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December 2007 Archives

December 1, 2007

MouseFest Here We Come! December 1, 2007

Today's the day!

MouseFest 2007 Logo


At 7:00am we head to the airport for a 10:00am flight on Southwest to Orlando. You may be wondering why we are leaving 3 hours in advance on a Saturday morning. Well, in the Baltimore / Washington area - you just never know what might await you on the roads or at the airport. We would rather be there in plenty of time and not stress about traffic delays or long lines at check-in.

Once we land, it's off to National Car's Emerald Aisle, then to the grocery store, then to Animal Kingdom Lodge. We will be staying in a one bed room villa for just tonight. After check-in, we need to get the suitcases we need for Land only over to the Boardwalk (our home for MouseFest Land), return the car and then back to AKL. We have 6pm dinner ressies at AKL...think we'll be ok time wise? We will see.

There's lots planned for Sunday, the first official day of MouseFest. You can check out the Cruise portion of the schedule on the Cruise Events Page.

December 2, 2007

MouseFest Sunday Part 1 December 2

JAMBO! Reporting live from a one bedroom villa at Disney's Animal Kingdom VIllas. The sun is starting to rise and that means the day is about to begin!

The weather yesterday was beautiful... don't know the temps, but very nice, not too hot, not too cold day. Later in the week when MF Land begins, should be 60's & 70's during the day. Perfect touring weather.

While today is the first official day of MouseFest, we already saw several MF friends yesterday at the Lodge. When we arrived for check-in I saw Karen and Douglas who will be on the MF Cruise. Later, as I went out of the room to take a photo of the room number, I looked up and saw Bill, RhinoDad (Tagrel) in the hall with his daughter Kerrigan. Soon, the entire family came in to the villa to check it out and we had a great visit.

Linda and I then got ready for dinner at Jiko. Marty was our server and he was fantastic as always!!! We let him select glasses of wine for us with each course and he did a wonderful job.
Then off to bed and here we are now, Sunday morning.

Time to rearrange suitcases and get ready for our 8:45am pickup. Then, we have one stop before heading to the port... (shusshhhhh) oh, I better not say JUST in case they are reading. hehe. More later

Jambo!

December 3, 2007

Mousefest Sunday Part 2 - December 2, 2007

Ah.... it's always a great feeling being back onboard the Disney Wonder and today was no different.

All Ears MouseFest Cruise Logo

HEADING TO THE PORT
Our day started with an early departure from the Animal Kingdom Lodge Villas with a pickup from Happy Limo (one of the AllEars's advertisers). Linda and I are feeling like we are traveling with half our closet! Between us we have 3 full suitcases, one with just goodies for folks on the MouseFest cruise. We also have a few bottles of wine, for some special events in the Walt Disney Suite.

Before heading to the Port, we had an important stop to make. Together with Colleen, Beci and Annette, we cooked up a little magic for 2 of MouseFanTravel's clients, the McElvains! I had met Tim several years ago at a December meet and we have stayed in touch off and on through the years. We thought it'd be a great treat to pick up he and his daughter at Port Orleans in a Stretch Limo! Beci, Stephanie, and Annette were there to sprinkle pixie dust and capture the moment!


Tim, Katie, and Deb


The ride to the Port went quickly and soon we could see the Disney Wonder's smoke stacks through the car window! Getting to the port at 10am is nice because not many people are there yet! It's easier to get through security and up into the main port area.

MOUSEFEST AT THE PORT
This is when the fun really begins. There are a number of regular MouseFest cruisers and we look forward to sailing with them every year. There have also been some folks we have gotten to know really well who have become dear friends. I could try to name them all, but I would probably forget someone and I don't want to do that. You know who you are :)

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Ray Sharpton

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The MouseFest folks usually wait down in the far right corner of the Port so we can look out the windows and see the ship. It also puts us right near the huge Mickey Ears that welcome us onboard!

Part 3 coming.....

MouseFest Sunday Part 3, December 2, 2007

PERKS OF SAILING CATEGORIES1-3

This is the first cruise I have ever traveled in a suite/concierge. My great travel agent, Beci, was able to secure us the Walt Disney Suite as soon as the reservations for December 2007 became available. We decided MouseFest was the perfect time to splurge because we'd have lots of friends to share the Suite with.

Walt Disney Suite Door

Concierge cruisers have their own special line to check in at the port. They also have a small roped off area to wait. I always found this area a bit strange...it's between t check-in counters and the Ship Entrance....and has some round tables and chairs. The one thing it does do is allow us priority boarding on the ship. You kind of feel like you're in a holding area. LOL

At noon we were called and proceeded down the gangplank. Once on board, you and your carryon goes to an assigned area to meet with the concierge staff. This is really the first time we can talk with them as they donn't contact us prior to sailing, like is done on land.

After meeting with the concierge, we went over to Parrot Cay for lunch and to go over the afternoon schedule.

PHOTOS OF THE SUITE
First thing to do was to get photos of the Walt Disney Suite before all our luggage arrived and we settled in.

Here are just a couple pics, I load more after I return home:

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WALT SUITE TOUR
Next up is an "open house" in the Walt Suite for MouseFest cruisers who pre-registered.

Here's the magnet we gave the first 20 cabins to tour the suite.
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MUSTER DRILL
At 4pm the all important Muster (safety) drill takes place. The ship horns sound and everyone returns to their cabins to put on the life jacket and head to your designated location. Each cabin checks in and the crew goes over some safety information. Once the all clear sounds, it is time to return to your cabin and get the Party Started!!!

SAIL AWAY PARTY
The Sail Away Party is one of my favorite parts of sailing with Disney. No other cruise line that I have been on celebrates leaving port like Disney does. The action takes place on Deck 9, at the family pool. MouseFest sailors gather on Deck 10, port side, to view the festivities from above.

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More to follow.....

December 4, 2007

MouseFest Sunday, Part 4 - December 2, 2007

WINE AND CHEESE RECEPTION
WDW TODAY PODCAST

Following the sail away party, we had a small wine and cheese reception in the Walt Suite. Matt Hochberg and Mike Newell from the WDWToday podcast are on the MouseFest cruise. While the wine and cheese reception was going on, they guys were in the sitting room recording the first of several podcasts from the Disney Wonder.

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DINNER

It's become a tradition for Linda and I to try and arrange our dinner table with the Solo MouseFest Cruisers and it's always enjoyable. Dinner tonight was in Animator's Palate and the first time cruisers all enjoyed the show.

TABLES ARE TURNED

As you might imagine, Sunday was a VERY long day.... in a good way. Linda, Beci and I decided to head back to the cabin to unwind a bit before going to bed. While we were really tired, we were also very excited about our first day on the Wonder.

About 11:30pm the door bell rings (yes the suite has a door bell). Beci answered it and in walked two cast members with a large box wrapped in pink tissue paper. It was for me. I was shocked! There was a card with a short message and NO signature. The tables were turned on me as I'm usually the one doing the behind the scenes magic and now, someone has sprinkled ME with pixie dust!!

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Inside the box was a really cool Disney canvas sport bag, but wait... my name is embroidered on it!!!!!! Oh my gosh. Plus, it was REALLY heavy. Inside the bag were about 3 dozen pink bears with pink ribbons.

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I started to cry and then of course, all 3 of us were. And then, I dug further into the bag and there was a 2nd bag, identical to mine, but this one had Linda's name sewn on it. Oh my gosh....

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Needless to say we were quite touched and now are on a mission to thank the person(s) who sent this incredible gift.

Thus ended our first day aboard the Disney Wonder......


See what else was scheduled for today and see tomorrow's plans!

December 5, 2007

MouseFest Monday - December 3, 2007

After yesterday's full day, I thought about sleeping in. But I knew I'd have to get up early for the Cove Cafe Coffee meet hosted by, well, me. It began at 8am and folks wandered in and out. We surprised everyone who attended with a special magnet for their cabin door, to commemorate the meet. It was a great opportunity for folks to mingle and chat.

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Cove Cafe is one of my favorite areas on the ship. It's an adult only coffee bar that also serves drinks. Wi-fi access is available here as well which makes for a nice, usually, quiet place to relax during the day. In the evenings, it's generally full with folks having before dinner beverages.

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After the Cove Cafe meet it was back to the cabin for a hot breakfast, one of the perks of staying in a suite.

Everything really gets rolling today. At 10am, Dave Marx gave his annual Round Nassau Town Walking Tour.

You never know who you will meet as you wander the decks of the ship.

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At 4:00pm the annual "Meet the Authors, session took place. Jennifer and Dave Marx and myself answer questions from MouseFesters about our books. It was well attended and folks asked great questions.

5:00pm today was the deadline for having your cabin door decorated. This year's prize is a 2 night at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort.

From 7:30-8:30pm - meet up with Jennifer, Dave and Deb in the Promenade lounge to talk about the day's activities and get ready for dinner.


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See what else was scheduled for today and see tomorrow's plans!


December 9, 2007

MouseFest ......

Greetings from Orlando!!!

For those of you following along thru our blog..... we haven't forgotten you! MouseFest is even busier than before and we find ourselves going from early in the morning until late in the evening....

Our planned "down time" just isn't happening.

Mike, LindaMac, Barrie and I so want to keep you updated on the festivities but it's just so busy!!!

I will be catching up on all the blogs from the point I left off once I return home.

Thanks for reading along......

Til we get a chance to catch up.......

Deb writing at 5am from Orlando!

December 11, 2007

MouseFest Tuesday, December 4, 2007 Part 1

Tuesday is Castaway Cay Day -- the favorite port of all sailors taking the 3 and 4 night Cruise itineraries.

My morning began early, once again. We had a hot breakfast in the Suite and that was really nice.

Castaway Cay is Disney's private island that is has beautiful white sand, pastel colored umbrellas, and areas for everyone to enjoy. In addition to the Family Beach, there is also a Teen Area and further away, Serenity Bay, the adult only beach.

Castway Cay

I brought my dear Pink Bear with me on the island.

He wanted to meet Captain Hook, even though I told him Hook is a villan. Well, he learned for himself once Hook tried to "hook" him in front of the post office.

Captain Hook

Here are a couple photos Pink Bear checks out his new surroundings:

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The Para Sailing meet has become another MouseFest annual event. This year, MouseFan Travel chartered a boat and 18 MouseFesters joined Annette Owens a(MouseFanTravel) and myself for some fun in the sky!

Here's the magnet we gave folks who parasailed!

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Linda Mac has great photos from our boat.
Linda Lou took some pics as we headed out from the boat dock:

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Linda Mac shows Tacey the photo of her eyes closed as she returned to the boat from the air:
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And here is photographer LindaMac's parasail adventure:

LindaMac gets ready to para sail

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Pink Bear wanted to parasail, but he didn't weigh enough:

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All in all a great time was had by everyone!!!!

Next up in Tuesday - Part 2 is Pirate Night and Cabin Door Winners

December 12, 2007

MouseFest Tuesday, December 4, 2007 Part 2

Ah... a day at Castaway Cay is like no other. After a fun time on the island it was time to head back to the ship.

Jennifer Marx and I are the judges for the Cabin Door decorating contest, an annual MouseFest Cruise event. This year we had the most entries ever and it was REALLY hard to pick the finalists. After returning onboard from the island, I made my way around all the decks to see the doors. What's amazing is that Jennifer and I are usually in complete (or near complete) agreement about the finalists! That certainly makes it easier for us.

Cabin Door Judges Jennifer Marx and Deb Wills

Tonight's events all take place in the Promenade Lounge. In addition to the cabin door announcement, there is also a pirate costume contest and its PIRATE night onboard the Disney Wonder.

Pink Bear doesn't want to miss a thing.

Pink Bear heads to the Promenade Lounge

Jennifer and Deb announced the 5 finalists in the Cabin Door Contest and Randall Dobson, of the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin awarded the grand prize. The photos of the doors really don't do them justice.....they were quite creative, original and decorative. Contestants must include MouseFest in the theme of the door.

The first cabin announced was Justin and Sunnie. Unfortunately, they were not present so Maggie accepted their magnet for them. Their theme was the SS MouseFest. Simple yet fun and included the necessary MouseFest theming.

Justin and Sunnie's cabin


Next, Joan and Kevin Finder's It's a WONDERful MouseFest. Incorporating MouseFest into the theme from the movie It's a Wonderful Life:

Joan and Kevin Finder's  Cabin


Joan and Kevin Finder

Repeat cruiser Ray Sharpton always goes all out for his cabin door:

Ray Sharpton's Cabin

Ray Sharpton


The Road to MouseFest was the theme of Kevin and Timbra's cabin door.
The Road to MouseFest

Kevin and Timbra

And last, but certainly not least, was MouseQuest, a board game themed on MouseFest and the Disney Wonder by Gwendolyn & Rick Anderson

Mouse Quest by Gwendolyn & Rick Anderson

The 5 finalist cabin numbers were all put in a hat and a Grand Prize winner drawn to receive the 2 night stay at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort. Randall Dobson from the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin awarded the grand prize to.......


Kevin and Timbra Peace!!!
Kevin and Timbra Peace

The four runner ups will receive their choice of PassPorter Guide Books.

All MF Cruisers were entered into a drawing for an AllEars goodie bag, one lucky winner walked away with some great items, not to mention a Donald Plush!

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Next up, Part 3 and the Pirates ARGH!!

See what else was scheduled for today and see tomorrow's plans!

December 15, 2007

MouseFest Tuesday, December 4, 2007 Part 3

ARGH - It be Pirate Night Mateys!!! The Disney ships go all out on Pirate Night. Expect to see Characters and Dining Room Servers in Pirate costumes, a special dinner menu, a great show on Deck 9-10 with fireworks and a late night "Pirate Buffet".

MouseFest cruisers celebrate pirate night as well...many folks dress up and have extra fun.

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The 2nd annual Pirate Costume contest was won by this family with home made costumes:

Pirate Costume Contest Winners

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Gwendolyn & Rick Anderson
 Gwendolyn & Rick Anderson

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Pirates Ray and Tacey

MouseFest Pirate Cruisers Ray and Tacey

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MouseFest Pirate Cruisers


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MouseFest Pirate Cruisers The Reardons and Julia

MouseFest Pirate Cruisers The Reardons and Julia


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MouseFest Pirate Cruisers Lisa, Patrick, Eggi and Ray

MouseFest Pirate Cruisers Lisa, Patrick, Eggi and Ray


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MouseFest Pirate Cruisers Joan and Pete

MouseFest Pirate Cruisers Joan and Pete

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MouseFest Pirate Cruisers Katie and Tim

MouseFest Pirate Cruisers Katie and Tim

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Kimmie

MouseFest Pirate Cruisers Kimmie and friend

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MouseFest Pirate Cruisers Karen and Doug

MouseFest Pirate Cruisers Karen and Doug

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MouseFest Pirate Cruisers Deb and Linda

MouseFest Pirate Cruisers Deb and Linda

December 16, 2007

MouseFest Wednesday December 5, 2007 Part 1

Here we are, the wonderful day at Sea. This is one of my favorite times on the ship as there is no port and things are much more relaxed. Well, they'd be relaxed if it wasn't the MouseFest Cruise.

The day began with the 2nd Annual "Walk Stroll, Roll the Plank" against Breast Cancer hosted by myself and MouseFan Travel. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend the walk, so I sent a dear friend of mine, Ms. Dee Vah to host the event.

From what I understand everyone had a wonderful time strolling around the deck. On several occassions in 2007, MouseFanTravel donated a portion of their commission to the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. At this meet, MouseFanTravel presented a check for $1,555 dollars made out to the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer.Ms. Dee Vah was speechless when she accepted the generous check. My eyes filled with tears when she told me the great news.

LindaMac has photos in her blog.

Ms Dee Vah

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There were many meets today and I wish I could have attended them all.

At 10:30 am a group of MouseFanTravel clients enjoyed Palo Brunch. In my humble opinion, this is by far, the best food on the Disney cruise ship!

Palo Brunch

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Palo Brunch

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Palo Brunch

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Palo Brunch

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Palo Brunch

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Coming in Part 2, Who Wants to Earn their Ears?

December 18, 2007

MouseFest Wednesday, December 5, 2007 - Part 2

Wednesday afternoon's meets included one sponsored by the WDW Today Podcast and hosted by Mike Newell and Matt Hochberg.

Who Wants to Earn their Ears? is a fun audience participation game played very similar to Who Wants to be a Millionaire.

Tickets were given to all attendees and a number was drawn to determine who would be in the hot seat!

Mike Newell
Mike Newell

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Members of the Audience
Members of the Audience

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First up, was AllEars team member Linda Mac.

Linda Mac in the Hot Seat

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Mike Newell and Annette aka Vanna White
Mike Newell and Annette aka Vanna White

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Matt and Justin
Matt and Justin

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Jeanine
Jeanine

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Ellie Saroufim
Ellie Saroufim

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Final Contestant
Final Contestant

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A couple players got very close to Earning Their Ears, but also, no one answered all their questions correctly.

It was lots of fun and a good time was had by all.

Alas, the MouseFest cruise soon came to an end. On Thursday morning, everyone was up bright and early to head to Walt Disney World and jump right into MouseFest Land.

What an awesome cruise!!!!


December 19, 2007

MouseFest Thursday December 6, 2007 Part 1

Today is MouseFest transition day. We had breakfast onboard the Disney Wonder and then headed to Walt Disney World to begin the land portion of MouseFest.

There are over 80 MouseFest land events this year which is a mixed blessing. It's exciting that so many folks are participating however it makes it impossible to attend every meet. Just look at it like a Convention/conference schedule. Pick your track (or your favorite host(s) and follow them).

We really wanted to make it to the Magic Kingdom afternoon meets, however our room was not ready at the Boardwalk when we checked in. We really needed some down time and so just crashed in a friend's room for the afternoon. Once our room was ready, we had lots of luggage, including 2 Owner's Lockers, to be delivered.

First official land meet for Linda and I is dinner at 'Ohana with many of our friends from the Tagrel.com community. After all, we are co-hosting a meet with them tonight :)

Lime Green Cheri and Betsy Ann

Lime Green Cheri and Betsy Ann

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Robin and Moley

Robin and Moley

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QuickSilver Gregory and his wife
QuickSilver Gregory and his wife

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AllEars® Graphic Artist Frogman

Frogman

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SusanL, Bookwood, CShore, BriarRose, Lynner; Daddio in the back SusanL, Bookwood, CShore, BriarRose, Lynner; Daddio in the back

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GroupHugJohn, Florida Sharon, Frogman
GroupHugJohn, Florida Sharon, Frogman

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LindaLou and I came with pixie dust and surprises. We pixed Lime Green Cheri with 2 tickets to the private IllumiNations dessert party on Sunday Night (which also included being back doored at Soarin' for our own private ride! Sadly, Cheri had changed her plans and was heading home sunday am. So instead, she became the guest of AllEars at dinner.

LimeGreenCheri, SusanL, Daddio, Bookwood
LimeGreenCheri, SusanL, Daddio, Bookwood

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Well, we just had to give the tickets to someone! Carol and Gary were at our table and also had entered the contest for the tickets (and not won)... so we figured, why not!

Cruiser and Zakerdog with Deb

Cruiser and Zakerdog with Deb

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Part 2 of MouseFest Thursday covers the AllEars team's first official event -- Wishes Fireworks Meet co-hosted with Dave Card and the folks from Tagrel.com

December 23, 2007

MouseFest Thursday December 6, 2007 Part 2

After dinner at Ohana in the Polynesian, we headed over to the Magic Kingdom via monorail. It was quite crowded as everyone seemed to be headed to Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party.

The Frosted Castle

The Frosted Castle

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As Linda and I walked down Main Street, we spotted our friend Masayo and her husband Mamuru.

Mamoru and Masayo

Mamoru and Masayo

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We decided to join them to watch the first showing of Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas Time Parade!


Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas Time Parade

Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas Time Parade

Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas Time Parade

Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas Time Parade

For more parade photos visit: http://allearsnet.com/tp/mk/holidays07/christmastimeparade.htm

It was soon time for the AllEars - Tagrel Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party Fireworks meet. Once again, we gathered in the lower area of the Rose Garden. Over 150 folks came by to say hello and for me, it officially kicked off MouseFest.

Deb and Dave Tagrel Card


For more photos of the Fireworks meet check out the first slide show in Barrie's Blog.

Friday is next....

December 25, 2007

MouseFest Friday, December 7, 2007 Part 1

It's MouseFest Animal Kingdom and Disney MGM Studios Day.

First, Debbie Koma, LindaLou and I had breakfast at the newly reopened Tusker House.

Mickey and Linda at Tusker House

Donald and Deb at Tusker House

Click here for Linda Mac's Opening Day Photos and review (breakfast).
Click here for Jack Spence's Opening Day Photos and Review (lunch)

First meet of the day is the Kilimanjaro Safari meet co-hosted by AllEars and MagicMeets. We usually have about 100 folks in attendance however we were all blown away to have over 250 attendees!! It was amazing to have such a huge jump in attendance.

Many thanks to the KJS Cast Members who worked with us to try and keep all of us together in our jeeps. You all ROCK!!!

 KJS Cast Members

Kilimanjaro Safari meet

Trying to get all 250 of us in a photo~
Trying to get all 250 of us in a photo

Throwing All Ears Hats into the Crowd
Throwing All Ears Hats into the Crowd


Walking to the Que Line
Walking to the Que Line

Waiting to Board
Waiting to Board

JAMBO!


Kilimanjaro Safari Meet
Kilimanjaro Safari Meet


Kilimanjaro Safari Meet
Kilimanjaro Safari Meet


Kilimanjaro Safari Meet
Kilimanjaro Safari Meet


Kilimanjaro Safari Meet
Kilimanjaro Safari Meet

Kilimanjaro Safari Meet
Kilimanjaro Safari Meet

Kilimanjaro Safari Meet
Kilimanjaro Safari Meet


Kilimanjaro Safari Meet
Kilimanjaro Safari Meet


Kilimanjaro Safari Meet
Kilimanjaro Safari Meet


Kilimanjaro Safari meet

 All Ears Fans


Part 2 to follow...

December 26, 2007

MouseFest Friday, December 7, 2007 Part 2

From Kilimanjaro, we headed over to the RADP Dinosaur meet to see old friends....

RADP Dinosaur Meet

RADP Dinosaur Meet

All to soon, the RADP folks entered Dinosaur and LindaLou and I headed over to Pizzafari for the AllEars Team lunch.


All Ears Lunch

All Ears Lunch

After sitting around and sharing stories, it was time to move to the Studios. What a surprise when I found my friends Masayo and Mamoru riding in a horse drawn carriage.


Masayo and Mamoru

I then went on to my meeting (which went really well) and when it was over, I decided I needed some rest. It had already been a full day.

As I was leaving the Studios, I came across Carol and Gary picking up their pups from the kennel. I was SO excited to finally meet the famouse Zac and Zoey (hope those are spelled right).

Deb with Zac and Zoey

I then headed back "home" to the Boardwalk. I stopped in the lobby for a few minutes to enjoy the decorations. Loved this one featuring Donald and Daisy!

Donald and Daisy

Once back to the room I think I took a short nap. I actually don't even remember where we had dinner that night. It was all starting to blend together now and the fatigue from 7 straight days was setting in.

Next up.. some special magic!

December 27, 2007

MouseFest Friday, December 7th, Part 3

Tonight at 8pm was the first of 2 special VIP IllumiNations Dessert parties. For the last couple years, clients of MouseFanTravel have been treated to a private viewing area for Holiday IlumiNations and some wonderful desserts.

This year, MouseFanTravel had a special extra treat for everyone. I actually knew about this over a year ago and was able to KEEP THE SECRET from everyone!

Before the IllumiNations party, we all gathered at the International Gateway to receive special credentials. Soon Cast Members were leading the huge group through the doors at the World Showplace building. Something special was going on there, but not for us.

Cool Lights

We were then taken back stage and were led through several areas until we arrived at a huge building. I"m not sure anyone realized where we were at this point.... Until Beci yelled out....

GUESS WHAT? -- WE'RE GOING SOARIN!!!!!!

And cheers and applause filled the air.

Matt and MIke

Mamoru and Masayo

Dave Card and family

Jennine, Shirley and Tacey

Ray Sharpton

Chris, Beci, Debbie, Deb, and Linda

Mike and Mary Newell

After riding Soarin', we were escorted back to the area near Rose and Crown for IllumiNations with the holiday ending and some yummy desserts!~

Thus ended a very long yet magical friday at MouseFest!

December 28, 2007

MouseFest Saturday December 8, 2007

It's Saturday! Today is MegaMouseMeet day!

The day began with an early morning breakfast at Fresh (in the Dolphin) with the folks who have been on the AllEars team since, well just about the beginning.

Front Row: Debbie Koma, Deb Wills
Back Row: Jack Marshall, Dotti Saroufim, Gloria Konsler, Linda(Lou) Eckwerth
Missing from the photo is Andrea McKenna

The AllEars® Team

After a great breakfast, it's off to the Dolphin's convention area to get ready for the MegaMouseMeet.

I let the folks on the AllEars team do all the set up. It's much better for everyone that way LOL.

All Ears Table at MegaMouseMeet


All Ears Table at MegaMouseMeet

All Ears Table at MegaMouseMeet

Before the doors opened, I had a few minutes to wander around and say hello to the other webmasters, authors, podcasters, etc.

This is Trent Schwartz who has begun a new Disney social community. I have known Trent for, hmm, maybe 10 years? He started out as a Cast Member in Canada and we've kept in touch off and on through the years.

Deb and Trent

Here is 3/4 of the great WDW Today Podcast Team: Matt, Len and Mike Newell. No telling where Mr. Scopa is.

WDW Today Podcasters

The MegaMouseMeet is very special for me. It's so so wonderful to meet all our readers and fans. Plus, I want everyone to meet the folks "Behind the Ears" who work so hard every day to bring you the best independent Disney website and newsletter available!

Also, I'd like to take this opportunity to thank all those who brought me special gifts.... from Pink Christmas Stockings, to donations to the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade, to those who made an extra effort to come by and say hello!

I wish I could include all of your photos here, but the blog would go on for days and days. Just know I so enjoyed seeing all of you - whether it was the first time or the 100th time.


Passporter Debbie

In case you are wondering why these ladies have grins the size of the room, they won a special Dream and spent Saturday Night in Cinderella's Castle!!!!!!!! Way to go Kim!

Kim Howe

One of the fun things having the website has enabled me to do is occasionally sprinkle some pixie dust on folks. Friday, I ran into Mark and Janice and invited them to be my guests at Sunday night's special IllumiNations Dessert Party!

Deb, Mark and Janice

Here is another friend I've known for many years, Crazy Hakim!!!!

Crazy Hakim

And there was still more Pixie Dust in the air! Linda and James Dezern also became special guests of AllEars at the Sunday Night IllumiNations Dessert Party. Debbie Koma also got to sprinkle pixie dust on 3 other folks to attend the party as well (Photos of those folks are in Linda Mac's blog - link below).

Linda and James Dezern

Matt Pez is someone I met at the Celebration 25 events in Epcot on October 1st. He's wearing one of the VERY limited edition T-shirts that were available for purchase that day!

Matt Pez

Here we are with some folks we've know for over 10 years, from the place where all this started - RADP (rec arts disney parks newsgroup). RADP was the first online Disney community...long before message boards and all the other websites really came of age. It's my roots, so to speak.

RADP


Again, my heartfelt thanks to the entire AllEars Team for all their hard work, day in and day out! (Missing from the photo is Andrea McKenna, Scott Thomas, Jack Spence, Amy Stoll, Cathy Bock, Lisa Berton, and Laura Gilbreath)
The All Ears Team

Many more photos of the Mega Mouse Meet are available:

Mike Scopa's blog

Linda Mac's blog

Barrie Brewer's blog

While LindaLou and I had lots of plans for Saturday evening, we decided to head back to the Boardwalk, order room service and make it an early evening. Sunday would begin bright and early!!!

December 29, 2007

MouseFest Sunday, December 9, 2007 Part 1

It's our last full day at MouseFest!!! I can't believe just one week ago we arrived at the Disney Wonder and began this incredible adventure. It's been an amazing time.

Sunday morning began with the 2nd annual Tonga Toast Breakfast at the Kona Cafe in the Polynesian. Hosted by MouseFanTravel with special guests, Mike Scopa, Steve Barrett and myself.

Steve, Mike and myself were seated first, so we could order first, finish eating first and then spend time chatting with the attendees. Ironically, the kitchen lost our order and so we were served last. Oh well. Hopefully we got around to say hello to all 50 folks who got up bright and early to dine with us.

Tonga Toast Breakfast.

Tonga Toast Breakfast.

Tonga Toast Breakfast.

Tonga Toast Breakfast.

Tonga Toast Breakfast.

Tonga Toast Breakfast.

After a great breakfast, Linda and I headed to the Magic Kingdom. On our way, we had a Magical Moment! We got to sit with the driver in the monorail!! I hadn't done this in years and Linda had never done it before.


Linda and Deb riding up front in the monorail.

We departed at the Magic Kingdom Station and headed over to the RADP Mountain Meets! We didn't plan to ride Splash mountain, but did want to catchup with friends and say hello!

RADP Mountain Meets.

RADP Mountain Meets.

RADP Mountain Meets.

We all went our separate ways at this point. I had a 12:15 meeting and so stopped at Columbia Harbour House for a quick lunch. I had my favorite sandwich, Lighthouse Sandwich - hummus with tomato & broccoli slaw $6.49 with multigrain bread. As I was finishing, Andrea and DebbieK found me and so we chatted until I had to leave for a meeting.


Columbia Harbour House Lunch.


Soon it was time for Capture the Magic! This was a meet hosted by the Tagrel community. You form teams of 4-6 folks and then have 90 minutes to amass as many points as you can in a photo scavenger hunt. Our team, the Flash Sisters, all had matching t-shirts and we had great fun running around the Magic Kingdom. If you can enjoy being silly in the Magic Kingdom, this game is for you! Here are just a couple photos that team member Topaz took!

Here we are signing "I'm a Little Tea Pot" in front of Splash Mountain.

Capture the Magic Meet

Here, we are mourning a lost friend at the Haunted Mansion Hearse

Capture the Magic Meet

And here we are being BAD STITCH

Capture the Magic Meet

All too soon, it was time to head back to the Boardwalk and get changed for dinner and the evening.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of Sunday

December 30, 2007

MouseFest Sunday, December 9, 2007 Part 2

The AllEars team met for dinner at Spoodles.

All Ears Dinner at Spoodles


After Spoodles, we moved to the BelleView room for some adult banter until it was time for the IllumiNations VIP Party.

If you've been reading along, then you know that MouseFanTravel cooked up some special magic to add to the IllumiNations Dessert Party this year. Friday evening, before IllumiNations, we were back doored at Soarin' and got to ride without waiting. It was awesome.

Tonight, we first had IllumiNations and then had the extra magic of Soarin'! It was pretty cool because the Friday night folks tried to keep it a surprise from their friends who were going on Sunday.

Once again, we were led backstage and then stopped in front of a huge building. Fred Block was next to me and so I whispered in his ear.... Fred shout out to the group what I am about to tell you "Hey Everyone, we are going SOARIN'!

And once again, the crowd cheered and clapped and it was an incredible ride!

Soarin

Soarin

Soarin

Soarin

Soarin

Soarin

Soarin

Soarin

Soarin

Soarin

Thus ended an incredible 8 days of MouseFest Land and Sea!

December 31, 2007

MouseFest Memories

One of the exciting things about any trip is that you have no idea what's really in store for you.

Sure you can have an itinerary and map out all the things you want to do. But you can't predict what events will unfold and what people you will meet along the way.

These are the parts of any trip, including MouseFest, that make the special memories.

The MouseFest cruise is really a very special time.... and when we have to leave the boat, it's sad. I have made many dear friends over the years on the Disney Wonder and the Disney Magic, people I doubt I would have ever met, even if we lived in the same neighborhood! People I now consider part of my extended family.

Sometimes you know the special memories are in the making and sometimes, you have no idea. You never know when a kind word or gesture will make someone smile or give them a special memory to hold in their hearts for a very long time.

And sometimes I am the one that get's surprised, like the delivery of the pink bears to my Disney Wonder cabin for the Avon Breast Cancer walk, by an annomouse kind person.

The last day on the Disney Wonder, one of the couples was saying goodbye. They both had tears in their eyes thanking everyone for making it much more magical than they ever imagined! All of us who were standing there, were blown away that we played a small part in making someone's vacation be so incredibly special. As my friend Mike Scopa says "It's why we do, what we do."

MouseFest memories for me include seeing people I don't expect to see.... and yet, each year they come and find me at MouseFest and it means so much to me!!!!! You know who you all are and I thank you.

Disappointments one day can turn into surprise another! Like when I found out that the night before the MouseFest cruise, my friend Masayo was just a few doors down from me at the Animal Kingdom Lodge and we didn't even know it!!! But then on Thursday night as I entered the Magic Kingdom I was elated to find her and her husband on Main Street awaiting the Christmas parade!!!! We got to enjoy it together.

I will remember hearing the excitement in Mike Scopa's voice telling me he thought of a way to raise money for Lou Mongello's (Make a Wish) and my (Avon Breast Cancer) charities. And then when I learned that over $500 was put on the table to see Matt Hochberg ride Dinosaur in Animal Kingdom in the name of these charities...WOW!. Thank you everyone!! A donation of $260 has been made to my Avon Breast Cancer fund in the name of the MouseFest 101 attendees!

I'll remember for a very very long time, my dear friend Sue telling me how excited she was to ride Soarin'. She's been an annual passholder for years, but Sue doesn't do "rides". However at the special IllumiNations Dessert Party Soarin' ride, she got all caught up in the excitement, didn't have time to think about it, and just said, Why Not?! WOO HOOOOO! If I only had a photo!

I had to laugh one morning when AllEars team member Linda Mac sent me this photo of someone actually NAPPING during MouseFest. There may be no crying in baseball, but there is also no napping at MouseFest. Well, unless of course, your name is Spike!

No Napping Allowed at MouseFest

Then after returning home, the emails started to come in from folks who attended MouseFest.

Jamie & Sheila Prowse emailed me after MouseFest to say: "Just a quick note to express our gratitude for the hard work you put into Mousefest. We especially enjoyed meeting you at the Tonga Toast event and look forward to our second Mousefest in 2008. You made this visit even more magical than we expected."

I think Gwendolyn & Rick Anderson, first time MouseFest attendees, said it best, after reading Mike Scopa's Christmas article"

"I agree that Mousefest was the best Christmas present received. My husband & I had sailed with Disney in 2000, but this was so different. I love all the websites about Disney but meeting their creators made the sites feel "like friends" that have known each other for a long time but just hadn't taken the time to "hangout together".

We met new friends from all over the US and one family that I know will be a part of our circle after we met on the tram at Castaway Cay. They sent us a Christmas card and we sent them a New Year's Card with pictures. Thank you. All of the Mousefest Organizers and Friends who thought of this project and shared it with all of us who love Disney as well. We had a wonderful time with all the activities and fun talks, meets and greets.

Thank you for our Christmas Present. It's a present that you want to get for your friends. I can't think of anyone that I know that would dream of "re-gifting" a Mousefest Meet."

And with that, I wish all of you the happiest, healthiest and most magical New Year ever!

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About December 2007

This page contains all entries posted to Deb's Digest in December 2007. They are listed from oldest to newest.

November 2007 is the previous archive.

January 2008 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.