Sorry for the delay in posting, life sometimes gets in the way…anyhow, back to the magic!
We had a split stay. We rented points for each stay (using two different companies) to stay in DVC properties.
The first five nights were spent in a DVC studio at the Polynesian. We had a lake view from the ground floor of Moorea. We chose the ground floor so we could open the doors and the girls could go outside on the grassy area. The broken leg tempered some of those plans, but we had a great room. The double bathrooms were wonderful. My only knock against the Poly studio is that the sink/coffeemaker area is VERY small and cramped. It was hard to rinse out dishes and make lunch with such small amounts of counter space.
The Poly is fantastic, and we loved it so much. Location is fantastic, the view of the MK and the castle was great and access to the TTC was easy and quick. The pool was somewhat disappointing as it was very murky when we were in it. It probably needed a good cleaning, but I thought it was below Disney standards. This was my only knock against the Poly. We went to the pool twice or three times during the 5 days we were there, and it was kind of the same each time. We enjoyed drinks from the Tambu Lounge while waiting for our table at Ohana (with a TiW discount!), but never made it to Pineapple Lanai. I guess we will need to return.
After five nights we transferred to the Beach Club Villas.
Luggage transfer was easy with bell services collecting everything at the Poly and delivering it to the BCV. It cost me about $30 in tips, but it was WELL worth it.
So, the BCV are beautiful. The grounds of the Beach Club are stunning, and our studio was pretty much the same as the Poly, with the exception of only having one bathroom and a much larger “kitchen” space. The problem with the BCV is that they are not the Poly Villas. The BCV are in the back of the property, so there was no real “view” from our room. We were assigned the exact room we requested but when we went there it had not been cleaned well (mess in the microwave, hair all over, etc.) so we requested a room change, which we got, but the new room had a lot of road noise. The balcony overlooked nothing worthwhile and was so close to other balconies as to be almost connected to them. Given the direct beating sun for most of the day, we spent no time on the balcony. Also, the Poly Villa had a bit more square footage and, therefore, felt much less crowded in the room.
We loved the pool. Stormalong Bay is the best pool at WDW by far. The girls loved it, we loved it. We made time to swim every day we were there. We even finished our trip in the pool after our final breakfast and before driving home. I can’t say enough about the pool. I think everyone should stay at YC or BC at least once, if possible, to try out the pool (or make friends with someone staying there!).
While our room at Poly was entered under the new “trash and check” policy twice while we stayed there, I don’t think anyone entered our room at BCV while we were there. If they did, they did not change out the trash as indicated.
All in all, both places were wonderful, but for different reasons. If I had it to do over again, I would have stayed at the BCV first and the Poly Villas second. Staff at both resorts were wonderful, and we had no problems with any aspect of our stay (other than the initial dirty room at BCV). Both locations were great and that is why we picked them. All in all, absolutely nothing to complain about.
As part of my decision to upgrade to an AP, I considered the value of purchasing Tables in Wonderland. As non-Florida residents, this program is only available with the purchase of an AP. My wife and I love to take the time to enjoy good restaurants, and always enjoy a cocktail or glass of wine with dinner, so I figured that the $150.00 expense for TiW would be worth it. It was.
We arrived mid morning at DHS and spent most of the day there. We had a QS lunch at Backlot Express. I can’t even remember what we got, but it was completely unremarkable. Food was fine, but not spectacular. Expensive for what you get, but worked out fine.
Dinner that night was Hoop Dee Do Revue. This is a WDW classic and we loved it, of course. The food is still pretty good with ribs, chicken, salad, bread, shortcake and the like. The show is all kinds of fun and DW and I got to enjoy a slow dance due to the celebration of our anniversary. I think this show is well worth the time and money to go see it, more than once. With TiW (or maybe AP) we received a discount on our 6:00 dinner reservation. As I had already pre-paid, I had to wait in line and get reimbursed, but no issue at all.
Breakfast was in our room. We brought breakfast food from home, ordered from Instacart for some fresh items and ate breakfast almost all days in our room. Same with lunch on many days. The only dining adventure we had today was dinner at Ohana. This is a favorite for many, and we had a really good experience. The food quality was pretty good, if a bit uneven over the course of the meal. Some items were quite good while others were just ok. Nothing was bad. The entertainment was fun and we enjoyed talking with a family from Great Britain at the table next to us. We ate quite a bit and rolled ourselves back to our room in time to watch the fireworks over the castle!
Dinner here was Jiko. What a fantastic meal. This was a new experience for our family and it was probably our favorite meal of the week. After spending the morning and early afternoon at a BLISTERING HOT Animal Kingdom, we arrived for our ADR at about 6:50. The restaurant was only about 15% full I would imagine. By about 8:00 it had filled up, but, at that point we were finishing up. We enjoyed the pork appetizer (unfortunately not boar) DW had the lamb and I enjoying the elk. The ambiance with very peaceful and enjoyable. The wine was delicious, and we had a great server. All in all, a fantastic meal in a wonderful atmosphere. Can’t recommend Jiko highly enough!
We had dinner at Be Our Guest this evening. This is before the changeover to the current prix fixe format, so we just ordered off the menu. We selected this restaurant for the girls, but DW and I were surprised at how much we enjoyed the experience. We sat in the Grand Ballroom and enjoyed the space (although it was pretty loud). The food was better than expected and our server was a delight. I always think a good server makes a big difference. The gray stuff was just “meh”. Overall a really fun meal and we would probably try it again in the future. For in park dining, it was much better than expected.
We finished the evening with the Fireworks Dessert Party (Plaza garden). Like most folks would say, the desserts are not the main reason you purchase this package. They were nothing special, and, quite frankly we probably rushed a little through the eating portion of the evening. But the fireworks viewing location was perfect and not having to fight for a space was outstanding. Worth the price of admission.
We spent the day at Typhoon Lagoon. This is a story for another day. Lunch involved ordering some guacamole and chips at the park. It was surprisingly good, but expensive, and not worth the price. It fit the bill for a basic lunch.
Dinner that night was date night! We dropped DDs off at Lilo’s Playhouse at the Poly and DW and I enjoyed dinner at California Grill. We took the monorail to the CR, poked around the grounds for a bit and then went up for our 7ish ADR. The atmosphere is wonderful there, the views are spectacular and I thought the food was wonderful. We started with some cocktails and appetizers, moved on to a fantastic bottle of pinot noir and entrées and finished with dessert. We watched a couple get engaged and took in the fireworks from our seats. When our meal was over, we took a spin around the outside catwalks and headed back.
We transferred from Poly to Beach Club this day, so, being homeless at lunchtime, we had an ADR for Beaches & Cream. Here again, we had a wonderful server, but that was about it for the high points. Both DW and I thought our experience was terrible. Food quality was marginal, the ice cream was marginal, and the kitchen was SO SLOW. We ordered sandwiches and burgers, followed up by ice cream sundaes and we were there for well over an hour. It took more than 30 minutes for our lunch to be served. I don’t know if it was a bad day fort B&C or what, but I would not waste my time or money back at this restaurant. Even on its best day, I don’t think there is enough up side to devote the time or money for the meager food quality.
Dinner was much nicer. We ate late at Spice Road Table in Morocco. Timed it so we could watch Illuminations from dinner (although we did have to stand up and go outside the restaurant to see well). The small plates were delicious and the sangria hit the spot. We ordered a variety of things and just shared them all. I don’t think the food was the best Moroccan/Mediterranean I have ever had, but it hit the spot and the experience was very nice. I would recommend this for anyone looking to avoid bad crowds and have a nice view of the water.
Dinner was in Mexico, at the San Angel Inn. I know the Hacienda may be the more preferred restaurant in Mexico, but, as it was the girls’ first trip, we wanted to eat inside the pavilion. That being said, everything was good. It isn’t spectacular Mexican food, but it also isn’t the worst I have ever had. I think it may be on an uptick, or we may have just caught it on a good night. Everyone enjoyed the meal and, as usual, was surprised when we left the pavilion that it was still light outside!
We had a 8:00 am ADR for CRT. It WAS ppo, until they changed the hours, but as this was our third MK day, I didn’t worry about the rope drop parts of the day, we came to have breakfast, hit some of our favorite rides and enjoy attractions that are not hard to do. CRT breakfast was straight on par. It was a hit with DDs and DW and I enjoyed watching them. I thought the food was decent (I guess I was often surprised when I had low expectations of a place). My breakfast (eggs benedict) was actually pretty good. This kids had a great time and the princesses were very fun and indulgent – except Snow White, who seemed to be just going through the motions when she visited our table. I usually try to give the characters a break, but I do suppose that it could be said that, as an actor, even when you are having a crappy day, you can’t let your audience know it. Oh well, it was a raving success, and we don’t ever have to do it again.
Dinner that night was at Le Cellier. This was the second disappointment of the trip. Neither DW nor I had ever eaten here before so we were looking forward to it. Probably is a skip for us in the future. The food was good, but not outstanding. The ambiance was loud and the tables were crowded together. Overall, there was nothing overly great or outstanding about this restaurant. For the price, in my opinion, there are better options.
We spent the entire day in the parks between AK and HS. Lunch was Flametree BBQ at AK. This is one of the QS restaurants that has a TiW discount, so, that was great – except that we couldn’t use mobile ordering! But the long wasn’t too long and well worth it for a 20% discount. The food was really good. We had a combo plate and a couple other things, but we tried the ribs, the pulled pork and some of the chicken. Thumbs up all around. Great food quality for a QS meal.
Dinner was at Hollywood Brown Derby in DHS. This was an interesting meal. The ambiance was really nice and the food was o.k. I don’t have anything to complain about specifically, but I left feeling like I didn’t need to come back. I can’t put my finger on what exactly was the problem, but I think it was just fine. I think our server was the most mediocre of all the restaurants, and that may have played a role. I guess if I had to eat again IN DHS, I would try it again, but given the number of good restaurants not too far away (AKL, DS, EPCOT) I probably would pass. All in all good, but not great.
We ended the evening with the Fantasmic Dessert party. Suffice it to say this is a skip next time. There was nothing in the dessert tray that was “worth” eating. DW and I skipped the alcoholic beverage option and the non-alcoholic option was just a giant sugar bomb and the seating was not good enough to make it worth it. Although it isn’t expensive, relatively speaking, I would just show up 45 minutes before the show, get a seat and not worry about it.
Another all park day. Lunch was noshing around the WS in EPCOT and dinner was Raglan Road at DS. The shows were a lot of fun at Raglan, but the headache of driving to DS and maneuvering through a Saturday night there with a stroller and 2 kids was a pain. Food was mediocre, not great. Although, in fairness, we have a wonderful Irish Pub near us here in Atlanta and so, we are spoiled in that regard. But the entertainment was great, and we had fun. If I were to venture there again, probably would not be on a Saturday evening with the kids.
Departure day and our last meal was the Bon Voyage Breakfast at Trattoria al Forno. We were pleased with the food offerings and quality and the girls enjoyed the experience. We were a little “charactered out” by this point, but our waiter was a hoot and the walk to and from the Boardwalk was beautiful. I would recommend this as a character experience if you are interested in the characters offered.
Coming up next . . . the parks, the activities and anything else I can think of!!!