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December 25, 2008

MouseFest Land Sunday, December 14, 2008 Part 2

Sunday evening had arrived and for us, it was the last part of MouseFest 2008. Linda and I enjoyed dinner at Flying Fish with friends and then headed over to Epcot.

As has become tradition, I hosted a special VIP IllumiNations Dessert Party which included some extra magic at the end. We gave away most of the tickets for the event. Some folks were Pixie Dusted during MouseFest. Others entered a random drawing for the tickets in late November.

Soarin' Over IllumiNations

Soarin' Over IllumiNations

Soarin' Over IllumiNations

Soarin' Over IllumiNations

Soarin' Over IllumiNations

Soarin' Over IllumiNations

Soarin' Over IllumiNations

Soarin' Over IllumiNations

Soarin' Over IllumiNations

Thanks to MouseFanTravel for organizing the event with Disney. Thanks to John Leary for the great artwork on the event badges!

December 24, 2008

MouseFest Land Sunday, December 14, 2008 Part 1

Ah, Sunday! This is my last day in Walt Disney World and for me MouseFest was winding down. Usually I am co-hosting an early morning Tonga Toast breakfast, but I decided not to do that this time. It was a real blessing as I got to sleep in for the first time in 2 weeks. Plus, we got all packed!!!!! YEA! That was a huge load lifted to help us really enjoy the day.

After a very relaxing and productive morning, we headed out for the Magic Kingdom. But first, we stopped by the Beach Club Marketplace and found out that there was a huge sale going on for Disney Holiday Merchandise. Not one to pass up a bargin, I found a cool Mickey and Minnie Holiday watch that cost just $15!

MouseFest

As we approached the Beach Club bus stop, the Magic Kingdom bus was just pulling in! Great timing!

City Hall had a sign out that there were still tickets available for Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party.

MouseFest

Wandering the park, I ran into AllEars team members Mike Scopa and Michelle Scribner-MacLean.

MouseFest

Soon it was time for the Tagrel.com Capture the Magic Meet. I played this for the first time last year and had a blast. Basically, there are teams of 6 persons who have 90 minutes to go through the Magic Kingdom taking various photos to collect points. The team with the most points wins. The prize is bragging rights!!! And this is very coveted on the Tagrel boards LOL.

Team AllEars consisted of Lisa (who was the team photographer), Laura, Glo, Andrea, LindaLou and myself.

MouseFest

Of course, a certain amount of light hearted trash talk goes on between the teams before the official start!

MouseFest

MouseFest

MouseFest


MouseFest


MouseFest

MouseFest


The rules are being explained to us:

MouseFest

We begin to develop a strategy!

MouseFest

Soon it was time!!!!!!!!!!!!

Here are just a few of the photos we "Captured" as we hustled around the Magic Kingdom.

Have a photo taken with a Character in Fantasyland.

MouseFest

Wear Mickey's Philharmagic glasses and play imaginerary musical instruments.

MouseFest

Engage 6 persons outside of your team (Guests and Cast Members) to do a Kick Line at the Country Bear Jamboree.

MouseFest

Pose with a character on Main Street. The funny thing here was the character made us all sing Jingle Bells before she would pose with us.

MouseFest

Get our photo taken with Sonny Eclipse.

MouseFest

There were MANY more photos, but I will spare you :)

All the teams reported back in 90 minutes and had to tally their scores. Then the judges tally the scores.

MouseFest

Soon, the winners are announced:

MouseFest

We were all still laughing so hard, I don't know which team won. Ok, I really do, but I"m not saying. I can tell you it wasn't US! Although we didn't do too badly as we were in the middle of the pack - not first, not last.

It was an incredibly fun event and everyone had an awesome time! Thank you Tagrel.com folks for organizing this great meet!

December 23, 2008

MouseFest Land Saturday, December 13, 2008

Saturday is Mega Mouse Meet day! It's the time when many of the Disney communities, podcasters, webmasters, authors and sponsors come together in one place at one time.

The AllEars team was up bright and early on Saturday morning. AllEars Photo Bloggers Scott, Barrie and Lisa had an early morning Photo Walk meet. Steve Barrett had an early morning Hidden Mickey meet.

The rest of the team gathered in the Beach Club Convention Center around 7:30am to set up the AllEars tables.

All Ears Team MegaMouseMeet MouseFest

All Ears Team MegaMouseMeet MouseFest

All Ears Team MegaMouseMeet MouseFest

All Ears Team MegaMouseMeet MouseFest

All Ears Team MegaMouseMeet MouseFest

All Ears Team MegaMouseMeet MouseFest

All Ears Team MegaMouseMeet MouseFest

The doors opened promptly at 10:00am!

All Ears Team MegaMouseMeet MouseFest

All Ears Team MegaMouseMeet MouseFest

All Ears was very honored to have Lee Cockerell, former Executive Vice President, Operations at the Walt Disney World Resort at the AllEars.Net table during the MegaMouse Meet. Lee greeted many guests and signed his book: "Creating Magic: 10 Common Sense Leadership Strategies from a Life at Disney."

All Ears Team MegaMouseMeet MouseFest

All Ears Team MegaMouseMeet MouseFest

Here are more photos from the MegaMouse Meet:

All Ears Team MegaMouseMeet MouseFest

All Ears Team MegaMouseMeet MouseFest

All Ears Team MegaMouseMeet MouseFest

All Ears Team MegaMouseMeet MouseFest

All Ears Team MegaMouseMeet MouseFest

All Ears Team MegaMouseMeet MouseFest

All Ears Team MegaMouseMeet MouseFest

All Ears Team MegaMouseMeet MouseFest

All Ears Team MegaMouseMeet MouseFest

All Ears Team MegaMouseMeet MouseFest


Many many thanks to everyone who came by the AllEars table to chat. We enjoyed meeting so many of you and it's always good to hear you love AllEars!

Once the event was over, I had to hustle out to a meeting. I especially appreciated everyone on the team that stayed and made sure everything was packed up.

The rest of the afternoon is a blur now, but in the evening, Linda and I attended a very special meet hosted by Matt Hochberg of StudiosCentral.com - a Fantasmic Dessert Party! I had never attended one before and it was very nice! I enjoyed meeting many new folks at that event.

After Fantasmic was over, a group of us were back doored to the Tower of Terror for a private ride! This was absolutely awesome!!!!! Thanks Matt and MouseFanTravel for arranging this event!

Next up MouseFest Sunday!

December 22, 2008

MouseFest Land Friday, December 12, 2008 Part 2

Friday night would be a special evening for the All Ears team. I finally got it together enough to plan a team dinner event. We met at the Gaylord Palms hotel at 6pm for a reception, followed by a very very yummy dinner!

All Ears Team Dinner at Gaylord Palms


All Ears Team Dinner at Gaylord Palms

All Ears Team Dinner at Gaylord Palms

All Ears Team Dinner at Gaylord Palms

From there, we ventured over to the frozen tundra called ICE! to experience the magic and wonder of these amazing ICE! creations.

ICE! at Gaylord Palms

ICE! at Gaylord Palms

ICE! at Gaylord Palms

ICE! at Gaylord Palms

ICE! at Gaylord Palms

ICE! at Gaylord Palms

ICE! at Gaylord Palms

ICE! at Gaylord Palms

ICE! at Gaylord Palms

ICE! at Gaylord Palms

ICE! at Gaylord Palms

ICE! at Gaylord Palms

ICE! at Gaylord Palms

ICE! at Gaylord Palms

ICE! at Gaylord Palms

I think it's safe to say a WONDERful, MAGICAL time was had by all. For those members of the team that weren't able to attend.. we missed you all!!!!

December 21, 2008

MouseFest Land Friday, December 12, 2008 Part 1

Friday is a 2-Park day for MouseFest beginning in Animal Kingdom and then blending into Disney's Hollywood Studios.

AllEars has had a traditional Kilimanjaro Safari Meet for many years. Last year, however, we had over 300 attendees and so decided we needed to do something different this year so as not to interfere with other park guests.

We decided to hold a Meet and Greet / Digital Photo Contest at Harambe Fort. This is a great outdoor area that is usually quiet in the morning. It's directly across from Tusker House and along side of Tamu Tamu. There are lots of tables and chairs which make it a good meet location.

Members of the AllEars team were on hand to great folks and hand out AllEars hats and buttons. Debbie Koma headed up a Digital Photo hunt which everyone seemed to really enjoy. Once you turned in your sheets, you got an AllEars zippered pouch - great for batteries, memory cards, just about anything small!

Debbie Koma, LindaLou and I met up in the Rainforest Cafe for a warm cup of coffee while we waited for the park to officially open.

All Ears Animal Kingdom Meet and Greet

All Ears Animal Kingdom Meet and Greet

All Ears Animal Kingdom Meet and Greet

All Ears Animal Kingdom Meet and Greet

All Ears Animal Kingdom Meet and Greet

All Ears Animal Kingdom Meet and Greet

From here LindaLou, Debbie Koma, Michelle and I went to the Brown Derby for lunch. At least, I "think" that's who was there.. things are already getting blurry about MouseFest. Oh, and Mike Scopa joined us near the end of our meal. It was very interesting as we looked around and also saw Fred Block and his family and Lou Mongello and friends. Wonder what other MouseFest folks were there?!

This afternoon's event was a party held by WDWToday.com Podcast celebrating their 500th Episode. This was an extra special event for me as the guys made my Avon Walk for Breast Cancer their fundraiser.

The private party was held in the Prop Shop at Disney's Hollywood Studios. A limited number of tickets were available for the event. In order to reserve a ticket, a donation was requested to support my Breast Cancer Walk.

WDW Today Podcast 500th Episode Celebration

WDW Today Podcast 500th Episode Celebration

WDW Today Podcast 500th Episode Celebration

WDW Today Podcast 500th Episode Celebration

WDW Today Podcast 500th Episode Celebration

WDW Today Podcast 500th Episode Celebration

WDW Today Podcast 500th Episode Celebration


Plus as an extra bonus, the Prop Shop was filled with all kinds of well, props and we enjoyed taking photos!

WDW Today Podcast 500th Episode Celebration

WDW Today Podcast 500th Episode Celebration

WDW Today Podcast 500th Episode Celebration

WDW Today Podcast 500th Episode Celebration

The 500th Episode of WDWToday was recorded at the event. It's online for you to listen to!

Thank you SO much Matt, Mike, Mike and Len and thank you everyone for your most generous donations of over $1,500!!!! I am overwhelmed by your generosity!!


WDW Today Podcast 500th Episode Celebration

WDW Today Podcast 500th Episode Celebration


But Wait!!!! There is more!! Everytime I've seen Matt he asks me if I've ridden Toy Story Mania yet. And each time, my answer has been no. I've been in Orlando lots since it opened but never at the Studios early enough to get a FastPass!

Well, Matt worked some very special magic for me (thank you special magic folks!) and presented me with FastPasses for Toy Story Mania!!! I was THRILLED!!! So Linda and I left the celebration a tad early and headed over to Toy Story Mania.

Toy Story Mania

Toy Story Mania

I was beating Linda all the way through (she always beats me on Buzz Lightyear) and thought perhaps my luck would hold! But, as usual, she managed to squeek by on the last section. However do notice that my accuracy was better LOL. What great fun!

Toy Story Mania

Thanks again for everyone for a most magical afternoon!

December 20, 2008

MouseFest Land Thursday, December 11, 2008

We arrived very early at Port Canaveral to a very dark and stormy looking day. Folks were talking about a day full of lots of rain and nasty storms. It wasn't looking too well for the first official day of MouseFest land.

Happy Limo took Linda and I to the Beach Club Villas for our Home Away from Home for the next few days. We dropped off our luggage and went over to the Dolphin to get our rental car. From there, back to the Beach Club, change clothes and head over to the Contemporary Resort for MouseFest 101 and the MouseFest Chairman's Kickoff.

This was the first time MouseFest took place in a WDW Convention hall and everyone was very excited.

MouseFest 101

Remember that rain I mentioned earlier? Well, unfortunately, many folks were soaked from the storms as they walked from the Magic Kingdom over to the Contemporary Convention Hall. Fortunately, the room was buzzing with excitement and everyone warmed up quickly as MouseFest 101 began!

Folks were lined up in the hallway and soon the doors opened!

MouseFest 101

MouseFest 101

Mike Scopa (AllEars) and Mark Goldhaber (MousePlanet) led MouseFest 101! Most of the folks in the audience were first time MouseFesters and the guys did a great job explaining how MouseFest began and how to get the most out of this year's event.

MouseFest 101

MouseFest 101

MouseFest 101 was followed by Dave Marx and the Chairman's Kickoff!

MouseFest 101

After returning to the Beach Club Villas and taking a short nap, it was time to join dear friends for dinner at Old Key West. It was a wonderful evening with great home cooking and lots of great conversation!

Next up, MouseFest Friday!

December 19, 2008

MouseFest Cruise Day Four - Part Two

As it has become the tradition, MouseFanTravel hosted a farewell party for all their group cruisers. The party was in Diversions where we were greated with a beautiful array of foods and a cool ice sculpture.

MouseFest Cruise Farewell Party

MouseFest Cruise Farewell Party

MouseFest Cruise Farewell Party

MouseFest Cruise Farewell Party

MouseFest Cruise Farewell Party

It was time to bid farewell to friends we met on the cruise. But, lo and behold, we had just gotten started when a special guest appeared!

MouseFest Cruise Farewell Party

MouseFest Cruise Farewell Party

MouseFest Cruise Farewell Party

MouseFest Cruise Farewell Party

MouseFest Cruise Farewell Party

MouseFest Cruise Farewell Party

MouseFest Cruise Farewell Party

MouseFest Cruise Farewell Party


As the party ended, the early diners went to their dinner and the late diners all scattered. We went to the room to finish packing so we could enjoy the evening.

After dinner we wandered up to Cove Cafe where Matt Hochberg of WDWToday Podcast was broadcasting live.

WDWToday Podcast

WDWToday Podcast

WDWToday Podcast

All too soon, the broadcast was over and it was time to call it a night and call it a cruise!

Another WONDERful MouseFest cruise had come to an end.

Stay tuned in the next blog for MouseFest LAND!

December 18, 2008

MouseFest Cruise Day Four Part 1

Wednesday, December 10th.

Instead of today being a relaxing sea day, we were at Castaway Cay (to make up for not being able to dock yesterday).

Here's a view of the Flying Dutchman from our cabin.

Castaway Cay


The day started early with the 3rd Annual Walk, Stroll, Roll the Deck to Fight Breast Cancer. Each year, MouseFanTravel.com provides a portion of the proceeds of their October (Breast Cancer Awareness Month) sales to my Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. In addition, $5 per person (max 30) who join us for the Annual Stroll is also donated!

For some unknown reason, it seems that Deb can't quite get up in time to make the walk. She sends her dear friend Ms. Dee Vah in her place. A number of folks who strolled this year were new, so Ms. Vah introduced herself.

MouseFest Walk, Stroll, Roll to Fight Breast Cancer

Beci Mahnken, President of MouseFanTravel, then presented Ms. Vah with a check for $1,600 to be donated to Deb's Avon Walk for Breast Cancer Fundraiser!

MouseFest Walk, Stroll, Roll to Fight Breast Cancer

After the presentation, a group photo was taken.

MouseFest Walk, Stroll, Roll to Fight Breast Cancer

The group then strolled around Deck 10!

MouseFest Walk, Stroll, Roll to Fight Breast Cancer


MouseFest Walk, Stroll, Roll to Fight Breast Cancer

Ms. Vah was available for individual photos after the stroll.

MouseFest Walk, Stroll, Roll to Fight Breast Cancer


MouseFest Walk, Stroll, Roll to Fight Breast Cancer


MouseFest Walk, Stroll, Roll to Fight Breast Cancer


MouseFest Walk, Stroll, Roll to Fight Breast Cancer


MouseFest Walk, Stroll, Roll to Fight Breast Cancer


MouseFest Walk, Stroll, Roll to Fight Breast Cancer

After the walk, folks returned to their cabins to prepare for a day on Castaway Cay.

As usual, it was decorated for the holidays. This year, instead of a snow family greeting everyone, there was a sand family.

MouseFest Castaway Cay

Here's LindaLou posing with Minnie in front of the Castaway Cay Post Office.

MouseFest Castaway Cay

The Annual MouseFest Parasailing Meet was 10am. We met at Marge's Barges excited about our adventure.

MouseFest Parasailing

MouseFest Parasailing

Safety instructions are given:

MouseFest Parasailing

14 of us boarded the boat!

MouseFest Parasailing

MouseFest Parasailing

MouseFest Parasailing

I had forgotten my camera so I have no photos of us parasailing. Hopefully others will be sharing.

The boat captain told us we would all have to parasail tandem (with someone else) because of the winds. So, without much delay, we all paired up. Due to the winds the boat pretty much stayed in one place except when a group was taking off. The winds and high seas caused a few folks to well, not feel so good.

Still, we all floated in the sky for a parasail experience and had a great time. The ride back to the ship was much like a Banana Boat Ride. We hit lots of waves and were totally soaked by the time we got to land. We all hooped and hollered and enjoyed the experience (what else were we to do?)

I quickly returned to the boat to dry off and shower!

MouseFest Welcome Home Cruise Sign

Tomorrow, Part 2 of the Final Day of MouseFest Cruising.

December 17, 2008

MouseFest Cruise Day 3 Part Two

After the Pirate Costume Contest (see yesterday's blog), we announced the Cabin Door Decorating Contest winners.

Jennifer Marx and I visited all the registered cabins and then huddled together to decide on the winners. We selected the five best cabin doors and then decided on one Grand Prize winner. Folks in the final five were given PassPorter Guide Books!

This year's Cabin Door Winner was Janice, Cabin 6586. She made a very creative door entitled " Friendships are Treasures". If you lifted up the treasure chest lid, there were photos of many MouseFest friends!

MouseFest Cruise Cabin Door Winners

MouseFest Cruise Cabin Door Winners

MouseFest Cruise Cabin Door Winners

Other finalists included:

Cabin 2064, Don Duck

MouseFest Cruise Cabin Door Winners

Cabin 2592, Dawn and Rob

MouseFest Cruise Cabin Door Winners

MouseFest Cruise Cabin Door Winners

Cabin 6600, Tim and Kathy, who brought magnets and decor from all their previous MouseFest cruises!

MouseFest Cruise Cabin Door Winners

MouseFest Cruise Cabin Door Winners

And Cabin 7604, Brian and Laura

MouseFest Cruise Cabin Door Winners

MouseFest Cruise Cabin Door Winners


From here, many folks went to the Promenade Lounge for relaxing time before dinner. Then it was time for our Pirates of the Caribbean Dinner. It's a festive dinner with fun music, dancing and special "Pirate Menus". Later in the evening a Pirate Show with fireworks takes place on the outer decks. There is also a special food buffet (in case you haven't had enough to eat yet).

MouseFest Cruise Pirate Night

MouseFest Cruise Pirate Night

MouseFest Cruise Pirate Night

MouseFest Cruise Pirate Night

MouseFest Cruise Pirate Night

Another great day on the Disney Wonder comes to an end.

December 16, 2008

MouseFest Cruise Day 3 - Part One

Tuesday, December 9th.

Today was "supposed" to be Castaway Cay Day. We got up early knowing that we needed to be at Marge's Barges for Parasailing about 9:45am.

Well, it seems that the weather had a whole different idea for us. Captain John attempted not once, but twice to get us docked at Castaway Cay. Unfortunately, the currents and winds were not at all favorable. So, about 9:45am, he decided we would spend the day at sea and tomorrow (Wednesday) we would try again to dock at Castaway Cay.

If we weren't on a group cruise this wouldn't have made much of a difference at all to us. However since it was the MouseFest cruise, the change would impact a few of the planned MouseFest events on the schedule.

Beci and Annette (MouseFanTravel) were on the phone with their contacts figuring out what would be happening. There was an announcement that all Palo Brunch ressies would be accepted at the booking time. However, there was very little time for folks to make the early ressies. Finally, it was decided to reschedule the brunches with a delay so folks (and I'm sure the kitchen) could get ready.

MouseFanTravel had reserved the Palo Private dining room and I hosted 14 random ticket winners! Despite the room being on the warm side, we had an amazing brunch and great conversations!

MouseFest Cruise Palo Brunch

After brunch, Linda and I delivered the next round of AllEars goodies to everyone's cabins. I also checked out the remaining doors I hadn't seen, for the Door Decorating Contest.

Very soon, it was time for our early evening event: the Pirate Costume Contest, the Cabin Door Contest Winner announcements and Pirate night!

First, our Pirate Costume Contest. Lucas won for best "Kid's Costume". He's shown below with his prize, a small poster of the Castaway Cay Pirate Ship, the Flying Dutchman.

MouseFest Cruise Pirates

Kathy and Tim Love won best "Family" costume. They also won the Castaway Cay Pirate Ship, the Flying Dutchman poster.

MouseFest Cruise Pirates

We had 3 winners for the individual pirate costume contest, Lisa, Marissa and Janice. He won a Pirates of the Caribbean "gold" Pocket Watch.

MouseFest Cruise Pirates

Stay tuned for Part 2!

December 10, 2008

MouseFest Cruise Day 2

Monday, Nassau Day.

The morning started with a very special breakfast in the Roy Disney Suite. During the Summer Magic Meets, there was a silent auction to raise money for Lou Mongello's Make a Wish charity. One of the things I auctioned was breakfast with me in the Roy Disney Suite on the MouseFest Cruise. The winner was Terry!

Terry and her guest Stephanie were treated to a hot breakfast, served by me, in the Roy Suite.


MouseFest Cruise

MouseFest Cruise

MouseFest Cruise

MouseFest Cruise

Soon we were pulling into Nassau for what was a beautiful weather day.

MouseFest Cruise

At 3pm, Matt Hochberg of the WDWToday Podcast, recorded a show called asked the Disney Cruise Expert. Beci Mahnken, Annette Owens, Dave Marx and myself answered questions from the audience and those Matt had prepared.

MouseFest Cruise

From there, some of us went to the Disney Vacation Club Members Meeting and Masayo won a very cool Beach Blanket.

MouseFest Cruise

Later in the evening we had a Lounging Meet.

MouseFest Cruise

MouseFest Cruise

MouseFest Cruise

From there we went to Palo for dinner. First we saw Masayo and Maky leaving.

MouseFest Cruise

Linda and I had a wonderful dinner accompanied by an amazing wine (Thanks John).

Soon it would be Castaway Cay day.

December 9, 2008

MouseFest Cruise Day 1

Greetings!

I am writing you this morning as the Disney Wonder pulls into Castaway Cay. It's a warm day, slight breeze and mostly cloudy. The clouds are supposed to burn off as the sun gets going so it looks like a beautiful day on the island.

There will be a MouseFest Parasailing Adventure at 10am!

As usual, there is so much going on that it's hard to find time to blog.

However, here are some photos highlighting Sunday, embarkation day!

Lots of folks gathered in the Port for the initial meet and greet. It was awesome to see so many smiling faces.

There is a new boarding procedure due to the collapse of the gangway last week. Photographs are being taken inside the port.

You walk through the Mickey Ears and then head right down the escalator into the baggage claim area and then onto the ship via Deck 1. The crew is very organized and there are crew members manning the elevators to take you to Deck 3 and the attrium for your "normal" ship arrival.

Lunch at Parrot Cay then to our staterooms.

First MouseFest event was a tour of the Roy Disney Suite.


MouseFest Cruise

Lots of folks came through and enjoyed seeing the cabin.

MouseFest Cruise

The sailaway party is always great fun! We gathered on Deck 10 port side to watch the festivities from above. Well, some of us did, the first photo is Fred Block in the midst of the crowd at stage level.


MouseFest Cruise

MouseFest Cruise

MouseFest Cruise

MouseFest Cruise

MouseFest Cruise

Back in the cabin to unpack and get ready for dinner. Here is the sunset as we left Florida.

MouseFest Cruise

December 6, 2008

Pre-MouseFest Day 2

I moved my things over to the Beach Club (Thank you Dolphin Cast Members) and checked in; however my room wasn't ready. I had about an hour before our group was to meet up so I wandered the hotel.

I spotted the Beach Club's main man, Art the Greeter, or Admiral Art. This man has been at the Beach Club greeting guests for as long as I can remember. He is an absolute delight and joy to talk with. Art had been very sick a while back and he thanked me and said to thank all his online friends for all their thoughts and prayers. Talking about it, he had tears in his eyes, and so did I.


Art Beach Club

The resort is all decked out for the holidays including an amazing chocolate gingerbread carousel complete with it's own Hidden Mickeys!

Beach Club

Beach Club

And the Beach Club Marketplace was selling all kinds of edible and non-edible holiday goodies.

 Beach Club

 Beach Club

There are several Hidden Mickey in the Beach Club Villas public area including in this artwork.

 Beach Club

Our group gathers and it turns out to be very small, which is quite nice. Kristen our DVC rep takes us on an amazing afternoon.

We had lunch at the Turf Club at Saratoga Springs. Their Caesar Salad with Chicken is my favorite lunch item. Everyone really enjoyed what they had as the plates were totally cleaned.

We went to the visitors center and met with DVC Guide Chris. He took us through the presentation that visitors receive to learn all about DVC.

We then toured the Models for Animal Kingdom Lodge Kidani and the Bay Lake Towers; studios and one bedroom for each. I really love the Bay Lake Tower One Bedroom. The studio has a very querky aspect because the bathroom sink is located in the same small area as the kitchenette, mearly feet separate them. Very odd indeed.

Animal Kingdom Model

 Bay Lake Tower Model

From here we drove over to the newest phase of Saratoga Springs, the Tree House Villas. We were joined by 2 Imagineers working on the project. Todd Thomasson Senior Construction Manager and Cathy Carver, who had designed the Castle Suite and I had met previously.

Photos were not allowed on the tour as we were backstage and in a hard hat area, but I was able to have a photo with Todd and Cathy at the end of our tour.

 Todd Cathy and Deb

I have lots of info to share on the Treehouse villas which I will do after my trip. There are 60 units, 4 of which are ADA accessable. Each one is identical and they are modular construction. We were able to walk most of the grounds and actually went into 2 of the units. No furniture is in place yet, but I can tell you there are Hidden Mickeys in the Treehouse! Each one has a lovely deck which I imagine will be awesome to sit out on.

After our great tour we went back to the Beach Club Villas for about a 90 minute break. Much as I wanted to nap, there was hardly any time. My room was ready so I spent most of my time getting situated in the villa. I have a wonderfujl view of Spaceship Earth from my balcony!

 Beach Club Villa


We regathered in the lobby at 7:30 for our dinner at California Grill. We were in a private room (something new for me) and were joined by several other DVC Marketing Cast Members. It was a lovely evening capped off with a view of Holiday Wishes from the exterior walkway!

Magic Kingdom Castle

Back in the room after 10pm and went right to sleep!

Today is another full day including hard hat tours of the Kidani Village as well as Bay Lake Towers.

December 5, 2008

Pre-MouseFest Day 1

And so it begins.

Thursday Evening 12/4

I’m sitting in BWI waiting to board my SW flight to Orlando. The flight is really full, only a handful of empty seats. I really like that SW has enchanced their waiting area with big comfy chairs and lots of electric outlets. Right now my phone is charging and my laptop is plugged in.

Each year when MouseFest begins, I wonder what it will hold in store for me. This year I am fortunate to be combing several opportunities with MouseFest actvities. I’ll be hitting the ground running, as they say. With lots of plans before I head to the Port on Sunday.

Tonight I’ll be in the Dolphin. I really enjoy the resort, plus it has one of my favortite places for breakfast, FRESH Market. It’s an all you can eat with foods made fresh to order. If you are into organic juices, it features several of those. My favorites are the made to order omlets and applewood smoked bacon. Oh, and did I mention they serve Starbucks coffee?

Friday Morning, 12/5

First, Happy Birthday Walt!!! Thank you for all the magic you have given so many!

I woke up bright and early to catch up on mail and get ready for the first meeting of the day. I must have been upgraded at check in because I have a huge room with an awesome view. I just got my luggage in the room last night when the Fireworks were going off in the Magic Kingdom. How cool!!! Plus the room is huge. Too bad I am only here one night!


Walt Disney World Dolphin

Walt Disney World Dolphin


I had to go to the lobby and get some photographs of the magnificant tree.

Walt Disney World Dolphin

Walt Disney World Dolphin


Plus there is a neat Holiday Tropical backdrop for a super photo op just off the lobby!

Walt Disney World Dolphin

Breakfast at Fresh was awesome as always. Hello to Server Debra!

I was able to get a one hour late checkout so I'll leave here at noon. I will head over to the Beach Club Villas. They will become my home away from home for pre and post MouseFest cruise accomodations.

This afternoon, I will meet up with Disney Vacation Club Representatives to start a day and a half "Hard Hat" tour of the new resorts. I am very excited and can't wait to see all the progress. No photos are allowed inside the "hard hat" areas however that will just give my eyes more time to focus on everything.

Gotta sign off now. Till later.

Deb

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!

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 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 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 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 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 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 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


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

Mamoru and Masayo

Mamoru and Masayo

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 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

Robin and Moley

Robin and Moley

QuickSilver Gregory and his wife
QuickSilver Gregory and his wife



AllEars® Graphic Artist Frogman

Frogman

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

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

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

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

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 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


Members of the Audience
Members of the Audience

First up, was AllEars team member Linda Mac.

Linda Mac in the Hot Seat


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

Matt and Justin
Matt and Justin

Jeanine
Jeanine

Ellie Saroufim
Ellie Saroufim

Final Contestant
Final Contestant

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 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

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

Palo Brunch

Palo Brunch

Palo Brunch

Palo Brunch

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

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.

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

Pirate Costume Contest Winners

Gwendolyn & Rick Anderson
 Gwendolyn & Rick Anderson

Pirates Ray and Tacey

MouseFest Pirate Cruisers Ray and Tacey

MouseFest Pirate Cruisers


MouseFest Pirate Cruisers The Reardons and Julia

MouseFest Pirate Cruisers The Reardons and Julia


MouseFest Pirate Cruisers Lisa, Patrick, Eggi and Ray

MouseFest Pirate Cruisers Lisa, Patrick, Eggi and Ray


MouseFest Pirate Cruisers Joan and Pete

MouseFest Pirate Cruisers Joan and Pete

MouseFest Pirate Cruisers Katie and Tim

MouseFest Pirate Cruisers Katie and Tim

Kimmie

MouseFest Pirate Cruisers Kimmie and friend

MouseFest Pirate Cruisers Karen and Doug

MouseFest Pirate Cruisers Karen and Doug


MouseFest Pirate Cruisers Deb and Linda

MouseFest Pirate Cruisers Deb and Linda

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 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!

psail1.jpg

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:

mfsea50.jpg

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

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

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 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.

covecafe1.png

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.

mfsea26.jpg


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 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 3, 2007

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.....

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.....

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 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.

November 24, 2007

MouseFest is When?????

I'm looking at the calendar and realize that in one week I'll be on a plane headed to Orlando for my 12th December Disney fan meet! This will be MouseFest #5! I can't believe it! WOW!

At my very first meet in December 1996, there were 23 folks. It was my first time meeting people from THE INTERNET in person at Walt Disney World. You remember what “they” used to say about meeting folks from “THE INTERNET”, right? Well, they all were very friendly folks and we had a great time!

1996 Meet in WDW

This photo sure brings back memories. A few of the people in the photo I still am in touch with, although not as much as I'd like. Some of these people I met only the one time and never saw or heard from them again. Sadly, one dear friend is no longer with us. Then there is Kenny - who, like me, has attended a December meet in WDW every year since this one in 1996! Kenny, a huge Disney fan, also is a periodic contributor to AllEars® as well!

Back then it was only one meet on one day. It was called a RADP meet, for rec.arts.disney.parks newsgroup. Back then, we didn't have the message board communities we do today, in fact, RADP was it!

Our annual December events have come a long way since then with 109 meets this year, combining 87 on Land with 22 on the Disney Wonder.

Each year MouseFest has grown in official participants and attendees. Each year it's an opportunity to see old friends and make new ones. It reminds me of being young and not wanting to sleep a minute for fear of missing something!!!

Here are just a few of my memories from MouseFest 2006!

MouseFest is Magical Moments... Like surprising folks who think a friend is taking them to the Port when instead they travel by limo!

Deb, Maggie and Matt

... it is when the only language you need to speak is laughter and joy...

Masayo, Deb and Michiko

...it is spending time with the AllEars® team that works so hard all year long to bring you the magic...

All Ears Team


it is hugs and tears of joy with a dear friend...

Mike and Deb

It's what memories are made of...... It is a very special time of year.

Here at AllEars® central we are busy shipping the last of our boxes to Florida with goodies for the meets. We also will be bringing several suitcases filled, not with clothes, but more goodies and items for the meets!

I’m up to my eyeballs in pens, postcards, lanyards, buttons, first aid kits, signs, magnets... Oh and I have to finish gathering my accessories for my Pirate costume for Pirate Night on the Disney Wonder Cruise Ship.

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Preparations began months and months ago. Decisions have to be made as to what logo merchandise to bring to the meets, ordering, receiving, organizing, assembling, shipping... my my. Did I mention we have a new logo to unveil at MouseFest? We do indeed with many many thanks to our graphic artist Brian!

I've got lists and more lists.. what's in the box, what still needs to be done, what has to be done before we leave town, what needs to be done once we get to Orlando... it goes on and on. Be glad you don't live with me this time of year! I call it my MouseFest Frenzy Mode...although I'll admit; those close to me have other names for it, LOL.

The AllEars® team is hosting a number of meets onboard the Disney Wonder MouseFest Cruise and also 3 meets on Land. And once again All Ears® is co-sponsoring (with MouseFanTravel.com) a special private IllumiNations party on Sunday night of MouseFest. Last year we had a contest to give away 5 pairs of tickets. This year, we had a contest to give away 10 pairs of tickets. We have many entries to re-read before making decisions and announcing the winners by November 26th. And I'll tell you, it's not an easy task!

I look forward to meeting many of you very soon. If you see us out and about in the world or on the cruise ship; please come introduce yourself...we love meeting our readers!

Safe travels to you and yours and have a Magical MouseFest!

Deb


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About MouseFest

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to Deb's Digest in the MouseFest category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

Monstrous Summer All-Nighter Magic Kingdom is the previous category.

Pacific Northwest Mouse Meet is the next category.

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