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Trip Report COMPLETED: So why is it you’re cruising so much now: A NYE TR that doesn’t contain cruising. Now with Tuna/Egg talk!

lostpro9het

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
No real back story here or PTR to reference. We’ve been to the bubble many times. We’ve gone during Spring Break, Christmas, 4th of July, and even Memorial day. We realized we’ve never done NYE so we figured we’d give it a go. I mean, surely everyone will go home on New Year’s day leaving an enjoyable park experience with lite crowds the rest of the week, right?

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So if you don’t know us by now I guess that rock you were under didn’t have any internet or you just have a strong distaste for sarcasm, poor grammar, and pictures of decent food. This trip included the DD and would be the first trip we drove to in over a year, getting back to our roots and all.

The beginning of the end:
We had a plan of leaving the cold and wet North Georgia Mountains by 04:30 on NYE morning. I’m proud to say my ladies stepped up and were AIS by the deadline. Now, I have a standard 1-stop itinerary for our road trips to the bubble and can make it there in less than 7 hours provided we stick to the itinerary. My copilots decided we needed more stops. All this to say we made the Orlando area in about 7 hours 10 minutes. Now typically we hit 429 and take Western Way into the bubble to avoid the I-4 madness. This trip, however, the DW decided she wanted to hit the Disney outlet so I-4 here we come!

We have never been to this outlet but on the way down the DW read about parking horror stories but I was insistent we do it so she could check out the outlet. All I can say is DAYUM! Whomever designed the layout of that outlet needs to be taken out back and flogged. It was lunch time on NYE and this place looked like it was running a 75% sale on a Black Friday. I did one pass through the lot and decided to drop the ladies off so they could hit up the store while I looked for parking. Fast-forward 20 minutes and the DD calls saying they are ready to go and I still have yet to find parking. I’ll let the DD describe the inside of the outlet since I only got to see the parking lot.

After the outlet we hit up Publix to get our Entenmann's donuts, a WDW staple. We were in and out in minutes and on our way to DTD for lunch.

As we approached the parking deck we noticed they changed the flow of traffic coming from the parks to DTD. You now have to drive past the green deck and u-turn back to it. I wouldn’t be surprised if that direct all traffic coming from the parks to the new deck across the street when its complete and start charging for the green deck. We quickly parked and I was pleasantly surprised to see lite crowds at DTD, this gave me hope! DW and I wanted Polite Pig for lunch but the DD loathes BBQ. We walked over to Morimoto CS to grab her some noodles to go. The portion was huge and she enjoyed it. We made our way over to PP, grabbed a table, and enjoyed some food.

DW went with the sausage and Brussels sprouts
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I went with the pulled pork sandwich
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We shared Ravenous Pig by Cask & Larder. Untappd Notes: 4/5 A nice lite Belgian that almost wants to be sweet.
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The food, as usual, was excellent. The ladies must have been hungrier than me, or motivated to shop, as they smashed their lunch and decided to head to Basin to get some bath bombs while I finished my lunch. By the time I finished and met up with them we got the room text!
 

lostpro9het

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
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Now, historically, I've been pretty harsh about OKW and even swore off of it unless absolutely necessary. Well, welcome to absolutely necessary. Vacation creep set in a month or so prior when we decided to turn a New Year's day trip into a NYE trip. Naturally with such a short amount of time during a busy holiday all we could find was a CSR cash room so we booked it. A week later a OKW DVC popped up and preferred it simply because of it's proximity to DTD, it being a 1-bedroom was a nice bonus too. Again, history harshing on OKW is about to be undone! As we approached the door not only did all our magic bands work, a legitimate first for us after so many MB trips, but we scored a refurbed room and it was simply beautiful! We had a massive balcony, a huge jetted tub, and a ton of space. I would absolutely come back here again if it meant getting this room. Great start to our trip!
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Up next: Pool time and a NYE dinner cluster....
 

imahistorygeek

Well-Known Member
I'd read so many reports about the Character Outlet at this particular outlet mall. It's supposed to be the best of the best.

Yeah, no. It is on my list of "never again."

Based on reports, I was expecting this grandiose store with a ton of park, cruise, etc. merchandise. These types of merchandise existed, but it wasn't worth the trip. One thing that really bothered me is that we attended a MNSSHP this past October. Everything was sold out that was related to the party. This outlet store had t-shirts from the event. :mad:

It was fairly tiny and definitely not worth the detour (and man it's a detour from the highway) and the terrible parking. IMO, it's not worth it to chance if the outlet has something you want.
 

krisri18

Well-Known Member
Now, historically, I've been pretty harsh about OKW and even swore off of it unless absolutely necessary. Well, welcome to absolutely necessary. Vacation creep set in a month or so prior when we decided to turn a New Year's day trip into a NYE trip. Naturally with such a short amount of time during a busy holiday all we could find was a CSR cash room so we booked it. A week later a OKW DVC popped up and preferred it simply because of it's proximity to DTD, it being a 1-bedroom was a nice bonus too. Again, history harshing on OKW is about to be undone! As we approached the door not only did all our magic bands work, a legitimate first for us after so many MB trips, but we scored a refurbed room and it was simply beautiful! We had a massive balcony, a huge jetted tub, and a ton of space. I would absolutely come back here again if it meant getting this room. Great start to our trip!
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Up next: Pool time and a NYE dinner cluster....
Wow! OKW definitely looks better than I thought it would!
 

lostpro9het

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
We were in DS at the same time and I think I may have seen you after your lunch, were you wearing a blue t shirt and a baseball cap? (If not your doppelgänger was)
Fenway cap, yes, Blue shirt, not sure about. Its possible.
Wow! OKW definitely looks better than I thought it would!
I was pleasantly surprised by the looks and the square footage.

That is a really nice room! Score!
I'd like to say we lucked out but I think all their rooms are moving to this look.

Wow! What a nice room
It really was!
 

lostpro9het

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Can’t wait to read more, even though for the moment you’re falling down a bit on the promised sarcasm and poor grammar 😉
HA! Thanks. Honestly, I felt I spent so much time badmouthing WDW in the DL TR that I'm trying to ease into it this TR.

Speaking of easing into it, once we got our gear unpacked and things settled in the room the DD decided she wanted to use one of her new bath bombs in the tub while we made our way to the pool. There was a nice secluded walking path from our room to the Turtle pool. We even made a friend along the way!
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The weather was far better than the dreary and raining state of Georgia we had just left and the pool was perfect.
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The DW got some hydration on with a Turtle Crawl
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I went with the POG beer I brought from home. Untappd Notes: 3.25/5 Minor letdown. I was expecting POG and all I got was red grapefruit. Still, a decent hot weather beer.
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We spent a couple hours here relaxing and enjoying some people watching. This pool had just come off a refurb on our last visit and has held up well.

When we finally made it back to the room to clean up for dinner the DW pointed out a great piece of Disney art on the wall I had missed but that fit us well.
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Up next: NYE dinner craziness.
 

Rista1313

Well-Known Member
Thanks for keeping me in lots of trip reports! We went to the Vineland outlet the Tuesday before Thanksgiving... we got there just after they opened at 1010am... it was a zoo!
 
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DisneyGigi

Well-Known Member
The bathroom counters and couches have been updated at OKW since our 2017 stay! I loved the layout there of the 1 BR. I agree about the outlet and definitely the parking. It is madness! I did get a Dooney there in September for 100 bucks off, but it is hit or miss. The Yankee Candle Outlet I have to stop at though. There is one in Pigeon Forge, but I would rather be stuck in I-4 traffic than the nightmare of Pigeon Forge/ Gatlinburg traffic these days. Even if so close. Also a Disney Outlet there but never seen any kind of park stuff at that one.
 

lostpro9het

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Thanks for keeping me in lots of trip reports!
Thanks for following!

There is one in Pigeon Forge, but I would rather be stuck in I-4 traffic than the nightmare of Pigeon Forge/ Gatlinburg traffic these days.
We did the PF outlet shortly after it opened many years ago and, IIRC, parking wasn't terrible but the layout of the outlet was. We also have a Yankee Candle and Disney Outlet 20 minutes from us but the Disney shop never has anything good. It is more of a regular Disney store that occasionally has some out of season items on clearance.

I too have never done a nye at any park
Max
IMO, it was worth trying once.

Following and enjoying, especially the food and beer pics, as usual!!
Thanks! More to come.


NYE Dinner Debacle
As pointed out earlier, we were really late to the NYE game limiting our rooms options. Our late planning also limited our dining too. The options we were faced with a few weeks prior were mostly limited to DTD restaurants and a few scattered resort dining locations. We were eyeing a Homecomin at 10:30 but didn't know if we could make any fireworks viewing area in time. Then I remembered that Open Table also carries several Disney dining options so we looked there and saw an Il Mulino at 9:30, PERFECT! We could have some of the best Italian in the bubble then make our way out to the boardwalk to see the EC and HS fireworks!

Fast forward to NYE around 6:00

I had been monitoring the traffic in the bubble because, again, we heard horror stories of NYE traffic and wanted to give us plenty of time to make it to our ADR. While looking over traffic I decided to check out the Il Mulino menu on the Disney site to see if they had made any changes. As I scrolled down something caught my eye: New Years Eve Dining Event. So I click on this and see that they are offering a prix fixe menu for $135/person (tax, tip, alcohol NOT included). A glimmer of panic began to set in. When we made the OT reservation there was no mention of special event or menu. I called IM and spoke to the manager to see if the prix fixe was optional or required. He told me the whole evening was prix fixe. I informed the DW and we agreed to nix it. The manager was very pleasant and happily canceled our ADR. I couldn't justify $500 for the 3 of us to eat dinner at IM. Its good but not that good. Now the big panic starts to set in, 5 hours til mid night and NO ADR! The DW was really sweating it and the DD was starting to get hungry. I did some searches on availability and the Homecomin was still an option but still concerned about traffic. Another ADR popped up that we had seen once before and considered but were hesitant to grab because the DD might not like the menu. Jiko might be our favorite restaurant in the bubble but we've never taken the kiddo because of the exotic menu. At this point, however, our options were slim and we rolled the dice on a 9:30 ADR in hopes that she would at least like the flatbread.

Again, concerned about traffic, we left OKW at 8:00 and made our way towards AKL. To our surprise there was almost no noticeable difference in traffic between OKW and AKL and made the trip in about 15 minutes! It felt like going home entering Jambo's lobby. This is one of our home resorts and have stayed here many times. Its tough to beat the smells and views as you enter the lobby here.
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I walked down to Jiko to check in and see if they could get us in any earlier. To my surprise Jiko was PACKED! I have never seen a full house at Jiko but today it was. The hostess said she checked me in but it would be closer to our ADR time before they could seat us. Not a big issue because if there is one resort where you make time pass fast its AKL!

We started out by checking out the gift shop to see if they had any new resort pins. There was a CM creating custom signs in the middle of the shop.
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We then went out to the main safari viewing area and spent some time there watching the animals graze and rest. While we were out there it hit me, Night Vision! AKL offer's a complementary night vision experience to its guest during the evening. I asked the CMs if they were still doing that tonight and they said yes. We would have to walk over to the safari area by the pool to do this. As we made our way to the viewing area we saw where the movie of the night was Jungle Book and Baloo was even out there watching it with the kiddos! A few minutes later and we were getting our night vision on!
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We had done this before but there seemed to be more animals out tonight and we got some good night time viewing. After a while we went and checked out the flamingos who had been making a ruckus all night. They were really chatting it up tonight.
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Our ADR time was approaching so we made our way to the lobby to wait out the last few minutes.

Up next: The DD shocks us.
 

DisneyGigi

Well-Known Member
Thanks for following!


We did the PF outlet shortly after it opened many years ago and, IIRC, parking wasn't terrible but the layout of the outlet was. We also have a Yankee Candle and Disney Outlet 20 minutes from us but the Disney shop never has anything good. It is more of a regular Disney store that occasionally has some out of season items on clearance.


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The parking isn’t bad at the one that has the Disney outlet at PF, but it is spread out. I always feel like I am going to mugged at the Orlando one or something though lol. I hate the parking lots there! You guys are lucky to have any Disney store close. Our outlets here don’t have a Yankee or a Disney. (Or unlucky, the hubby would say, because I would be there once a week)
Enjoying the report so far and Love the AKL tree, we didn’t make it there to see the decorations last trip.
 
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