MagicMeets Day 3 - Sunday
The final day of activities begins.
Preparing for my DVC talk
Door Prizes for DVC talk
Mike Scopa's breakout session
Tony, Tacey and Fred listen to Mike
The final day of activities begins.
Preparing for my DVC talk
Door Prizes for DVC talk
Mike Scopa's breakout session
Tony, Tacey and Fred listen to Mike
AllEars Team readies for MagicMeets 2009
Broadcasting live by wdwtoday.com
DreamTeam readies for auction
The AllEars Team at MagicMeets
Pirate posters for the DreamTeam Fundraiser
Fred Block opens MagicMeets 2009
Keynote Speaker Justin Muchoney
Deb and Beci getting ready for Adventures By Disney talk!
The room fills for the Adventures By Disney talk!
Lunch is served
DreamTeam Silent Auction #1 comes to a close
John Rick prepares for Pin Talk with John Leary
Lining up for pm breakout session
Winners of the Illuminations Dessert Party
Another Disney car tag
Welcome to MagicMeets 2009
Mike Newell readies the broadcast table at MagicMeets 2009
Karaoke Meet sold out at MagicMeets 2009
Tacey displays the new volunter logo for MagicMeets 2009
The crew is working hard setting up
Magical boxes for MagicMeets 2009
Tony and Pat ready the DreamTeam Auction
The Mikes are ready for MagicMeets 2009
Brian helps with PA setup
Lots of kids volunteer too!
A special full size Mickey Lamp from 2 special people
Lots of Disney Car Tags
Mary Poppins (Tacey) visits WDWTODAY
DVCbyResale Shontel and Eric
MEI-Travel folks setting up
MagicTunes is on tonight's schedule
Mike Scopa will MC MagicTunes
Meet Before the Magic begins
Meet Before the Magic
Fred and Shontell at Meet before the Magic
Guest Writer for AllEars Alice w/ Deb and Debbie
Meet Before the Magic crowd
Magic Tunes raised $1000 for Deb's Breast Cancer and Lou's Dream Team Charities!
Thank You MagicTunes Attendees!!!
Fred presents Deb with donation from Aroogas meet
Even more generous donations at Aroogas
I have been sending photos to Twitter all day only to find out none of them made it because there was a problem with Twitter and the photo program.
Here are the pics I sent through out today. Hope you enjoy a little behind the scenes MagicMeets preparation.
Packing the Car on Thursday to head to Magic Meets
Beci, Michelle and Mike decide to join our caravan to PA!
Mike Scopa checks into the Radisson
Mike, Michelle and Linda in the Radisson Lobby
The ballroom before the Magic!
Hmmm where do we begin? Mary, John, Beci and Fred
Some of the signage begins to get unpacked
Fred show Linda one of the Breakout Session Signs
Signs have been placed outside the ballroom - DO NOT ENTER
The AllEars sign should go.. hmmm.. yes, right here!
But the all important MagicMeets sign goes up first!
The Flying Dutchman, the mysterious pirate ship that "sails" the waters around Disney's private island, Castaway Cay, is featured in a limited number of posters photographed and produced by Deb Wills, owner of AllEars.Net.
Each poster, which measures 11" x 17", is available for a minimum donation of $20, which will go to the Dream Team's fundraising efforts during Magic Meets on Saturday, August 8.
Deb Wills will be on hand to autograph the posters, which will be on display at the AllEars.Net table. There are a limited number of posters available.
Don't pass up this chance to own this special piece of Disney magic!
You must be present to bid.
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!
Michelle, Cathy and Glo - Team AllEars
Keynote Speaker Dave Anderson checks out the Dream Team's Silent Auction
Deb bids on a Silent Auction Item
The Magic Meets Sponsors!
Getting ready for the Cruise Breakout!
Also during the first breakout session was Shontell Crawford, talking about the Disney Vacation Club.
and Disney's First Chief Magical Officer (CMO) Justin!
Deb gets a few minutes to chat with Justin.
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!
Terry and Stephanie won Breakfast with Deb from the Dream Team Silent Auction during the Mousefest Cruise!
Laura wins the AllEars MagicMeets Prize Basket (value over $325)
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.
Beci and Fred with the other Grand Prize winner - A cabin on the 2009 MouseFest Cruise!
Fred receives special gifts of thanks in honor of his 5 years of dedication to MagicMeets!
Still to come, Sunday at Magic Meets!
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.
Magic Meets Door Prizes
Enjoying the light snacks
The happy door prize winner of the AllEars Basket o goodies.
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.
The 4 contestants were Lou Mongello, Annette Owens, Steve Barrett and myself. Suffice to say I was the first eliminated, LOL.
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:
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
At some point the Mongello Family arrived... and went to check in.
And Fred was keeping things rolling on his Segway.
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!!!!
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.
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 (MouseWorldRadio and WDWToday Podcast) and Mary Newell drove in from New York:
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.
After a while, Mr. MagicMeets walked in the door, 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.
A few more photographs from Fred taken on Wednesday evening:
And a surprise cake from the Felty Family!!!!!
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:
ARRIVED!!! Let's get started!!!!
More photos as Fred sends them.......
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....
And then puts pretty colored shredded paper on top of that.
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)
Hey! Just look at all the cool stuff that someone will go home with after my Disney Cruise Line breakout talk on Saturday!!!!!!
It's Done!! She looks up and smiles! All Finished!!!!!
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.
And there you have it!!!!
Come to my DCL talk on Saturday at Magic Meets and maybe you'll win the basket.
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!!!
Here's a couple photos from 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!
( This article was originally published in the AllEars® weekly newsletter on July 24, 2007.)
The Magic of Meets!
by Deb Wills,
ALL EARS® Editor-in-Chief
Having recently returned from MagicMeets, an incredible weekend in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania, I was finding it very difficult to "put pen to paper" and get my thoughts and emotions written to share them with you. Every time I sat down to write, I found myself staring at the screen, wondering where to start. An overdose of Pixie Dust will do that to you! You know what I'm taking about, right? Like when you come home from a Disney trip and images of Mickey and Donald and the Queen of Hearts and Alice are still dancing in your head, but you don't exactly know how to describe it?
Then, I received an email from reader Teddy Beaver that put things into perspective for me:
"I just want to tell AllEars®subscribers that if you read this newsletter or Mouseplanet or PassPorter or any of the other fine websites, books, e-newsletters, etc., do not ever hesitate to attend functions they sponsor or tell us about. I have read over the years about MouseFest, MagicMeets, trips, gatherings, whole bunches of stuff that they have invited us readers to. Well, finally, this past weekend, I had the pleasure of attending MagicMeets. WOW! What a blast! The whole day was fun and informative. But I have to say, the high point was meeting all these folks who week-after-week share and spread Disney magic. The Debs, Mike Scopa, Fred Block, the Marxes, and just too many to mention, ALL were friendly, welcoming and truly made us feel part of the experience. My warmest, sincere thanks to all of our publishing friends who bring us a little bit of magic all year round. It was great being with people who not only 'get it,' they make it happen!"
THAT, as my dear friend Mike Scopa said during his keynote talk at Magic Meets, is "Why We Do What We Do."
We do it because we still believe in spreading the Magic -- the Magic that we find at Walt Disney World and want to carry with us in our day-to-day lives.
So what exactly was MagicMeets? It was rather like a mini-convention, a gathering of Disney lovers who wanted to get a little "fix" without making the trip to Orlando. There were keynote speeches in the ballroom; 12 breakout sessions on everything from Home Imagineering to dining at Disney to what it's like to be a Cast Member; Segways available for trial in the conference center area; webmasters and book authors and others on hand to discuss all manner of things Disney; a kids' area; a wonderful luncheon -- and it was all broadcast live on the web via folks who usually bring you Disney podcasts. And, for those who stayed through the weekend, let's not forget the adventure to nearby Hershey Park on Sunday when we had our own chocolate-covered version of Extra Magic Hour.
Every person I saw on Saturday at the MagicMeets event had a huge smile on his or her face. Whenever I asked someone how the day was going, "Outstanding!" was the typical response. If we could have harnessed the energy from the laughter alone, Monster's Inc. style, who knows what we could have accomplished.
Since I returned home, I've heard story after story of heartfelt joy, surprise and magic from that day. I'm sure every attendee has his or her own special memories. Here are just a few of mine:
-- talking with a gentleman who came up to me and reminded me that I had met him at Walt Disney World some time ago when he was in a wheelchair. He thanked me for my kindness that day.
-- hearing the giggles of Beci and Annette from MouseFanTravel after they tossed pixie dust on a woman and awarded a ticket to a private party for this December's MouseFest.
-- hugging two ladies I met several years ago in the Magic Kingdom while waiting for the Christmas parade, as they excitedly told me they would be sailing on the cruise I'm hosting along with Steve Barrett (the "Deb and Steve Cruise") in September 2008.
-- seeing the breast cancer survivor I met two years ago at this event. At the end of the day, this woman approached me and I immediately remembered her. We hugged, shared a few private words and then gleefully looked into the camera for a photographic record of our brief encounter.
-- being convinced we were going to float in the air with Peter Pan and Wendy when the couple bidding on tickets to a special IllumiNations party I am co-hosting in December ran up to me to tell me they had WON!
Topping off all these memories is the one I've saved for last: More than 110 items were donated, packaged, and brought to the MagicMeets event this year for a silent auction, with the proceeds to benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Under the guiding hands of Lou Mongello, of DisneyWorldTrivia.com, and Pat Whitson, auction coordinator for the project, "Dream Team" volunteers assembled an auction area that looked incredibly professional in the hopes of raising enough money to send one family to Walt Disney World ($6,000). Through the generosity of the 520 people gathered in that ballroom in Camp Hill that day, a grand total of $9,000 was raised! When the total was announced, there were many folks dabbing their eyes with tissues and many others were speechless.
Mike Scopa summed up what I was feeling: "I walked over to the silent auction area as Fred (Block) was doing more prize giveaways. I saw the total money raised -- $9,000 -- and grabbed Pat (Whitson) and started crying. Amidst all that was given the attendees during this special day they had turned around and had given back. I was so moved."
The power of the Disney community is incredible. Lou and Pat -- many of us are already thinking of creative donations for the 2008 auction so we can break five figures!
Kudos to the folks who donated items, and to all the folks who bid on items. Everyone who attended deserves a huge round of applause. And I mean everyone.
Did you know that everyone who attended MagicMeets purchased a ticket? That included each speaker -- each paid all his or her own expenses. Each table holder paid a sponsor fee in support of the event. We all gave of our time freely, so that all attendees would have a day to remember. I believe we achieved that and much more.
Speaking of applause, I want to be sure to acknowledge Fred Block, the mastermind of this event -- he outdid himself. Fred is supported by a loving wife and two beautiful daughters, who willingly (OK, maybe not that willingly) made their own sacrifices so that their husband/father could spend countless hours/weeks/months putting together the MagicMeets gathering. I'd like to also thank everyone who stopped by the AllEars® table to express their thanks for the website, newsletter and blogs. Team Members Deb Koma and Linda Eckwerth worked very hard all day to keep things flowing at the table. To everyone who attended my talk, "Ahoy Mateys, Disney Cruises for Adults" -- we had a great time, didn't we? Many thanks to my team and the MouseFanTravel.com folks for assisting with the presentation.
Just before the MagicMeets event, I was really tired, burning the candle at both ends. I found myself falling asleep every night on the living room couch, dragging out of bed at 5 a.m. when the alarm went off... make that 5:25 after I hit the snooze button two or three times. I'd been spending the last few weeks very busy on the final prep for MagicMeets, gathering swag to pass out, putting finishing touches on the gift baskets for giveaways (Linda Eckwerth gets special kudos for these), deciding on decorations for my "Ahoy Mateys!" break-out session, finding last-minute goodies for the Make-A-Wish silent auction, packing everything up...
And then I went to MagicMeets, and that made it all seem worthwhile. Yes, I came back from Camp Hill still physically tired (I think those late nights staying up after midnight had something to do with that), but mentally I was rejuvenated. My batteries have been totally RECHARGED and I feel the creative juices pumping again.
You see, while the umbrella under which we gathered was Disney, MagicMeets really has as its underpinning -- Magic. The smiles and laughter, hugs and tears, sharing in the joys of friendship are what make MagicMeets special.
We hope you'll consider joining in the Magic of MagicMeets along with us next year.
The alarm going off at 5:30am this morning was just plain "rude", LOL. Especially since we didn't get to bed until after midnight last evening. There is SO much going on and so many people here, you don't want to stop.
At 7:15, the sponsors and speakers have breakfast with Fred to go over all last minute items and run thru the day's events. I know once it starts.... it'll be like a roller coaster.
We have to have our tables all set up for the doors to open at 10am!
Here are some additional photos from last night's VIP reception.
Mike Scopa (WDWToday, MousePlanet, AllEars), Dave Card (Tagrel), Debbie Koma (All Ears)
Ann, Deb, Carolyn and Jill
Folks enjoying the refreshments.
Mike Scopa and friends.
What a day! It's almost midnight and we haven't stopped since we got here around 3pm. Waves of folks are checking into the hotel. It's hard to walk 5 feet without running into someone who is here for the event.
We spent our afternoon setting up our tables and meeting and greeting all the folks we haven't seen in a long time. The ballroom looks awesome!!!
Pat and Tracy begin to set up the Dream Team auction area.
Debbie Koma and I set up the breakout room for tomorrow's talk on the Disney Cruise Line.
A few of us had dinner at the hotel restaurant and then got ready for the VIP reception. Fred Block asked everyone who had booked 2 or more nights at the hotel to send in their name for a random drawing of 40 persons. The VIP reception had lots of perks, but the big one was checking in for the Sat meet in advance. No waiting in line!
Here's Colleen and some of the other staff of volunteers that were checking in folks who won tickets to the VIP reception.
Fred welcomes everyone to the VIP reception.
9:30am -- Just spoke to Fred on the phone. Things are going great.
Here is Fred's morning report:
Just woke up a little while ago. We were in the ballroom late last night getting a head start on things. Screens and projectors needed to be setup and fine tuned and audio systems had to be turned up and tested.
Mike Scopa, Mike Newell, Lou Mongello, two very helpful volunteers ( Jim Felty and Brad Garfinkel) and myself all worked in the ballroom with setup.
Shortly after midnight we were joined by Beci Mahnken who flew in from Seattle WA. She gave me one heck of a bear hug! It's GREAT to see friends again!
Trying to remember what else as I'm still not completely awake but alas, as has been said, THERE IS WORK TO DO!
Today I will be doing more work in the ballroom and also preparing for most of the sponsors and speakers to arrive. Being that some people got a head start setting up yesterday, those arriving today find extra hands to help out.
Aside from setting up the ballroom and breakout rooms, we also have to prepare for our first (hopefully annual) Friday Night Pre Meet VIP Party.
Well that's all for now, I'll try to get some more to you all later if I can squeeze in a fraction of time from my loaded schedule.
Last night Linda and I were busy doing last minute touches on everything. We are both working this morning and then will head home around lunch time to pack the car and head out. Of course, packing the car is not as easy as it sounds. We have 4 gift baskets (yes 4) that will be given away at the meet, plus AllEars® Swag, plus decorations for my breakout talk.
Also, we are bringing several Disney posters that will be on easils at the AllEars tables. These posters are "for sale" with all monies going to the DreamTeams' Make a Wish fundraiser. The posters are very cool - I'll try to get some pics up later.
We are only about 90 minutes from Harrisburg so the ride will, hopefully, go quickly.
Today we will probably run around like little kids -- screaming with delight to see our dear friends again.... and meeting lots of new folks.
I'll be checking in again later this afternoon once we arrive at the hotel. Will also see if I can get a couple blog interviews with folks who have already arrived.
Hold onto your hats and glasses folks - this here is the "wildest" ride in the universe.
Photos being sent live from cell phones.
Mike Scopa has arrived in Harrisburg.
Fred just called.. he's **so** excited. "All the months and months of planning are coming together. You can already feel the Disney Magic in the air."
He's got a busy afternoon still. Headed now over to one of the Sponsors, Kathy's Christmas, that is holding a special "after meet" event on Saturday.
After that, he and Mike Scopa are going to pick up the PA equipment and get started setting it up in the ballroom.
Fred said the hotel did a great job setting up the huge ballroom -- "now it's our turn to sprinkle it with Pixie Dust."
Some meet attendees, including some of the volunteer staff, have begun to arrive. They are being greeted in the hotel lobby by the Welcome to MagicMeets signage!
Fred recently spoke to the Lou Mongello, afternoon keynote speaker, and he's on his way from New Jersey and plans to arrive this evening.
The last thing Fred said to me was: Hang on Deb -- The Ride is About to Start!!"
Here's Mike next to one of the MagicMeets Signs at the Hotel.!
Fred Block and Mike Scopa
Fred Block on his segway
MagicMeets Organizer Fred Block arrived in Harrisburg yesterday. As chairperson, he needed to get to the hotel a few days early to make sure everything is as planned. Those of you who have run events know how those last minute items always get you!
Fred tells me he has a busy day planned including meeting with the hotel conference staff this afternoon.
Here's an early photo of the ballroom as the setup begins.
Scheduled to arrive in Harrisburg today is morning keynote speaker Mike Scopa and MEI - MouseFanTravel President Beci Mahnken.
Fred promises to call me later with more updates.
In less than 2 weeks time, I'll be in Harrisburg PA for Fred Block's MagicMeets event! This will be my 3rd appearance at MagicMeets and the 4th meet overall. I'm getting really excited.
I know, some of you are wondering, what exactly is MagicMeets. For those of you who have had the good fortune to attend a December MouseFest, think of MagicMeets as one day of MouseFest. Now that you have that image in your minds, condense it into 8 hours in a huge ballroom, with 500 of your closest Disney internet buds, well known Disney-related Authors and Webmasters and well, you get the idea. But let me back up a bit....
MagicMeets began 4 years ago (then called DisMeets) by Disney fan- extraordinaire Fred Block. Held in a small ballroom in North Jersey, approximately 40 folks gathered for several hours of a concentrated Disney Fix. Speakers that year were WDW Trivia book author and webmaster, Lou Mongello and John Rick, founder of the Central Jersey Pin Traders group. It was such a huge success, that Fred wanted to build on it to become a Mid-Atlantic day of Disney.
The 2005-2006 meets were held in Allentown PA - kind of a central point Fred discovered on a map as he tried to find a location central to folks in Ohio and Pa as well as the northeast and Maryland and Virginia. Over 350 fans attended in 2006 and enjoyed 2 keynote speakers, a total of 9 breakout sessions and a day full of fun and magic.
Fred's event quickly outgrew the Allentown Crown Plaza facilities and he spent much of last fall and winter scouring the mid-Atlantic for a new venue. After months of research and discussions, he decided upon the Radisson Penn Harris Hotel & Convention Center in Harrisburg, PA, just 20 minutes from Hershey Park's chocolate world. The Radisson offers a separate conference facility with a huge ballroom and breakout rooms. The conference area is just across the parking lot (a short walk) from the main part of the resort where you will find the guest rooms, front desk, and restaurant and lounge.
The morning keynote speaker for the 2007 Magic Meets will be none other than Mike Scopa (columnist on MousePlanet, co-host on the WDW Today Podcast and AllEars blogger). Mike hasn't disclosed his theme yet, but he promises to have some Disney Magic :) When I asked Mike to tell me what MagicMeets has become for him, he explained, "After experiencing the 2006 DisMeets I was convinced that along with Mousefest that MagicMeets will also be a must do on my calendar every year. The enthusiasm, the energy, the people, and the "Disney Magic" I discovered that weekend has hooked me forever."
Mike's talk will be followed by 3 separate breakout sessions with speakers including: Len Testa (Unofficial Guide), Dave Marx (Passporter Guide Books), Steve Barrett (Hidden Mickeys), Tim Foster (author), John Rick (Central Jersey Pin Traders), Sharla Whalen (scrapbooking and photography), Kevin Fonner (Home Imagineering), Annette Owens (travel planner) and Becky King (former Cast Member).
After lunch, the afternoon keynote speaker Lou Mongello (one of only 2 speakers to attend all 4 meets) will talk about the Seven Wonders of Disney World. I've seen a few of Lou's mini articles on this topic and it should be a great one.
But wait, there's more!!!!!
Several activities also run concurrent to the day's schedule that you'll want to know about.
First, the guys from WDWToday Podcast will be broadcasting live; much like they did in 2006. There will also be a special segment where you can call in during the afternoon. Be sure to tune in and listen to Matt Hochberg, Len Testa, Mike Newell and Mike (will he lose his voice) Scopa and their special guests! For details visit the WDW Today website!
Also, is the 2nd annual DisneyWorldTrivia.com "Dream Team" silent auction! Over 110 lots of new and collectible Disney merchandise will be auctioned to raise money to send children with life-threatening illnesses on a Walt Disney World vacation. This year's recipient is the Make-A-Wish Foundation® of America through Firstgiving.org. In 2006, the Dream Team was able to sponsor the wishes of two children through the Starlight Starbright Children's Foundation of NY/NJ/CT to go to Walt Disney World. Over $3,800 was raised at the MagicMeets silent auction!
Pat Whitson, Dream Team 2007 Auction Coordinator, told me: "I'm really hoping to blow that $3800 total from last year out of the water. We have so much more to offer - more merchandise, more variety, better quality overall. Firstgiving makes it a lot easier for us to collect the funds, encourages more people to donate, and distributes the money directly to Make-A-Wish. Our donations page is at http://www.firstgiving.com/dwtdreamteam.
This year's MagicMeets event also has some new activities that will be sure to put smiles on everyone's faces.
Friday night is a special VIP event. Hosted by MouseFanTravel.com, AllEars.net, and MagicMeets, 40 adults staying 2 nights or more at the host hotel will be selected by random drawing for special perks. In addition to limited merchandise, attendees will be able to get their event registration completed so no long lines on Saturday!
Also at Saturday's Magic Meets will be Segway of Central PA! Fred plans on bringing his own personal Segway to the meet as well! Saturday evening Sharla Walen will be hosting a Scrapbooking Meet.
Oh and did I mention that there are author, webmaster and vendor tables located around the ballroom too!
On Sunday over 145 attendees will be heading to Hershey Park for a day of amusement park fun and games.
I recently spoke with Fred and asked what his hopes are for the 2007 meet: -This year's event brings lots of new things that I'm really excited about. It's the first year we are doing the Friday night VIP Party and it's also the first year we will have MagicMeets pins. I'm looking forward to seeing lots of new, and returning, friendly faces and having an overall good time."
Last, and certainly not least, I would be remiss if I didn't mention the tireless volunteer staff that Fred has assembled that help make the event run smooth as silk.
I'm ready for a weekend of Disney and excitement, seeing dear friends again and meeting new ones. I hope to see you there!
If you weren't one of the lucky folks to snag a ticket before the event sold out, you can follow the activities right here in Blog Central! Mike Scopa will be posting daily blogs as will Deb. There will also be a laptop at the AllEars table so folks can blog live on our Guest Blog about the experience!
IMPORTANT: Magic Meets is SOLD OUT and there will be NO walkup tickets available. You must be a registered, paid, ticket holding participant to get your event day credentials and entrance to all the sessions. The 2007 event sold out hours after Fred announced it. So if you want to attend next year, i suggest you go to his website and sign up for the newsletter!!!
Hope to see you there!
This page contains an archive of all entries posted to Deb's Digest in the Magic Meets category. They are listed from oldest to newest.
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