Trip Report 11/17-11/27/16

Our trip was from Thurs 11/17- Fri 11/27
at the Polynesian. Keep in mind that most days were a crowd level of 10, so if you’re going during off peak days some of this will probably not apply to your stay. Just wanted to post a few things I learned as well as hits and misses for our crew.
1. Uber is my friend. Was worried about safety but after the first trip we couldn’t stop using it. Super easy and fast to get a ride from the hotels, but it was more difficult to find the pickup location from the parks and ds. From ds the drop off/pick up location is in the back, I believe its called the strawberry parking lot. Most fares were $7. Taxis were $20
2. You can always find last minute dining reservations. We were able to reserve beaches n cream, bog day before. Beaches and cream is our new favorite. Read some bad reviews but the burgers were delicious. The arcade next door was a hit too.
3. BOG bf was awesome. Strolling in, in front of crowds and taking photos, Priceless. Had a 8:00am reservation on a 8:00 park opening. We were let in at 7:45. Cm’s let us ride 7dmt x2 before going to bf. This happened 1 out of 2 days so it depends on the cm. This was my picky eaters least favorite meal.
4. MVMCP is a must do for us. Low crowds and was a magical way to start our vacation. Festive environment. Sandy claws was one our favorite character meets, he really is a show plus a photo. My dd15 loved him.
5. During November, pack more cold weather clothes. It was really cold this year and I had to do laundry (use the laundry app) during the trip. It was chilly at night.
6. Space out fastpass times during busier days. Hated rushing around and most days it was slim pickings for a 4th fp.
7. Set aside enough time to travel. We ran late many times waiting for the monorail.
8. Monorail from the Contemporary gets super backed up. We had to actually leave the line and uber once.
9. Senses spa at GF is wonderful. Staff is so nice and welcoming.
10. Candlelight Processional was beautiful. Standby was lined up as early as 2:00. We had a ticket and guests were lined up at least an hour early but you were let in early too. I think you have to see this at least once.
11. Soarin’ was awesome with the new show and I even have a fear of heights. We had a pre rd gg reservation and I wouldn’t hesitate doing to do this again. Lined up with plenty of time at 8:35. As soon as we were done the herd was in by 8:45
12. Illuminations dessert party. I have mixed feelings about this one. The food was meh, but the view we eventually had was amazing. The problem was getting a table. We showed up about 45 minutes early and there was a considerable line already. When they let you in, its madness. People running to tables, putting their hands on them and claiming them. I had 2 tables snagged from me, so be prepared. I wish they would just assign tables. Less stress
13. Wishes dessert party was worth it, imo. We tried to see wishes the Weds before Thanksgiving and it was insane. My dd was upset so we booked the Tomorrowland Terrace Plaza viewing Dessert Party. The desserts were good and they also had an assortment of cheeses. When its time they escort everyone to the reserved area in front of Casey’s. Plenty of room to really enjoy the fireworks. Perfect spot without the stress. The area will be opened up after and you can stay for once upon a time. Most of the crowds left after the fireworks so there was plenty of room regardless.
14. Frozen. We had a fp for this but of course it was down during our time. We received an anytime fp and went later. I really wanted this to be a one and done but we all loved it. I was really surprised. Everything about this experience is Disney perfect. I def wouldn’t wait more than 30 minutes so a fp is a must.
15. Via Napoli has the best pizza… ever!! I’m not kidding, perfect cheese to sauce ratio, and that dough. I’ll be missing this one until we return.
16. Disney springs. I can’t believe how much has been added in just a year. Our first mistake, do not go on the weekends during high crowds. It was a zoo. We were there for an hour and it was so overwhelming we left. The drone show was a fun experience. You have to get a clear view of the water near house of blues. I wouldn’t make a special trip but if you’re there during a showing it’s worth checking out.
17. Chef Mickey bf was our best character meal. It’s something about seeing the fab 5, even my ds13 was smiling. Food was good too.
18. Kona bf is always a must do for us. All of us were able to find something delicious here.
19. HS emm. I’m on the fence on whether this was a good deal. Get in early, as soon as you get near tsmm Buzz and Woody are waiting for you for a photo. Rode tsmm x2. As soon as we got off the cm’s made us go all the way back around so by the second time no one wanted to ride it anymore. Went to star tours, saw Olaf. We were first in line for Chewbacca and then Kylo Ren. Kylo Ren was very intimidating but a very memorable character meet.
20. Be flexible with your schedule. We rope dropped mk for btmrr and it was down for 2 hrs that morning. At epcot, spaceship earth and frozen were both down for our fp’s.
21. Cinderella’s Royal Table for lunch. The best meal of the trip. Not sure why this gets bad reviews sometimes, it really was delicious!
22. Starlight Safari at Animal Kingdom Kidani. Dress warm, they do have blankets but it is chilly. Night vision telescopes, ride in a vehicle on animal kingdom lodge property. Ds and dh went on this. They enjoyed it. Tons of information provided, up close encounters with the animals. Great to do at least once.
23. Trader Sams Grotto at the Poly. Loved this place. Fun atmosphere, a must do. Lines forms early on the weekends, probably 30 min prior to opening. Less crowded during the week. Kids are welcome from 4-8. One of the highlights from our trip.

I would say that as a family we felt that the parks were definitely more packed this year than last year. Felt like we were always working our ways thru crowds and feeling a bit stressed. Next time I would split Epcot into 2 days and not do any back to back park days. It was just too much for us. We all had such wonderful moments and the weather was beautiful. I hope someone can benefit from some of this info.


Thanks for the report, sounds like you had a great time. Appreciate all the details.

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How did check in go at Poly? Did you use online check in? Any pointers would be greatly appreciated as we are checking in on Saturday.

Our favorite longhouse is fiji, 3rd floor balcony. I requested an exact room number through touring plans and got the exact room. I did the online check in thru mde and received my room ready text with the room number. Bypassed front desk and went straight to our room.

That’s awesome news. I posted on here about the room ready text and someone said they weren’t doing it at Poly during their stay in Sept. Our fax went today so fingers crossed we get what we requested. I’m not too worried about the room as much as I am about check in. Really hoping to get that room ready text so we can just drop our bags off in the room and head straight to the parks.

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Really hope you get your room ready text as well as the room you requested. Let us know how things turned out! Have a fantastic vacation!

We are headed there next week and am super psyched about meeting Sandy Claws. What time did you line up to meet him? :slight_smile:


We watched the parade from Liberty Square and as soon as it was over we ran to get in line. He was tucked in a gazebo behind the Christmas shoppe near Liberty Square. The line was only 10 minutes but I think it was because you couldn’t see him very well. You’ll love meeting him!

Thanks for the trip report, a useful insight as we are staying at the Poly in 2 weeks time and are first timers. What time would you suggest I leave the room in time to reach MK for 7:15am, Epcot for 8am, and HS for 7:15am please?

Sweeeeeet! I saw that his location had moved this year. Was this the first parade? We plan to watch the parade in that area too, so that works out perfectly.

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I would give yourself at least 45 minutes to get to MK if using bus/monorail if its busy. You can also Uber to the Contemporary and walk over if you need to. For transportation to Epcot and HS we Uber’d it as well. We had pre-rd reservations for both and didn’t want to be late. Left for both about 50 minutes prior to when we wanted to arrive. Lines always formed quickly.


Yes, this was the first parade. If you can, watch the parade from that side closest to the christmas shoppe. We were on the wrong side and it was madness trying to cross. We went to Storybook Circus looking for him and found the 7 dwarves there instead. I think that’s also why his line was so small.

Thank you for the tip! I was wondering how crazy it would be after the parade, trying to crossover. Yeah, I happened to check on Kenny the Pirate’s site last night to get info on Moana and happened to see that they changed Sandy Claws’ spot. Glad I saw that and your post. :slight_smile:

Thanks again!

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Thank you, is it easy to check what buses are coming, will I walk out and see a large board saying how long until the next bus? Or is it so unreliable that I should just use Uber please?

I’m only judging by the GF screens last December, but they were very accurate and up to date with bus ETAs. Don’t recall them being way off on any of our waits.


@Tate - a bus is ALWAYS coming. They are very reliable. I don’t think we waited more than 10 min last year - even on CL 10 days.

I agree with Damavs, bus times were pretty accurate. Bus area is to the left when exiting the Poly. I only used Uber for my pre rope drop breakfast reservation and HS early morning magic. I hear there is a early breakfast bus but for us it was just easier to Uber on those days. Monorail is extremely convenient. When going to mk it only makes one stop prior, that’s to the Grand Floridian. There is a boat launch so that is also another option for mk, but monorail is usually the fastest.

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From the Poly, depending on room location, it’s also a short walk to the TTC to pickup the express monorail or Ferry to the MK as another option as well. If your room is on the TTC side of the Poly that may be quicker, but it likely also depends on time of day and guessing what the TTC crowds are. If you’d have to wait for a 2nd Ferry/monorail there you were better off with the longer walk.

The shared boat with the GF goes MK to GF to Poly so it’s a direct shot going to MK for Poly guests…

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Where does Uber drop you at each of the parks, especially MK?

MK is the Contemporary which would then be a short walk to the MK front gates. Maybe 10 minutes?

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