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:
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.
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
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…
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.
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!
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…
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!
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?!
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…
In Italy I stopped to get some gelato cuz it was dang hot out!
And some random cuckoo clock shots in Germany…
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.
By that time I was hot and tired, so I headed for the monorail back to Bay Lake Tower.