Life at Harbour Lake

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

We've decided to shake off the itinerary, proving yet again that it isn't always best to plan ahead on vacation. You're on vacation, dang it! Doesn't that mean freeing yourself from schedules and obligations?

Lunch at Captain's Grille is out. Instead we've decided to try the bar & Grill here at Marriott's Harbour Lake Resort. They left an enticing menu in the villa. Today is Mai Tai Tuesday with 2-for-1 Tequila Sunrises.

So the plan now is for GM to head for the hot tub (his legs could use a rejuvenating soak) and me to head for the bar with laptop & book in hand. Not the mention the camera.

Tonight there's Halloween fireworks at Magic Kingdom and we've made a last minute dinner reservation at  Kona's. Assuming I'm not enjoying a Tequila Glow later, it sounds like a good plan.

4:18pm In the Glow

Forgive me if this post is not 100% English Teacher Proof. At the moment, I am 1 Mai Tai and a Tequila Sunrise into my afternoon at the pool. Seems the menu in the room and one at the pool bar differ. Bartenders told GM it was 2-1 Mai Tais (explaaining my first drink of the afternoon), but they musta liked my smile so gave me another 2 Tequila Sunrises for the same deal. I've teased GM that apparently the young lady with the feather cap trumps the old guy with the purple mohawk in the Bartender Code of Favoritism.

Note: Don't try this at home unless you are prepared to flirt and wear funny headgear. I wouldn't want my new favorite bartenders to get in trouble for bending a corporate rule.

The afternoon is going well so far, Cloudy when we left the room but warm. Then as GM headed back with drinks (Round 1) to the picnic table I spied by the hot tub the heavens opened up in another typical Florida afternoon storm. I had just taken my laptop and all my electronics out too. A mad dash to get them tucked away, the umbrella open and it poured. Buckets and buckets.

When I noticed the back of my wheelchair was getting wet, I asked GM to grab the rain poncho from my backpack. Then he had his true girrly moment. "But my back will get all wet!" he squealed. "You're going right into the hot tub," I countered. Fortunately the family already in the hot tub jumped in to help. The father jumped out of the pool and before I knew it I had a second umbrella covering my chair. (Note: this makes the second time a stranger family has jumped to my aid at a Florida pool in the rain. Last time was a downpour at SSR that drove me and GM out of the pool to rescue my chair several October's ago. You'd think I'd learn better by now. Blame it on the Mai Tais.)

Half hour later, the rain was long gone and hot Florida sun came out to play. GM soaked in the nearby hot tub.

Meanwhile I checked the web for messages from our DIS followers. Read the funniest story about a follower who sent herself on a fool's errand following us into Big River Grill on the Boardwalk last May. Apparently the cast members there likened the idea of a "man with a purple mohawk" to "little green men on the moon".

Note: For the record, we haven't patronized Big River for a few years. Just when we discovered they stopped accepting the Tables in Wonderland discount. So if BRG wants to get an authentic purple mohawk GM appearance, they'll have to try another way of enticing us inside.

Then the sun sets in and my umbrella-shade mysteriously vanishes. I head to the pool bar for food and drinks (Round 2). While the bartender cooks up some cheeseburger sliders I decide it's time for my "waitressing contest of the year". Here's what you do: balance a tray of two filled to the brim ice cold drinks on one arm while driving a power wheelchair slowly across bricks. See if you can get 100 feet without spilling over all those bumps. Extra points for every running kid you dodge.

I was having a blast, creeping along, sipping the excess Tequila Sunrise, but my fellow pool patrons got very nervous. I finally gave into the offers for help when the last lady jumped out of the hot tub and I was only 15 feet away. GM didn't notice the drinks at the table until I had returned with the food.

Two sliders, a Tequila Sunrise and fruit cup later and I realize I am drenching hot. Really wish I'd worn my bathing suit today. I just wasn't up to it back at the villa. So I packed up my stuff, grabbed the second Tequila and moved to the shade by the bar. GM is still at the pool just over there. I'm betting he'll be wishing for that cold front coming in tomorrow.

High today is reaching 90 degrees, again.

My view:

Midnight, I think

Packing up my travel laptop, I took a walk around the resort while sipping my remaining Tequila Sunrise. Sun was still hot but burning off for the day. Harbour Lake is quickly rising to the ranks of my preferred resorts. It's not huge (only about 5 buildings) but has two pirate-themed pools with slides, a nice pool bar, community hall, volleyball and field hockey courts. Oh and something I wish Disney would do at SSR: a mini-golf course. This is a resort designed for young families. It even has many of the same Victorian colors Disney often uses.

Part of my nature walk around the resort:

By the time GM and I met back at the villa, we both needed an hour's rest to cool down. Just enough time to rewatch the second half of that Ravens game again.

By twilight we headed out to the van and woke up Dave. I gave him our destination but I think he was a little moody having been left alone in the car all day. He didn't say a word to us until we were on I-4, just flashed a little green arrow pointing the way.

We got to the Poly around 8pm. Just enough time to grab an early dessert from Cap'n Cooks before settling on the beach for the celebration. If you're ever in Disney looking for a way to enjoy the parks without being in them, I highly recommend a picnic on the Poly beach. Several people were already there joining us but still there were plenty of spots on the sand. We kept our wheels firmly planted on the sidewalk where we could listen to the background speakers. I'm pleased to report Poly has upgraded their speakers and ramped up the sound. They were getting pretty dismal last spring but now the sound comes through loud and clear.

9pm the Electrical Water Parade stopped by for it's show. Then a few minutes later the speakers announced the upcoming Hallowishes display.

Our Kona reservation was scheduled for 9:50pm. We arrived at exactly 9:48. Not bad timing I thought. We waited about 15 minutes, but it was just enough time to make a pit stop and put on our heavy jackets. The Grand Ceremoniaal House is always more Alaskan than Polynesian.

Kona's last seating is at 10pm and they were closing several serving stations down by the time we got there. We ended up being placed in a back corner intimately close to another couple. It was near impossible to have a private conversation with that setup. And the couple next to us were not in the best of moods to start. I guess our waitress realized the predicament because she quickly set about moving our tables apart farther and apologizing for the doubling up.

GM ordered the coffee (one of his favorites on-site) and I got the pot stickers appetizer (one of my favorites). For the main entree, GM opted for the Tuna steak and I went for Teriyaki NY Strip.


Half hour later we found something in common with the couple next to us. We were all too stuffed to continue eating. That early desperation for privacy turned to a very pleasant conversation about Disney and the DVC. They had lots of questions since they are frequent luxury resort guests. I think we could have talked all night, but now it was way past closing for Kona's and the staff was busy setting up for breakfast. So we collected our doggie bags and headed our separate ways.

The night was still somewhat sultry and the moon 3/4 full as we found our van in the lot. Wake up Dave, tell him to take us home and this time avoid freeways. He directs us back through Palm Parkway and to our parking spot at the villa. I guess he got over his sulk. Now if only he could help me find the way to my bed.

Tomorrow: the Boardwalk and where-ever our wheels lead us...
Here's a little teaser surprise video, name that place: