Monday, February 28, 2011

Our Dream Disney Vacation - Day Seven - Part Two

It was finally time for our FASTPASS window for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. You might remember that this was my mother-in-law's first roller coaster earlier in the trip and she fell in love with it. This time on the ride I made sure to sit in front of Matt and Diane so I could get great pictures of them riding! They turned out even better than I could have imagined. You can just see how excited Diane was and how much she laughed throughout the whole ride!

All of the coaster riding caused us to work up an appetite. Previously I had scoped out my favorite counter service restaurant in Magic Kingdom, Columbia Harbour House. We agreed it was the perfect place to grab lunch. The place was absolutely packed and we seemed to wait in line forever. The group in front of us had at least a ten person order. And they couldn't seem to decide what they heck everyone would want. We ordered quickly after them and then waited for our food. The large group had a few representatives that waited in line while the rest of them got a table. Once their food arrived in front of them they decided to trade out half of the drinks and desserts for something else. This was getting irritating for us to listen to and I'm sure even more upsetting to the cast members tending to these idiots with half functioning brains. The mom of the group had previously gotten out of line but now chose to PUSH her way past us in the very small and barred off waiting line. No excuse me or anything. At first we excused her obscene behaviour but the second time she came back to grab more trays and argue with the cast members, I let out a heavy sigh and Matt gave her the evil eye and politely explained that there was an "exit" line that she should have used. The big bad Brazilian men she was there with began to jump up Matt's rear for repremanding one of their women. At this point Matt got snippy back and the men (and woman) exchanged some unkind words. Finally I grabbed Matt's arm and asked him to just ignore them because it was doing no good. Finally the unpleasant foreigners got the heck out of there but not without cussing us out as they were walking away.

The important part now is the food! I got my usual Lighthouse Sandwich (hummus and slaw) while Matt enjoyed the tuna sandwich and our moms ordered the BLT Salad. I also ordered the clam chowder because I'm a clam chowder fiend. Everyone really really enjoyed their food. You get so much for your money at this restaurant. A tip I have is to remember that there is upstairs seating. It's often much less busy and more quiet upstairs.

We decided to leave Magic Kingdom at this point but not before we did a little browsing on Main Street. While the moms looked around in the Emporium, Matt and I went to the nice jewelry store on the opposite side of the street. I went nuts! Everything in there is so gorgeous!! I found so many things for my house that I would love to have some day when I can afford to splurge on "nice" things. I saw a necklace in the middle case that made my jaw drop. It was stunning. We were curious how much it was. Not that we were looking to buy anything but we were just curious. Instead of a cast member approaching us asking if we'd like to see anything we were ignored. One woman looked right at us and then turned away. Matt said, "Excuse me, we'd like to see something." She didn't even speak she just opened the case and grabbed out the necklace and said, "It's $2,500." I wasn't terribly surprised. It didn't matter to me. I just wanted to see the piece up close. The crotchety cast member said, "Is that all?" We thanked her and then turned away with a nasty taste in our mouth. Clearly she didn't think that WE of all people could afford something so nice. I've never had a cast member made me feel so inferior. Makes me not want to return to that store until I am truly prepared to shell out some major cash.

After we met up with our moms and dragged them out of the Emporium, we noticed that the mid-day parade was starting so we decided to watch it right where it comes out onto Main Street.

Back at the Polynesian Resort we grabbed dole whips from Captain Cook's and then headed to the room to relax and freshen up. After a bit we headed towards the TTC and stopped at the Great Ceremonial House on the way. I took some pictures and an amazingly nice CM offered to snap a group picture of us! It turned out to be our favorite photo of all of us from the whole vacation.

The gang made the walk to the TTC and hopped the monorail for Epcot. Right away we did Spaceship Earth since it was basically a walk on at this point in the afternoon. I know I previously reported that we figured out how to get the surfboard in the interactive portion of the ride but really, it wasn't until THIS DAY that we figured it out. I got it all mixed up in my head. :) These pictures are priceless.

It was so joyous to finally get the surfboards. I'd been trying for years. Anyway... we decided that we had quite a bit of time to kill before our dinner reservation so we stopped at Club Cool to wet our whistles. Had to of course experience the Beverly again. Ahh... that wretched thing. Then we made our way around the World Showcase... starting in Canada and walking around to Mexico. Our only F&WF stop was for Matt and I to get a spicy tuna roll from Japan. Delicious!!

I do believe we made a stop at Norway to ride Maelstrom. I love me some trolls. After all... I am 1/4 Norwegian. My husband is very jealous that I am part viking.
Our reservation at La Hacienda was for 8:15 p.m. I think. We killed some time at the Mexico pavillion and then walked over across the way to the restaurant and checked in at the podium outside. I requested a table by the windows and was assured every table had a great view. This was the first day that this new restaurant accepted reservations. We got inside right away without any waiting. The greeting staff was really outstanding and insanely nice. We sat down for no more than 2 minutes inside of the lobby/entrance before our table was ready. We were led into this gorgeous main room with huge windows. I was so excited until we turned a corner into a smaller, virtually windowless portion of the restaurant. We were seated by a window alright. A very very small window that we'd have to turn our backs to to even see it. To see OUT of it you'd have to stand up and lean over another table. For some reason we were the rejects because no one else was seated in this section at all. Just us. Did they think we said that we DIDN'T want to have a view of the wate

Instead of complaining about the table and requesting something else we just sat down. I regret doing this now because it would have been much more magical of a dining experience in the main room.

Our waitress was a very sweet younger gal that took our drink orders while we looked over the menu. Matt and I pretty much decided instantly to splurge and get the Del Mar. It's a mix of grilled seafood with vegetables, beans, and rice. Meant to be shared by 2 people. The menu was quite small and my mom had a hard time figuring out what to order because everything seemed a little too authentic for her liking. She's a pretty picky eater as it is. We had to ask the waitress was some of the items were specifically so mom could figure out if she'd eat it or not. She decided to get the Puerco en Salsa My mother-in-law, Diane, got Pollos al Pastor... marinated chicken. The chips and salsa we were served right away were delicious! I love new and interesting salsas and both were very good but quite different. Neither were crazy hot.

The food came out in record time and it all smelled amazing. Matt and I really enjoyed what we shared. Would I pay $50 for it if we were outside of WDW? No. But, it was good for what it was and it was enough to fill us both up though we didn't have any left behind. I personally loved the scallops the best. But, I love scallops more than life itself so.... I'm a bad judge. The roasted corn was easily our favorite side.

See that tiny window beside that table?  THAT was suppose to be our view of the water.  Well, I took the picture from where I was sitting (turned around) and let me tell you it wasn't a view of anything.  Our moms were on the other side of the table and they couldn't see out the window at all basically.  There was another section around the corner from our small area that was equally tiny and it had absolutely no window.  It faced into the larger main room.

This area looked so much more fun.  If we decide to return we'll for sure be demanding a seat in here.

After dinner we checked out the new Duffy bears and corresponding outfits in a nearby gift shop.  I definitely think Disney is reaching for some extra money with this one.  Duffy basically "represents" all of the countries.  Sort of World Showcase's mascot.  Do I think that World Showcase needs a mascot?  Heck no!  That being said... I understand the appeal to old women who collect bears or young kids that love stuffed animals with matching clothes.  He's cute... I'll give him that.

After we left Epcot we grabbed the monorail back to the Polynesian Resort and had a painfully long walk to our longhouse.  Matt and I changed into some warmer clothes and headed down to the beach to enjoy our last night.  We shared a dole whip from Captain Cooks and found a nice place to relax on the beach.  We watched Wishes and heard the music that was piped in for resort guests to hear.  It was hard to think that this was our last night and we'd have to leave for cold Michigan the next afternoon. 

All in all it was a dreamy magical trip.  We may never get to stay at the Polynesian again in our lives but we can say we did it once.  We felt like the luckiest and most blessed family that week.  Dreams can and do come true. 


  1. Duffy the Disney Bear actually doesn't have anything to do with Epcot. Here's a brief rundown of his story -

  2. Haha...the internet schooled me. A while back I'd heard about Duffy but had no clue what he was so I did some research. He's cute but I don't really see him catching on here in U.S.

  3. I'm glad somebody else has taken issue with Disney World's attitude towards special requests. Be it rides or restaurant seating Jill and I are frequently told, "They're all the same." or "There isn't a bad seat." It wouldn't hurt them to fulfill a simple request but it would seem that there is a policy of "our way or the highway" there.

    Disneyland has more of a "sure, go ahead" attitude. We always get to sit where we want on rides and at restaurants. We're always willing to wait a little longer for the privilege and they always oblige.

    Perhaps I'm nitpicking but it's the minutia that can ruin a trip.

  4. Great report!!! I'm sorry to see this dream trip come to an end, since I was living it vicariously through your posts :)

    The pics of your MIL are amazing - pure joy in those shots!! And I understand why - everyone's gotta love Big Thunder!

    That sux you had to deal with the obnoxious Brazilian group. I had a similar problem/argument there a couple years ago, only it was with a French group. What is with these foreign tour groups and their bad manners?!