Friday, June 28, 2013

{Travel}The Happiest Place on Earth- Part 8 (last one!)

I can't believe this is my final installment from our trip to Walt Disney World.
The last day is always a little sad for me.
We walked over to the Kona Cafe at the Polynesian Resort for breakfast which seems to be another tradition for us on our last day in Disney.  It was pretty humid and my camera fogged right up when we left our cool, air conditioned room.
Breakfast at the Kona is not to be missed (but must be photo bombed)!
My husband ordered the ham and cheese omelette sans the ham.  It comes with perfectly spiced potatoes and a light and fluffy biscuit. They don't skimp on the cheese.
I ordered the fruit bowl served in a pineapple shell. It comes with the most delicious warm banana bread on the side.  So good!

But this is really the piece de resistance!
My daughter (bless her heart) ordered Tonga Toast. I'm so happy when someone orders it because then I can have a taste(or three)!  Tonga Toast is banana stuffed sourdough bread french toast that is deep fried and rolled and in cinnamon sugar. It's served with a side of bacon, sausage or fruit and a sweet strawberry compote. It's really indescribable!  The Kona is famous for it but you can also get it downstairs at Captain Cook's in the Polynesian as a counter service item. The other nice thing about the Kona Cafe, is real Kona coffee.  You can get a press pot of the delicious brew. Even their 'regular' coffee is a Kona blend, a nice change from the Disney Nescafe served most places.

One of the changes at Disney since the last time we were there is this new system they are using for everything from getting into your room, entering the parks and paying for your food. These Mickey 'boxes' are popping up everywhere. You just wave your card key in front of it. Pretty cool!! It seems to improving the time it takes to get into the parks because they can let in two at a time at each (former) turnstile.  
A storm was starting to blow in after breakfast.  It was the first rain we had seen on our trip.

It was coming down pretty hard and the wind was strong there for awhile. I didn't mind leaving so much then.  

Before we knew it, it was time to say goodbye to our favorite place and favorite resort and get on the Magical Express bus back to the airport.
{sad face}
It had been a fabulous trip (minus the fact that College Girl couldn't be with us).
I hope we'll be back soon!!
If you'd like to see the rest of our trip, it all starts here.
Thanks for following along!! What's your favorite vacation spot?
Linking up with:
Creative Mondays
Wow Us Wednesday

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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Wordless Wednesday-Last Day of School

Is my child the only one who is sad on the last day of school?
On a side note, I had to smell her yearbook..they have that fresh yearbook smell that brings back so many memories.

Linking up with:
Wordless Wednesday
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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

{Travel}The Happiest Place on Earth-Part 7

In my last post we were about to change up our evening plans for dining in EPCOT. We decided to go back to the hotel to rest and have dinner later in Downtown Disney.
First we headed over to the Grand Floridian to do some shopping and what did we finally get to see? The Ironman 3 Monorail!   We were hoping it was still in circulation but hadn't seen it all week.
We boarded it and took it back to the Polynesian. When we got off we asked if we could get a photo of it before exiting the platform.  This usually isn't allowed but we got permission and snapped away as quickly as possible before it took off again!
Back to the Club Lounge at the Polynesian for some snacks...
This is the view from the bus stop at the Polynesian.
We decided to forego our Advanced Dining Reservations in Mexico for a more casual meal in Downtown Disney at Wolfgang Puck Express.
The food here is always top quality. We had already had lunch here earlier in the week but we just had to come back one more time.  This place is a step up from most counter services in Disney. You order your food and get a number for your table then your food is delivered to your table by a server.  They keep you supplied with extra napkins and drink refills (and anything else you need).
They also bring out the dessert if you ordered it. They have indoor and outdoor tables. We decided to sit outside because it was such a gorgeous night.
 I had the Oven Roasted Salmon -fennel,tomatoes,arugula,roasted potatoes and horseradish cream.
 Hubs had the Half Rotisserie Chicken-garlic butter, rosemary and mashed potatoes.
And the child had the Roasted Vegetable Sandwich-buffalo mozzarella, pesto, lettuce, tomato and horseradish cream. Oh those sweet potato fries!
After dinner we explored Downtown Disney. There's something magical about being there at night.
Look at these views!
That's a dragon made out of Legos (coming out of the water!).  It's fun to stroll by the stores and restaurants. There was a lot of entertainment going on as we walked through. We got to hear a saxophone player, an Irish duo and a middle school band.  

We were also entertained by these golden statues.  They each drew quite a crowd. They were a lot of fun to watch as people walked up to get photos with them. You never knew what they were going to do. They reminded me of the Moving Sculptures that used to be in Italy at EPCOT.
We stopped in at the T-Rex Restaurant and perused the store.
 That's an experience in itself.
Time to head back to the hotel to watch the fireworks with a night cap one last time.
to be continued...(I promise, only 1 more !)
Part 1 starts here.
Linking up with:
Creative Mondays
Create It Thursday
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Monday, June 24, 2013

{Travel} The Happiest Place on Earth-Part 6

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On our last full day in Disney we decided to spend it in EPCOT and to get there early to ride Soarin' and Test Track. 
On a side note, look at how cute the housekeeping was at the Polynesian. Besides having a sweetly, nightly turn down service (with chocolate), we'd also find cute scenes like this. 
{That's a turtle made out of washcloths hanging out with Perry the Platypus on the bed.}

Like I said, we were trying to get to EPCOT for their opening time (9am for Future World) so coffee was a must on the monorail ride over.
The plan was for my husband to run over to The Land and get fast passes for Soarin' while we waited in line at Test Track.  The park had just opened the Stand By line was already over an hour long.  We all met up and waited but the line moved quickly so that was a plus!
We were excited to check out the Re-imagined Test Track. As part of the queue now you get to design  and style your own vehicle.
You have to adjust things on your vehicle and see how they affect it in responsiveness, power, efficiency and capability.
This was our finished vehicle. Your vehicle follows you throughout the attraction.  After you are done the ride, it also rates your vehicle vs. everyone else's from the same ride.  Pretty cool!  It definitely makes the ride more interactive and fun!
Next up was Soarin'. This has to be my favorite EPCOT ride but the line is always long. It's nice to have fast passes for this one!
Little known fact: In WDW, they tell you to take your loose shoes(like flip flops) off for the ride. In California, they don't allow you to take them off. Strange, right? I prefer it with shoes off for the total experience. It is awesome!  We also did the Living With the Land boat ride and some of us experienced Mission to Mars that morning (not me).
By then, the World Showcase was open and we were ready to eat our way around the world. First we had fish and chips in the UK. We bought one order to split and looked for a place to sit down but all of their tables were full so we went behind the stores in the UK and found a lot of empty benches surrounding a cool and quiet garden square.  It was the perfect spot to rest and re-group.   We made our way around the world until we got to Norway and the Kringla bakery.
Isn't this ceiling pretty?
We were on the hunt for one thing...
School Bread! I mentioned it as something I wanted to try in this post of Disney eats and treats before we left.  It was rich and sweet and creamy and delicious. What can I say? You must try it!
As we were leaving Norway we saw a whole slew of characters coming our way!
We snapped this one with Stitch and I used my Disney Memories HD app to add this cute frame. You can read more about the app here.
One of our Disney traditions is for the girls to get henna tattoos in Morocco on the last day of our trip(so they last longer).   I've even gotten one. They are beautiful.
Morocco is being re-built (new restaurant coming!) so the kiosk was set up in a different place this year. The women who do the tattoos are amazing. You just tell them what number tattoo you want from the book and they draw it on from memory!
Obviously my memory isn't very good because I can't remember what this one was called. **edit**It's called "Eternity".** They add some glitter to give it a little sparkle.  In a few hours, all of the 'puffy' henna falls off and you are left with a lighter version of the design. She also got her name in Arabic on her other arm.
This day is getting long, are you tired yet? We finished up our day in EPCOT with some guacamole and chips in Mexico and then took one more ride on Spaceship Earth. We had dinner plans in EPCOT that night but we decided to change it up.
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Thursday, June 20, 2013

{Travel} The Happiest Place on Earth - Part 5

After visiting two parks (Animal Kingdom and Magic Kingdom) and doing some shopping at the Contemporary Resort, we were ready for some R & R poolside.
We staked out our table with an umbrella and the perfect view.

Enjoying the sun and fun!

One of the perks of staying at Club Level is the Lounge. Normally they serve cocktails at happy hour but you can get pretty much whatever you want all day long.  So ice cold beers at the pool, yes please! 
They would pour them into plastic cups for you too.
Another great snack credit option is our favorite Pineapple Dole Whip. It's always a nice treat to have by the pool (pictured here swirled with vanilla soft serve).
This one was happy to be heading down to the lounge for a pre-dinner nosh.
We were all pretty hungry after sharing our three snack lunch earlier in the day.
We totally lucked out with staying at Club Level and loved every minute of it! The evening happy hour spread was very impressive. 
Each night there were repeat options as well as new options, like sushi.  The chef was right there if you had any questions or requests. He brought my daughter a whole plate of vegetarian sushi out because they were being served with California rolls and she only wanted the vegetarian kind.  There were always fresh veggies and fruits, pita bread and hummus and pb & j for the kids plus a lot more!
This is the view from the lounge's floor to ceiling windows.  Not too shabby!
The food was set up on this big island as well as another counter behind it. You can see the fridge in the background that was always stocked with sodas and there was a drink station right next to it with a coffee machine that made all kinds of mochas, lattes and hot chocolate.
I tried to take as many pics as I could but people were waiting and I didn't want to hold up the line. You get the idea...
There was always a nice selection of cheese and crackers and usually a tasty salad or cold soup too.
Here's a shot of the whole back counter...
and the other side.
We had dinner plans in Epcot that evening. Here we are walking over to the Ticket and Transportation Center to catch the monorail over to Epcot. The grounds of the Polynesian are just beautiful!

Dinner was in Italy at Via Napoli.

That's a great place to dine if you like cute Italian waiters fire roasted specialties like pizza and pasta and mouth watering desserts like tiramisu and gelato.
The Italy Pavilion is so pretty.
It had been a really long (and very fun) day and we were ready to turn in early.
Good night Epcot!

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