IllumiNations Baby

This is a fun birth story I have rarely shared.

When I was a doula for a client, another Disney fan, she went into the hospital to have her baby.

Searching her bags, her husband couldn’t find her iPod. She got more and more agitated, saying she had to have her music. She knew exactly what she wanted to have her baby born to (not unusual for clients to do this).

Mom was telling dad he had to go back home for the music and I told her he would not have time. That made her even more distraught.

I suspected it was something Disney. Baby of Mine from Dumbo is a common Disney birth song. I had my iPod and asked her what the song was, maybe I had it on my iPod.

Crying, she said I would never have it and moaned out, “IllumiNations.”

IllumiNations Music

IllumiNations was the closing water, fireworks, and light show at EPCOT from 1999-2019. It was glorious and I can still see every detail in my mind and it’s 2022. 

As my client cried, I dug out my iPod and connected it to her speaker (that they had not forgotten) and turned on the IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth music.

Her eyes opened wide and she said, “You’re not serious. You really have this on your iPod?” 

I said, “Listen for yourself!”

She leaned back, her face went from tight and teary to utter calm with a smile.

Baby Born to IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth

The birth was wonderful. Mom got her music and it was good.

Afterwards, we could not stop laughing that I had the one thing she wanted for the birth. How many doulas in the world would have that music at that moment for her?

I was never happier for a serendipitous moment as this one.


Disney’s EPCOT Turns 40!

Four Days Earlier

I was there!

I was at EPCOT’s pre-opening on September 28, 1982, nine months pregnant with Tristan.

EPCOT, the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, was a complete unknown and took several years to find her feet. I loved it from the beginning and it remains my favorite park. Early on, it was quiet and easy to wander around, not contending with lines or cranky tourists. We went often.

And they offered alcohol! Not that I was drinking since I was nursing a baby once I went back, but it was a crazy concept to have a Disney park with alcohol. I will say most guests did drink and loved being able to. I’m sure it was one of the most beloved choices Disney decision-makers ever made.

Entering the Park

These next two pictures were taken as we walked into EPCOT that first day.

EPCOT 40th Anniversary
Sept. 28, 1982 EPCOT – Stepping off the monorail at the brand new park.


EPCOT 40th Anniversary
9-28-82 EPCOT – Walking towards Spaceship Earth from the welcome fountain.

EPCOT 40th Anniversary
9-28-82 EPCOT – China Pavilion


EPCOT 40th Anniversary
9-28-82 EPCOT – World Showcase Lagoon

EPCOT 40th Anniversary
9-28-82 EPCOT – American Adventure Pavilion


9-28-82 EPCOT – American Adventure Pavilion, Voices of Liberty


9-28-82 EPCOT – Pregnant with Tristan in The Land. He was born 10-20-82.

EPCOT 40th Anniversary
9-28-82 EPCOT – The Land, Kitchen Kaberet


EPCOT 40th Anniversary
9-28-82 EPCOT – Kitchen Kaberet in The Land

EPCOT 40th Anniversary
9-28-82 EPCOT – The Land

EPCOT 40th Anniversary
9-28-82 EPCOT – Last look at Spaceship Earth from the monorail.

Happy 40th Anniversary EPCOT!

My family has a date to be at the 50th Anniversary in 2032 for Tristan’s 50th birthday.

Meet us there!

Kakigōri & Michael Flatley

June 6, 1999

The girls and I headed to Epcot at Walt Disney World, me in an Electric Convenience Vehicle… an ECV… and they walking.


I always had my camera equipment and we carried our yellow Mickey ponchos for the inevitable afternoon thunderstorms.


As we wended our way around World Showcase, we went inside The American Adventure to listen to the Voices of Liberty, an amazing a Capella group that sings beautiful songs about America… and a couple of Disney tunes thrown in. (Not quite sure where the other voices are coming from, but they vanish around 2 minutes in.)

America Gardens Theater

When you walk out of the The American Adventure (which we had been in dozens of times so did not go this day), across the way, is the America Gardens Theater. I have to show you several pictures because they will be relevant later in the story.

America Gardens Theater, Epcot, Walt Disney World

It’s a wonderful theater with great acoustics.

The day we were there, Michael Flatley Lord of the Dance was performing. I had never seen them before so was really excited.

Because I had the ECV, we were led to the Handicapped Section. It was about 8 rows from the stage and I was on the far left of the benches.

photo 2
This is the handicapped row. I was sitting on the other side by the man walking in the blue shirt. You can see how close we were to the stage.


It being June in Florida, it was damn hot. I tend to get to places early (movies, shows, parties, etc.) and this was no exception. Waiting, it was suffocatingly hot. While we always carried water, that Kakigōri booth in Japan, which is next to The American Adventure, beckoned. We needed something cold!

Kakigōri, a Japanese treat, is a sort of snow cone, or if you know Hawai’i Shave Ice, it is similar to that as well. Besides the syrups they add (your choices), some people enjoy cream in theirs. (Blech!)


Not long after we were sitting in the flippin’ hot sun, the girls were sent on a mission to get the Kakigōri cones. I love cherry, and when they have it, grape. Yum! We three sat eating our snow cones, waiting for the show to start.

It finally did.

Michael Flatley Lord of the Dance

The show began with an amazing display of Irish dancing, men and women, moving in unison, the legs kicking while the tops of their bodies were stock still. It was delightful fun!

Midway through the show, a soloist came out and began singing the most lovely ballad… her soprano voice soaring into the air around us.



Then the feedback started. A blaring eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee that was the strangest thing ever! Disney is meticulous with their sound systems, it was bizarre having feedback.

People were looking around. Why hadn’t the sound people fixed it yet? Crazy!

Then I see a Cast Member wending his way through the crowd… in a hurry… was everything okay? Holy crap, he was heading… towards… me?

“Ma’am, can you get off the ECV’s horn?”

I looked down and my bulging fat belly was leaning on the red horn button, causing the horrid “feedback.”


I leaned back and, miraculously, the feedback stopped.

People everywhere were staring. Right at me. I was filled with embarrassment.

And then I started laughing.

The girls and I got the sillies, thinking about me causing all that ruckus. It took every bit of control to not howl with laughter through the rest of the performance.

We’ve continued laughing for almost 20 years now.