We’d only done one theme park but because we had flown in on a Thursday, Jessica and Laura ended up choosing Saturday as our hotel day. At first I kind of wished that we had the hotel day a little later into our vacation so we could really feel like we were taking a break from rushing around theme parks. But looking back, I really loved the order we did things, and the wisest choice was probably to do the hotel day on a Saturday anyway, to avoid weekend crowds.
We started the morning with breakfast oatmeal around 9am. Unfortunately, Jessica woke up feeling ill, so she chose to stay in the hotel and sleep for most of the day. Everyone else took the shuttle to Disney Springs. HA I just remembered that my mom was busy taking photos outside of the hotel and caused us to miss the shuttle, and we had to sit there for THIRTY MINUTES. Let me tell you, if I play out the entire day, those thirty minutes of us just waiting at the shuttle stop caused us all to miss a free hotel tour of the kitchens. BUT WHATEVER.
From Disney Springs, Laura ended up leading us to a completely different section of the shopping area, one that I hadn’t even realized existed when we had visited on Thursday. Turns out the entire complex is HUGE, and even includes a circus tent for Cirque Du Soleil (though it was closed). I don’t remember if we came with this expectation, but I think we did make sort of a beeline to Guy Fieri’s Chicken Guy. It became, MY FAVORITE RESTAURANT of the entire trip!!! I love me a fried chicken sandwich.
Their main thing at Chicken Guy is the sauces for their delicious chicken tenders. Even their sandwiches are really just two chicken tenders. My family ended up ordering a Bourbon Brown Sugar BBQ sandwich, the Southwestern Chicken sandwich (this was my choice, with Pepper Jack, Special Sauce, Avocado Crema, Cumin Lime Mojo, Charred Corn, Roasted Peppers, Black Beans, Lettuce, Tomatoes and Crispy Tortilla Strips), the Southwestern Salad (which was great to have some actual veggies, but this was just my sandwich in salad form), a loaded mac n cheese (I thought this was below mediocre), some chicken tenders so we could try the sauces, and triple double mint shake! I loved my sandwich. The shake was just ok, but I didn’t love that they had actual chocolate chips on top. My mom loved the BBQ sandwich, and without thinking, I gave half of my brother’s mac n cheese to Laura’s family. It is a testament to how nice he is that he didn’t yell at me…
I actually completely forgot my dad’s salad in my original order, so I jumped back in line. Laura came over and said “this is great! can you order my family some fries too?” I said of course but once I got to the register … I FORGOT! The only thing I could think about was getting my dad’s salad!!! I ended up getting the salad, heading back to our tables, grabbing a cup to split half my mint shake for Laura, and then stopping midsentence and going “OH. MY. GOD. I’m SOOO SORRY I FORGOT THE FRIES!” I think Laura was a mix of exasperated and bemused.
Anyway, a somewhat disastrous trip to Chicken Guy, though everyone loved the food. My brother then ended up heading home on his own, because he had been tasked with cooking dinner in the hotel room, and the groceries had just been delivered from Amazon Prime. Meanwhile, the rest of us went to Uniqlo and my parents became super obsessed with the Disney shirts and went on a tshirt shopping frenzy.
We eventually made it out of Disney Springs (I’m glad Laura dragged our family out because I think my parents could have spent another hour at Uniqlo). I think we then took the shuttle to Magic Kingdom and then started our Monorail adventure across a bunch of resorts! Wilderness Lodge, Contemporary Resort, and Polynesian Village! There’s also the Grand Floridian but since we’d be staying there for the second half of our vacation, we skipped that for resort day.
My favorite of the three was Wilderness Lodge – it has a huge lodge and huggeeee grounds. This was actually where we came for our first night’s dinner. Apparently you can even bring RVs here or go camping here, which seems ingenious. A vacation stay at Disney grounds for ANY family! The lodge itself had tons of wooden totems which made the decor great. And of course, it’s very green. A family favorite!
EDIT: Laura said I misstated stuff in this entry but I’m too lazy to go look for what the corrections were. I think maybe Wilderness Lodge and Fort Wilderness are two different things – the former being the nicer hotel we visited on resort day, and the latter being the campgrounds-like area we went to for dinner on the first night. I can’t be bothered!
If the weather had been nicer, we might have gone on some of the trails by Fort Wilderness, but it was TOO HOT! Even just taking a few pictures outside was a bit exhausting. We then took the monorail to the Contemporary Resort, which is their convention center style hotel. And apparently one of the first resorts built at Disney World! I liked this place because it was boring but felt much more familiar – it was a “typical” hotel, other than the monorail that ran through the center of it.
Next on the stop – the Polynesian Village Resort. I thought this would be my favorite, but it ended up being the most boring! Laura had mentioned that the villas here are the most expensive lodging option, because they’re on the water, like in Bali. We randomly watched a youtube video of people reviewing the villas and one of the most hilarious moments of the entire trip was when the youtuber took the camera out onto the room’s deck to show off the hot tub, and was greeted with the LOUDEST ferry blast. Turns out that the ferries sound their horns about every twelve minutes. And according to one review, it’s the kind of horn that stops all conversation. Crazy!
Well, the lobby was nice, but it wasn’t too big. Maybe the pools would have been nice, but it was still too hot to explore. Actually, we’d end up coming back here two days later to try out Trader Sam’s, their tiki bar. So it’d probably be fun to walk around at night, but not at 4pm, which was when we were there. (Also, this is where you can get alcoholic Dole whips!)
Then off we went, back to our hotel. My brother was cooking, at the very beginning of when all the food was about to get heated and cooked. When we opened the door, it was a BLAST of curry powder smell. It probably still smelled like that the next day, which was our check out day, which I’m sure is very annoying for the housekeepers. Laura, her mom, my mom, and I left to use the hot tub (the one and only time we ever used the pool!). I only went because my parents had scoped out the grounds in the morning, and confirmed that the hot tub would be shaded.
We were in the hot tub for a little bit and then Laura and I left to try out the water slide. My FIRST water slide experience! I’m pretty sure. Then my mom wanted to try it too, and that seemed like a reasonable request, considering the slide dropped people into a 3 foot 6 inch depth. I went to wait in line with her, and it was EIGHT children deep! PLUS two kids CUT in front of us, which really annoyed my mom, but it felt really weird to tell these two children off, so I said to let it go. I asked my mom whether she wanted to go first or me, and she wanted to go first (presumably so I could encourage her to go down the slide in case she chickened out). I don’t think she realized this would mean that when she went down the slide, I wouldn’t be there to watch her. But again, both Laura and I had told her, “just stand up!”
WELL down she went. Then the light went green so I went down. And when I made it into the water and got my head out, my mom was yelling at me, “I almost drowned!!!” I went “WHAT? You’re joking” and she went “no! I did almost drown!” and the lifeguard was walking behind her, caught my eye, and smiled and nodded. Turns out my mom couldn’t fight the current, and wasn’t able to stand up, but was somehow able to stick her head of the water and say “help!”
We walked back to the hot tub – I am really relieved my mom is the type to be shocked but still in high spirits following a near drowning – and Laura asked “how was the slide?” and my mom responded “fun!” Then I said “she almost drowned!” and Laura went “what?!” assuming we were joking, until my mom went “yup! I almost drowned!” Laura and I still don’t understand how she wasn’t able to just STAND up but Laura’s mom immediately started saying “EXACTLY that’s what I’ve been telling you!”
Then we went back to the hotel, showered, and around 7pm, dinner was served! My brother had made salmon steaks (he requested salmon fillets but they did him WRONG!) and roasted veggies and cous cous! Somehow we were able to fit our entire 8 person group around a table meant for four. Great meal! I only partially wish I had told my brother to make dessert too, even though Laura and Jessica had said he didn’t have to.
That’s because after dinner, everyone was so stuffed, we decided to walk over to Jambo House and got two cupcakes (FOR $5 EACH!). Which we then split for a Frankenstein cupcake that was split between our families.
I think on this night, we attempted to watch a bunch of youtube videos, like Celine Dion’s carpool karaoke but we kept getting distracted. By what, I can’t remember!