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July 2008 Archives

July 11, 2008

Countdown to Magic Meets - 5 Days to Go

I can't believe how fast time goes by! I feel like I just finished writing my article on the 2007 Magic Meet Event, The Magic of Meets, and it's time to begin again.

All Ears is proud to be a sponsor of this year's Magic Meets event.


Planning for Magic Meets actually begins well over a year in advance. Fred is always working on something be it the hotel contract, or special guests, or new features.

For those of us who are Sponsors and/or Presenters, we also begin planning well in advance -- we make notes of what worked and what didn't as well as enhancement ideas for the next year.

Planning began in earnest for me after the first of the year. Fred sent out requests for Break-out Topics and then I needed to consider what to talk about. My breakout last year on the Disney Cruise Line was very very well attended (standing room only) and some folks didn't get in. So, given the popularity I offered to do it again and Fred agreed.

In addition, last August I experienced an Adventures by Disney vacation and thought that would make a great breakout sessions too. MouseFanTravel President Beci Mahnken is co-presenting the talk with me which will be Sunday Morning.

Yes, this year Magic Meets begins on Friday evening and carrys into Sunday.

Friday night All Ears® is one of the co-sponsors for the Meet Before the Magic event. It's a social get together that allows folks to meet up and chat as well as get all registered and wrist-banded for Saturday! All Ears® is not only donating a Disney Gift Basket (approx retail value of $200) but has a great AllEars® coffee/tea mug for the first 100 attendees. MouseFanTravel and All Star Vacation Homes are the other co-sponsors. There will be "door prizes" and lots of fun to start off the weekend!!!

All Ears Mugs for Friday Night Meet before the Magic

Here's a couple photos from last year's Friday Night Event:



You can also read the Magic Meets news story on last year's Friday Night Event.

By popular demand, Sunday was officially added to the Magic Meets schedule this year. Last year was the first year for a Hershey Park Group Event and it was very well received. Some folks didn't want to go to Hershey Park and indicated they'd like something at the hotel on Sunday.

Fred responded and this year you could purchase breakfast and breakouts or the 2nd Annual Hershey Park Adventure. The Magic Meets group has the equivalent of Extra Magic Hour at Hershey park and can ride the new Fahrenheit coaster for one hour before the park opens.

Parallel to the planning for the breakouts and sponsor events is organizing the AllEars® table. This year a large contingent of the AllEars team will be attending and that will help out a great deal!!! You'll get to meet: Debbie Koma, LindaMac, Linda Lou, Mike Scopa, Anita (Andrea) Answer, Glo from Miami, Photo Bloggers Scott Thomas and Lisa Berton, Cathy Bock, Michelle Scribner-MacLean, Fred Block and our newest team member Erin Blackwell! Please stop by and say hello to these folks and thank them for all their hard work on the website and newsletter.

We've got a new banner to display over our table (so you can find us) and some new items for giveaways. We hope you like them.

Team All Ears® had a conference call earlier this week to make sure we were as organized as we could be for Magic Meets.

Ah.. I hear you asking why, if Magic Meets doesn't start until Friday night, does my Countdown say 5 Days to Go!

Well, it's because Magic Meet Presenters Shontell Crawford (DVCbyReSale.com) and Beci Mahnken (MouseFanTravel.com) will be arriving in the Washington DC area on Wednesday and staying with us, so for Linda Lou and myself... we have to have everything done by then!! So for us, Magic Meets begins next Wednesday!!!!

In the next blog I'll talk more about the planning process we go through to prepare for Magic Meets!

July 14, 2008

Disney Cruise Line Towel Animals

Certainly you have heard about Disney towel animals! No? You haven't?

Well some time ago (anyone know when this all started with the towel animals ?) Walt Disney World housekeepers would leave little "gifts" for their guests as they cleaned a room. The surprises were made from clean towels and wash cloths and resembled real animals or figures.

Some housekeepers got very elaborate, adding your sunglasses, your plush animals or something you may have left out to the towel animal to add spice! As more guests learned about them, more expected them all the time. My best advice to you about hotel towel animals is -- Please keep in mind these aren't always in your rooms...... look at them as gifts and surprises if you receive them!

Not to disappoint you, but this blog isn't about the resort towel animals but those found on the cruise ship. And, it's become custom to find a new creation each night after turndown service.

Since my last cruise was 15 nights long, I got to see a wide range of creatures that our cabin host left for us. I'll share some of those with you now!

Towel Animal Disney Magic

Towel Animal Disney Magic

Towel Animal Disney Magic

Towel Animal Disney Magic

Towel Animal Disney Magic

Towel Animal Disney Magic

Towel Animal Disney Magic

Towel Animal Disney Magic

Towel Animal Disney Magic

Towel Animal Disney Magic

Towel Animal Disney Magic

Towel Animal Disney Magic

Hope you enjoyed the pics.


July 16, 2008

Countdown to Magic Meets

For Linda and I Magic Meets begins today, Wednesday, with this evening's arrival of Beci (MouseFan Travel) and Shontell (DVCbyReSale)! Both are sponsors and breakout room speakers at Magic Meets!

In my last Magic Meets blog I told you very briefly about some of the planning that goes into Magic Meets from the All Ears point of view.

There is much much more....

LindaLou takes the lead for all promotional items and she selected some great ones for this year's event.

We have a white board in the office where we begin to outline ideas of what logo merchandise to take to specific events; it's divided into Want, On Order, Arrived, Packed. We TRY to be organized.

Often times it's not as simple as, we want mugs, this one looks nice, let's order it (from the online catalog).

Did you know that prior to ordering the special mugs for Friday's Meet before the Magic, we had our merchandise supplier send us a variety of mug samples. We wanted something special, not just an ordinary ceramic mug. Once we decide on the specific mug, we then have to make sure we have an acceptable graphic image for the vendor to apply to the mug. And of course, we want a color that represents All Ears®. The mugs took 3 weeks from the time we placed the order until they arrived. We ordered them very early to ensure they'd be here in plenty of time, especially if there was a problem and we had to reorder!

Once the mugs arrived, LindaLou and I went through each of the boxes and examined each mug individually to make sure everything was in order. Then we repacked the boxes and they are ready to pack in the car!

LindaLou also puts together the Gift Baskets we give away. This year there will be 3, one Friday night for the Meet before the Magic, one for the main Magic Meets Saturday Event and one for my Saturday breakout on the Disney Cruise Line.

Here is the Step by Step process to making an All Ears Basket (at least from LindaLou's perspective).

First, I go thru my merchandise containers and select items for each basket. If you've ever Disney shopped with me, you know I am always looking for bargains to stock up on for giveaways!

Let me add, Linda has the patience of a saint.. there is no way I have to patience to put together one of these baskets! LindaLou makes them look "neat and pretty" and shrink-wraps them for the meet.

Linda begins by taking everything out of the basket and laying it out so she can begin to arrange everything in her head.

She layers the very bottom with newspaper....

Linda Creating the Disney Cruise Line Basket

And then puts pretty colored shredded paper on top of that.

Linda Creating the Disney Cruise Line Basket

She starts arranging items, many times she puts things in and then takes them out again and rearranges. (That's why I said I have no patience for this LOL)

Linda Creating the Disney Cruise Line Basket

Hey! Just look at all the cool stuff that someone will go home with after my Disney Cruise Line breakout talk on Saturday!!!!!!

Linda Creating the Disney Cruise Line Basket

It's Done!! She looks up and smiles! All Finished!!!!!

Linda Creating the Disney Cruise Line Basket

One last step, LindaLou puts shrink wrap paper all around the basket so everything stays in place and looks Neat and Pretty for the Giveaway.

Linda Creating the Disney Cruise Line Basket

And there you have it!!!!

Linda Creating the Disney Cruise Line Basket

Come to my DCL talk on Saturday at Magic Meets and maybe you'll win the basket.

Countdown to MagicMeets - Fred is at the Radisson

MagicMeets founder Fred Block packed his family vehicle up this morning and headed from New Jersey to Camp Hill PA (just outside of Harrisburg and Hershey).

He sent along a few photos:

MagicMeet Mobile

Highway Signage

ARRIVED!!! Let's get started!!!!

Radisson Signage

More photos as Fred sends them.......

July 17, 2008

Magic Meets - Fred Gets Things Started

A few more photographs from Fred taken on Wednesday evening:



And a surprise cake from the Felty Family!!!!!


Countdown to Magic Meets - Arrival Day

Thursday Morning --

We decided to sleep in this morning as it will be our last day of doing that until Monday! Beci and Shontell arrived last evening and we had a great time catching up.

After breakfast we packed the car and headed out. There was so much stuff to bring, that LindaLou and I each drove our own car. Fortunately, we will not have packed cars when we return home.

Packing the Car

In the past, we have always left for Magic Meets on Friday, but last year so many of our friends arrived on Thursday that we decided we would do that also. In addition, it gives the speakers and sponsors time to catchup and spend some down time together before the arrival of over 500 attendees.

After we checked in and unloaded the car, we headed over to Perkins to meet up with folks who had already arrived.

Mike (AllEars.net and WDWToday Podcast) and Carol Scopa, drove in today from New Hampshire:

Mike and Carol Scopa

Mike (MouseWorldRadio and WDWToday Podcast) and Mary Newell drove in from New York:

Mike and Mary Newell

Michelle Scribner-MacLean and LindaLou (AllEars.net) and Beci Mahnken (MouseFanTravel). Michelle flew in from New Hampshire, Beci (Seattle) and LindaLou drove in today from Maryland.

Michelle, Linda, Beci

After a while, Mr. MagicMeets walked in the door, Fred Block!

Fred Block

We all chatted for a while and then decided to head back to the hotel, get settled in our rooms and reconnect later today.

Countdown to Magic Meets - Thursday Evening

Everyone gathered together again around 6:30 this evening. More folks have arrived, such as Dave Marx (Passporter), Laura (who write the Magic Meets newsletter articles), and several of the volunteers.

Lots of truck loading and unloading was done by a group of guys (Brad, Jim and others).

And some of us were at the ballroom to assist in unloading the cars

Unloading the Cars

Unloading the Cars

Unloading the Cars

Fred on the Segway

At some point the Mongello Family arrived... and went to check in.

And Fred was keeping things rolling on his Segway.

Packing the Car

Many of the folks are still in the ballroom. The goal tonight was to help Mike Newell get all the audio set up. Me, it's past my bedtime and the next few days are VERY full.

Tomorrow, the official start of Magic Meets!
Will blog as time allows!!!!

July 18, 2008

Magic Meets - Friday

What a day!!! It began bright and early with all the volunteers and sponsors gathered in the ballroom to begin set up.

Here are some photos taken during the morning:

Magic Meets Ballroom Setup

Magic Meets Ballroom Setup

Magic Meets Ballroom Setup

Magic Meets Ballroom Setup

Magic Meets Ballroom Setup

Magic Meets Ballroom Setup

Magic Meets Ballroom Setup

Magic Meets Ballroom Setup

July 27, 2008

Magic Meets - Friday Part 2

Seems I took very very few photos on Friday. Here are LindaLou's pics from the evening festivities.

First up is the Meet before the Magic Event --

The Sponsors for this year's Meet before the Magic were Beci Mahnken (MouseFanTravel), Sara Moore (All Star Vacation Homes), Deb Wills (All Ears) and of course, Fred Block.

Deb Wills, Beci Mahnken, Sara Moore, Fred Block at Magic Meets

Magic Meets Door Prizes

 Magic Meets Door Prizes

Enjoying the light snacks

Enjoying the Munchies

The happy door prize winner of the AllEars Basket o goodies.

 Magic Meets Door Prizes

While this event was winding down, the next event was being setup. Mike Scopa wrote a Pre-Magic Meets blog on Magic Tunes which will give you the background info.

Basically, it was a charity event benefiting Lou Mongello's Dream Team and my Avon Walk for Breast Cancer.

I want to thank everyone who attended this event and donated to these worthwhile causes. I was honored to receive half of the donations, a total of $325, which I have already deposited in my 2009 Avon Breast Cancer Walk Fundraiser!

Mike Scopa was the MC.

Mike Scopa MC

The 4 contestants were Lou Mongello, Annette Owens, Steve Barrett and myself. Suffice to say I was the first eliminated, LOL.

Lou and Deb

July 29, 2008

Magic Meets Saturday

It's impossible to capture the spirit of Magic Meets in words...pictures do a better job.

Here are photos from Saturday, July 19, 2008. Most pictures are from LindaLou and a few from Scott Thomas. Enjoy....

The AllEars team is well represented!

 The All Ears Team

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Michelle, Cathy and Glo - Team AllEars

 Michelle, Cathy and Glo

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Keynote Speaker Dave Anderson checks out the Dream Team's Silent Auction

 Keynote Speaker Dave Anderson checks out the Dream Team's Silent Auction

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Deb bids on a Silent Auction Item

 Deb bids on a Silent Auction Item

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The Magic Meets Sponsors!

 The Magic Meets Sponsors

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Getting ready for the Cruise Breakout!

 Getting ready for the Cruise Breakout

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Also during the first breakout session was Shontell Crawford, talking about the Disney Vacation Club.

 Shontell Crawford, talking about the Disney Vacation Club

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and Disney's First Chief Magical Officer (CMO) Justin!

 Disney's First Chief Magical Officer (CMO) Justin

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Deb gets a few minutes to chat with Justin.

 Deb gets a few minutes to chat with Justin

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WDWToday Podcast broadcast live the drawing for Palo meals during the Deb and Steve September cruise. Jill and Carolyn learn they will be joining Deb and Steve for a special Palo dinner!

 Jill and Carolyn

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Terry and Stephanie won Breakfast with Deb from the Dream Team Silent Auction during the Mousefest Cruise!

 Terry and Stephanie

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Laura wins the AllEars MagicMeets Prize Basket (value over $325)

 Laura wins the AllEars MagicMeets Prize Basket

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There were 2 incredible Grand Prizes. Here is Sara Moore and Fred Block with the winner of the 7 night All Star Vacation Home prize.

 Sara and Winner of All Star Vacation Home

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Beci and Fred with the other Grand Prize winner - A cabin on the 2009 MouseFest Cruise!

 Beci and Fred with the other Grand Prize

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Fred receives special gifts of thanks in honor of his 5 years of dedication to MagicMeets!

 Fred Block

Still to come, Sunday at Magic Meets!

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About July 2008

This page contains all entries posted to Deb's Digest in July 2008. They are listed from oldest to newest.

June 2008 is the previous archive.

August 2008 is the next archive.

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