Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Disney World 2016: Polynesian Review

We went to Disney World at the end of May and stayed at Disney’s Polynesian Resort for the first time. I previously really didn’t get the draw to the deluxe resorts but when we scored an awesome deal we couldn’t pass it up. Needless to say, I now FULLY understand the draw to the Monorail resorts, especially with kiddos who are still in strollers.

Let’s talk reviews because I have a lot to say!

Kingdom Strollers – we rented the CitiMiniGT and it came with a cooler and rain cover. I want to buy this stroller now, I loved it so much! And the rain cover came in handy at least once. The stroller was simple to order and pick up/return is right at the front desk.  We didn’t miss the stroller at all on our travel days – I wore Vivian in the airport and Aleesia and Gianna did great at holding our hands/navigating the airports. I could easily push any combination of girls with no issue, which was a double bonus.

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Garden Grocer – We got a delivery credit from renting our stroller and it was great. We got almond milk, a case of water, gateroade and some snacks. In all honesty, I over-ordered on snacks and if we could have had 1/2 a case of water that would have been ideal. But again, ordering was so easy as was picking up the stuff that I would do it again in a heartbeat. My only “negative” was that I found their website kind of hard to navigate as far as figuring out some specifics on products before ordering, but it wasn’t a huge deal. I had also packed snacks, which I probably won’t do next time.

Polynesian Review

We did the Magical Express and were the first stop, which was really nice. We stepped off the bus and the kids were amazed, as were Mike and I. The theming and decor is beautiful, I really felt like we were stepping into Hawaii!

We had kind of a haphazard checkin process – but we did online checkin so our room was ready as soon as we got there and our bags arrived relatively quickly. We didn’t get a balcony room, which I was a little disappointed about but our room in the Aotearoa longhouse was wonderful. We had a lagoon view and the doors opened to the outside and the view was perfect – we could see the magic kingdowm fireworks from our bed and we were so close to the Grand Ceremonial House and pool. We didn’t notice much extra noise from Luau Cove except when the last show ended as the guests walked right by our room, but it wasn’t a huge deal.  The walk to the TTC wasn’t bad either.

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The kids LOVED the pool! Gianna couldn’t get enough of the Volcano slide and everyone loved the splash pad. We specifically planned pool time into our days and I am SO glad we had the opportunity to enjoy the hotel and the pool. We never visited the quiet pool or the sand area, but that’s okay – everyone was happyily cooling off in the main pool area. It never felt overcroweded either, even on Memorial Day.

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We did the dining plan this time (as we have in the past). Probably my only ‘complaint’ about the resort is that the Captain Cooks (quick service) had more limited options than at the moderate resorts. We ate lunch there a few times and felt like we were always getting the same things. We also have picky eaters, so that was part of it. The flatbread though? WAS AMAZING. Honestly, all the food was so good there – the service is a little slow so don’t be starving when you walk in.

I had a polynesian pearl drink from Trader Sam’s which was super good and the awesome pineapple drink (pictured above). The iced coffee from Kona is something I’ve been craving since we left.

Other restaurant reviews:

Kona Cafe – this is my favorite breakfast in all of Disney World, so no surprise that I loved it once again. Tonga Toast is where it’s at!

Ohana – we had breakfast at Ohana our last morning and it was SO yummy. The juice was wonderful, the fresh fruite platter was a hit and I loved all the warm food. They were so accomodating to our crabby kids! Vivian called Stitch (who is all over the hotel in the gift shops and stuff) a bunny the whole time and was so excited to see the bunny in person! She, at the end of the week, had finally warmed up to the costumed characters and loved Pluto!

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My biggest regret is forgetting to buy our MemoryMaker/Photopass pictures in time (the day I went to purchase all of them, the first 2 days had disappeared and I didn’t realize it!)– there were just a few that I really wish we had, although I am lucky enough to have captured a version of every picture taken on my own camera. I have always discouraged against paying for MemoryMaker, but I have to say it really is worth it especially if your family splits up and there are some great ride pictures that get captured (I’m bummed not to have the pictures of Aleesia and I on the Mine Train).


More resort/dining reviews coming soon!


We’re already ready to plan a(nother) return trip….

Saturday, July 16, 2016

A letter to my {first} daughter: Seven!


This is a slightly delayed (and by slightly, I mean by 3 months) letter to you for your birthday. I wrote you one in our letter journal (albeight it last month) and somehow never got around to putting anything here. Life, as has been the case for the longest time and will probably for the next many years, passes by without me being able to take a few moments to put all the things swirling around in my head down in writing.

Enough about that – let’s talk about you!

The past year, the age of six (now the beginning of seven), was one that was FULL of changes in your life.

We moved twice, you went to a new school, changed dance studios, lost a lot of teeth, made a lot of new friends and your confidence is growing by leaps and bounds. Little babies grow rapidly as they develop, but big kids it seems, grow just as rapidly but differently. For example, I realized sometime in the spring that i hadn’t tied your shoe in weeks – because you learned how to do it yourself! Sometimes Idon’t even realize how much you’ve grown and learned until I’m doing something for one of your sisters and it hits me that I don’t need to do the same for you.

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You are such a little girl, who sometimes wishes she wasn’t so little (and that’s okay), but I think you also don’t want to grow up so fast (I appreciate that!). There was a moment a few months ago, you and your sister were getting ready for bed and I was brushing your hair – I forget now what was so funny, but you were CRACKING UP – all I could see in the mirror was a little girl in the middle of a giggle fest – I tried so hard to burn that image into my head: an image of innocence, sweetness and laughter – it was perfect.


It amazes me how helpful you can be – how much (at times) you want to help your sisters, to help me, to have responsibility of your own. I’m greatful for your kind spirit and your big emotions. You’ve always felt everything with such magnitude and the only thing that has changed about that is how you recognize it too. You’ll often say to me when you are upset about something “I just have a lot of feelings!” to which I tell you it’s okay to have a lot of feelings!DSC_0293

One thing you REALLY REALLY wanted for your birthday was an ipad. We debated and finally got you a new-to-you ipad – you would have thought we bought you a pony! You were so so happy! Technology isn’t something I always put a lot of emphasis on, but the world does, so we need to embrace that a little here with boundaries and responsibility/responsible use. So far, so good. (Also, facetime and iMessaging are her favorite things to do!)


Confidence growth, I think, will be the name of the game going foward. Confidence in your ability to do anything you want (practice and work hard!), confidence that you CAN, confidence that you can learn anything. You’ve shown this in the way you’ve learned to read even when it was really really hard, in the way you’ve made new friends when you were shy, in all the new things you have tried this year, in the way you’ve grown in dance and just in life. I’m so proud of you and I am really loving all of the big kid firsts happening in your life!


Love you much, my little G!