first floor) overlooked the quiet pool area. That was fine, I didn't mind that so much, though I do like being high up. The bad thing about the room was that it was the last room in the hallway on the first floor as you go to the Skyliner! It was SO LOUD. Please, if you're staying at Riviera in the future, do the poor people in that hallway a favor and just SHUT UP when you're coming and going. We heard people talking nonstop coming in after Epcot closed every night and then it started up again in the morning when everyone was leaving for Hollywood Studios. The room was so close to the outer door, I could literally hear the door lock disengage when someone scanned their Magic Band for entry. But mostly it was loud people talking and talking and yelling at their kids to be quiet (I kid you not). It was awful. Convenient, but just way too noisy in that hallway.

Anyway, we had Primo Piatto for dinner and we all enjoyed our meal very much. That veggie dish is SO yummy. Since there isn't much in the way of nighttime entertainment, we chrome cast from our laptop to the TV and watched something on Netflix.

The next morning we rope dropped Hollywood Studios. In fact, we were the first people onboard the Skyliner that morning. We were lined up at 7:30, but they didn't start running until 7:50. We didn't try for Rise of the Resistance because we've ridden it several times and wanted to give a shot to some other poor folks who haven't had a chance. We rode Slinky Dog, Toy Story, Aliens and then had some snacks, played around with the game in the Play Disney app in Galaxy's Edge, and then did a little shopping before we ate lunch. I love the veggie meal in Docking Bay 7!

We spent the afternoon by the pool. DD swam and I did some work poolside. DD and DH played a little Bocce ball. It was nice that they had that set up again. I had coffee from the cafe and DD had some gelato poolside. I did a little packing to prep for checkout the next morning. We went to Epcot for dinner and each got some different items from the kiosks. DH and I enjoyed gelato from the new place in Italy for dessert. It was SO GOOD. Highly recommended.

The next day we had a leisurely start. (Sort of, thanks again to the loud people in the hallway.) We had brunch at Topolinos. Wow, what a let down. I liked the pastries? It was fun waving to Mickey? DHs eggs were super undercooked and had to go back, the potatoes were completely bland and cold. It was just a big old bunch of MEH. I'm not usually picky, but I don't know what it says about a meal that the POG juice was the star of the show. The view from the balcony is great though! One and done for us. We gave our luggage to Bell Services and went back to Epcot where it was hotter than the surface of the sun.

Garden Grill for dinner and it was pretty good. Not as good as I remember, but still fun and honestly, a better character interaction than Topolinos because of how they have it set up. After an early dinner (4:45), we checked into the Polynesian, our first time there. We were in Tokalau and I was really pleased with the location. It felt close to everything we needed. We really didn't notice the construction much until the second day there was suddenly a HUGE wall put up right outside of Pineapple Lanai and it was super awkward.

Our luggage was delivered without incident but the WiFi wasn't working so we weren't able to stream anything to the TV. Well, it didn't have Chromecast, but we had an HDMI cable. Anyway, it wasn't happening because of the Internet issue. Instead we went and got some dessert. My DH and DD got some little dessert cups from Kona and I got a raspberry Dole Whip float from Pineapple Lanai. I wish they had that raspberry the whole time. It was so yummy!

The next morning we decided we were all tired and we didn't want to Rope Drop so we slept in and then took the bus to MK. We rode some rides. I wasn't happy about the waits on most things. Before we went most people said that the waits were less than the app. I guess we had bad luck because we found them either accurate or over. I timed a lot of our waits and they were accurate for the most part and longer than I wanted. I'm a person that would be happy to use a FP for three bigger rides then wait in a couple standby lines and then leave. I didn't usually have a problem getting a 4th, 5th or even 6th FP in a day. We felt like we waited much much more than normal. And we were said that we didn't have Sorcerer's of the MK to occupy us when we didn't want to ride anything. After lunch at Pecos Bill, we waited for over an hour for Splash at 12:30 (with a posted 50 minute wait). We were the only ones in our boat. PUT MORE PEOPLE IN THE STUPID BOAT! We spent the rest of the afternoon at the pool, which was lovely. DD got some Dole Whip and DH and I had coffees from the Joffrey's kiosk at the TTC. (Kona closes at 2 and Capt. Cook didn't have what we wanted.) But that TTC isn't really any further from Tokalau than the Great Ceremonial house so it was no big.

That night it was Skipper Canteen for dinner and after a Peter Pan Dole Whip Float for me (lime with sprite from Storybook) and a Cheshire Cat Tail for DD. DH stole bites from each! Evenings at MK were HEAVEN. It was cool and much quieter than the morning/afternoon and the waits were low. DD got a little sentimental wanted to ride teacups, Dumbo, and Barnstormer so we did. Then we were able to ride 7 Dwarfs with about a 40 min wait. When we were done, there was about 3 minutes until closing so we rushed over and got in line again just before they cut it off. We were in the last train of the night! It was about a 30 min wait. Perfect!

Friday was another MK day so we employed a similar strategy. We slept in, took our time and then did a few rides that didn't have long waits. But the waits were pretty terrible that day. BTMRR was completely offline nearly all day. Space was offline for a chunk of the morning and there were just a lot of people and it was hot. So we left riding one more ride after lunch. It was a good call too because shortly after getting back to our room the sky opened up and it DUMPED. I mean, it poured down rain. Just huge sheets of it with lightning and thunder and the whole nine. It was like that for quite awhile. It was still sprinkling when we called for an Uber to take us to Wilderness Lodge for our reservation at Whispering Canyon.

After dinner, things were still a little sprinkley, but we took the bus to MK and looped Space Mountain a couple of times before riding BTMRR again and then calling it a night.

The next morning we took our time and went to Animal Kingdom. This was a terrible mistake. We knew we weren't going to try for Flight of Passage this trip. DD loves it, I enjoy it but don't need it, and DH hates it so we skipped. So the Safaris were top of the list. By the time we got there about an hour after park opening, it was an hour wait posted. Now this was actually one time that the wait was less because it ended up being 45 minutes. The lions aren't on display right now, apparently and won't be for several weeks they said. Kali only had a posted 5 minute wait so we did that next (closer to 15, but whatever). We found some of the scenic selfies (I forgot to mention we had been doing that, it was sort of fun) and then we tried to get on the walk up list for Nomad Lounge at 11:02 AM and it was already full. DANG! We did both the trails in Asia and Africa and then decided we were sort of done. It was hot and we were hungry. We decided we wanted Geyser Point so we took the bus back to WL and ate there before taking another Uber back to Polynesian. Pineapple Lanai? Yes please (for me and DD)! DH got coffee from Kona. We had a little rest in the room, then toured a Bungalow, did a little shopping in the Great Ceremonial House and went back to our room where we quickly decided we were bored. DD didn't want to swim and the Internet was still not working. Back to MK! Let's go shopping and ride some rides! Big Thunder and Haunted Mansion topped the list and had shorter waits.

Then it was time for dinner and we had a reservation at Epcot at Via Napoli. We've eaten there several times, but I have to say, this was easily the best. I don't know why, but that pizza was AMAZING that night. Best we've had there! After that, more gelato from that new little window in the Italy pavilion then we weren't sure what to do. "Well," I said, "this is crazy, but we've already hit three parks today, let's hit a fourth and go for one last ride on Slinky Dog before we leave tomorrow." My crew was up for it so with 45 minutes to closing, we dashed for the Skyliner. I argued for the boat, but DH was convinced the Skyliner was where it was at. We made it to Slinky Dog with about 10 minutes to spare. Whew! 25 minute wait!

The next morning we slept in, packed and handed our lunge to bell services before a trip to Disney Springs, which was entirely too hot and peopley for us. We didn't buy anything and lunch at D-Luxe burger was super meh. I'm just not a huge DS person and I always think it's going to be better the next time I go. It isn't. Ah well.

We retrieved our bags and said goodbye. The flight home was a lot less eventful (thankfully) than the flight there. But I will say that MCO was a madhouse. It was as crazy as I've ever seen it. There was a traffic jam at rental car return (if you're returning a car, GO EARLY.)

Overall, I will say we had a great trip. We had a lot of fun and it went by way too fast. Unfortunately, there were a few hiccups along the way. First, that room at Riviera. No way, never again. (For a preferred room, I do not want to hear people in the hallway nonstop.) Second, we never really could get the Wi-Fi working consistently at Poly. Numerous calls to the Internet team and it was just in and out and a mess. And lastly, I know there is a sharp divide on this topic, but we miss FP. We were the types of people that could really make it work.

On the plus side, Polynesian was great and we will definitely stay there again if we can. I don't really like any lunch/dinner options at Capt. Cooks so that's a negative for us, but I'm a fan of Pineapple Lanai (heh) and it's so convenient to many other places that eating elsewhere isn't an issue for us. We had no problems with our luggage transfers whatsoever and transportation was fine overall. We miss the Epcot monorail, that's the biggest bummer right now, but otherwise, it's fine. Evenings at the parks after dinner are the best right now. With no fireworks, everyone is leaving, which is great.

Thanks for reading, I'm happy to answer questions! :)
 

TinkB278

DIS Veteran
Joined
Aug 27, 2017
Which of the three resorts were your favorite? Those are the three I’m most drawn to! I haven’t stayed at VGF yet though! Which was your daughter’s favorite? I’m curious from a kids perspective as we have a toddler and I can’t wait to learn all his preferences.

I also found that the waits on our May trip were longer than posted and just too long for me. I am like you and was always able to keep the rolling fast pass going so standing for an hour for every single ride about drove me crazy!

Did you guys use the pull out sofa at poly? If so, I’m curious about how comfortable it was?

I’m sorry to hear about your experience with topolinos! We ate there for dinner and it was good, not quite as great as I was expecting based on reviews though.
 

anricat

DIS Veteran
Joined
Feb 20, 2014
Honestly, we could not decide between Riviera and Poly. My daughter gives a slight edge to Poly, I think largely because of the pool. She said it was much better. She also enjoyed the theming more, I think. But really, my DH and even DD would stay at either one and be perfectly happy. We were pleasantly surprised by VGF and would stay there again, but lower on the list.

The way I structured this trip worked out well because we did Epcot and Hollywood Studios while we were staying at Riviera and MK while staying at Poly. I think that's easy now with the park reservation system and it not mattering as much right now when you visit which parks on certain days like it used to.

We did use the pull out at Poly (and the fold down larger Murphy bed at Riviera). My daughter doesn't like the little tiny fold down bed under the TV. She said its hard as a rock and she conks her head constantly when she sits up so this was the first trip we didn't use the little bed. The Murphy bed at Riviera was much more comfortable than the fold out at Poly, but it was still fine. There's a weird crease at the bottom of the Poly from where it folds and it didn't want to lie completely flat but she is short for her age so it didn't bug her!

Right, for those prices I really have a high expectation. And I know part of what you're paying for is experience, but even taking that into account, that's a spendy breakfast. I am usually a person that hates to send stuff back but I was like, "for that price, those eggs need to be ON POINT." I preferred the breakfast at the place down on the Boardwalk they used to do with Rapunzel. Or the Cape May breakfast buffet was great in the beforetimes. Pricey, but I always enjoyed both of those.
 

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