Day 7, Part 2: Candlelight Processional Dinner with the Roots!

I was kinda pooped after wandering all over Epcot in the heat, so I spent a little time relaxing in the living room of my embarrassingly ginormous-for-one-person 1-bedroom villa at Bay Lake Tower.

I dragged an easy chair up to the window. First I looked at the “lake view”…

Then I craned my neck a little to see the actual lake…

Zooming helped!

I used my camera to check out all the things in the distance, like Characters in Flight at Downtown Disney.

This is what the view looks like when you’ve been swallowed by an easy chair:

"Say, wait a minute—they've got a POOL down there?!"

And then I did what they always tell you to do if you’re a smart tourist: I took a break in the middle of the day to go swimming! At first glance, Bay Lake Tower’s pool is not particularly interesting to look at. There’s a lot of Miami Vice glass blocks goin’ on…

…And a ragged beach with a sign that may as well say “Gator-Baitin’ Station”!

However, the more I poked around (and the more I read my “What Would Patrick Shoot?” bracelet) the more nifty photo opportunities I found.

Water slide!!!

I think I spent 20 minutes standing under the slide trying to take a picture of someone whizzing by. It’s worse that trying to shoot a Test Track vehicle on the outside track!


Careful, kiddies—you don't know who's been running through there!

The slide was FANTASTIC! I hereby declare it the Fastest Hotel Water Slide on Property (OK, of the ones I have been on: Grand Floridian, Polynesian, Wilderness Lodge, BoardWalk Inn & Stormalong Bay). I went down it 12 times! The grown-ups at the pool thought I was nuts and began herding their children away from me…

After that I spent a little time back in the room getting ready for my date with Jensey & Nate for a Candlelight Processional Dinner Package. We’d chosen Biergarten because it was in the marginally cheaper Tier 2 price category, and because Patrick has always wanted to eat there. Now, of course, Patrick would be the only one NOT eating there, and we were stuck with his choice… Interestingly, when I called to cancel his Candlelight dinner package, I was told “No refunds!” However, they don’t actually charge your card until you get to the restaurant, and when the server brought our bill it was only for 3 people cuz that’s as many as he saw at the table. So…. good to know for future reference!


On my way to the monorail, I stepped out on the fireworks viewing platform to take some nighttime pix of the view.

Not sure what I was going for here… double-vision?

Now let us travel back in time a few hours to the moment when the Roots set foot in Epcot that day, so that we may see all that they saw while I was endlessly whizzing down the pool slide at Bay Lake Tower.

The elusive Fantasy, a dinner-cruise boat owned by the Swan & Dolphin that can only be rented by Disney and Swolphin employees…

"Shoe for a smoke, anyone? I will trade you this shoe for a single cigarette… C'mon, people…"

"Oh wait, I think there might be a cigarette IN the shoe…"

"OMG—there's TOTALLY a cigarette in there!"

Pretty lady!

Like a golf ball on the green…


That guy's got a lot of balls…

I'll bet you dollars to donuts that kid's got his mouth on the railing.

Oh look! Santa even comes to Lizardville!

I know, kid—that was totally silly…

OK, so, the Biergarten was pretty much exactly what I expected—great theming, rowdy atmosphere, middling food. My journal entry from that night says, “Sensory OVERLOAD! Crowds! Sitting with strangers! Oompah band! Buffet mania!!!”

It’s all semi-communal seating, so we were put at a table with a group of four. The food was the typical Disney buffet take on ethnic specialties—lots of lukewarm overcooked meat, heavy sauces, clammy cold cuts…. Definitely not for those on a diet!

I think we had a 5:45pm dinner reservation for the 8:15pm showing of Candlelight Processional. We got out with an hour to spare before the show and went straight to America Gardens Theater to line up for seats. The queue for dining package holders—not even standby—was already all the way to Japan! What’s the point?! You pay all this money for a dining package that guarantees you a seat, but you still have to stand in line for an hour or more? If I really want to see Candlelight again, next time I’ll just spend that hour in the standby line for FREE and eat takeaway dinner while I wait…

At least we had this pretty view!

At last we were let into the theater and filed into some OK seats slightly off center but within the first section of seating. They were better than what D23 got us at least!

Unfortunately, that night’s narrator had been replaced sort of at the last minute by former child star Abigail Breslin, and the phrase “woefully miscast” has never been more appropriate. I am sure she’s a great person, but a golden throated elocutionist she is not. Her flat, bored-sounding reading of the Christmas story sapped the life out of the performance, and in between her cues she’d stare off into space as if counting the moments until she was reunited with her cell phone. We referred to her as “Abby Bressie” for the rest of the trip.

"OMG, I could totally be on Facebook right now."

"I can SEE my phone… I wonder if I can reach it from here..."

"Yep… right there… sticking outta my Birkin bag. Geez, I wish I knew how to use The Force."

"And then the Angel Gabriel was all, 'Mary…'"

"Gah! Do you believe this?"

"I dunno, I guess the girl from 'The Ring' cancelled?"

"Whatever you do, DON'T distract her!"

"Well, OK, maybe just a little—tee hee!"

"Yo, Abby! You need me to take it from here?"


(Crickets chirping)

"Fine, we'll just sing our butts off to cover for you!"

(Interpreter makes American Sign Language gestures for "singing butts off")

Lady to the left of Abby Bressie: "It's like she's reading from the PHONE BOOK!"

"N…oooo, doesn't sound any better in color either!"

Abbie Bressie: "Oh thank gawd, it's OVER!"

Choir: "Yeah, they're not clapping for you, Abby…"

Abbie Bressie: "Wait, is it really over, or am I supposed to be doing something right now?"

"Wasn't Santa supposed to come out?"

"Whew! Yeah, OK, it's totally over!"

"I swear to gawd, if I have to listen to that girl utter one more word, I'm passing right out!"

That year was the first time they offered a private IllumiNations viewing area as part of the Candlelight Processional dining package. I thought surely for the 8:15 people that area would be Italy Isola, which holds up to 300, because it’s right next to America Gardens Theater. But that would have been too convenient—instead, they herd everybody from all three seatings of the dinner package into World Showcase Plaza. This means that if you go to see the 8:15 CP, you have only 10 minutes to hoof it half a mile around World Showcase to get to the viewing area, because they hold you in the theater until the entire mass choir has crossed the path on their way backstage. YIKES!

World Showcase Plaza is the area between the two identical souvenir shops at the entrance to World Showcase. I ran ahead and staked out as close to the front as I could so that only one of us would be panting and gasping for breath during much of the show. It really is a great place to see IllumiNations from (if you can get to the front). I’m just shocked that they think people can make the trek in 10 minutes, through Christmastime crowds.

We did not have the greatest view, but Nate still got some cool shots!



After the show, I made poor Nathensey wait around in the cold because I was convinced we were going to get to see the fabled “barge burnoff” in which the fireworks barge goes up in a ball of flame to use up all the leftover fuel. We waited and waited and waited…

Finally we gave up. As it turns out (and I learned this only 2 weeks ago when we were on an IllumiNations cruise), they haven’t done the barge burn-off in YEARS cuz they updated all the systems a while back and eliminated the need for the burn-off. I *hate*not knowing stuff!

Nathensey took some more nice pix on their way out as I rode the monorail back to Bay Lake Tower.

When I got back to the room, I guess I thought our hilariously empty refrigerator needed to be documented.

Good thing we have a 20-cubic-foot refrigerator for all our food!

And then I decided, heck, I may not be able to sit in a bubble bath and watch the Wishes fireworks show through our bedroom window, but I could sure as heck sit in a bubble bath and eat a Mickey bar! And so I did.

Up Next: Wishes Dessert Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party with the Roots!

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13 Responses
  • Andrea
    February 3, 2014

    Love reading your trip reports. I keep coming back to your site and basking in all the pictures, but it’s the commentary and detail I really enjoy. Thank you for sharing!

    Back in the day (early-to-mid 2000), the barge burn off wouldn’t occur until the park was cleared of guests, normally between 10:30-11, but sometimes later depending on how large the crowds were that evening. When they finally let it loose, you could hear that bad boy erupt from whatever corner of the park you were in because it was at least as loud as the fireworks. It echoed and rumbled as the fire burned, and even if you were standing by the Innoventions fountains, you could feel some heat come from the lagoon. While never as exhilarating as Illuminations, it was still heady stuff to watch, and particularly welcome on a chilly January evening.

    • Carrie
      February 17, 2014

      This is great info—thanks so much for posting! I wish I could have seen this.

  • Hope
    December 21, 2011

    I loved the captions on the Abbie Breslyn pics! LOL

    • lurkyloo
      December 22, 2011


  • Norma
    July 22, 2011

    At the beginning of this trip report it seemed like you were needing long sleeves and even jackets because it was chilly. As I’m reading, it seems that you’re having warm days where Gelato is necessary as a cooling device (beyond it just being necessary because it’s delicious). Is this typical of Florida weather in December? How did you find the temperatures? Since it looks a lot less crowded than other times of the year I’m somewhat tempted to book my next trip for December but if I’m going to be needing a parka I might second guess it.

    • lurkyloo
      July 24, 2011

      What is typical of Florida weather in December (or any time) is that you can’t predict it! It usually doesn’t rain as much as during the summer, of course, but temperatures can be all over the map—and sometimes within one trip! We had mostly mild temperatures that trip, but on our anniversary trip in January of that year it went from balmy to literally below freezing! As to crowds, the first 2 weeks of December used to be a great off season at WDW, but now everyone’s figured it out (plus all the Disney fan groups get together the 2nd weekend), so it’s much more crowded. It’s not Christmas/Easter crowded, but it’s not late-January/early-February or September dead, either. I think the only reason we’d go back in December is for an event.

  • Katie
    March 2, 2011

    Nerd question, but are the a capella guys from the now defunct Beauty and the Beast preshow in the choir?

    • lurkyloo
      March 3, 2011

      Good eye! Jensey says that Marshall, the guy with glasses singing with Voices of Liberty, was indeed in the Beauty and the Beast pre-show. I guess Doug from B&B also fills in at Candlelight sometimes too.

  • Chilly
    March 1, 2011

    what I was going to write here I’ve just told you on Skype and so i’ll just say I love your TR’s

    • lurkyloo
      March 1, 2011

      Aw, thank you! It was great chatting with you today!

  • Kelly
    March 1, 2011

    Love your trip reports!

    • lurkyloo
      March 1, 2011

      Well thanks!

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