Day 6 – Kirsty & Andy at the Polynesian

Sunday 19th August 2018

With no theme parks to get to today, it was a slow start to this morning. The plan was to have breakfast and then head on over to the Disney Polynesian Resort, where Kirsty and Andy and the two girls are staying. They’ve invited us to spend the day with them at the pool there as guests. What could be simpler?

Since we were heading that way anyway, we decided to indulge once again at our favourite Waffle House. There were an unusually large number of cars on the road today. When we arrived for breakfast, we even had to queue to get in and wait to be seated. Then it dawned on us. Today is a Sunday. All the church congregations have flooded out and are clogging up the roads.

Breakfast was a little cheaper than yesterday at just $45 today including tip. The heat of the day was still playing havoc with Joey’s mood, so we cut our losses and headed for the Polynesian. I had entered the address into the satnav before we left. When we arrived at that address, it turned out to be a road called Polynesian Isle, as opposed to the address for the Disney Polynesian Resort. The problem was that I searched for ‘Polynesian’ and the satnav returned several options. One of these was indicated to be a hotel, which I assumed was the right address. It wasn’t. Once I found the actual Disney resort and asked the satnav to take us there, it revealed we still had another 20 minutes of journey time ahead of us, much to the chagrin of everyone else in the car. Shit! Suddenly, I’m public enemy number one…again.

Once we were onto the Walt Disney World Resort property, we followed the satnav until we picked up the trail to the Polynesian Resort via the road signs. Unfortunately, that took us only so far until we were confronted with an option to veer left or right. The problem was there were no signs indicating the Polynesian at this juncture. The satnav said to veer right, so that’s what I did. It then took us to what looked like the main entrance to the Magic Kingdom car park but wanted us to take a last-minute right turn, which, again, I did. This is where the trouble really kicked in. It wanted me to next turn left but that wasn’t possible as there was a road closure there. We couldn’t do anything other than turn right. Now we were heading in the opposite direction to where we needed to be. We spent the next 10-15 minutes circling around the Walt Disney World Resort network of roads trying to figure out where the bloody Polynesian resort was. It didn’t help that each time I wanted to double back it always seemed to be at a point where there were no U-turns or other turns permitted. I had to go to the next junction, turn left or right and then find some way to turn around. Because of the no U-turns, this resulted in a convoluted series of turns before we could even get back to where we were originally when we wanted to go the other way. A couple of times when this happened, the satnav recalculated and sent us off in a different direction altogether, so I just gave up and followed it instead. We eventually managed to get back to where we were just before the road closure. It looked like there was a new overpass which the satnav just didn’t know about. We followed that, and this time managed to locate the Polynesian. All the while this little frustrating journey was taking place, we were intermittently calling Andy via Facebook audio but his (or our) reception was poor and we weren’t able to benefit from his directions. I eventually pulled into one of the Polynesian car parks and we went in search of the pool. We found it in the end but, of course, turned out that we had parked the car just about as far from the pool as could possibly be. By the time we found them at the pool, we were all already overheated and gasping for air.

The frustrations of getting there notwithstanding, we had an absolutely wonderful time at the Polynesian Lava Pool with my niece and her lovely family. I was especially thrilled to have spent some quality time with Sophia and Courtney. I even managed to successfully remember which was which by the time we finished for the afternoon. During that time, we swam, played ball, had ice-cream together and just generally relaxed around the pool. We also took part in one of the organised activities, which was a Disney trivia game. I went in to that with high hopes I’d be able to put my amazing Disney trivia knowledge to good use. I came out of it in last place…and that was despite all of the cheating I did.

Although he was initially hesitant – stubbornly refusing to even get into the water – Joey did come around with some coaxing and managed to enjoy himself for a while. Unfortunately, his head submerged after a bit of minor play-fighting and that was enough to knock his good mood off the precariously balanced pedestal. Although we tried hard, we couldn’t really get him to recover from that point. Eventually, we reached the point of no return and I had to take him home for a bit of quiet time. He was fine again after that.

I had left Sandy and Jennifer at the pool with the others, so it was just Joey and me that got into the car to go home. He perked up really quite quickly after we were in the car. Our trusty Chrysler Pacifica was close to running out of petrol, so I stopped at a nearby filling station to top it up. Sending Joey inside to pick out a snack did wonders to improve his mood. In the meantime, I spent about five minutes at the pump trying to figure out how to use the damn thing. I managed to get the filling cap lid open, the nozzle into the car and the choice of the three fuel types selected. It didn’t seem to matter what I pressed, I couldn’t get any fuel to dispense. It was rather busy at the filling station and I was becoming increasingly conscious about looking like the stupid tourist I was, so I eventually plucked up the courage to ask the gentlemen next to me who was just returning to the car. He asked me how I was paying for the fuel, so I told him ‘reluctantly’. Then I said it would be cash. He then told me I had to go inside and pay first. Only then would they activate the pump. This seemed a bit odd to me since I expect to be filling the car up completely and I have no idea how much that would cost, so I wouldn’t know how much cash to give them. I’d end up either giving them not enough to fill the car completely or too much and have overpaid. This didn’t seem like an especially clever way of doing things. Nevertheless, I went in and explained I was paying cash. I said I didn’t know how much it would be but pointed out to the cashier the vehicle I was driving and asked whether he thought $100 would cover it. He said it would be no more than $50, so I handed him a $50 bill. He said if there was any change left over, I was to come back in to collect it. In the event, he was right. I topped up to the tune of $42. With the couple of snacks Joey had in the meantime found for himself, I collected my few dollars change and we were once again on the road.

As we’ve been driving up and down Hwy 192 back and forth to the parks over the past week, we’ve been scoping out the hundreds of restaurants here and contemplating which we would want to eat at. One such restaurant that we remember from when we lived here in Florida is the Golden Coral, which is an all-you-can-eat buffet. It’s relatively inexpensive and would offer something for everyone. Andy and Kirsty had gone to one of these a little earlier in the week but were more than happy to have another crack at it tonight. We all agreed this would be where we would reconvene for dinner. Joey and I had showered in the meantime and Joey was feeling much better again already.

We had a lovely time at the restaurant. The kids roamed around a bit, letting off a bit of steam. For the first time since we arrived, there was a thunderstorm directly above us. It wasn’t especially big by Florida standards but enough to thrill the kids with a bit of lightning and thunder. They also had fun exploring the souvenir giftshop adjacent to the restaurant.

Joey has been asking that we check out the MacDonald’s here, so he can see if it’s the same as the Maccas we’re accustomed to in Australia. There was one just a few doors down from the Golden Coral and it seemed like a reasonable request to pop in through the drive through to get a plain burger for a dollar, so he could try. It would keep him happy for a bit longer, so that’s exactly what we did. For reasons that were completely beyond us, it took the half a dozen cars ahead of us in the drive-through queue about thirty minutes to make their way through. Sandy and I were both looking forward to getting back to the house and succumbing to the food induced coma we were already reeling from the effects of. It was therefore just a tad annoying that such a brief detour was turning into much more of a significant delay.

Back at the house – finally – we settled the kids (and by ‘we’, I mean ‘Sandy’). I spent some time on the laptop tending to some Dragon Realm Press clients I had been unable to get to for the past week. As was the case yesterday, I had enough energy only to write up the notes from the day, before getting horizontal and crashing. Sandy lasted only marginally longer, and we were both out like a light.