Tuesday, Nov 1

Our last full day in Disney! We were all sad, but we had so much fun stuff ahead of us, we didn’t dilly dally getting to our morning reservations at The Polynesian. I took some pics of our disaster area of a room as I waited for the rest of my family to finish getting ready. Once again I was glad we did all the hotel switching as it kept us from getting too messy!


Now, I really pushed for this ADR, as I had read so many amazing things about O’hana and was positively drooling over the food pics. Ursula agreed to make an ADR mostly for the sake of Stitch, though. Back in the planning stages, we decided that if we made it this far along in the trip without meeting the wild alien yet, we’d at least have a guarantee of meeting him here, at breakfast.


We drove over, handed our keys to valet and walked right in. This was the first time I recalled being at the Poly,, and it was lovely-- definitely fit the notion I have in my imagination as to what Hawaii looks like! We wandered around quite a bit, and admired the lovely Halloween accents in the lobby. I found a travel coffee mug in the gift shop that was really cute-- Minnie lounging on a beach towel-- but I didn’t end up buying it then. We were excited for our friends to come and stay here during their first trip to WDW the following spring. I eventually bought the coffee cup on our spring trip, since they were still in stock, but then ended up giving it to a friend as a gift. I have quite a lot of dear mugs and cups I can’t bear to part with, and no place to store any extras!


We had our picture taken with our leis, and only waited around a short while before being seated next to the window. The coveted Wishes spot! We obviously weren’t going to wait around for fireworks, but it was so nice to gaze out across the water and see the taller buildings at Magic Kingdom.


The food was good! I love Mickey waffles, and the eggs were decent. We asked for more of the fruit and they brought out another fruit plate for us. By this point I had just about given up taking photos of all but our most extraordinary meals, so the second fruit plate is the only food pic I got! So much for a foodie TR or dining review!


Stitch came around first, and gave our Stitch the biggest bear hug. “It’s like he knew! She squealed, later. “He hugged me so tightly!!” The memory of her having a special moment with her favorite character brings a tear to my eye even now. Her jaded teenage demeanor cracked under the pure joy of meeting Stitch!


We had some time to focus on our meal as we waited for the other characters to come around. We had mostly finished eating, but we sat quite happily, enjoying the atmosphere and sipping our coffees as we picked at the remaining fruit.


Ursula had a funny exchange with Lilo, telling her that she had a big job training her new dog. Lilo enthusiastically agreed! Mickey and Pluto also came around, and we got some cute photos of Ursula scratching Pluto behind the ears. She was missing her dog Maizy, back home! We were all missing our pets, quite honestly, and that is as good a reason as any to be wrapping up our vacation.


Eventually we really were ready to leave the restaurant, but instead of going to get our car only to park it at the TTC, we just left it with valet and hopped on the monorail, hoping for the best. It was such a gorgeous day, not too terribly hot yet, and we had a pleasant ride over to Magic Kingdom.


Our first stop, after watching the trolley dancers on Main Street for a moment and renting a locker, was meeting Princess Tiana, who looked amazing in her gown. I especially admired her jewelry, and of course in my mind I was thinking “I could make those!” Maybe I have a future in Princess jewelry design? She was really charming and had a great sense of humor.


We wandered around, taking a lot of photos in the park before it got busy, and checked out the shops along Main Street. Though I’d done a ton of shopping, there were still many things to be admired, and it appears that I took pics of everything that caught my fancy. If I can’t take it home with me, at least I can take as many free pictures as I want!


There were only a few things we hadn’t done yet, so we skipped the headliners in favor of the underrated classics. We went to the Hall of Presidents first, and it surprised me by being more interesting than I thought it would be. We had to see the new Obama audio animatronic, and he didn’t disappoint.


On our way through Frontierland I spotted Davy Crockett Donald, and though we didn’t get in line for photos, I managed to snap a pic of him between families. Sneaky!


Our next destination was the Country Bear Jamboree, where we laughed a little and groaned at the jokes, and wondered who did the vocals in all the songs. I thought they might be country music legends, but Ursula thought they were probably just the Imagineers. Not being terribly well-versed in either country music legends or Imagineers, we left the mystery of Country Bears and continued on our way.


We were ready for a frozen lemonade and thought a boat ride might be nice, as we sipped, so we headed toward the riverboat. We saw a wandering band of frontierspeople playing instruments on the way. Turned out that the riverboat wasn’t running, so we kept going and took a ride on the Haunted Mansion once we’d finished our drinks.


Even though we’d have loved to stay on as a happy haunt forever, we did leave HM in hope of catching the boat. It still wasn’t running. We picked up the Halloween event party music at the little cart outside HM and teased Stitch that she would never be allowed to listen to it after the fit she threw during MNSSHP.


We headed up to Fantasyland to see It's a Small World. It's one of my favorite rides and we'd only done it once so far. The line seemed too long even though the sign said it was 10 minutes so we passed on by in favor of Philharmagic. We liked the show-- it was another thing we hadn't done yet. Mum said she would have been more enthusiastic about seeing it if she had known it was about Donald. Since it's called Mickey's Philharmagic I can understand where she got the idea it was all about Mickey. It was new to all of us but I'd read a little bit about it online, enough to glean that it was Donald heavy, at least.


Fantasyland is like little kid hell. There are just strollers lined up everywhere and waist-high princesses acting badly everywhere you look. While we enjoy the rides and what is left of the buildings around the ugly partitions, we never wait in long lines there, preferring EMH times when lines are super short and we don't have to wait more than 5 or 10 minutes for anything.


Ursula in particular was unwilling to battle strollers beyond seeing Philharmagic, so after the show we headed back the way we’d come to have a bite to eat at Columbia Harbor House. We were hoping to catch a ride on the paddleboat but it left about 2 minutes before we made it to the dock. No time to waste waiting around! What’s next?


We moseyed through to Adventureland, and watched the Tiki Tiki Tiki Room show again. Always cute and we were glad for another seated show. Our feet, legs, hips and backs were all so sore and tired! Nothing like a birthday at Disney to make sure you feel your age!


We’d picked up fast passes for the Jungle Cruise on our morning saunter through the area, and it was time to use them. We had a great skipper who was really funny--some of them sound more canned than others, and when you get one with comedic chops it makes all the difference! Being in Adventureland got us craving Dole Whips, so we made our way over there.


Now, Ursula had a bone to pick with the pineapple people. She had gotten that rotten pineapple spear a few nights before, and she talked to the CM at the counter, who didn’t seem to know how to handle it (since she couldn’t see evidence of the rotten spear, I guess?). Eventually a manager type was summoned, and after about 20 minutes they gave her a free Dole Whip as a replacement. I think Mum had her receipt and everything, but since it had been purchased on a different day, there was some confusion and a general lack of responsibility taken by the Dole Whip people. Evidently we were supposed to have raised a fuss right away on my birthday, instead of carrying on with our night and trying to make the best of things at the Halloween party. Lesson learned. We paid for Stitch’s and my treats and Ursula got her free Dole Whip, so all’s well that ends well, but it was still a frustrating experience, and rather unlike most attempts at reparation.Disney makes. Our faith in Disney magic was wearing thin.


We really wanted to ride the Liberty Bell paddleboat, so we tried to head back that way, but there were a bunch of people lined up for the parade. Disaster! We finally made it through the people, and the lovely CM who was letting people into the dock holding area was nice enough to let us come and sit in the shade and finish eating as we waited for the next voyage. Once aboard, we got a great view of the parade from the ship--what excellent timing!


The ride was nice. It was pretty warm out by this time, but there was air movement on deck, which makes the relaxing ride all the more pleasant. I explored the boat a little, admiring the view from many vantage points-- I love seeing the red rocks of Big Thunder Mountain, and couldn’t help taking photos of all the little scenes along the riverbank. Ursula and Stitch found a good bench in the shade, and that was about the level of activity they both needed. Have I mentioned how tired we all were?


Once we made it around the country and back again, we docked up and disembarked back in the Magic Kingdom, safe and sound.


We walked back up to Fantasyland for Small World, and though it looked busy it was only a short wait. We watched it wistfully, and satisfied that I got some good pics earlier in the trip, I was able to put my camera away and just enjoy the ride.


Next we headed over to the Mad Tea Party. Once we’d wedged ourselves into our cup we spun around once, and then came to a halt. We sat there for a few more minutes until they announced the ride was down (did we break it?!) and we all clambered out. “Not as much fun as usual” Ursula remarked. Picking up on her train of thought I quoted Alice from the movie “This is the stupidest tea party I’ve ever been to in all my life!” Which was a tad overdramatic for the situation. Really there weren’t hard feelings as we were easily able to leave and walk off the ride.


We continued over to Tomorrowland, and I grabbed us FPs for Space Mountain, and then we went to Stitch’s Great Escape again. Stitch led the way to the front row and we had a good time, getting completely fogged up in the process. I enjoyed it much more the second time, I guess because it wasn't as full and I could hear what was going on better. In the dump shop we looked for the Stitch hat that looks like Stitch is eating the wearer's head but the CM there said they hadn't sold those for a few years. Bummer. Only stupid Stitch gloves-- no cute hat? How does this make sense? Guess I know what I’ll be trolling ebay for next!


It was time for our Space Mountain FPs, and we cruised through the line. This time the lights were on, and it wasn’t quite as thrilling as when we ride in the dark. It is interesting to see the structure, but Ursula pointed out that it’s “more suspenseful when you can’t see the tracks.”


It was time for another frozen beverage, and a frozen Coke really hit the spot. I do enjoy these immensely, though for Ursula they’re a really special treat because there’s no 7-11 in their Alaskan town, so no hope of getting Slurpees in the off-season. I don’t get them often myself, but they’re less of a special treat since they are available to me year-round. It’s just not the same as enjoying them at Disney though!


We thought we might go on Carousel of Progress, but it was decided that there wasn’t enough time to do that and hit our other favorite rides on the way out of the park, before things closed for the last MNSSHP of the year. We discussed that it was pretty silly to have a party now, after the holiday is over, and rather pathetic. But I suppose if your family couldn’t make it to one of the earlier Halloween parties, and this was the only one you could attend, it might have been really nice for those people. We all know the feeling of just missing something, so I tried to find empathy for them and not be too bitter as we rushed to finish up our last day at my favorite park, on our last full day of our vacation, by 7pm.


We headed over to Big Thunder and rode it as a walk on, which was really nice, and then got right into the Splash queue. It was also a fast moving line and we were quickly seated. Ursula rode in the back this time, and she got soaked. “No justice!” she exclaimed.


We only had a few more minutes before 7pm, so we hustled over to the Main Street Bakery and were lucky enough to get all the rest of our favorite treats before we had to leave. We all shared a cinnamon roll, a blueberry muffin, a cream cheese danish, an apple turnover, a fruit tart and some other kind of chocolate muffin or cupcake. We were thoroughly stuffed after that, and darkness had fallen over the Magic Kingdom as we slowly left the park.


We took a boat ride back to the Poly, which was a nice way to travel, but Ursula’s tiredness won over and she reported feeling “clumsy as I stumbled over someone’s feet getting on.” We should have had her drinking more water. Hindsight is 20/20, so they say! It was a relief to get back into the car for a short ride back to POR. “Valet didn't give us any grief about leaving the vehicle there all day. TIW wins again!” Even if the card doesn’t save you any money on your actual dining, free valet makes it more than worthwhile!


Back at Port Orleans, we picked up the shopping bags we’d had sent back to our resort, and poked around the gift shop for anything else we might possibly need. Since we were in the area it was decided that we should have a real dinner and not just baked goods, so we ate at the food court. The “build your own noodles” were really delicious, despite the strange way they cooked the pasta (in deep fryer baskets dipped into old, starchy, hot water), and we all ate heartily, which sent Ursula and Stitch into a food coma as soon as we got back to the room.


I was too excited about my shopping to sleep, so while they snoozed, I got out all of my purchases, souvenirs, glow cubes and all the other fun stuff I’d acquired on the trip and arranged them on the made bed for a photo shoot. This is a very typical “Merriweather” type behavior that I’ve done ever since I was little (I would lay out the contents of my Easter basket, carefully organized by type and color, as soon as I found the precious basket laden down with candy, eggs and toys). So it was to my family’s great amusement that I set everything up, but didn’t surprise them in the least. I’m a weirdo, we all know it.


I started packing my things, wrapping everything in clothes and meticulously tetrising it all into my suitcases. Ursula woke up and started packing for herself and Stitch, and though we briefly discussed waking her up, neither of us thought having crabby Stitch awake to “help” was really going to benefit any of us.

Eventually we got enough packed that we could sleep easily, and we settled in for our last night at WDW.