Polynesian Trip Report (In progress)

Donald Schmuck

Mouseketeer
Joined
Mar 17, 2019
Hola,

I travel to Disney every year the last week of april into the first week of May and I always take notes on my disney vacation. Posted wait times vs actual, restaurant thoughts, hotel reviews, transportation, etc. Since I travel the same time every year, I have been able to minimize wait times (for the most part) and maximize enjoyment. This is important for me because I typically only go for 5-6 days so I need to be efficient.

I typically just take notes on my phone, but I figured I would post them here this trip. If a few people enjoy or learn from my notes then its worth it.

Quick disclaimer, my notes and advice wont be for everyone. I'm 33, my wife is 29, and we do not have any children. We also tend to go on thrilling rides multiple times and skip some of the slow dark ride stuff. So I can say pretty confidently that the way I plan my trips will not align with most families with small children.

I will post updates throughout the day each day (lunch, wait times, etc). In this post I'll give the basic layout of the trip. I will make my first trip post tomorrow because we will not be doing anything tn.

4/27-5/2

4/27
Flight 6:45p-8:45p
Hotel Polynesian

4/28
Disney Springs
Animal Kingdom
FP+ - Flight of Passage, Expedition Everest, Kilamanjaro Safari
Dinner - Il Mulino

4/29
Hollywood Studios Early Morning Magic
FP - Rock n Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror, Star Tours
EPCOT afternoon/evening
Dinner - Via Napoli

4/30
Magic Kingdom
FP+ - Splash Mountain, Space Mountain, Seven Dwarves

5/1
Animal Kingdom
FP+ - Expedition Everest, Dinosaur, Flight of Passage
Riding those three attractions then going to HS or EP deoending on wait times and FP available at each park
Dinner - Schulas

5/2
Magic Kingdom
FP+ - Big Thunder Mountain, Splash Mountain, Space Mountain
Flight - 9:05pm
 
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Donald Schmuck

Mouseketeer
Joined
Mar 17, 2019
Day 1 4/28 - Outrageous wait time discrepancies and rude cast members but overall still a good day

Let me start off with the cast members and saying that probably 95+% of the cast member interactions I've had over the years have been positive. We had two run ins yesterday, first one at Captain Cooks @ the Poly. We went up to put in our order and I said "hey how's it going" to the cast member taking the order and he said "tired, can't wait to get out of here" he handed us the receipt and said "thanks man have a good one" and he didn't say anything. We forgot to order drinks, so my wife went back up and the same cast member said "you're my 600th customer today and by far the prettiest" I was going to go back up there to put him in his place but my wife insisted that I didnt. Run in number two was at Expedition Everest. We had fast passes and when we got up to the front I asked the cast member if we could sit back row and he said "no, go to row 3" I then said I don't mind waiting for the back row and again he said "no, go to row 3".

Now on to the wait time discrepancies. Recently I have heard others complain about this as well because people are seeing wait times and saying "I'm not waiting that long for that ride". I experienced huge gaps at Nav'i River Journey, Kali Rapids, and Dinosaur (the rides I didn't get fast passes for). I'll list all the times below...

Nav'i River Journey - 3:30pm Posted 45 minutes, waited 16 minutes
Dinosaur - 4:30pm Posted 40 minutes, waited 18 minutes
Kali River Rapids - Posted 40 minutes, waited 21 minutes
Flight of Passage (FP+) - 4:00pm waited 4 minutes, not counting pre-show
Expedition Everest (FP+) - 5:05pm waited 3 minutes
Kilimanjaro Safari (FP+)- 5:25pm Waited 28 minutes (Giraffe blocking the road)

We had dinner at Il Mulino, one of my favorites, and highly underrated or unknown because it's @ Swan & Dolphin. I'm from NY and now live in VA Beach (where italian food is mostly horrible). I try to eat there every trip. The rice balls and papardelle are great.

Today we did EMM @ HS and are now taking a little break at the Poly before going to EPCOT later this afternoon. I was able to score FP+ for Soaring @ 5:15pm and will be eating dinner at Via Napoli. Eating italian two nights in a row because I booked this last minute and couldn't really fund anything else at EPCOT on short notice. I'll post a review of today either later tonight or tomorrow morning.

Thanks!
 
  • Donald Schmuck

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Mar 17, 2019
    Day 2 - HS EMM & EPCOT

    Hollywood Studios Early Morning Magic - Have never done any paid after hours events, but I'm glad I did. We got on Slinky Dog 4x, Toy Story Mania 3x, and Alien Swirling Saucers 1x.

    Slinky - Avg wait 4 minutes
    Toy Story Mania - Walked right on every time
    Alien Swirling Saucers - Walk on

    The only downfall was that the Backlot Express food was garbage.

    Another benefit of EMM that I didn't realize prior is that 75%+ of the guests went straight to Toy Story at rope drop. We already had FP+ for TOT and Rock n Roller Coaster but we got to go on each of them twice just because that side of the park was empty. We were done with HS by 11:40am this morning.

    We returned to the Poly for some pool time and relaxation and headed off to EPCOT around 4pm. I was able to score a FP+ for Soarin and also lucked out and got a Test Track FP+ for 6pm. We also went on Spaceship Earth, Living with the Land, and Mission space. Just like yesterday posted vs actual wait times were significantly less.

    Living with the Land - Posted 15 but was actually a walk on
    Mission Space - Posted 20, waited 3 minutes


    Dinner - Via Napolia

    Service-

    Was very weird. As soon as we sat down they wanted us to put in apps and entrees with the drink order and I said to my wife "looks like we're getting rushed out of here tonight". However, it took 15 minutes to get our drinks. About 30 minutes in our server came up to us and said I uess you enjoyed your apps (because the table was empty) and we said we never got them. Waited about 5 minutes and we received apps. About 15 minutes later my wifes pizza came out, but my chicken parm did not come out until 13 minutes after my wifes pizza came out. She basically finished before I got my entree.

    Food Quality -

    Hit and miss. The garlic focaccia bread and rice balls were very good. My wife ordered the San Gennaro pizza which claimed to have hot peppers, sausage, onions, cherry peppers on a white pizza. The pizza maybe had 5 nickle sized pieces of sausage on it. Usually, when you get an Italian dish that has hot peppers, you're expecting hot red peppers, but hers had jalapenos on it (I know very Italian). However, she did enjoy the pizza besides the lack of sausage and just picked off the jalapenos. I ordered the chicken parm. Pretty standard chicken parm, nothing that stood out but nothing I shook my head at. Total bill came out to $97 and change. My preference and advise is to pay a tad more and go to Il Mulino and get some excellent Italian food, especially if you love pasta, because it is made fresh on site every day.

    More to update tomorrow.

    Deuces
     
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    heaven2dc

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 26, 2003
    Enjoying your trip report! That's too bad about the two cast member experiences you had - even if they were having a bad day, the comments were uncalled for (and highly unprofessional!). So sorry to hear about the service at Via Napoli! We haven't dine there yet and didn't book it for our upcoming trip. May try it for lunch and if so hope to get better service.

    How interesting the difference between wait times (real vs posted)! I hope that is the case with the Animal Kingdom attractions. If I saw a 45 min wait time and decided not to go on something else and it turned out to be less than half the time, I don't think I would be too happy :sad2:

    Thanks for sharing! Anxious to read more!
     

    Donald Schmuck

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Mar 17, 2019
    Enjoying your trip report! That's too bad about the two cast member experiences you had - even if they were having a bad day, the comments were uncalled for (and highly unprofessional!). So sorry to hear about the service at Via Napoli! We haven't dine there yet and didn't book it for our upcoming trip. May try it for lunch and if so hope to get better service.

    How interesting the difference between wait times (real vs posted)! I hope that is the case with the Animal Kingdom attractions. If I saw a 45 min wait time and decided not to go on something else and it turned out to be less than half the time, I don't think I would be too happy :sad2:

    Thanks for sharing! Anxious to read more!
    Yea, those wait differences were crazy. A little bit better at MK today, but still a decent time difference between the two. Also, seemed like Via Napoli overbooked the restaurant for dinner so you may have a little better luck for lunch?
     
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    Tinatheneedle

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Aug 1, 2013
    Following. My DH and I don’t really go on that many thrill rides anymore, but we definitely appreciate the info on wait time discrepancies. I remember a few weeks ago on the DIS Unplugged show Ryno explained that there used to be a CM stationed outside who had the ability to fix the wait time sign. It’s apparently done by magic band data analysis now-a great big failure IMHO. Great report so far!
     
  • Donald Schmuck

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Mar 17, 2019
    Epic Magic Kingdom day

    * I'd like to think I'm pretty good at manipulating the fast pass system and some of these fastpasses I list may look weird. But I can explain in more detail if anyone would like. Today we went to MK for opening, took a mid day break, and returned around 6:30pm tonight. Park hours were 9a-10p.

    Fastpasse+ booked in advance
    Splash Mountain- 10am
    Space Mountain - 11am
    Seven Dwarfes - 12:05pm

    We got to MK today for rope drop and I don't mean got there at 8am. We showed up at 8:51am and rope dropped Big Thunder. If you plan on rope dropping Seven Dwarfes MT I suggest getting to the park by 8:15am if you want to wait less than 15-20 minutes for the ride. If you're rope dropping Big Thunder or Splash you can show up later and get ahead of some of the crowd if you take the shortcut through Adventureland and make a right at the bathrooms.

    We got to Big Thunder and waited two trains before getting on. When we got off we noticed that there was still only a 5 minute wait for BT so we road it again and waited maybe 3 minutes. We were planning on heading to Pirates after BT before our Splash fast pass but saw that Splash was a 5 minute wait so I cancelled my FP and we waited less than 3 minutes to get on Splash. I got a replacement FP for Peter Pan @ 630p(when we planned on returning to MK). We then hopped on the Pirates line, posted 20 minutes, waited 7.

    It's about 10:15 by the time we get over to Tomorrowland and we were planning on doing Buzz Lightyear but the ride was down. We decided to go on People Mover. Took a quick drink break after and we entered Space Mountain FP at 11am and were back out by 11:15. We had some time to kill before Seven Dwarfes so we went to Monsters Inc.

    Got to mine train a few minutes early but they let us on. While walking through the queue I noticed a FP for Dumbo right after, so I said what the hell and just booked it. While walking through the Dumbo queue I was able to snag another FP for Space Mountain at 12:45 so I said what the hell again and booked that (we were originally planning on leaving for lunch/break right after dwarfs).We took the boat back to Poly around 1:10p and ate lunch at Captain Cooks (my favorite resort quick service) and hung out by the pool til about 4.

    We headed back to MK at 6:15p and I grabbed another FP for Big Thunder. While on the BT queue I was able to get yet another Splash FP for right after. At this point it is about 7ish(lost track of time towards the end of the night) I got a FP for Buzz at 7:15p. After Buzz I spent about 5 minutes digging through MyDisneyApp and was able to snag the elusive same day Seven Dwarfs FP for 8:45p.

    We had some time to kill so we went on People Mover again, then tea cups was a walk on so we did that, and then finally Winnie The Pooh. Posted 25 minutes, waited 10.

    After we waited a little bit because I wanted to time the fireworks, which worked. My wife got some cool picks and videos of the fireworks that I'll put up later in the week. Seven Dwarfs was really cool during fireworks, but Big Thunder is definitely my favorite for fireworks. After Seven Dwarfs, I yet got another FP for Big Thunder for 9:15p. Splash had a posted time of 15 minutes so we hopped on that and waited 8 minutes. On the way out we decided to get on Jungle Cruise and got on at 9:58 and were the last boat of the night.

    Stats for the day

    22,119 steps
    10.6 miles
    20 rides
    9 Fastpasses
    Touring Plans predicted 5/10 crowd but actually ended up being 3/10
     
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    Donald Schmuck

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Mar 17, 2019
    Following. My DH and I don’t really go on that many thrill rides anymore, but we definitely appreciate the info on wait time discrepancies. I remember a few weeks ago on the DIS Unplugged show Ryno explained that there used to be a CM stationed outside who had the ability to fix the wait time sign. It’s apparently done by magic band data analysis now-a great big failure IMHO. Great report so far!
    Oh wow, I thought it was just the cast members being lazy and not updating the sign lol.
     

    Sanda Thorne

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Jan 12, 2019
    Loving your report so far! We are headed to the Poly in August(yes I know it will be hot!) and I'm trying to gather as much info as possible!
     

    Donald Schmuck

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Mar 17, 2019
    Loving your report so far! We are headed to the Poly in August(yes I know it will be hot!) and I'm trying to gather as much info as possible!
    Thanks! Have fun love the Poly . If you have a standard room I recommend the Samoa building on the side facing the pool on the third flooe.. I have a view of Seven Seas Lagoon and the Grand. Room 3601 to be exact.
     
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  • Sanda Thorne

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Jan 12, 2019
    Thank you! We are standard view and I'm debating if I should make a room request of just take the "first available" so that we have the possibility of getting our room early the day we arrive. We should arrive at the resort around 10:30 and I'm hoping to go to MK for a couple of hours and then come back and crash before dinner.
     

    Donald Schmuck

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Mar 17, 2019
    Thank you! We are standard view and I'm debating if I should make a room request of just take the "first available" so that we have the possibility of getting our room early the day we arrive. We should arrive at the resort around 10:30 and I'm hoping to go to MK for a couple of hours and then come back and crash before dinner.
    If you show up at 10:30 and let them know you're there, most of the time you're room will be ready before 3pm (at least in my past exp). If you don't plan on spending a lot of time at the resort or if proximity of your room to the main building or pool, etc. isn't important to you, then just take the early check in. I don't think you'll be dissatisfied with whatever room you get, but just be prepared to walk if you get one of the outer buildings.
     

    chrismoyer

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Mar 17, 2019
    good trip report! are you considering eventually ranking all the universal orlando attractions like you did for wdw?
     

    Donald Schmuck

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Mar 17, 2019
    4/1 Animal Kingdom - Short day

    Had a short day on Wednesday. We had Flame Tree BBQ for lunch and my wife got sick shortly after. We had fastpasses for:

    Expedition Everest - 9:55am
    Dinosaur - 11:00am
    Flight of Passage - 12:05pm

    We also rode Primeval Whirl to kill some time. Posted wait time was 25 minutes and we waited 12. We also did Jungle Trek in between which I never did before but enjoyed it.

    We had Flame Tree BBQ for lunch. My pulled pork was good, but I will obviously not go there again because my wife got sick shortly after. Got back to the hotel around 3:330-4:00pm and didn't do much the rest of the day
     

    Donald Schmuck

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Mar 17, 2019
    4/2 Magic Kingdom - Trifecta of doom, but still got things done

    *This was an interesting day at Magic Kingdom. First thing was that it rained 75% of the day. Number two, Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, Haunted Mansion were all down between 9:15-11:45, which means any one with fast passes received a blank fast pass to go on whatever they wanted besides Seven Dwarfs and Peter Pan. Number three is that it was the most crowded I have seen Magic Kingdom in early May.

    I had fastpasses for:

    Big Thunder Mountain - 9:25am
    Splash Mountain - 10:30am
    Space Mountain - 11:30am

    Road Big Thunder upon arrival. We then went on Pirates, posted 25 minutes and waited 15. Took a little shopping break after and saw that Splash was reopening, so we hopped on that without the fastpass and walked on. We used the second fastpass right after Splash on Big Thunder again (the cancelled Splash fast pass). We then made our way over to People Mover which had an actual 5 minute wait, first time I've ever seen that.

    After PM we went on Space, while in the queue for Space, I scored another elusive Seven Dwarfs same day fast pass. While boarding Seven Dwarfs I grabbed another elusive fastpass, Peter Pan. Finally after Peter Pan we grabbed a fastpass for for Aladdin(just because we've never been on it). To wrap up the day, we grabbed fast passed for Space and Splash again.

    After that, we went back to the Poly, grabbed a couple drinks and lunch and flew home at 8:05pm. Overall a really good trip and I will put the trip stats below in another posting. I was also thinking of starting a thread on how to get the most out of a short Disney trip with tips on getting extra fastpasses. However, this thread I started hasn't received a lot of traction, so if you;d like me to do that, let me know and I will. Thanks to those who have followed the trip report :).
     

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