Day 3: Evening in the World (What are we doing again?)
September 24, 2008

After a few hours at the pool for GM and a few hours resting for me, Grandpa Mohawk and I dress for our afternoon and evening. We have these swanky 2 year all access Platinum passes for Seaworld and Busch Gardens (a gift from my sister a year ago), so we figure we’ll just pop over the 1.5 miles down the road to see the dolphins. Except there’s a problem. Seems Grandpa Mohawk has discovered the 4th thing he forgot to bring on the trip: his Seaworld pass. Tip for you home viewers, always keep your passes in the same place!

His name is on his pass so we consider heading over anyway and seeing if they’ll reissue his pass, but as we debate that possibility (and argue over who’s fault it was he forgot it in the first place) the hour grows later. Seaworld closes at 6pm and it’s after 3 already. We run through our alternate plans for the day. We could pop over to MGM and check out the new Toy Story Mania. We could go to afternoon tea at the Grand Floridian and watch the evening fireworks at Magic Kingdom. We could head to Adventurer’s Club at Pleasure Island before it closes forever this weekend. We could go ride the ferries out of Downtown Disney and spy the new Treehouse Villas. We could stand around debating the possibilities all day and do nothing. Enough already! Time to make a decision.

Plan  B takes us first to Downtown Disney for a bit of shopping. Grandpa Mohawk is happy as soon as he realizes Ghiradelli’s is open for business. (For those who followed our Spring trip, you’ll remember how disappointed the old guy was when my promised ice cream cone was derailed by a fortnight-long refurbishment.) Here he is enjoying a French vanilla cone while I scarf down chocolate with sliced strawberries and almonds.

Now I’ve had my eye on the latest Halloween decorations so I make a beeline for World of Disney to use my 10% Disney Visa discount. I find the Halloween pencils, a cute orange cartoon collage tshirt but no sign of the mascot Witch Minnie and Vampire Mickey. The crowd is fairly light and a huge improvement on our fiasco April trip.

As we walk along marketplace watching the place light up with twilight it hits me. That sudden feeling of being home. Now there are those who say only the Magic Kingdom feels like home or the Boardwalk. But for me, this collection of eclectic stores, twinkling trees and kiddie rides is a bit of magic. It’s just like visiting my seaside boardwalk back home in Maryland.
DTD Carousel     DTD atmosphere

While rambling around it I remember all the little requests my family gave me before we left. My nephews asked to come and in lieu of that a trinket or two. Another broke his $3 play pirate sword and could I please ask Mickey for another? Yet another wants nothing more than a Contemporary playset for his new monorail train garden. And I still want my Witch Minnie & Mickey. So we pop over to Once Upon A Toy and instantly turn into children again.

Once Upon A Toy

This is the place all toys come to live. There are Mr. Potato Heads of every shape and size. Another room has all Star Wars from “the evolution of Padme Amidala” to Muppets as Star Wars characters. There’s an entire section devoted to monorail playsets.
Monorail playsets
Wall-e even has a section, alas no action figures left of Wall-e or Eve. :( But still no Witch Minnie & Mickey.

So being just a little bit devilish and known Grandpa Mohawk will be at least 15 minutes studying all the train sets, I sneak out to Days of Christmas. That is the store where every holiday decoration ever made winds up. I sail past the Christmas ornaments, breeze beyond Hannukah and Easter and stumble upon Halloween. SCORE! At least I have Minnie & Mickey all dolled up in their purple and orange outfits. They make a perfect match to GM’s hairdo, don’t you agree?

Witch Minnie & Vampire Mickey
Detours aside, the sun has set and the time reads 8pm. I know from my schedule check that there’s a Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party tonight which means fireworks at 9:30pm. And as everyone who’s ever visited alot or was too cheap to pay special admission ticket prices knows, the best place to watch Magic Kingdom fireworks is from the beach at the Polynesian.

So we jump in the van and drive over to the Poly. We did plan ahead a bit and called that afternoon for a late dinner reservation at Kona Cafe. All we needed to do was get settled on the beach to watch the evening entertainment.

It’s warm but a bit windy. We head out to Sunset Point, up on a hill overlooking the Seven Seas Lagoon. It’s a perfect spot for the 9pm showing of the Electrical Water Parade.


And later for the special Halloween Party fireworks. The crowd cheers with everyone wondering how does Disney keep doing it?

MNSSHP fireworks      MNSSHP fireworks finale

For Grandpa Mohawk and I, it’s time for our late dinner in the Great Ceremonial House. We’re getting to be experts visiting this place so now we know to bundle up in artic gear before entering. Kona Cafe is winding down for the night which means our table is ready almost exactly upon arrival.

Kona Cafe

Our waitress Mai is from Honolulu and has a list of excellent recommendations. I try the delicious Teriyaki Strip Steak, done with a pineapple base sauce.

Beef Teriyaki in Pineapple Sauce
Grandpa Mohawk gets the tuna & crab on a bed of fried green tomatoes. It’s usually served raw, sushi-grade, but GM doesn’t like eating anything that may squirm. So he orders it “medium, cooked but juicy”.

Tuna & Shrimp wth Fried Green Tomatoes
We both skip the fruity cold drinks in favor of hot coffee and tea.

By the time we finish, the staff is busy setting up for tomorrow’s breakfast. It’s getting mighty quiet in the Great Ceremonial House.  The lounger singer, who serenaded us with Somewhere Over the Rainbow, is silenced. The shops are gated. And the bell boys are playing with Chinese acrobat balls

We take the time to just explore all those little nuances that make the Polynesian feel special. I love the artwork I cannot afford but long to have.

Poly Artwork

Dad loves the tropical waterfall in the center of the lobby.

Poly waterfall
We both adore the kid’s TV area near the Front Desk. You gotta hand it to Disney. In every resort, every place where a parent needs to corral kids so they can do “grown-up things”, Disney has this little kid magnet area. Half a dozen stools surround a Disney-inlaid table. A large LCD TV graces the wall and shows one Disney cartoon after another.

Kid TV area    Inlaid table

Being kids ourselves we quickly get sucked into Steamboat Willie and Goofy’s first football match (the Taxodermists vs. the Anthropologists… 5 points to the readers who know which team Goofy played for).

Steamboat Willie      Goofy Football

We finally drag ourselves away, certain we’d be happy just sitting here all day watching cartoons but knowing we have to get some rest tonight. On the ride home we debate tomorrow’s plan. Stay tuned to see how that goes.


Day 4: When real life intrudes, escape to Disney