Day 7, Part 1: Santas I Didn’t See…

At 5:00 Monday morning, Patrick smooched me goodbye, stepped into the town car waiting in front of Bay Lake Tower, and headed for the airport, L.A., and three solid weeks of building puppets for Pee-wee Herman’s comeback stage show at Club Nokia.

At 9:00 Monday morning, I got up and threw back the curtains to reveal my glorious Bay Lake view.

I didn’t have to be anywhere til dinner and Candlelight Processional with the Roots, so I took a leisurely monorail ride to Epcot to photograph the recently added dessert party locations at Epcot. And also this:

I dunno… you never know when you might need a picture of the market at the Contemporary!

… or Marie the Cat!

My first stop was Canada Overlook, across from the Refreshment Port just inside World Showcase. Disney now crams private events of up to 50 people in here for lovely views of tree limbs during IllumiNations.

Then it was off to Canada Terrace, where they hold wedding ceremonies and receptions. I still wish they could somehow do ceremonies on the grass down in the pavilion’s garden, but this is pretty cool too.

They say you can't see IllumiNations from this event space, but it sure seems like you can…

The next new event location Disney has carved out of Epcot’s walkways is known as Parisian Point. This is one of three standing-room-only spots where they won’t bring in chairs or tables.

Fortunately, the trees seen in this shot don’t block your view of the show.

The new location in Morocco is on the Japan side of the stage and gift shop. At least it has benches! (The presence of which Disney can’t guarantee, naturally…)

I think this one’s to show you the view from Japan’s event space, which is on the balcony of the tower…

And now we interrupt this trip report for a photo tour!

Back when I was leaving Canada, I discovered the first of many empty storyteller stages. At Christmas, Epcot features each country’s version of Santa Claus telling their native Christmas stories in every country around the World Showcase. Unfortunately, their presentations are not timed so that one can go from country to country hearing each story in succession, or even more than two stories per visit, it would seem from the confusingly random appearance schedule listed in the park guide. I had the distinction of missing every single storyteller in every single country, which inspired this photo tour:

Santas I Didn’t See


"Hey, hosers! Where the heck is Santa, eh?"

United Kingdom

"I say! There seems to be rather a dearth of Father Christmas, wouldn't you agree?"


"Où est Père Noël? Inexplicably compelled to take yet another smoke break?"


According to the Internets, Morocco's Santa is someone called "Black Peter." Yeah, Disney's pretty much not gonna go there…


"Doko desu ka Santa-san happy fun time?"


"Dude, where's my Santa?"

….Even the Kwanza hut was empty!


"La Befana—you not-a here-a? What's a matta youse?"


"Ach, du lieber! Kristkindl's mule must be stuck in a keyhole*!"

*Google it…


OK, guys, it IS a tree… and it DOES have lights… but it's just not screaming Christmas at me, know what I mean?

But wait – what’s this? In the absence of even a vaguely Santa-like figure in Chinese culture, Disney has instead gone with the legend of…

The Monkey King!

The public's reaction to the Monkey King

Nice-looking souvenir stand


"Hvor er Julenisse?" Stuck in the film at the end of Maelstrom, of course!

And then it happened… a Christmas Miraculum… I actually saw the Santas in Mexico! Not only that, but there were THREE OF THEM!!! My Spanish is a little rusty, but it seemed like they went on and on about how wise they were and showed us all the stuff they’d bought in Epcot.

The Santa on the right has a Duffy Bear under his hat

Ever the completist, I waited for them to leave so I could have a full set of empty-stage photos for my series on Santas I Didn’t See…


Then it was off to my lunch reservation at Le Cellier. Along the way, I got some beauty shots of the area where I wish they’d do ceremonies in Canada:

Here’s what was on the menu in December 2009, in case you ever go at that time:

As usual, the place was totally booked according to Disney Dining but totally empty in real life. I’m always nerdily excited to get room shots without people in them—so excited, it seems, that my hands were shaking these shots out of focus!

Camera: "Muwahahahaha! Now that Patrick's gone, I get my OWN seat at the table!"

I am fascinated by the bathroom at Le Cellier—it's like a 1980s time capsule!

As you may know from my past trip reports, I am continually compelled to make reservations at Le Cellier just because it’s so hard to score them. The food is good, but I have never had my socks knocked off by anything on the menu (pants, yes; socks, no) and I know I can get a better steak at numerous other places on property. Still, I book it because I can. In fact, as I was typing that last sentence, I was on the phone making a reservation for my upcoming Social Media Moms/DFTW Bridal Showcase trip (but my excuse this time is that I wanna see how they’re changing the menu in March to justify becoming a 2-table-service-credit Signature Restaurant!). Today’s experience was pretty much just like every other:

I ordered the Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup to start…

It's not, like, the best soup I've ever had, but I always have to get it

Lunch is always the mushroom filet mignon with cream-cheese mashed potatoes swapped in for whatever other starch they futilely try to pair with the filet. This time I didn’t ask for the sauce on the side, and now I remember why I always do—cause I hate truffle oil!

Possibly THE most disgusting-looking meal at Walt Disney World. I'm telling you, it's the truffle butter that puts it over the edge!

I think I must’ve skipped dessert thinking I’d get something at the bakery in France instead, cuz these shots turned up in the camera:

However, I always forget until I’m standing in front of the cases that, delectable as they appear, in reality those desserts always taste bland and slightly waxy. No dessert for me! And then… could it be…? Was I actually seeing…. a Santa I Didn’t See?!

"Psst, kid! Got a light?!"

Then it was off to Japan for some cuteness…

…. And a candy chain!

In American Adventure Land I did something I’ve never done before: set foot in Liberty Inn, the counter-service restaurant. It’s always seemed like such a wasted opportunity to me—I mean, you can get burgers and chicken strips at dozens of other places in Walt Disney World but that’s what they’re serving to represent America? How about some of our nation’s indigenous cuisine, like Cajun food or Twinkies? Sheesh!

The reason I set not one but BOTH foots inside Liberty Inn was to see their gingerbread house…

Made entirely out of burgers

Pretty cool!

I dunno why I took this picture—do you guys know why I took this picture?

In Italy I stopped to get some gelato cuz it was dang hot out!

Cookies 'n' Cream + Chocolate

And some random cuckoo clock shots in Germany…

Kim Possible's singing beer steins—how's that for family friendly?!

Another of the newish small dessert party locations is near the African Outpost. I’ve been back a couple times and I still can’t figure out how you can see the show from there…. Guess I’ll need to bite the bullet and try it sometime!

Then it was around to China to discover adorable towel cakes that I almost accidentally ate because they looked so good.

Basket o' Cute!

Trying an arty shot like Patrick would take…

Best-looking bathroom!

Aw… (sniff!) these slack-jawed, dead-eyed puppets remind me of Patrick!

By that time I was hot and tired, so I headed for the monorail back to Bay Lake Tower.


Up Next: I go down the waterslide 12 times! And watch Candlelight Processional with the Roots!

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14 Responses
  • Hope
    December 21, 2011

    I guess Disney had a point in not offering a Moroccan Santa – especially after seeing what he’s known as there. Although, it would make for a funny caption if you sat on THAT Santa’s lap. lol

    • lurkyloo
      December 22, 2011


  • Elizabeth
    April 30, 2011

    I must commend you on your inclusion of the Fantasia Market shot. Among my friends and family it is well known that I have an unabashed love of all sundries markets. “Look at the tiny toiletries and overpriced food!” I seriously can’t get enough of checking out all the random things in these stores. This love is closely aligned with my love of truckstop markets. “Look at the ancient DVDs and overpriced auto accessories!” I may have to assemble a coffee table book of these manmade wonders one day.

    • lurkyloo
      April 30, 2011

      Hilarious! Well that makes my obsessive photography worth it, then. 🙂 I’ll be sure to shoot the next truck stop I encounter too!

  • Pinkgirl
    February 24, 2011

    I think I am going to need some of those parasol/brollies from China for my wedding photos. Love the colours.

  • Dennis
    February 23, 2011

    Here here !
    You give great trip reports. I love hearing about Swazzle, and seeing you both posing silly. You have such a great sense of humor, and I love hearing about how much you love your husband. I love it when the pretty girls fall for us nerds.

    Not sure about how you prefer the deluxe rooms over the DVC rooms. I love staying at DVC. We could not do without our jacuzzi tub, kitchen, and laundry ever again.

    • lurkyloo
      February 23, 2011

      Well, gosh! Thanks for reading! We prefer the Deluxe rooms over DVC studio rooms, but you’re right—if we could afford to stay in a 1-bedroom with laundry and Jacuzzi tubs every time, we’d totally do it! 🙂

      • Dennis
        February 23, 2011

        I am totally in love with being a DVC member. I have enough points for a two bedroom. Every trip I plan to take different friends or family. We missed our last trip in September due to a family member in the hospital who refused to get better until one week after our trip, but our friends got to go and stay in our treehouse. They sent tweets and pics and we look forward to actually getting to stay in the treehouse with a different set of friends in April.

        We had to rent our points two years ago, because we were buried in “just bought a new house” so it has been three whole years. April cannot come soon enough I so need my mouse fix. Thanks for helping me get by with your Trip reports.

        • lurkyloo
          February 23, 2011

          Any time! And let us know if you ever need to rent those points again… 😉

  • Sarah
    February 16, 2011

    Hi thought i would post!!! LOVE LOVE LOVE your reports totally makes me think am back at WDW, am a very long time lurker! and sending Thanks U’s from Scotland keep up the blogs and trip reports!!!
    Sarah xx

    • lurkyloo
      February 16, 2011

      Hey, thanks for coming out of lurkdom! So glad to hear you enjoy the trip reports.

  • Chilly
    February 15, 2011

    That is one empty restaurant

    • lurkyloo
      February 16, 2011


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