Day 2: Epcot! Cake! IllumiNations Cruise!

OK, so I went back to my journal to do a little research for this installment of the trip report and discovered that my husband had helpfully started that night’s entry for me while I was in the shower. And I quote….

Hello, people of the future. Yes, I mean you. You may see me as a primitive Luddite, an empty-headed monkey… but I have seen your future, and I gotta say: WTF?

In your time, you enjoy the irritating antics of a dragon named Figment, your food is grown in the air, and the seas are populated by talking fish. How’s that clean coal technology treating you? Enjoying your GM?

Now who’s the caveman? I’ve got an iPhone. You’re still on the cusp of the invention of the “personal computer.”

Your EPCOT history exhibit is cool. Small, but cool. And I love the World Showcase…

At this point it trails off, probably because I was stepping out of the shower (which, in a room that small, means I was simultaneously stepping into bed…)

So let’s see… what isn’t in my own journal entry is my eventual realization that on this day I was still acting like I wasn’t on vacation. It took me almost 2 days to adjust to relaxing and going with the flow instead of rushing from here to there and getting cranky for no reason (which is apparently my normal daily routine). I now know that I did the same thing on our wedding trip – I just thought my mood was due to last-minute pre-wedding craziness. The result is that we’ve tacked three days on the beginning of our anniversary trip to Walt Disney World, to give us a little more time to adjust to, you know, having fun.

OK, so Sunday in Epcot. My journal says “We got to sleep in til 8pm,” an exhaustion-induced typo, no doubt…. Usually I drag us to rope drop every day so we can knock out the popular attractions and stockpile FastPasses before the crowds arrive. So sleeping in a bit and arriving a WHOLE ENTIRE HOUR after the park opened went against every fiber of my being. But I survived! And we still got a close parking spot!

The future is NOW

We walked right on to Spaceship Earth and afterward spent too long sending ourselves a postcard of our future (according to the snarky lady who wanted our computer despite the existence of 11 other identical computers…)

Our future! …Looks like I will have taken up yoga…

By then it was 10:45 and I’d already taken and uploaded three pix for the live blog I was doing on my brand-new iPhone. I realized I was spending more time talking about being at Walt Disney World than actually enjoying/experiencing it, so I tried to pace myself more.

Our next stop was the neat Epcot 25th Anniversary Exhibit they’d hidden behind Club Cool at Innoventions West (seriously – you’d think they didn’t want anyone to see it!).

It has concept art for all the World Showcase pavilions, costumes, maquettes and models, and, best of all, an old-skool music video of people working on building and opening Epcot set to the original theme song, “We’re Getting Ready for You,” whose lyrics consist of a list of things that people did to get the park ready for YOU. (You can make them up as you go along: “We did some things/And other stuff/We put things up/And layed them down/We made some costumes/And jumped around…”)

Watch out – this song will get stuck in your head!

When the World Showcase opened at 11 I dragged Patrick from empty country to empty country and made him snap pictures in case any of my buddies on the DIS Boards’ Weddings & Honeymoons forum needed location shots.

But first I needed to take a picture of me in Canada for Canadian DISer Wazzo so she would know I was there and could be the first to welcome me to her native land:

Greetings, Eh!

Glamour Shot

UK Pavilion Ceremony Location

France Pavilion Ceremony Location… (drunken view)

$800 Plant Wall


Japan Ceremony Location

Japan Dessert Party Location

Italy Pavilion Ceremony Location


In China I needed to buy a fan. I always carry one with me, but I lost mine before our trip. I also found this basket o’ rats. It was hard not to buy them all, but I managed to just get one.

Mmm…. dim sum!

Off to Mexico.


We had to stop and “have our picture made” (our new favorite phrase) with Donald because Wazzo’s bird (also named Wazzo) loves pix of Donald… or maybe it’s Wazzo who loves pictures of Donald… well, at any rate, we knew we had to take pictures of/with Donald for some reason! It became a theme on our trip and turned out to be really fun – like looking for hidden Mickeys or stalking princesses for their autographs.

Lunch was our first time using our Disney Dining Plan credits. We went to Sunshine Seasons at the Land b/c they had the most choices, and also because they have the Best Dessert in Epcot: Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake. (Ed. Note: This dessert is no longer available. Try the one at BoardWalk Bakery instead!)

Sweet and Sour Chicken, Mongolian Ginger Beef, Udon Noodles & Broccoli with a mini Key Lime Pie

Same thing, plus Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake

As you’re going to hear, I ended up hating the Dining Plan, except for one thing: I loved being able to get milk to go with my dessert! I’m usually too cheap to drink anything but tap water….

After lunch we had to stop at Journey into the Imagination cuz I’d never been on it and Patrick had only been on the old one. I’m not a fan of those rides where an annoying character gets loose and something goes horribly wrong (Muppet*Vision 3D, I’m looking at you)….

Next stop, boredom!!!

Then we had to model my new fan…

And we had to buy some souvenirs, like the smelly French soap Patrick wanted so he could always associate the scent with this trip (never mind that I had specifically purchased a perfume to wear for that purpose!), and a Mexican vase to put our toothbrushes in at the hotel (hope they don’t use lead in that paint!).

On our way back to Coral Reef for dinner, we had to stop in at The Seas With Nemo & Friends to take a picture to send to my dad of what we call the “Hot Rod Fish” cuz he looks like a two-toned hot rod. I think it’s our new tradition.

What’re you lookin’ at?

Dinner at Coral Reef was fun! By the time I called to reserve a diver, they were all booked up (I wanted them to bring down a sign with a greeting for Patrick from Steve).


However, we got the next best thing – we were seated one row from the tank, and one of the girls at the table next to us, directly against the tank, got a LOT of attention from this one diver. At first he was just doing silly stuff, like picking up a shell and pretending to talk to her on the phone or pointing at her food like he wanted to eat it, but he kept coming back to their table to goof off. So DH told her “You should write ‘Marry me’ on a napkin and hold it up!’ which she did, and then he REALLY wouldn’t leave her alone.

First he wrote her a sign that said, “Stay here – back in 10 minutes.” We all thought he was going to get the scuba tour people to swim by and do something funny. Instead, he came back and wrote another sign that said something like “I get off work at 9 – meet me in the gift shop”! Then we were kinda sketched out. She and her friend kept saying, “Should I do it? What if it’s a Year of a Million Dreams thing and I get to stay in the castle?” And DH and I were like… “Uh, that’s not how they award those – this is kinda creepy!” They finally got up to leave and we wished them luck, but I’ll never know how the story ended! Unless she turns out to be a DISer…

OK, so this is what we ate:

Mahi Mahi with Mushroom Risotto

Mahi Mahi with Cheese Grits instead of Risotto

Butterscotch Crème Brulee

Mango Sorbet

Then, on top of all that, we ordered one of the 6-inch celebration cakes they keep at the podium cuz I was cracked on doing a taste test. I figured we could take it with us to our IllumiNations Cruise that night so we wouldn’t waste it.

The deal with the taste test is, I’m a big follower of the Birthday/Anniversary Cake thread on the DIS’ Restaurant forum. A few months ago, a bunch of us on the thread got worked up when we found out that Disney had started outsourcing the production of what I call “podium cakes” to Sara Lee and jacked up the price of the cakes from $12 to $21.These are non-special-ordered cakes that you can get just by asking for one when you check in at the podium of any Disney restaurant. They are kept frozen and only available in chocolate and vanilla, but the kids like ‘em.

As it turns out, only the Magic Kingdom’s restaurants serve the Sara Lee cakes – every place else still makes their own podium cakes. So I wanted to do a taste test and see which was better.

This is what we got at Coral Reef – a Disney-made podium cake that looks like it was made in an EasyBake Oven and tastes like a stale Twinkie covered in whipped cream:

If you wanna skip ahead (and if you even care!) the full taste test results can be found here.

Anyway, so we took the cake to go and dashed off to the Yacht Club Marina to meet DISer Momto2inKC (Jamie) and her family, plus another DIS Boards family, for a shared IllumiNations Cruise. One of the things I love about the DIS is the way you learn about and get to try things you might never otherwise do, and that you meet all sorts of other people interested in the same thing.

In case you don’t know what I’m talking about, an IllumiNations Cruise is where a pontoon boat that holds up to 10 people takes you on a cruise around the Epcot resort area and then parks under the International Gateway so you can see IllumiNations. They cost $320 now (it was a little less in September), but by connecting with 8 other people to fill the boat we were able to try one for much less. I had been considering doing an IllumiNations Cruise on the 6-seat runabout the Breathless II for our anniversary, so I am REALLY glad we got to try this out first cuz now I can save myself the $300.

Breathless II

I felt like it was nice to do it once and be able to say you’ve done it, but the viewing location isn’t that great and the $$ sure wasn’t worth it just for the soda and “free” Doritos! Our three families met at the Yacht Club Marina at 8pm and, when the ticket window opened for business, each paid our share of the fee, plus 1/3 of the $50 tip. We met our cheery, knowledgeable captain, who fitted the kids with life vests and took charge of the podium cake for serving later during the fireworks. She gave us great tidbits as we cruised from the Marina down the waterway toward Hollywood Studios and back. We started at 8:30, and by 8:50 we were crammed under the International Gateway with, I think, 5 other pontoon boats and Breathless II.

Pontoon Boat!

As soon as we were tethered to one of the other pontoons boats, our captain got out the cake and helped us serve it up. (See “stale Twinkie,” above). I think the kids liked it though! I hope… It was fun to see the fireworks from the relative comfort of a padded seat on a boat, but the view wasn’t that great. As Jamie said, you may just as well stand on the bridge between UK and France for the same effect and save 300 bucks.

As the boat returned to the marina, we had to break the news to the other DIS family that they were going to have to take a taxi back to the All Stars if they didn’t want to spend the rest of the evening on buses to and from Downtown Disney. I hope they made it back in good time! As for us, we drove straight back to Pop and collapsed!

OK, if you thought that was a long installment, wait until you see Day 3, in which we get into not one but two corporate lounges at Epcot, accidentally watch Fantasmic, and run into two more DISers at Adventurer’s Club, where I get wooed by Hathaway Brown himself!

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2 Responses
  • Katelyn
    March 20, 2013

    The link to the next installment at the end of this post is linking back to the page I’m already on 🙂

    • Carrie
      March 20, 2013

      Fixed it! Thanks for the heads up! 😉

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