Wednesday, December 17th, 2009

For our last morning in Orlando, Kevin and I were going to go have breakfast with Tracy, Jack and Tony at Kona Cafe at the Polynesian. I'd never eaten there...I'm not much of a breakfast person...but I agreed to go since I wanted to try the often talked about Tonga Toast. After getting up, I showered, then emptied and completely repacked my bag and my backpack for the trip home. I got all the clothes, shoes and stuff in the big bag, then set aside all the stuff that needed to be opened and condensed to be put in the backpack. I opened all the Mr. Potato Head sets, the Incredibles ornaments, and all the other little stuff that needed to be taken out of their boxes, then carefully packed them into the backpack.

I emptied the cooler I had been using all week, and left it sitting outside the door with a sign on it that said "Free - Take it if you can use it" so hopefully the cooler was picked up by someone who made use of it again. Tracy and Jack arrived at our room at 9:00am, right as we were finishing up our last minute packing. When I was done, I walked my bags over to bell services and checked them there so I could pick them up later when it was time to catch my Magical Express bus. I was supposed to walk back over to the car, but Kevin called while I was waiting at bell services and said that he would come pick me up, which was nice since it saved a long walk for me.

We drove over to the Poly, found a parking spot and quickly made our way inside the lobby. We were still a tad early for our seating, so we hung around and took some photos in the lobby while we waited.

The Tambu Lounge in the Polynesian

Someone called Tony to see where he was, and he said that there was a bad traffic jam between his house and Disney World, and that he was going to be a little bit late. We were seated not too long after, and luckily Tony arrived before we had placed our food order. Kevin and Tony split one of the press pots of coffee, as did Tracy and Jack, and they were really cool looking. It's just sort of a coffee sludge, then they press this plunger down and it sifts out all of the grounds so the only thing you get is the liquid coffee. Kinda cool, but quite expensive!

For my entree, I decided to try to Tonga Toast, which I have heard about from the second I discovered Disney internet groups. EVERYONE talks about how great this stuff is, so it was finally time to try it. When it arrived, it was huge! It was easily as wide as a CD case, and probably about half as tall as well! When you cut into it, there was a thin layer of banana inside, which I thought was just enough to give it a nice banana flavor without making it mushy. And the entire thing was rolled in cinnamon sugar! Oh man, it was delicious! It came with strawberry sauce and regular syrup, both of which were great on it. It also came with a side of breakfast potatoes, which equalled way too much food for breakfast, but somehow I soldiered through it and ate the whole thing! haha

We had a great time at breakfast chatting about everything from 9/11 to how Jack and Tracy drank Kona coffee at their wedding! When we were done, Tony had to leave so he would have time to get changed before work. We all said goodbye to him, then decided to go take the boat over to the Magic Kingdom. All the while, Steve was texting with me, and I was kidding him about how much fun we were having while he was at work haha.

The view of the Grand Floridian from the Poly marina

The wedding pavilion with the monorail going by

It took a little while for the boat to arrive, but once it was there, it was a nice ride across the lake. While we were on the boat, Tracy and I thought it was funny that Kevin had befriended a couple of kids near him and were impressing them with his colorful Canadian money! haha

Cinderella Castle

When we got to the Magic Kingdom, I suggested Stitch's Great Escape as our first stop, and everyone seemed to agree that it had been a while since any of us had seen it.

Predictably, there was no wait when we arrived, and Kevin and I spent what little wait we did have trying to translate the plaque at the entrance. There must have been some sort of malfunction during the show because a bunch of the sound effects didn't work, and a few of the nastier sensory effects caught us by surprise! haha This still isn't that great of a show...I would like to see the whole building gutted and something completely new put in its place.

Checking out the awesome merchandise in Merchant of Venus

Once we left Stitch's Great Escape, we walked up into Fantasyland and noticed that there were still Fastpasses available for Pooh, so we all got one.

The only other thing on my list that I really wanted to do was to see Mickey's Philharmagic since I didn't get to see it in 2007. A show was loading when we arrived, so we went inside quickly and grabbed our "opera glasses". We barely waited at all in the preshow room before being let into the main theater. I still love this show, and really hope that I can make it a point to watch it every year since I enjoy it so much, and since it is so well done.

When we were done, Kevin suggested riding the Liberty Square Riverboat since we also hadn't done that. So we all jumped on board and caught a ride. It was a nice, relaxing ride, and the weather was just perfect...sunny and warm, but not so warm that I was hot. Too bad I had to leave later that day :-( After the riverboat, we made a stop in the Agrabathrooms, then went over to the Tiki Room.

It's funny how three different verisons of this show exist in Florida, Anaheim and Tokyo, and they are all so different! I still think that the Disneyland one is my favorite, then Tokyo (despite the fact that I couldn't understand what was being said!) and the Florida one comes in last since it includes Gilber Gottfried! haha We ended up waiting through the entire preshow, which was cool since I hadn't seen the entire thing in quite a few years. We also noticed only two CMs staffing this Tiki Room, as opposed to the 8 they had in Tokyo!

When we left the Tiki Room, I asked if we could go ahead and ride Pooh with our Fastpasses since I needed to leave soon. Everyone agreed, so we walked out toward the hub to cut over to Fantasyland. By the time I got there, I decided that I probably didn't have the time to ride the ride and still make it back to Pop Century in time for my Magical Express bus, so I decided to go ahead and tell everyone goodbye and head out. I had accidentally left my favorite hoodie in the car that morning, so I had to go back over to the Poly to get it, which I knew was going to take a lot of time in itself. So I got the keys from Kevin, gave everyone a hug goodbye, then made my last sad walk out of the Magic Kingdom.

At the front gate, I got in line for the resort monorail, and took it over three stops to the Polynesian. I ran out to the car, and found the back hatch to have been left unlocked...again reminding me that a hatch that doesn't lock automatically is the stupidest feature you could ever have on a car! But luckily everything was still there, so I grabbed my hoodie, and took a few final photos of the little ding on the door. I also paused to thumb back through my camera and see if the ding was in the photos I took when I picked up the car, and it was! Whew! So I didn't have to worry about them being nasty about the ding when it wasn't us that put it there in the first place! So I didn't worry about fixing it since it wasn't our damage, which meant that I could return the bottle of touch up paint that I'd bought the night before.

I went back inside, and quickly left the car keys with the concierge so Kevin could pick them up on his way out. I took the monorail back to the Magic Kingdom, and by the time I got back, I realized that that seemingly small pit stop had taken over an hour! I just don't get how it takes so long to get from place to place. What with the waiting for the monorail, waiting through all the stops at the other resort and just takes forever. I quickly went out to the Pop Century bus stop, and only had to wait a few minutes before a bus arrived.

When we got back to Pop Century, I saw my Magical Express bus waiting at the lobby, still loading people in, so I hurried off in that direction. I stopped the man who was loading everyone and said that I was supposed to be on that bus but that bell services still had my luggage. He said that I would have plenty of time, so I ran to bell services, and they quickly retrieved my bags for me. He was right in saying that I had plenty of time because it took at least 15 more minutes before everyone else had gotten their luggage stowed and were on the bus. But really, had I stopped to ride Pooh with everyone else, I would have missed my bus! So it was a good call on that one.

On the way to the airport, I looked through my photos from the week, lamenting that yet another wonderful RADP December meet was over before I even realized it had begun. I arrived at the airport 2 hours and 10 minutes before my flight was to take off, so the half hour line to check my bag didn't even phase me. I made it through security quickly thanks to the experienced traveller line (which still had people who acted not-so-experienced, but at least it did seem to be moving better than the other lines.

When I got off the tram in the Southwest area of the airport, I stopped to grab a bite to eat at Au Bon Pain, which seems to have almost become a tradition for me. I think this was the third Florida trip in a row that ended with an Au Bon Pain meal. While I ate my Santa Fe chicken sandwich and Minnie's bake shop cookie, I texted back and forth with Steve, then got a call from Kevin who was wanting to know exactly where I had left the rental car keys. I'd texted him the info, but something was spotty about the service since he didn't seem to get a lot of the texts I'd sent him. When I was done, I packed up all of my stuff and moved over to my gate.

Along the way to my gate, I spotted Brian sitting at one of the gates, so I paused to say hello. Amanda appeared within a couple of minutes, and I ended up chatting with them for over half an hour just so we could pass the time a little better. Their flight had ended up being delayed by multiple hours (I forget exactly how long) so they were stuck there with nothing to do, poor guys. With about 20 minutes until my plane was to board, I said goodbye to them, went to buy a bottle of water, then found a comfy seat at my gate.

The flight home was uneventful, but I wish I could say the same thing about retrieving my bag back in Nashville! When I arrived at baggage claim, there was announcement after announcement about other flights and how their luggage was being delayed. My dad had already called me to say that he was outside circling the lot, so I was really hoping that mine would make its way out quickly. Of course it didn't, and it took more than half an hour for my bag to reach the baggage claim area! It sucked, but there wasn't much I could do about it, so there was no sense in stressing. Meanwhile, Dad was outside having an altercation with some overzealous airport cop when he stayed 10 seconds too long in the loading area and the man threatened to arrest him! Sheesh, seriously. But eventually my bag arrived, and dad got me back home.

I was even on time for our weekly RADP chat.

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