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 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.
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.
Happy 40th Anniversary EPCOT!
My family has a date to be at the 50th Anniversary in 2032 for Tristan’s 50th birthday.
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 Adventureto 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.
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.
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.