I have a fondness for Cracker Barrel, not necessarily because the food is so amazing, but because I associate it with happy memories of Florida vacations. Dan's version of Cracker Barrel is Red Lobster, a place he dined at during vacations in America as a child. It's his ultimate American/Florida vacation restaurant, and even though we have Red Lobster in California, it's just not the same as Florida. We made it a special occasion and had our New Year's Eve meal at an Orlando Red Lobster.
It wasn't the same Red Lobster from Dan's childhood. Gone was the "Spring Break" vibe, with bleached blonde waitresses in skimpy outfits serving fruity cocktails to underaged British teens. Had he really eaten at Hooters? Honestly, this was never the Red Lobster that I had experienced, yet, I must admit that it seemed much "classier" than I had remembered.
You know, "Seafood Classy", where you must wear the obligatory plastic bib and wrestle with the claw crackers to get a minuscule bite of delicious crab flesh.
Joking aside, dinner was delicious. Red Lobster cheesy bread= Heaven.
After dinner, we went to Mighty Jungle Golf, which was absolutely deserted. I think they might have even been ready to call it a night, when we showed up, forcing them to remain open for another hour. Filled with African Savannah animals, caves, and pirate skeletons ( the last one is a head-scratcher), Mighty Jungle Golf is a fun course. We didn't even get bit by mosquitos, which was a New Years Eve Miracle.
The Omni Orlando Resort at Champions Gate had two New Year's Eve parties: an early party for families, and a late party for adults only. It included a red carpet photo op, buffet dinner, DJ dance party, and fireworks. We considered attending, until a hotel employee gave us a top tip: We were told that although the party had a roped off entrance, one of the best places to view the fireworks would be at the top of the stairs above the pool complex, which was not part of the party. Since we were only interested in the fireworks ( Buffet dinner over Red Lobster = no way), we had a cocktail at the hotel bar and grabbed a prime viewing spot on the stairs. People were actually walking out of the party to the stairs, for a better view.
The fireworks were spectacular and on the stairs, it was as if we had waited for hours for the best spot at the Magic Kingdom. The fireworks were enormous and seemingly, directly above us. It was magical, definitely one of the best New Year's Eves I've experienced.