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Old 01-10-2014, 11:03 PM   #1
FrankPhillips
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Default Frank's WIDE World of Disney NYE Trip Report!

Hello, fellow MouseOwners! Welcome to yet another of my photo-filled trip reports. This one will be extremely heavy on the pictures (about 250 of them, give-or-take), light on the commentary, and perhaps one rant (if I’m in the mood), and I will “out” yet another rude guest, as I have done before with line breakers, balcony smokers, and table bandits (see my previous trip reports for those…).

To me, the highlight of this trip report will be my photos of the Sushi Bar at California Grill….you do NOT want to miss seeing that (but it will be toward the end). So….on with the show!

This was our 3rd year in a row to spend New Year’s at Disney (see trip report links in my signature), and our last for a while since next year our oldest will be in college, and we plan to stay home with him during New Year’s for the next few years. While the Disney crowds during New Years can be quite challenging, it’s not bad if you are mentally prepared, and I must admit that the MagicBands and FastPass+ actually made things easier…I really think that Disney’s got something with that, at least based on this single experience.

The weather was not good during our trip (but not particularly bad, either), and we did not get over to Animal Kingdom nor Hollywood Studios, so my photos will be limited mostly to the MK resorts and restaurants, the MK, and Epcot.

And for you camera fans out there, here’s a list of the equipment I took with me this time:
• Nikon D600 full-frame camera with GPS attachment
• Nikon 16-35/f4 VR lens for ultrawide shots
• Nikon 28-300 VR lens for long shots
• Sony RX10 (the one that was recently released) for mostly video, but used for Sushi shots
• My trusty old Sony TX10 waterproof camera for pool shots

We left BHM on the morning of the 31st, arriving on time at MCO. Here are some cool shots I got during the landing (and yes, they’ve relaxed the rules on this now, so you’re allowed to use your camera and other “small” electronics during landing)…









…and here are the hotel rooms in the Orlando airport, if you ever want to spend the night there:



We arrived at Bay Lake Tower and began the check-in process…while DW was dealing with that (and it seems to always take 3x longer than it should), I snuck behind the palm plant to test out my new 16-35/f4 lens on my D600 full-frame camera to see what the lens could do in all of its ultrawide glory (note that I was only inches from the plant):



Needless to say, the room wasn’t ready (it was New Year’s Eve, after all), so we decided to go over to the Monorail and take a trip around. On the way, I got this shot of the check-in at the Contemporary (obviously, no mob scene here).



Right next to the Contemporary check-in desk is “The Wave” restaurant; I remember when this used to be the arcade and food court for the Contemporary…



While on the Monorail, I grabbed this shot at the Ticket & Transportation Center; as you can see, it was not very crowded at 2:30 on New Year’s Eve:


Last edited by FrankPhillips; 08-28-2015 at 07:30 PM.
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Old 01-10-2014, 11:06 PM   #2
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We were hoping to grab lunch at Kona Café, but alas – they were closed for lunch. So we re-boarded the Monorail to try the Grand Floridian Café, and it too was closed for lunch, so we headed back to the Contemporary. Here are the shots I took inside the GF, and note the New Year balloons ready to be dropped at midnight (in the 3rd photo):







Here’s an interesting shot that may provide some visibility into the future. Feel free to express disagreement, but the wooden “bridge parts” in the photo below appear to be a portable bridge that could be set up to allow passage over the water from the MK to the GF. I wonder if (or when) they would deploy these? If this became a permanent thing, it might make me reconsider my decision to NOT buy into VGF.



Here’s the MK entrance at about 3:00PM on New Year’s Eve day….doesn’t look crowded from the outside, perhaps because there are probably a half-gazillion people inside.



So…..we made it back to the Contempo Café to get some lunch. Here are my shots from that event:








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Old 01-10-2014, 11:07 PM   #3
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I hope these room shots are not getting old, because I once again have to show off the ultrawideness of my new 16-35mm lens; we had a 2BR on the “inside” of the horse shoe, facing the pool (yes, DW was really bummed about that).







Here is one of the BEST things about BLT: the extra full bathroom in the main room. In mixed company, this is a lifesaver, and a huge benefit to staying at BLT (if you get a 1BR or 2BR).



Of the many times we’ve been to BLT in the past, we have always gotten the same view that we love…the one on the outside facing the lake and Wilderness Lodge. I knew that the fateful day would come when we would not get such a view, and today was that day. While I really can’t complain about our view, I much prefer my “usual” view instead. Having said that, though, it was interesting to experience something different.








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Old 01-10-2014, 11:11 PM   #4
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Once we got settled, it was time for roasting marshmallows (we had already decided to NOT go into a park on New Year’s Eve). We found that they have moved the roasting area to a new firepit that is off of the beach, where it used to be.





We wandered around a little bit, then went back up to the room…









Here’s the view from our Villa at night:





…and here is a not-so-hidden Mickey:

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Old 01-10-2014, 11:13 PM   #5
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Next, we went to grab a bite at the Contempo Café before heading up to TOWL to watch the “early show” of New Year’s Eve Fireworks. Walking down the hall, I saw this warm welcome that some lucky girl got:









The next shot shows a hidden Mickey in the ceiling on the 15th floor by the elevators:



…and here is a painting in the elevator lobby…can you see the hidden Mickey in it?



I bet that most people don’t know it, but there is a small balcony behind the bar in TOWL that gives you a view similar to the view we have from our villa. Here’s the pool from that balcony:







…and finally, here are the new Bus Bays that we’ve been watching construction of, lo these past few months:

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Old 01-10-2014, 11:15 PM   #6
Fmer55
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We stopped at the same exact spot as those "bridges" on New years day and wondered what they were.

On with the show
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Old 01-10-2014, 11:15 PM   #7
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I don’t want to bore anyone with a bunch of fireworks shots, so I’ll just bore you with only one:





Back in the villa, we once again watched one of our favorite events on the lake, the Water Parade.



The next morning, New Year’s Day, we accidently overslept a little (darn that iPad app), so we didn’t make rope drop at the MK, but we were there early enough. Here are some of the shots as we entered:







See the small covered pavilion in the next photo? DD15 told me that it used to be the loading area for the “swan boats” that used to be a ride there. I think they closed that ride because it took so long to load and unload.





The next picture is very poor quality, but I put it here to remind me to tell a story about it. As we were entering the Dumbo ride, we were near these signs, and there was a CM chasing down a “mom” trying to explain to her that she can’t leave her kids there. The crazy woman thought that the Dumbo play area was a babysitting service, and she was trying to leave her kids there!!!




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Old 01-10-2014, 11:17 PM   #8
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Here are some new digs for your friendly neighborhood DVC sales associates:





I bet you don’t see this one often: looking back from inside of the Ariel queue:



Rapunzel’s tower…





Notice the sign in the next shot…it’s the “Jingle” Cruise during Christmastime. We rode, but didn’t enjoy it for two reasons. First, the boat guide was lame, and second, they seated DW and me in the seats that weren’t covered, so we got rained on during the ride…I spent the whole time trying to protect my Nikon from getting soaked.



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Old 01-10-2014, 11:20 PM   #9
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Time to wait in line (in the rain) for lunch at Be Our Guest. BOG is certainly not at the top of my list, but the girls like it, so I looked at it as a good photo op…the last time I was there, my photos were sub-par. Ironically, when DW and I ate here in September, it was blazing hot and they were handing out umbrellas to provide shade for guests while they waited in line…we wondered why they didn’t break out the umbrellas this time when we’re all getting wet.





Here is the dining room we used…I think it’s called the Rose Room (even though the “rose” from the movie is over in the West Wing room)…



Here is the West Wing, and it is MUCH darker in that room than this photo portrays…I don’t know how people can see what’s on their plate, it’s so dark in there.



…and here is the Ballroom, and without the ultrawide lens, it’s hard to get a photo that truly captures the expanse of this room…it’s huge.


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Old 01-10-2014, 11:22 PM   #10
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Though we’ve seen Wilderness Lodge once or twice, it’s been at night and we’ve never really gotten the opportunity to explore it, so we decided to do that on the afternoon of New Year’s Day.







The story behind the architecture of this side of the building (in the photo below) is that it is supposed to look like the face of a grizzly bear…the boat captain said that it is counted among the Hidden Mickey collections throughout Disney.













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