Our Polynesian Vacation

My family and I had a blast on our vacation to Walt Disney World resort last week, and I wanted to share some of the highlights with you in case you missed me live posting on Instagram stories. My parents are Disney Vacation Club members, and last year we stayed with them in a two bedroom villa at Bay Lake Tower. While it was wonderful and huge, we didn’t want to spend as many points this year so we only stated 3 nights, and we all 5 stayed in one studio villa. Yup, you heard that right.

It was a tight squeeze, but we were literally only in the room to sleep so it worked out fine. Plus, the room had two bathrooms (kind of, two showers and sinks), so that helped us to spread out a little bit. We arrived early Friday morning, checked in, and then headed straight to the Magic Kingdom. Having a small child in a stroller, staying on the monorail is a HUGE plus. No stroller folding, and quick easy access to the Magic Kingdom.

We rode the mine train (my dad’s first time) while my mom took Emma Kate to see some princesses, we rode Ariel, as well as Winnie the Pooh and Aladdin’s Magic Carpets. We recently introduced Emma Kate to the movie Aladdin, so she was pumped to ride the carpet ride! After lunch at Columbia Harbor House, my dad got his hair cut, and Bobby and I decided to take EK back to the Polynesian. We got our things from the car to the room since it was ready, and then mom and dad met us there shortly thereafter.

We loved our room and building location, and even had a pool view plus sideways castle view! We were hoping the wee one would nap, but no such luck, so we decided to head to the pool. Emma Kate LOVED the splash pad area when we were there over a year ago and I had been talking up the “awesome slides” for days, and she was so excited. We lucked out and were able to get chairs right in front of the splash pad area, and Emma Kate played for over three hours going up and down the stairs and the slides. I was tired just watching her!

 

Bobby and I had a “date” that night at the Grand Floridian Cafe, so we got showered and changed and took the monorail over for an early dinner. Honestly, my food was not good at all, but we used to really like this place (Bobby did like his food) so not sure if I just picked a bad menu item or what. After we ate, we walked around for a bit then decided to walk back to the Polynesian since the weather was so nice.

 

We split a Dole Whip then called it a night, and were all in bed at 9:00!

The next day we went to EPCOT. (pro tip: walk to the transportation and Ticket Center from the Poly instead of riding the monorail all the way around!) My parents had not seen the Flower and Garden Festival yet, so we rode the Frozen ride, met Mickey Minnie and Goofy, then walked around the world showcase to look at the flowers. I of course got one of my favorite ever adult beverages in France and we decided to head back to the hotel because Emma Kate was begging to go back to the pool.

Once again we lucked out with the chair situation, and ordered lunch from Captain Cook’s and ate by the pool (hello pulled pork nachos!) Emma Kate once again played for hours. This time we went back and forth from the big pool and big slide to the splash pad area. She played until 6:00! My parents went up about 4:00 to go on their dinner date but I figured, as long as she was happy we were staying at the pool. 
We watched the torch lighting ceremony, had some marshmallows at the campfire, and headed back to the room to get cleaned up. We ate jambalaya that my mom had cooked and brought with us (the villas have microwaves!) and just hung out in the room until my parents got back. We were all pretty wiped and we were in bed by 8:30!

The next day (Sunday) we went back to the Magic Kingdom to hit the things we didn’t do on Friday. We arrived right as it was opening, and grabbed breakfast from Starbucks and took our time heading over to Buzz Lightyear, the Peoplemover, Dumbo, and the Jungle Cruise.

We also watched the castle show with Emma Kate lloovveeess. We knew it was supposed to rain later in the afternoon, so we told Emma Kate it was her last chance to go to the pool if she wanted to do so, so we hopped on the monorail, headed back to the hotel, and ate by the pool again while Emma Kate played.

 

I was watching the radar, and watched it get darker and darker and knew it was about to rain. We decided to head up before we got soaked, and literally as soon as we got into the building it started MONSOONING outside! We lucked out and just missed it.

We then got cleaned up and ready for my dad’s birthday dinner at Trail’s End buffet. Again not wanting to use our car, we decided to take the monorail to the Magic Kingdom then a boat to Fort Wilderness. It worked out perfectly in between rain bands and just started to sprinkle as we got to the restaurant. Emma Kate was so good while we ate, and we enjoyed embarrassing my dad with some happy birthday singing by our waitress.

 

I saw another break in the rain on the radar, so we grabbed a boat from Fort Wilderness to the Contemporary, then took the monorail back to the Polynesian. My dad had to leave to drive home right after since he had to work the next day, which was sad because it made me feel like the trip was “over” even though we were still going to a park without him the next day.

Monday morning we packed up, loaded up my car, and headed to Animal Kingdom. It was COLD! The rain had brought a front through, and it was 53 degrees, which is insane for mid April in Florida! It was extra magic hours, so we arrived a few minutes before regular park opening and walked right onto the safari ride. We then hit up Starbucks before letting Emma Kate play for almost an hour at the Boneyard playground. She loves it there!

 

We were all tired so we decided to eat lunch at Flame Tree then call it a day and drive back to Tampa. I hate how fast fun trips go by, you just want to hang on as long as you can but poof, they are here and then gone in an instant. We had a wonderful 3.5 days in Disney with my family, and I wish we could have stayed longer, but Emma Kate was getting really worn out. She didn’t nap a single day we were there and played so hard.

I highly recommend staying on the monorail if you have small kids and can swing the cost. We loved how easy it was to get to everything and the activity and food options are top notch. I’m ready to go back! I am so thankful my parents have DVC and let us come stay with them for free!

Birthday Bash Day 4

Day four was our final day in Walt Disney World, and we still had a lot we wanted to do. Unfortunately we woke up to rain, but we didn’t let that stop us. We made it to the Magic Kingdom, and headed straight for Starbucks. Our late night on the Ferrytale Wishes cruise wore us out!

IMG_8997

I tried the special for Halloween “frapula” and I think I was the first to ask for it because it took them awhile to make it and they were all conversing with each other trying to figure it out.

IMG_9006

We had fastpasses for Pirates of the Caribbean so we headed that way first, and then to Enchanted Tales with Belle which I had seen but mom had not. SO cute. I can’t wait to take Emma Kate there!

IMG_9025

We did a little shopping and grabbed pizza for lunch.

IMG_9017

Mom and I really enjoy just walking around and looking at everything, so we just kind of “hung out” for awhile (Bobby would be so bored and never let’s me do that, so it was nice and relaxing!)

IMG_9028

IMG_9030

The rain was getting harder, so he headed to the monorail and ran over to EPCOT to get a couple of things and then went back to the hotel. I was able to make us last minute dinner reservations at California Grill that night, too!

IMG_9032

Bye Magic Kingdom

I still had not done one thing I REALLY wanted to do, and that was get a Dole Whip at the Polynesian. So when we got back, we did just that, and it was delicious.

IMG_9043

We got ready for dinner, had some appetizers in the lounge, and then took the monorail to the Grand Floridian because we had some time to kill. We went upstairs and visited one of my favorite Cast Members, Vonnie, and chatted with her for a bit before heading over to the Contemporary. We were seated right away, and I will have to say this was the most delicious meal of the trip. I got a margarita and the filet, and both were amazing.

IMG_9056

They even gave mom a free birthday dessert, even though we were stuffed!

IMG_9058

We got back to the resort and changed clothes and headed for Trader Sams. This was another one of those “research” things I needed to do for work. SO many clients have asked me about it so I knew I needed to go. The drinks were good and the décor was super cool, but it was pretty pricey and if you aren’t into loud environments I would say skip this one. We were so tired and left after one drink, but it was cool to see, and say hello to a fellow runDisney runner/bartender we went to see!

IMG_9061

IMG_9064

We went back to our room and called it a night. The next morning was very early and very sad. Departure day is always sad, but it was also rainy and dreary so it was even more depressing.

IMG_9084

Four days is just not long enough! We had a blast but there was so much we didn’t get to do, like Hollywood Studios and most of EPCOT. That just means we have to go back, right?

IMG_9085

I planned a lot for mom for her 60th, and I hope she enjoyed everything I put into the trip for her. It was so much fun and I will always remember it.

QOTD: Favorite Disney resort? Favorite drink in Disney?

Birthday Bash Day 1

Time to play catch up! I know I recapped Refresh Summit before Disney, but I wanted to go ahead and write about the conference while it was fresh on my mind. Now back to my mom’s 60th birthday bash in Disney World!

Keep in mind, she knew about the trip but had no idea where we were staying or what we were doing. Her friend drove down with us but had to fly back after the first two days in Disney. On Friday morning, I drove down to Louisiana and at lunch we started our journey to Florida. We stopped in Gainesville to spend the night so we would have a full day in Disney Saturday. When we got to Disney’s gates, I made my mom wear a blindfold. I didn’t want her to know where we were staying until we got there.

I had to make sure the folks at the guard gate when we checked in didn’t give anything away, so I’m sure it was quite comical to see me waving my hands around telling them not to talk or give anything away!

We pulled up to the front of the Polynesian and I told my mom to take off her blindfold, she had NO idea and was super excited! Then I told her not only were we staying at the Polynesian, but that we were staying club level/concierge. She was stoked! We checked in, and our room was ready! We grabbed some food from the lounge then headed out to Animal Kingdom.

12046857_858490990895031_5197711377959442845_n

021

We did a few rides, ate lunch, then headed back to the resort to get ready for dinner at Narcoossees.

025

Oh and I took a few shots of our room before we messed it all up.

035

041

046

Also, here are a couple of pictures from the concierge lounge:

053

056

054

At Narcoossees, we had chocolate martinis,

IMG_8692

and I surprised my mom with a Cinderella cake….and she cried. I guess that’s a good thing? I would post the video, but she may take me out of her will, so I won’t.

IMG_8707

IMG_8708

It was a fun night, and we walked back to the Polynesian instead of taking the monorail which was a nice change. mom had two gifts in her room, a real flower lei (which she wore to dinner) with a card, and some helium balloons with a card. The birthday bash was off to a great start!

IMG_8651

QOTD: Have you ever surprised anyone with a cake?

FitFluential and more Disney

 

Fun announcement today! I was selected as one of FitFluentials ambassadors! Check out the page, and my bio HERE. I am so honored to be one of the ones chosen! If you missed my “audition” blog post, you can check that out HERE. I am excited for whatever is in store for me with FitFluential!

Ok, so moving back to my Disney trip. We left off with My parents anniversary. The next day was Saturday, and we had lunch in the Magic Kingdom at Liberty Tree Tavern. But first, we sat out on the swing at the beach again. This was one of my favorite parts of the trip!

DSC_0180

check out my dad in the background….ya…

DSC_0185

DSC_0186

We watched some sweet baby ducks following mama around.

DSC_0192

and Bobby chased them

DSC_0196

We went to the Magic Kingdom early to walk around a little bit.

DSC_0204 DSC_0205

We walked by the new Fantasyland expansion. it’s coming along!
DSC_0206

DSC_0208

Our strong courageous men tried to pull out the sword.

DSC_0211

It was finally time for lunch, and I got one of my favorite Disney desserts…Ooey gooey toffee cake!

DSC_0216

After lunch we walked around a little more, then decided to head back to the hotel and relax at the pool.

DSC_0221 DSC_0224

DSC_0226

It was really crowded, but eventually I spotted the only empty table right by the pool, so we had some shade.

2011-05-28134720-1

2011-05-28134749

2011-05-28134754

We hung out at the pool, relaxing, reading, and swimming around, for a couple hours. it was really nice and relaxing. Then it was time to head to the lounge for appetizers. We didn’t have a reservation for dinner, so we were going to try to make the food in the lounge enough for dinner, and we managed!

2011-05-28185024 2011-05-28201417

after we ate, Bobby ran to the gym, and my dad and I walked and met him there. They did some weights and elliptical, and I ran 3 miles on the treadmill.

2011-05-28183023

we walked back through a wedding. The design of the sidewalk is really poorly done, we basically had to go through the wedding party to get to the other side.

2011-05-28184310

when we got back, the Poly beach was the place to be. They were having movie night and a campfire with marshmallows. We went back up to the lounge for desserts, and then decided to walk around outside and check out all the action.

2011-05-28201429

2011-05-28201748

2011-05-28203404

we walked down to the dock and sat on some benches right as the water parade started. perfect timing! Oh, not to mention, the weather was so nice! not humid and I was chilly, I had a sweatshirt on!

2011-05-28210137 2011-05-28210554

It was a really great night just hanging out at the hotel. We went to bed after that, ready to head to the mickey boat the next day!

QOTD: what is your favorite way to relax on vacation?

Aloha part 2

 

Yesterday I ran three miles, then Bobby and I went to the gym and did tri’s, legs, and chest, then did 20 minutes on the bike. I am feeling it today!

Ok so we left off after our first day in Disney. The next morning we woke up with a mission. It was Star Wars weekend, and we HAD to ride the new Star Tours ride! Our plan, was for me, Bobby and my dad to run to the new ride when DHS opened, and my mom took our passes and went to Toy Story mania to get us fastpasses. It was a good plan, we only waited for Star tours about 25 minutes, and our fastpasses were for around 12:45. But first….we woke up early (all except Bobby) got coffee, and sat outside on the swings at the beach, outside our room, and chatted as Disney woke up. I LOVE Disney early in the morning, it’s one of my favorite things ever.

DSC_0115

DSC_0117

We had some friends.

DSC_0119

my mom took this of me and my dad hanging out, enjoying the view.

DSC_0120

so peaceful! Ok, so back to the MADNESS that was the Star Tours line!

DSC_0123

DSC_0124

line behind us

DSC_0127

after Star Tours, we did the Great Movie ride, the American Idol Experience, and then ate lunch at a counter service location before riding Toy Story Mania, and then heading out of the park.

DSC_0131

DSC_0133

heading out already? Why yes actually. We only had two park days, really, so we were hitting up EPCOT as well as DHS. But not before taking a few fun pictures.

DSC_0137

DSC_0138

We made it to EPCOT (so nice having your own car) and took more pictures…

DSC_0141

and headed to Mexico for a snack

DSC_0145

Bobby, dad and I hopped in the single rider line for test Track, and we were getting pretty tired so after walking around a bit decided to head back to the hotel.

Oh, I forgot to mention, this day was my parents 34th wedding anniversary!!! Fun times! We also were in Disney on their 32nd anniversary, and we ate at Narcoossees that night as well.

DSC_0150 DSC_0151

DSC_0152 DSC_0153

flashback fun….

2009                                          2011

n61700476_31105741_4397472DSC_0154

2009                                                    2011

n61700476_31105742_3416932 DSC_0156

Isn’t that fun?!? and yes, my mom and I wore the same dresses on purpose so we could retake pictures in the (relatively) same spot. Love it! Do we look different?

Dinner was fabulous, we got our favorite waitress

DSC_0161

and she gave us two free desserts since we were celebrating, yum!

DSC_0173 DSC_0174

if you know me at ALL you know I LOVE Narcoossees almond crusted cheesecake!

While we were eating, a freakishly dark storm settled over the Magic Kingdom, and we watched it rain from our table.

DSC_0168

that’s not night sky, it’s dark clouds! ssspppooookkkyy!

After a lovely dinner we decided to walk the path back to the Polynesian from the Grand, it was so nice out, a great end to a great night!

tomorrow’s post will be more California fun!

QOTD: Would you rather be at the parks in Disney when it is raining or really really hot?

Aloha!

 

Good morning! I am headed out for a run, but wanted to blog first about our stay at Disney’s Polynesian Resort for three nights before the cruise. We drove to Disney at 3 am on May 26th, and got there around 12:30. We were taken to the concierge check in, and our room was ready! We had the BEST room and location. It was on the first floor of the Hawaii building, second room, lagoon side. (1502)

We had a great patio we could walk right out to the beach from, and we were close to the lobby/lounge/front of the building.

DSC_0007 DSC_0008

DSC_0012 DSC_0015

our view…

DSC_0013 DSC_0014

DSC_0016 DSC_0017

It was a little hot out, but not too terribly bad or humid.

DSC_0020 DSC_0024

DSC_0026 DSC_0028

we ooed and aaahhed over our view, unpacked a little, and got ready to head to the Magic Kingdom!

DSC_0030

But not before hitting up the concierge lounge for some snacks!

DSC_0035 DSC_0036

DSC_0039 DSC_0041

We headed to the Magic Kingdom, rode Pirates, peoplemover, and Buzz Lightyear, and got a nice treat because it was getting H-O-T!

DSC_0049

DSC_0052

DSC_0055

YUMMY!

DSC_0048

it wasn’t too crowded, but we were tired from driving, so we headed back to the hotel to get ready for dinner.

DSC_0071

with my zoom lens from our patio

DSC_0075

we had appetizers in the lounge then drove to Yachtsman Steakhouse!

DSC_0084

DSC_0089

The food was great, and we had a good time. After dinner, we made it back to the lounge to have dessert and then watched Wishes from our patio. The music was piped in, too! The beach was full of people, it was so nice to have our chairs and be in our PJ’s then just go in the room when it was over!

DSC_0100 DSC_0102

DSC_0109 DSC_0113

That was day one! Tomorrow I will REALLY confuse you and jump to some running skirts fun and pictures, so don’t go anywhere!

QOTD: What is your favorite Disney food?