The plan was to wake up fairly early, get in a swim at the Polynesian’s main pool, and then pack up and check out before our 11:30am brunch reservation at Kona Cafe. However, when we got to the pool at 8:30, we learned that they don’t open the water slide til 10am – booooo!
So we trudged back to the room and packed as much as we could, knowing we’d have to come back, shower and finish packing in time to make brunch. Then it was back to the pool for a 30 minutes of elbowing kids outta the way as we raced up the stairs to the slide trying to ride it as many times as possible.
(I’m giving you lots of pix now cuz there aren’t many for the rest of the day…)
After a hasty shower and Patrick running to the restaurant to hold our table while I finished packing and lugged our junk to the car, we had this delicious breakfast at Kona Cafe…
It was OK. It’s never as good as I think it’s gonna be. But at least we were paying good honest cash, instead of using the Dining Plan!
After brunch we poked around in the gift shop looking for something to get our neighbors as a thank-you for watching the cat…
And then we took the monorail to the Grand Floridian to shoot some pix…
And then took a boat to the Magic Kingdom to start our Quest for the Haunted Mansion on Both Coasts.
We also rode Pirates of the Caribbean just in case we got to Disneyland and Haunted Mansion Holiday was down, or something….
One of my fave places in Adventureland…
Somewhere in there, we also had a pair of these:
…we thought we’d take one last ride, on Splash Mountain…
Things started out weird when we noticed the people in the log in front of us were letting a small child stand on their laps during the ride! Every few feet we’d hear a ride operator say into the PA system “Remain inside the log!”
Then, just as we got to the end of the ride, right past the showboat scene, we hit a (literal) logjam of boats. And sat there for 15 minutes. I started looking at my watch and stressing out about whether we were going to make our flight.
Finally, the work lights came on and three CMs came walking down the tunnel toward us. They told us we had to evacuate the ride then began helping us out of the logs. I felt like a rescued damsel in distress!
We had to stand there waiting as they evacuated 10 or 12 logs in front of us, time ticking away. We asked one of the CMs what happened, and he said some people got out of their logs in the middle of the ride!! Who does this?! Couldn’t you get killed? They said it happens all the time.
Finally we got to walk the narrow ledge along the canal out toward the loading area. As we passed the one of the last characters in the ride – I think it was the frog – I whipped around and put my face next to his, flashing the thumbs up so Patrick could take a picture. Stoopid camera wouldn’t warm up in time and we got herded out – it woulda been the BEST picture!!
As soon as we got onstage, Patrick and I broke into the Disney Rope-Drop Speed Walk trying to get out of the park and back to our car so we could make our flight – only to be thwarted by our arch-nemesis, The Parade!!
I thought I was gonna lose it. There we were, stranded on the island that is Town Square as dippy floats lazily circled us – nay, MOCKED us and our plight. I frantically asked the nearest CM how much longer the parade was, and he said something like seven minutes. Seven minutes too many! I don’t know if this helped, but we started running back down Main Street to meet the end of the parade so we could cross the street and get to an exit.
FINALLY, we got to the Monorail and headed back to the Polynesian…
This next part is boring, but trying to get to California in time to ride Haunted Mansion at Disneyland before it closed sure felt exciting!
We hopped in our rental car and high-tailed it out of WDW toward Orlando International. Once we got there, we missed the turnoff for the Alamo return and, on our second attempt, ended up in the parking garage for the wrong terminal. ARGH! All these little things were conspiring to make me very antsy. Patrick kept his cool, as usual. Then we got to the terminal and were looking at a newsstand to pass the time when we learned, from a tabloid headline, that our bank had failed while we were on vacation. ACK!
Then something good happened. Everyone was lurking by the gate waiting for them to start the boarding process, when the desk agent came on the PA and began “I need two volunteers…”
ZING!!! My hand shot up! I didn’t even know what I was volunteering for. It turned out to be two seats in an exit row – HOORAY! It was like payback for being squished by the oblivious Mile High Club members on our flight out.
We had an uneventful flight and landed 30 minutes early. The clock began ticking… Disneyland was to close at midnight, and we were 35 miles and three clogged LA freeways away.
Sorry these pictures are all blurry – perhaps it will help replicate the feeling of urgency and excitement!
The shuttle driver knew we were in a hurry and broke several land speed records (and some laws!) to get us there on time. We were hanging on for dear life in the back of the van as it careened down I-5 when Disneyland’s fireworks show began – and we got to see it from the freeway!
Finally we screeched to a halt in front of the Disneyland Hotel.
We dumped our bags at Bell Services without checking in and dashed to the Monorail station.
When we hit the ground in Tomorrowland, we knew we were gonna make it. In fact, since the line was so long, we got FastPasses for Haunted Mansion and went to ride Pirates of the Caribbean while we waited!
1:34pm EDT: Haunted Mansion at WDW/10:57pm PDT: Haunted Mansion Holiday at Disneyland!
I couldn’t believe we’d made it. I barely remember anything after that, but I know we went back to the hotel and had a painfully slow check in. Seriously, at 11:35pm you should not be waiting 20 minutes to check in and then have the desk agent tell you you’re not getting the discounted rate you paid for. (Eventually another CM straightened it all out).
Here are some pix of our room at the Disneyland Hotel, in case you’re curious. It was originally just a regular, non-Disney hotel, so there isn’t the level of theming you’d find at WDW. Still, the Neverland Pool is pretty cool!