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Surviving a Magic Kingdom afternoon

Monday, November 30, 2015
We generally avoid afternoons in Disney Parks during the crowded heat of the day like the plague. We go early...very early...and tour hard until lunch and then take a good break during the crazy part of the day.

Well by the time we made it to the Poly and got checked into our room it was nearly lunch time. Since we only had two days in Disney World we were not going to miss out on some play time so we boarded the monorail and headed to the Magic Kingdom during peak hours.

Walking into the park and seeing the castle at the end of Main Street just never gets old. And given it was September, the park was all dressed up in it's Halloween best. Pumpkins. Everywhere.

As long as you have good expectations and know what you are is totally survivable. We pretty much went in expecting that we would get to ride three big rides thanks to pre-assigned fast passes and then we would just ride small rides with low waits. And it worked. Thankfully Perry thinks the TTA people mover is as thrilling as Space Mountain. lol.

We rode the TTA over and over and it is now known as the "Mickey mover" by Perry. Andrew and I traded off and did get to ride Space Mountain with a fastpass. We also had fastpasses for Peter Pan and Haunted Mansion I think. Something like that. We also did some general wandering and photo taking and being silly in gift shops.

Perry had not napped all day so he eventually passed out in the stroller. We wanted to get out of the heat so we went to go meet Donald and Goofy in their air conditioned spot. Donald was quite amused at the toddler sleeping in his stroller.

We have done Disney enough that we can do little short jaunts in the park without getting overwhelmed and frustrated that we can't get it all in. We know we can't. So we pick some things we want to do and then just spend the rest of the time being immersed in the culture.

We didn't stay in the park too long. We had a very special night ahead aboard the Pirates and Pals fireworks cruise. 

Updated Polynesian Village Resort

When we disembarked the boat in Orlando we boarded a bus to the Polynesian which would be our home away from home for the next two nights. It definitely helped temper the "cruise is over" blues knowing we had a couple more days of Disney fun in store.

We are Disney Vacation Club members which means we can stay on WDW property on our points. Our home resort is Animal Kingdom Lodge which is beautiful, but we are having fun using our points elsewhere as well and exploring all the different DVC properties.

We were so stoked when we came off the waitlist to get our two night stay at the Polynesian Village. Because number one it is on the monorail and number two it is finishing up a long renovation and the rooms are all new and shiny.

The lobby of the Great Ceremonial House is stunning and has the coolest lanterns hanging from the ceiling. The area is all opened up now and you can literally see Cinderella's castle through the back windows when you walk in.

We didn't take nearly enough pictures of the resort. To busy just taking it all in. We loved the DVC studio rooms. First off they have two bathrooms. In a standard hotel room. One has a bath, sink and toilet. The other has a shower and a sink. Awesome for getting multiple people bathed and ready to go at night or in the morning.

The rest of the room is beautiful but pretty typical of what you can expect from a DVC studio. I love what they have done with the new color palettes to lighten up the furnishings and linens.

Except there is the cutest little pull down bed under the TV. Perfect for a Perry-sized human (or even a bigger kid). Perry loved having a bed of his own that appeared from the wall. It has a sweet Lilo and Stich theme painted on the side and a little light that the child can control.

P was a fan. I heard him fall out once, but he climbed right back in bed without waking up. We told him not to get used to that level of freedom because he is still sleeping in a crib at home.

Despite one bad night of transportation...where the boats and monorail were backed up till Kingdom come...we loved our brief stay at the Poly.

Castaway Cay Day

Sunday, November 15, 2015
The last day of our cruise was spent at Castaway Cay. Disney's private island in the Bahamas. And one of our favorite places on earth. It is all self contained and the whole island is full of little Disney touches and attention to detail.

My day started with running the Castaway Cay 5k race. I found Minnie right after I finished for a celebratory picture with my medal.

The boys had a more leisurely morning, they strolled off the boat and went and found the preschooler splash area.

Once we all rendezvoused, we found ourselves a little patch of beach to sit and play on. The sand is white, the water is clear. It's just perfect. It was cloudy...and rained a little bit over lunch...which kept the temperatures down and comfortable. Perry loved playing on the beach. I love that sand doesn't seem to bother him at all. He saw some other kids playing with buckets and shovels and immediately got envious. So we caved and went and bought him a set (note to self...bring one with us next time) and it was the best $7 we spent. He could have played with that little bucket all day long carrying sand to and from the ocean to our chairs.

After lunch we did a little more playing. And our day was made when we stumbled upon this happy, warm hug loving snowman. Totally didn't expect to get to meet him on the trip.

By that point in the day P was totally tuckered out. And took his nap right there on a beach chair in the Bahamas. It's a hard life for sure. Before heading back aboard the ship we wanted to get a family picture with our boat in the background like we have from our last trip. Poor little tired buddy did not want to wake up for it so it was a bit of a struggle. But we got it...kinda.

That night we cleaned up and had one last dinner aboard the Disney Fantasy. P and I had one last Minnie encounter too. We clean up well after a day of sun and sand.

While aboard the Disney Fantasy...

Wednesday, November 4, 2015
I wanted to share some of our other favorite aspects of life aboard the Disney Fantasy - things we saw and did and how we spent our "down time." Down time is really a misnomer because face it, you don't sit still for long when you have a two year old.

1. Splashing and playing at Nemo's Reef

2. Riding the Aquaduck

*I was not the only one that rode it. Andrew just refused to let me link his aquaduck pics to our photo account so we have no documentation of it. P was too little to ride so we had to take turns. Pro tip: ride it when the boat is docked in port and everyone else is off the boat = no lines!

3. Remember we were floating in the great big ocean.

4. A daily pilgrimage to the dining room for dinner. On Disney ships you rotate between three restaurants but your wait staff travel with you. We had amazing servers who P had wrapped around his little finger.

5. Amassing a towel zoo

6. Having "Magical Moments" in the Small World Nursery (Perry). Mom and Dad just got to find out about these precious memories because certificates like these would show up later inside our room. Apparently Perry was a very good helper at cleaning up toys. And really likes to sing the Muffin Man song to strangers.

7. Exploring the kids club open houses

8. Taking in the Halloween decor on the boat

9. Fish extenders. A gift exchange with some of our fellow passengers. It was always exciting to go back to the room and see if we had any presents waiting outside the door. P got some amazing stuff. Including a Peter Pan if they knew he was dressing as that for Halloween...and a little stuffed bunny rabbit that he still sleeps with every night.

10. Becoming Disney Animators. And have the certificates to prove it. lol. I think we should keep our paying day jobs.

Palo Dinner

Monday, November 2, 2015
Our other adult only dining experience was dinner in Palo. We did Palo brunch and dinner last cruise and decided to repeat the dinner part this time. The food and service are amazing. And it was so nice to sit and eat without having to convince a toddler to take another bite of his chicken nuggets.

They have the best, perfectly circular, rings of calamari. I had the lobster pasta and Andrew had steak. The star of the dessert course is the chocolate soufflé which you have to order early because it takes pretty much all dinner to cook. It is a good thing we don't eat like this all the time. We would weigh 500 lbs.

Pirates IN the Caribbean

Every Disney cruise has a night set aside for Pirate night. Everyone dons their best pirate attire and there is a big party up on deck complete with fireworks.

The biggest priority of the evening was getting pictures with Peter Pan, Hook, and Smee who were going to be out meeting and mingling. We put Perry's Peter Pan costume back on him one more time for these meets. It was so cute seeing him meet Peter, dressed as Peter. Peter Pan loved him...and taught him how to stand, and how to find his shadow. These might be some of my favorite pictures of all time.

Hook and Smee were not nearly as fond of our little Perry Pan.

There was a pirate and princess dance party going on in D Lounge so Perry and I went to go check it out while Daddy stood in line for Hook and Smee. There are not enough words to describe Perry's delight when he saw Jake come out on stage. Just look that that face in the pictures below. He stood at the edge of the stage and watched the whole time Jake was up there. Serious celebrity status.

We had Perry's pirate costume with us too and took lots of pictures with characters all dressed up in their pirate wear. Then we went upstairs to watch the stage show, watch Captain Jack Sparrow descent from the funnel, and see the fireworks.

We kept P up waaaay past his bedtime. But when there are fireworks to be seen in the middle of the ocean...I think it is allowed.

Remy Champagne Brunch

Sunday, November 1, 2015
One of the absolutely best hour (or two) of the trip was the day we dropped Perry of in the nursery and went to brunch at Remy. This had been on our bucket list since our last cruise when we heard so many good things about it. Pricey yes, but so worth it. Only caveat is you have to be a relatively adventurous eater and wanting to try new, odd, and amazing things.

It was a champagne brunch so we were greeted first by the sommelier who had a table of little plates of meat (Jamon Iberico) and glasses of champagne.

We started the experience in a small group of about 12 people, where we learned about how the brunch was structured and the different things we would be given to drink. Then we were all seated at individual tables.  We could not have asked for a better table or view. Just look at this:

Our brunch was six courses of food and three different champagnes. All of it was totally amazing. I love tasting menus where you can try things and not have to decide and pick from a menu. Here's the food line up:

Tomates, Gressin, Tarte fine

Lobster, Caviar, Mango

Fletan, Pomme de Terre, Sauce Thai
(the foamed potatoes were the star of this course)

Poulet Rouge Oscar

Paris Brest
(hazelnut filled pastry)

After we finished and were completely full we were handed a little bag of rum cakes to take with us. To be honest we never ate them...there is just an over abundance of food to eat on a cruise. And rum cakes are not at the top of our preference list. It was a nice gesture though.

And that's the whole yummy experience. We ate everything and enjoyed everything. Brunch took us nearly 2 hours from start to finish so by the time we left it was time to go pick up little man from the nursery. We had high expectations going into it and they were met and passed for sure. It was a perfect way to spend a couple adult hours. Up on the top deck overlooking the ocean you can kind of forget for a while there is a busy bustling cruise ship of people beneath you.

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