I’ll admit, Reunion started a little slowly for me. It was odd adjusting to being at Walt Disney World without the kids. And it took some time for me to feel comfortable among a big group of people who I only knew from their podcasts, blog posts and tweets. But Friday is when this trip really hit its stride for me. I had actually started off for Epcot on my own when I got a text message asking for a ride – and suggesting we stop at Babycakes NYC for breakfast first. I had a terrific allergen-free waffle with agave, and a donut too for good measure (as well as decent coffee from Fresh!, in the same building. MUCH better than the nasty stuff on Disney property). Instead of hitting Epcot at rope drop, we arrived an hour or so later, and headed for the first Reunion Meet of the day at Sum of All Thrills.

I’d skipped Sum of All Thrills when Mikaela wanted to ride it back in September. She actually did it herself. But I succumbed to peer pressure and decided to go ahead and ride this time. Unfortunately, I forgot to take my Bonine before a Sum of All Thrills ride that included three inversions and a corkscrew loop. The ride itself was fun, but afterwards, I really wasn’t feeling well. I was about to head back to the resort to lie down until my stomach recovered when Todd Perlmutter prevailed on me to come with him to join the TouringPlans.com crew at La Cave del Tequila. I never realized that tequila could be such a restorative from vertigo, but after Todd and I had finished our Scorpion Flights, I felt MUCH better.

After a big meet up at the American Pavilion for “A Toast to All Podcasts, But Espcially WDW Today,” I did some photo-exploring of World Showcase until it was time for the annual Skagway, Alaska meet at Spaceship Earth, at which all of the Reunion attendees choose Skagway, Alaska as their hometown on Spaceship Earth. It was pretty amazing as Reunion attendees completely filled the extended queue of Spaceship Earth, and entered the attraction high-fiving across the railings.

I hooked up with a fun group of folks for a couple of attractions. I had no plans for dinner, but Jeff (a/k/a @WDWSoloMeets) suggested that a whole group of us join him over at Cape May Cafe. He only had a reservation for one, but figured we’d try Len Testa’s favorite ploy of asking to expand the reservation – a tactic that I dubbed “Testabombing.” I was a bit nervous about a shellfish buffet, but I was blown away. The restaurant is busy enough that the shellfish doesn’t sit out in steam trays long enough to deteriorate like most seafood buffets I’ve tried in the past. The food was excellent – the highlights were the crab legs and mussels (and of course the phrase, “all you can eat.”). Dana, Justin, and the two Jeffs were great dinner companions. We walked (sloooooowly) back to Epcot through the International Gateway and enjoyed a couple more attractions before joining the gathering for the Illuminations Dessert Party. (We even managed to almost swamp a Grand Fiesta Tour boat. Like I needed ANOTHER hint that I need to get back to exercising and eating better).

I mentioned in my last trip report about how my desire to see Illuminations has been thwarted each of the past two trips, once by overtired children and once by rain. So I was REALLY psyched for the Illuminations Dessert Party. It got us a reserved spot with an unobstructed view close to the lake, near the Italy Pavilion. There were some nice dessert treats, as well as hot chocolate and lemonade. But the view (and not having to stake out a spot well in advance, even on a relatively low crowd-level day at Epcot) is what made the Dessert Party worth doing. Illuminations really is a wonderful show, and I’m glad I got to experience it from such a great vantage point.

As we headed toward the front of the park toward the exit, one of the guys had a spare Soarin’ FastPass that he wasn’t going to be able to use. So I even got a chance to ride my favorite Epcot attraction on the way out, which I thought I’d missed with the late start. All-in-all, it was a really fabulous day, which recovered remarkably well from a rough start.

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