After thinking about it for a while I decided I will be "finishing" the top panel along with the two side panels and the coin door panel in front. When I'm done, all of the visible pink areas will have the super smooth lacquered/polished finish. It is going to be a huge pain to do the top panel because of the two interior corners I will have to sand up against but I've come this far so what the heck. The only panel that will not be "finished" is the back one which will never be seen.
I sprayed on 25(!) coats of lacquer on the cabinet over the weekend. I went through 5 cans of the stuff and probably breathed in more than I should have. This is what I used:
The 25 coats took a while to apply but the good thing is that the lacquer dries to the touch almost instantly so you can recoat after about 5 or 10 minutes. It also bonds to itself so there is no need to sand in between coats to rough up the surface so it will stick. I'm pretty confident it has a thick enough layer so I can sand it smooth but not sand through to the paint.
When the time comes, I'm going to strictly be wetsanding with 1500 grit sandpaper - I'm not going to be working my way up to it or anything because I don't want to remove too much of the lacquer. Now comes the hard part - waiting. I need to give it two weeks for the lacquer to fully cure just to be safe but I really really really want to finish everything this weekend since we have the holiday and everything. Argh!