I was fortunate enough to be able to take a 7 night vacation to Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando Florida the second week of January, 2010. I thought I would post some information about our trip to share as well as help myself remember our experience!
Our stay began on one of the coldest days in Orlando in decades. It struggled to top freezing. It made things kind of unique, walking the parks wrapped up in gloves, hats, scarves, layers of clothing and winter coats. It also kept the crowds down, particularly for all outdoor attractions.
The resort we chose was Disney’s Polynesian Resort. The reasons we chose this were its location on Magic Kingdom and Epcot monorail routes, its theme, and that it was the lowest priced hotel on a monorail line. We really enjoyed this resort, the facilities are fantastic, the grounds beautiful (the best in WDW from what I have seen), the rooms large, and comfortable. It is very nice, with young children, to arrive at the hotel fairly early in the evening and catch the fireworks from your “backyard”. If the breeze blew just right, you could even hear the accompanying music. We could not get reservations to eat at the popular Ohana restaurant, but we did eat at the Kona Cafe and it was FABULOUS! The quick service Captain Cook’s restaurant was also quite good and was utilized regularly. All staff were very friendly as well. My biggest complaint is that the sound from the hall and adjoining rooms was horrifying. We kept the room fan running all night to keep outside noise to a minimum. The fan was quite loud, which normally is a bad thing, but as a “white noise” it solved our problem. We wanted to request a different room but having unpacked a family of 5 did not want to pack up and move. We have never experienced this noise issue at previous stays at Grand Floridian, All Star Music, and Wilderness Lodge, so I wonder if this is unique to the Polynesian?
I really wish that Disney could come up with some solution to the problem of rude, inconsiderate people. Cutting in line, cutting people off, and just simply acting rude was a common occurrence. I realize this is human nature, there is no way to completely eliminate this. I just wish, for example, Disney employed “plain clothes” staff members to mingle in the crowd, wait in some lines, ride the monorail, etc. and try to witness random acts of kindness and reward those good folks. Such as: giving up a bench seat or seat on the monorail or bus for someone holding a small child, or even holding open a door or swinging gate for the person behind you. Some kind of simple reward, like a free fast pass or a preferred seating assignment or even a free snack – I think – would if not improve overall behavior, at least it rewards those that deserve it. I don’t think its possible to punish the bad acts unfortunately.
I thought a 7 night stay may be too long, but after the fact this was the perfect stay. We had plenty of time to do everything we wanted and never felt rushed. The Disney dining plan made it possible to eat fairly healthy and I highly recommend the Kona Cafe at the Polynesian as well as the Tusker House at Animal Kingdom.
The new Innoventions display at Epcot is really cool. They have all kinds of interactive attractions – creating a video game where YOU are the character was really funny, particularly as a group. My kids loved the Piggy Bank adventure. I really wanted to do the create your own roller coaster but did not get a chance. The kids absolutely loved the Kim Possible agent activity. Its a great idea and allows parents to enjoy the World Showcase without kid complaints!
The Magic Kingdom is always special, I do wish they would renovate Fantasyland though just to streamline traffic. Can’t they create a second Dumbo ride to speed up the wait time? It can’t be that expensive of a ride. I also wish Toon Town would be expanded with a couple of silly small rides for little kids, or perhaps bumper cars themed off of the movie Cars. That would fit perfectly in that part of the park. The classic rides here are fantastic though like the Jungle Cruise, Space Mountain, Splash Mountain (my favorite ride was closed for renovations), Big Thunder Mountain, Peter Pan, and The Haunted Mansion (I could go on). I also like the Monsters Inc Laughter show as a new attraction.
We visited Disney’s Hollywood Studios and loved the new Toy Story Midway Mania ride. I heard it compared to Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger spin, which is a good ride, but I think it is head and shoulders better. We used FastPass to get on this ride twice, and recommend that as wait times were as much as 80 minutes, and to be honest an 80 minute wait is not worth it.
Finally, our Animal Kingdom experience was great, except we went late in the day as it was an extra magic hour evening for this park. We did not realize the Safari and trains would not be running after hours so we missed these attractions. The gorilla exhibit was fantastic as was the Lion King show. Expedition Everest, Dinosaur, and the rides at Dino-land are a lot of fun. The boneyard play area is really nice for children too. The Finding Nemo musical was OK in my opinion.
That pretty much wraps up our trip. We really appreciated the kind cast members that assist you every step of the way. We had such a great time that we are even starting to save for our next trip!