Tag Archives: pop century

Getting Pumped for Revisiting 1991….


How am I going to do that? Well, a Disney trip of course!!!


Next week, my mom and I head down to WDW for 7 nights. We will be staying at none other than Disney’s Polynesian Resort. We have not stayed at this resort since our first family trip in 1991! Since our stay at Polynesian, we tried “Moderate Resorts”, like Port Orleans French Quarter, “Value Resorts”, like Pop Century, and other “Deluxe Resorts”, such as Yacht & Beach Club.

Our decision to try Polynesian again now some 23 years later was definitely rooted in nostalgia. This was the resort that started our family addiction to Walt Disney World! The location on the monorail is ideal for visiting Magic Kingdom at a come-and-go pace, and with all the new attractions in New Fantasyland, we will be focusing on the original gate a lot!

The Polynesian Resort has gone over lots of refurbishments the past 2 decades, so the views of the quiet pool and the general resort footprint won’t be exactly the same. The photo above is an aerial shot of the Polynesian in 1991. I hope they sell new ones in the gift shop, as I would like to see the change! Another big change from our first trip is that the original main pool that my dad and I spent tons of time in has also been overhauled.




Our dining choices in 2014 will be somewhat different than the choices in 1991…In 1991, the big dinner we did was the Mickey Mouse Luau at the Polynesian Resort. We ate family style, watched dancers and learned the hula. Have to admit, my mom will not be partaking in this again, but we do have our own special dinner booked at Victoria & Alberts and Narcooses, both found at the adjacent Grand Floridan Resort & Spa.



We both cannot wait to experience this resort for the second time. It really puts a gold seal on our “Disney Passport” as we have now gone full-circle, so to speak…back where it all began!

My Disney “Beat the Bus” Challenge & Spartan Prep


Today ends my 16 day extravaganza in Walt Disney World. Maureen and I are still friends, even after spending August 1-16 in a small Disney “value resort” room, so that’s what matters. We honestly never got sick of Disney World! Really! We just started to get really, really tired….and really, really wacko. Hence, our decision to have me do a “beat the bus” challenge on August 14th. A little background in this decision first….

The last year my mom, dad and I stayed at Yacht Club while in Disney World (2003) we had the luxury of being able to walk to both EPCOT and Disney Hollywood Studios from the resort. This was a great option instead of having to take the bus everywhere. We would usually walk back from the Studios, but if my mom had her way, we would take the alternate option of the boat. One morning, the boat was not there yet so my dad and I convinced my mom to walk with us, because we could “beat the boat.” She obliged, and since the boat wasn’t even at the Yacht Club dock yet, we felt solid. Well, we got past the hotel docks the boat stops at and the boat was behind us, in our sight. Dad and I couldn’t lose, so we started speed walking, and then to a jog, and then too pretty fast clip.

Mom was not pleased.

But, we did beat the boat. And my dad and I thought it was hysterical. My mom, however, did not.


So now fast forward to August 2013. It’s hot as hell in Disney World. The humidity is through the roof. It’s your 14th day of vacation. So naturally, you decide to run 2+miles in the early afternoon heat, without a sidewalk, and without running shoes.

I don’t know how it came up, but one of the times we had to wait for a bus at the Studios it was taking longer than the advertised “every 20 minutes.” I must have told Maureen I could run back to Pop Century faster. On that bus ride “home”, we decided that on August 14th, during our “Four Parks, One Day” mess, I would run back to the resort while Maureen casually walked to the bus stop. We routed the distance the Studios main gate to our hotel room using Google Maps, and the distance was only 2.3 miles. I would run the same route as the bus, all in the attempt to beat Maureen and have the glory and recognition that goes with the title…Thus, the challenge was born.

So August 14th rolled around. Alarm went off at 5:30 am, as we had an early magic hour morning planned at Animal Kingdom. After Animal Kingdom, we headed to the Studios for a short while. We had already done a lot that morning when 10:30 am rolled around and we slowly started heading out of the park. 10:30 am is early…but in Florida, the heat is already kicked in. Note in the two photos below how “gung-ho” I am to begin this challenge



As we left the main gate, I bid Maureen ‘Adieu!’ and started bolting out of the lot. Please note—I had not ran since the 10 miles I did on July 31st. Sure, we had been logging 10+ miles of walking each day while in Disney, but I was taking this vacation as the break I probably needed from my running. And because of that, I did not pack my tennis shoes. So, I ran in my Keen’s hiking sandals. Oh, this was going to be good….

I was going at a fast clip out of the lot, mainly because I felt like an idiot running from the park. At my first turn onto the main roadway (Buena Vista Drive) I came in contact with my first “obstacle”—no sidewalk. I was aware this would occur, as I knew what this route entailed, so I dug my Keen-wearing feet onto the soggy Orlando sod and trucked along. This was some resistance training! I came to find out later that Maureen lucked out and caught a bus immediately after going to the bus station, so she passed me at this point, but luckily got a photo of my efforts.


I kept trucking down Buena Vista Drive and at my first mile, I clocked 7:58! I was racing! It was at this point the sweat poured into my eyes and my shoulders started to burn from the heat. I had no idea myself where Maureen was, so I kept booking it. I turned right at the ESPN Wide World of Sports sign, and then straight ahead I could see my final turn into the resort.

I cut through the resort exit driveway, through a parking lot, ran to our building and up to our room on the 2nd floor. After digging my room key out of my shorts zipper, I entered the air conditioned room hoping to claim victory!….but Maureen was lying on the bed. Yes….she won this time. But her bus arrival was perfect timing! So I will defend myself and say I COULD have beaten her if the bus even was 8 minutes late, or if someone needing assistance with a wheelchair had needed to get on. The final distance from gate to room—2.3 miles. My time—19 minutes and 30 seconds. Not to shabby, if I do say so myself.

And running in those Keen’s……while i wouldn’t make this a normal occurrence, I had bought them before the Disney trip, and let me say….I recommend them for anyone wanting comfortable sandals who do a lot of walking. I didn’t buy the heavy-duty ones for all-terrain hiking, but these were perfect for trekking through Disney for miles upon miles a day. I even took the liberty of taking a creepy photo of a family wearing coordinating Keen’s while walking around EPCOT….no big deal!

So now as my flight from Denver approaches Calgary, I reminisce abut the memories from the past 16 days…this “beat the bus challenge” was just one crazy idea we had, and if I were to list all of them here, you would never read my site again. I did joke that this challenge was good “Spartan Race” Preparation, as this Sunday, my husband and I will be participating in our SECOND Spartan Sprint! This one is just a 5 km race and is in Calgary at a bike park. So, the terrain isn’t mountainous like the one we did in Montana…and while I haven’t been running or doing Spartan Specific Workouts of the Day, I have been sweating my ass off daily in Disney world, running in ridiculous conditions, and dragging a backpack around the airport while in layover. I think my backpack did weigh about 30 pounds today, no lie, and I wandered for a good hour in Denver.

So how will I do in the Spartan Race Calgary? Who knows. My mom thinks it will be laughable given I was vacationing and living the good life for the past 16 days. We will see…and I will show her. Remember, I showed her when dad and I beat the boat back 10 years ago!


Thoughts So Far….


Yes, I am still in Walt Disney World. Today was day 10 of our 16 day extravaganza. We are now turning the corner on the weekend and heading into the home stretch! So far, Maureen and I haven’t wanted to kill the other person yet. And that is step one. We keep joking it is like we are back living in a college dorm, and that joke is even more of a real fact right now because as I type this, Maureen is out of the room roaming the balconies of Pop Century talking on her phone and looking for cell phone service. Oh man.

So many of you who read this are my friends and family, so you probably have seen a lot of my updates on Facebook or Twitter. So instead of posting a ton of photos and rehashing a bunch of stuff you may have already noticed along the way during my travels, I am going to touch on a few key Best & Worst Moments of this visit so far. Bear with me here—-I am working on adrenaline, magic and wine.

Worst Ride in Walt Disney World
Holy shit. I read all the blogs about it, but didn’t believe it could truly be that bad. If you have someone in your group that suggests trying this ride, shut them down, or please skip it yourself. Stitches Great Escape is so horrendous, I wouldn’t wish it upon my worst enemy. Maureen did determine the small target audience is ages 4-6, because at that age you have some understanding of simple jokes and are amused by pointless humor and bad effects. Never again!

Best Ride Refurbishment
Test Track. While the ride system is the same as the original, the theming was redone by the new sponsors, Chevrolet. We were both hesitant, but were pleasantly surprised with the main feature of the ride—designing your own vehicle to “test” on the SimTrack. It is fun designing your vehicle in the reshot and we have a good time seeing how it performs on the course. Also, the post show area has lots to do.

Best Ride Surprise
Enchanted Tales with Belle! We did this on our first rope drop morning, as we had heard the lines really get long later in the day. While we don’t have kids, we do have an appreciation for the cuteness factor…and this show has it. It’s an interesting mix of live entertainment, meet and greet, and walk-through experience. Every time will be different, as audience members participate. Highly recommend it, especially if you have small children.

Best Crockpot of Butter
No contest—this category was designed for the French Onion Soup at Les Chefs de France that Maureen had for lunch today. Now, we are not making fun of or complaining about the amount of butter we saw used within the soup….it was delicious. But Maureen knew upon seeing it arrive in front of her it was going to be a rough go.

Best Castmember
Oh, and our server at Les Chefs de France was awesome—his name was Mehdi. He was adorable. Had only been in Florida since August 1st. Told us in advance he is still learning his English, and it was his first day on his own at the restaurant. So maybe we had a soft spot for him right away, but he did a very good job, was super sweet and even asked us questions about where we were from and wanted to know where it was located. We could tell he had been a server before because he knew how to carry out lots of plates with ease. Mehdi—your boyish charm will win your tables over.

Worst Counter-Service Meal
The “butter chicken” I had at Art of Animation’s Landscape of Flavours. I have eaten butter chicken before from Indian restaurants back home, and other Indian foods also, and this was disgusting, it was almost laughable. Ew.

Best Child Meltdown
Actually haven’t seen a blown out chld meltdown yet. Those are saved for the adults this trip. But we have heard many kids saying some random-ass things. And one of the best was when it was 1 pm at EPCOT, pure sun, no clouds, 95 degree heat…and a set of parents were casually looking at the Yorkshire Fish Shoppe counter service menu, but they walked away. Their son, about 8 or 9, naturally exclaimed “Just pick one restaurant and stick with it, COME ON!” He had to be hungry.

Best Adult Meltdown
Hands down had to be while at Cinderella’s Royal Table for dinner. And this isn’t one adult, but a whole family that wins the award. Family came in for dinner and immediately started arguing—between the one teenaged daughter and the dad. Mom tried to calm it down telling them to just drop it, and to get over it (must have been from an existing argument earlier). Long story short, dad dramatically left (he was in a wheelchair so it was dramatic as he had to leave but then wait for the elevator), then the problem daughter started crying, mom started getting pissed, second daughter started standing up for her sister, and then mom told them to just wrap up the food and she left. And to top it off, the two daughters were on our bus ride back to the hotel later that night. Nicely done family. Way to waste approximately $250 on a dining experience.

Best Feature of Pop Century Resort
The white blanket on the bed. Wrote a note to the housekeeper to keep using the soft white blankets instead of the nasty pink ones (didn’t write nasty) . They are luxurious. And appreciated in this value resort dorm room.

Worst Feature of Pop Century
The cockroach Maureen found in the bathtub that I had to try to get out, but then disappeared down the drain. And currently, the alarm going off in a nearby room which is obviously unoccupied at the moment. Ahhhhhhhhhh.

Best Character Photo
Our Toy Story friends meet up, where I got to recreate my dad’s photo from April 2003. The picture says it all.


Only five more full days in the park to go! So many more things to occur…..what will happen next?

16 Days of Disney Shenanigans are About to Occur…


I have visited the Walt Disney Resort on 14 vacations – 6 of these vacations have been with my parents, 3 of them were with my high school dance team, 3 of them were just my mom and I together, and 2 of them have been with one of my best friends, Maureen. On August 1st, her and I will be heading on our third trip to WDW, but this time we aren’t messing around—we are going for 16 days!
We knew about a year and a half ago we were going to be heading on a WDW trip together in August 2013, and originally we thought maybe a week. We are great travel partners and most importantly, the way we both want to tour the ‘world’ is the same—–early morning alarms, be first at every gate to enjoy a rope drop, cry tears of happiness at every possible moment, eat tons of food, and overall do every possible thing we can.
So why are we going for 16 days? Simple answer—because we can. But, it really isn’t all that simple. Maureen and I are both teachers, her back in Wisconsin and myself up in Alberta. Summer trips work best for both of us. And historically, the WDW Resort has value rate pricing in mid August, so it makes hotels more affordable. The last two trips together, we stayed at Pop Century—we like to refer to it as Pop Century Resort & Spa…..but it’s anything but. I’m not going to knock it—it serves its purpose. It’s a Disney value resort on property, with a solid location and good bus service. You can get pretty low rates during value season, and if you get a AAA rate like we did the last two times, it makes it even better. Add on to it that we split the room cost and it makes it really affordable. We swore the last trip, though, we were staying moderate the next time. Maybe even a non-monorail deluxe resort! We just couldn’t handle the craziness of this resort again….
…flash forward to our planning for this trip. Maureen has a friend who works part time at WDW and he offered to use one of his family and friend rates for us for our stay. Well, lets just say the discount is ridiculous. So, it was either we stay at a moderate for 7 days OR we go back to the Pop Century Resort & Spa for 16 days for basically the same price….

We chose to go back to the “spa.”
So from August 1-16th, Maureen & I are moving in to Pop. We joke we need to do a change of address with the post office….we are going to be gone for a about 1/24 of a year….but this is a time in our life where we both still don’t have kids, so we can manage and afford to go away for this long. And since we are both Disney fanatics, there is no discussion ever of going anywhere else together.
Expect random updates and entries the next few weeks, but they will probably all be Disney related. So if you read this just for running, you will have to wait until my Spartan Race 5km on August 18th in Calgary. Actually, there may be running segments in my posts, as I run after getting a fast pass after rope drop to meet Maureen across the park at a different ride! This trip is the first step to my RunDisney experiences, however. I have been so pumped for this trip, and then it gets me equally excited for my trip in November for Disney’s Wine & Dine Half Marathon and my January trip-of-a-lifetime when I compete in the Dopey Challenge during Disney Marathon Weekend.