And now, at last, the thrilling conclusion of… The Day 2 That Wouldn’t END!!!!
After D23’s Epcot 30th Anniversary Celebration ended, I found my pal Trish and we bolted for Le Cellier. I was nervous cuz D23’s dessert party at the Siemen’s Lounge started at 7:45pm and Trish technically didn’t have a reservation til something like 8:30pm. I dunno how she did it, but she got us in. At first we got the typical song and dance about how we’d have to wait forever. We told them I was in a rush, and the hostess went back to talk to the manager. When she returned she said it still might be 25 minutes til we were seated. I kid you not, TWO MINUTES LATER we had a table. Trish insists that this happens to her all the time. The one time Patrick and I showed up early at Le Cellier, we had to wait an entire hour for our original reservation to come up. I think Trish just has some kind of mystical Canadian juju, what with being a native and all. Americans, use this strategy at your own risk!
Patrick and I had a pretty bad experience at Le Cellier in January that has made me officially over the place ($46 for a gristly slab of meat dumped on a scoop of dry, lumpy mashed potatoes with nothing but a grease puddle for garnish). So for dinner that night I decided to steer clear of their overpriced steaks altogether and ended up with two sides.
I’d heard a lot about the poutine. I guess the dinner version—with its cheddar cheese, truffle salt and red wine reduction—is different than the lunch version, and neither is particularly authentic.
Wow, so there IS something that looks grosser in photos than the Mushroom Filet!
YOWZA, was that stuff salty! My first instinct was to push it away and focus on my other dish, but over the course of our meal I found myself sneaking “just one more fry” over and over. Saltily addictive, it seems!
The other side I ordered was the Lobster Macaroni & Cheese with Mascarpone. I had low expectations for this one, so I was pleasantly surprised when it turned out to be creamy and generously laced with big chunks of lobster.
Pretty dang good!
Trish and I had a ton of fun catching up over dinner. We met a few years ago via the DIS Boards and have since taken two trips to WDW together (neither of which I’ve written about yet—sorry!!!). I can’t remember if the first time we met in person was at Le Cellier, but I wouldn’t be surprised! We were sorry not to have been able to sit together at D23’s Epcot 30th Anniversary (thanks to the little caste system Disney likes to create with its tiered event ticketing), but it’s probably better we didn’t cuz we would have chattered through the whole event.
After dinner I dashed off to the Art of Disney to meet the event guide for entrance to D23’s World Key reception inside the Siemens Lounge. It started raining just as I found my fellow D23ers, but we only had to huddle under the eaves for a minute or two before the guide herded us across the way to the secret-ish entrance to the lounge near the exit of the ride.
The first time I got to see the Siemens lounge, it was as a guest of my well-connected DIS pal Jennifaerie. When we got to this part, she had to enter a secret code, but for this party, we were whisked right through.
When we were there with Jennifaerie, about two-thirds of the lounge was being refurbished, so about all we saw (and, some would say, all one NEEDS to see) was the free soda dispenser. Which looked like this…
“Tastes like FREE!!!”
This time the entire lounge was open to us, though it turned out to be pretty small.
Here’s what those two were looking at. This kind of technology always makes me think about how in 5 or 10 years we’ll laugh at how primitive it was ….
Wow, that’s a whole lotta sofa goin’ on…
The main part of the lounge is an open area with an expansive view of Epcot’s majestic Pin Station, which is even more breathtaking in the rain:
Follow the glowing glass-block path past the bar and you come to a second, windowless room where they were showing some of the rare Epcot film footage. This was also where they’d stashed the goods…
Chocolate Tropical Fruit Bites
No-Gluten Vegan Carrot Spice Cake
Reese’s Peanut Butter Cupcakes
Let’s see those again, shall we?
Cinnamon Roll Cookies
Financiers and… brownie bites?
Guava Almond and Apple Turnovers
Minnie Key Lime and Pecan Pies
You can probably guess which dessert was my favorite (the pickins were slim with all that fruit sullying the rest of them!).
Because this is D23 we’re talking about, everyone had gotten there early and the party hit full swing pretty quickly. The Mouse Pack (How’s the name working for ya? Think it’ll stick?) of 2 Jasons + 1 Alex was mobbed pretty much from the moment they walked in.
(Not Pictured: The Mob)
I dunno about you, but I am waaaaaay not into parties, even when I have Patrick to go with. I’d bought my ticket to this one cuz I was excited about seeing the lounge again and eating dessert, but I’d never really thought about the whole “reception” part. I guess I’d assumed there’d be some kind of entertainment to focus on, but it really was just a cocktail party (with dessert), and I was flying solo.
The folks I’d shared a row with kindly let me alight at their table to eat, and Tim O’Day sat down to regale us with more insider tales designed to thrill Disney nerds. But once I’d gobbled up an unseemly number of peanut butter cupcakes, I noticed that two of my rowmates were sharing one chair, so I thought I’d better move on.
I decided I needed a goal, and that goal would be to meet @ProgressCityUSA in person and thank him for the excellent “Looking Back at Tomorrow” presentation. But it only took me about 3 minutes in that tiny space to determine that he wasn’t at the party. Foiled!
As I lurked in a corner taking my umpteenth overcrowded photo of the Siemens Lounge for lack of anything better to do, I started to feel like I was at a junior high party where everyone knew everyone and I didn’t know anyone and nobody liked me and my bangs weren’t high enough and I was never EVER going to get asked to dance! [stamp!] If this had actually been a junior high party, I would have been armed with my grandmother’s hilarious but still sage advice to “give a good time” in order to have a good time. (I think it was the part where she naively described teaching awkward football players to dance as “giving them a good time behind the bleachers” that used to distract me from the point…). So instead of making new friends and learning something interesting about where they were from and why they joined D23, I went slinking off, the first person to leave the party.
But not before I took this artsy masterpiece!
My lovely parting gift
As I stood at the back of the Pin Station shooting the lounge from the outside, I heard a guest ask a cashier what those windows were and marvel at the idea of a private lounge *inside* Spaceship Earth, which made me feel even MORE ungrateful for what I’d just given up.
You can just make out the silhouettes of the Jason, Jason & Alex, still backed up to the glass by a throng of female admirers demanding more funny stories…
I decided to go get some shots of IllumiNations from one of the new-to-me fireworks viewing spots around the lagoon. I guess Disney Catered Events uses places like China and Mexico all the time, but I’d never heard of them being offered to weddings until recently. I just had to see the view from China for myself because I couldn’t believe it wouldn’t be terrible.
The patio itself would actually be pretty nice for a dessert party because it’s so secluded and spacious. But whooo-boy is that an awful view of the fireworks.
First of all, you’ve got this island directly between you and the show…
You get the idea. For a few brief moments, you can see the globe as it makes its way into position….
… But then it ends up behind that dang island, and who even knows what happens in the show after that?
I decided I’d gotten all I was gonna get out of China and maybe, if I moved really fast, I could get to another spot where I needed fireworks shots for my wedding location photo archive. I hoofed it in the direction of France.
So, how many miles is it around World Showcase Lagoon? Like, 10? Cuz it felt like 10… I staggered up to “Parisian Point”—lungs burning; slingbacks flapping; long, soggy skirt dragging leaves and discarded “I just hugged Duffy” stickers—just in time to get a single shot:
The Grand Finale
I decided my consolation prize was a trip to BoardWalk Bakery on a Friendship boat for a slice of my all-time favorite and only recently returned peanut butter-chocolate cake. Judging by these photos, I was still half-delirious with exhaustion when I got there…
This one’s definitely going in the scrapbook!
Whoa, grab hold of something, there, Lurkyloo!
Oooh, looky! New display cakes!
I was verrrrry excited when the Disney Food Blog reported the return of my beloved peanut butter chocolate cake slice a few months ago. It was almost two years ago that the bakery dumped my most favoritest cake on property for a huge, dry peanut butter-chocolate cupcake with frosting the consistency of cookie dough.(Don’t get me wrong—I like cookie dough, but not when I’m expecting frosting!) What’s so amazing about this cake slice is that the multiple layers of frosting and cake keep it moist, and the chocolate ganache combines with the peanut butter frosting to really deliver that smooth and creamy chocolate-and-peanut-butter flavor, uh, “profile,” (for lack of a less pretentious word) in a way that peanut butter frosting + chocolate cake can’t.
By this time my dragging skirt had collected enough detritus to fill a Waste Please can, plus an errant child or two, so I hauled myself back to the Beach Club via Friendship boat. From the dock you could just make out the Magic Kingdom’s fireworks show over the Beach Club’s roof.