Day 86- Epcot: Chefs de France & LeVar Burton at the Candlelight Processional

We are going to have a full day at Disney’s Epcot! I am so excited to get here early and enjoy looking around before it gets really busy. We arrive, park, and walk to the front gates. There are plenty of security guards to check our bags and a pretty good line to get our MagicBands scanned. It does move quickly, and soon, we are walking toward Spaceship Earth.

Oh, that mom looks like she might want to be in the picture with her kids! I ask and she is so happy. We stop and my kids take the picture. The mom is so thankful, and we are happy to help. I love seeing how happy people get just with a simple offer to take a picture. It is a future treasure to have the whole family in one picture. I know that, and it is important to me to get that treasure to them.

We do some pin trading at several shops. We make it out to the World Showcase Lagoon and then back to Starbucks for Twinkie’s coffee. I going to check the Port of Entry shop and as I get close, I hear Tooti say, “Would you like to be in the picture with your family?” I turn and have to take a moment to see her doing what we do best, helping someone have a wonderful Disney experience of kindness.

As we begin to make our way around the World Showcase, we spy Duffy in his Santa suit! Wow, the line is very short and we’re also in our Christmas attire! Picture? I think so! Along the line, there are cute open storybook-type displays telling the story of how Mickey went on a trip, and Minnie gave him a teddy bear, Duffy, so that Mickey wouldn’t be lonely on the trips; so sweet! Duffy is too cute and so fun to meet! He gives us hugs and complements our outfits. How fun to meet a teddy bear that hugs you back!

I am so excited to see the Candlelight Processional again tonight. LeVar Burton is there tonight, and I cannot wait to hear him read the Christmas story. So, we have chosen Chefs de France for our lunch reservations. This is one of our most favorite places to eat. The décor is so French, from the tin ceiling, to the windows framing the passersby; everything is so picturesque as you look out towards the World Showcase Lagoon.

The Chef is amazing and the food is served with excellence. We usually have gluten free French onion soup. But, today, we are going to enjoy a feast. Chefs de France has a wonderful selection that is gluten free. We are quickly served gluten free bread and butter with our tea and cappuccino. Next, I am having the goat cheese salad and the kids are having the cheese board. The salad is wonderful and the goat cheese that accompanies the salad is so delectable. The cheese board is amazing. Tooti and Twinkie are very pleased with the amazing assortment of cheeses. This is one of their absolute favorite cheese boards in Disney World. They are really smiling as they taste each cheese, and they love all of them!

Soon, we are served our beef ribs with roasted potatoes and steamed broccoli. Twinkie has the roasted chicken with the same sides. Oh my goodness. The beef ribs are cooked to perfection, boneless, and oh, so delicious. They even bring us a side of the specially prepared Cabernet sauce… it is especially scrumptious on the potatoes! Twinkie’s chicken is absolutely incredible, cooked to perfection, and even better than she remembered. Our waiter, Max, was wonderful, attentive, and courteous. Soon, it was time for dessert. What would we like? Crème brulee, please! The crème brulee comes out with perfectly caramelized sugar, and it is fantastic, the perfect ending to an incredible meal. We receive our passes for tonight’s Candlelight Processional, and then we are off!

We walk towards America and look at the shops there. Then, we decide that it is a little over 2 hours until the Candlelight Processional begins, so it’s probably a good time to get in line. We are there for a while and then a kind couple joins us. It is quite a while until others begin to get in line, but we have a wonderful chat with them until we are seated over an hour later. They are a very nice couple, and it was the wife’s birthday today. Happy Birthday!

We make our game plan as they are letting the wheel chairs and scooters enter the theater. I would love to be on the front row, right up close, and near the orchestra. We are so excited. We get the OK to be seated and are instructed to stay to the left until we get down near the front. Sure, we can do that! We walk in and it is so exciting to get to sit at the front. It was so worth the wait! I hear the delicate harp sounds and see the beautiful lady playing. We see the orchestra begin to filter in, and soon the orchestra plays the sounds of Christmas. The choirs are gathering and the trumpets are sounding. Then, LeVar Burton is there. Geordi LaForge in real life! He is amazing. He greets us and says that Walt Disney himself actually began this Candlelight Processional tradition, and this is LeVar’s favorite thing: to get to read the Christmas story. He begins reading, “And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem…” I love hearing this story read. I have heard it my whole life, over 50 years now, and I still feel the excitement of this Christmas season well up inside of me. The entire Candlelight Processional is spectacular, and the ending of the Hallelujah chorus is magnificent.

Day 69- Epcot and Chefs de France

Today is overcast with a light, drizzly rain. It is in the lower 70s with a light breeze. So, we grab our lightweight rain gear and debate on which shoes to wear; sandals or sneakers? We are going with tennis shoes, since cold, wet feet are not fun!

As we get to Epcot, we see that we get to park close! We are close enough to be within the Monorail track! We hop out, walk to the entrance, get our bags checked, and scan our Magic Bands. The Mickey and Minnie Christmas topiaries are so beautiful. People are taking quick pictures in the rain. When it rains, the PhotoPass Photographers stand under the entrance awning to keep the cameras out of the rain. The front garden is so beautiful!

I was timing how long it took us to walk to the France pavilion. Since we parked fairly close, it took us 5 minutes to get to Spaceship Earth. From there, it was a 5-minute walk through Canada and the UK to get to the bridge that crosses over to France. From the bridge, it is only three minutes of semi-fast walking to get to Les Chefs de France.

We have reservations for Les Chefs de France and are seated quickly. We love Les Chefs de France. We are seated beside the windows, our favorite! I love watching people walk by. Our waiter is great. He brings us our drinks and takes our order. He brings us gluten free rolls with butter to enjoy. Soon, our French onion soup is served. They have the best gluten free French onion soup. The French onion soup is topped with Gruyère cheese, roasted to perfection by the master chef. I forgot how wonderful this soup is – I love it!

We finish our delicious soup and get back into the misty evening. There is the perfect amount of people to be busy, but not too crowded. It is nice. We go to Guerlain to see what is new. We love this shop!

On our way to the bakery, we see the new Christmas decorations. I love these glittery snowflakes! We went to Les Halles Boulangerie & Pâtisserie to get a crème brulee for me and Tooti, and a macaron for Twinkie. We sit for a minute and enjoy our desserts. As we come out of the bakery, the ice cream parlor, L’Artisan des Glaces, is so cute!

As we pass the The Tea Caddy in the UK Pavilion, we hop inside to take a quick look around. We decide on some of Twining’s Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Loose Leaf Tea Blend in a cute little blue and gold tin to brew when we get home.

We make our way back to the front entrance. As we are leaving, we are shed our rain jackets; the air feels warmer tonight than it did earlier. It a pretty night, complete with a light, misty rain.