Thursday, January 15, 2009

Trip report for December 10th, 2008

Who's Who on our trip and who went along for the ride:

Me -- Erin "RoguePony" - This was a very special MouseFest for me: it's my first as a member of All Ears Net.

John - beloved husband, "Johnny Black" on a lot of boards.

Casey the Little Dog: -- a toy fox terrier and Canine American Princess.

Morgan "the Big Dog" -- American mutt, and our hugging dog.

Elphie the bug: -- a pug-terrier mix

We looked forward to this vacation for a long time! It was going to be a great trip with seeing friends and being part of MouseFest.

If you don't know what MouseFest is or haven't really heard it's history:

Walt Disney once said, "All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them." MouseFest is a real-life example of Walt's quote.

Several years ago, Deb Wills, Editor-in-Chief of ALL EARS™ was attending the annual December gathering of the Usenet newsgroup RADP (rec.arts.disney.parks) at Walt Disney World. In talking with meet attendees, she realized RADP was not unique -- that there were other similar Disney Internet communities that also had well-established followings. She thought to herself how incredible it would be if someone could bring the various Disney communities together somehow. Over the next few years Deb saw Internet groups devoted to Disney blossom, and even more communities, such as DIS and Intercot, held their own gatherings at WDW throughout the year.

As Deb met these folks, she found that many of them participated in several different groups -- as one reader told her, "There is a lot of cross-pollinating!" Some of them were torn, wanting to attend the meetings of each of their cyber-groups, but unable to travel to WDW multiple times a year. After mulling it over for some time, Deb decided to try to make her dream a reality. She began by talking to a few unofficial Disney webmasters about coordinating the Disney Internet community get-togethers for one weekend in December. The concept of MouseFest was born.

Instead of small gatherings throughout the year of different groups, people came together, on the cruise, in the parks, many meeting in person for the first time friends they had made in cyberspace. They not only met people from their own groups, but made new friends because of the opportunity to be together in one place of celebration.

Deb Wills' dream came true. One Disney community was born from all these splintered groups.

Or as someone said: "We have created a Disney 'Learning Community'... MouseFest has shown that that we have touched people's lives in a way that brings them joy with their love for Disney and Walt Disney World."

And from Deb Wills:

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!!!
MouseFest is Magical Moments...

... it is when the only language you need to speak is laughter and joy... is spending time with the AllEars® team that works so hard all year long to bring you the magic... is hugs and tears of joy with a dear friend...

And now to the trip report: Day 1 - Wednesday, December 10th 2008

And a good time was had by all! What a great start to the vacation! I was aggravated at first; we couldn't get into either of the loops that we wanted. That bugs me; we're more on top of our neighbors in this site, with less privacy and no trees to add a nice atmosphere. No dog walk or the canal leading to the beach and the castle right behind us. Then I found out Flickr is acting up and not posting the things I send. Grrr!!!!! Plus, we thought we'd have all this time for setting up our decorations. Instead, it seemed like no time at all before we had things to do. But everything has gone so well since then.

We got our new Mickey lamp post from Gary; I went over to pick it up after I decorated the golf cart and unpacked. One nice change: you get the golf cart -- or electric cart as they call them -- right at check-in, and since check-in is done through the drive-thru lanes, it was all so simple. As we got here, I send a text to Gary & Carol, our friend Ed from back home, and John & Cathy A. John sent a text back: Welcome Home.

Yes, indeed.

So as my hubby John finished decorating, I got our Mickey lamp. After chit chatting with Carol & Gary, and finding out their dog Zak hurt his leg, we came back with the lamp. I gave Gary low dosage aspirin for Zak; our vet had recommended it for Morgan when she had hurt her leg. A quick whirlwind of getting ready and we were off to Trails End.

As you saw in the live post, we had 77 people all together! We hadn't seen some people since last year, while others we haven't seen since July. One person, Tacey, couldn't make it, so Betsy Ann made up a doll that looked like her. Someone else had a photo of Diznee Momma to represent her in pictures! Then John A. put in Imposter-kun, a cutout version of our friend Masayo's Ponnichi-kun bear.

Betsy Ann also told us that she had shown the Hershey Park photo -- the ones where we the women dressed like gunslingers & the men dressed like saloon girls -- to her father who has Alzheimers. She said he laughed for hours and then said, "Tell those guys to close their legs!" John said that if he could give an Alzheimers sufferer a few bright moments, then it was all worth it.

So it was a great time catching up with everyone, and Penne with Vodka Sauce had been added to the buffet! Yum!!

Will gave us all small LED flashlights that are fantastic. After photos and hugs, we went outside to start our Lights and Dogs tour. It went great! First, it gave everyone a chance to talk to one another as we walked around. Gary & Carol did a great job planning out our route. And for me, who so loves this resort, it was wonderful to share that with everyone. We showed them something they didn't know about -- how great a resort this is, and then to share the decorations with each other! We sang carols and took photos, and just had a ball. I had our golf cart, decorated with lights and a reindeer costume (antlers and red nose) and gave a ride to people who got tired of walking. When we were in Loop 300, our favorite, I asked Moley (her web name) and Robin if they'd like to see a surprise. We zipped up to the beach from the canal; I deliberately drove so we'd come around the corner and there would be the Castle with all its lights. Moley actually gasped. They both thanked me and I was so happy they enjoyed it as much as me.

We picked our dogs and our friend Mary Jane actually brought gourmet biscuits for them. We also picked up the treats as John drove up with our friend Ed. After getting turned around cutting through the loops, we all hung out at Gary and Carol's. That's when I turned on the webcam. Some people left until it was 8 of us just enjoying relaxing. My sister-in-law Ann and our friend Kim D. texted us with things that she saw on the webcam.

We dropped the dogs off to see the Water Electric parade at the marina. Then it was time to call it a night; John drove Ed back to his resort and I came to see how the dogs are.

I'm so happy that everyone enjoyed tonight. I can't wait to see their photos!

The wi-fi signal has gotten low so I'll have to post this another time; same thing with uploading the photos and videos.

Photo slideshow:

Photos for December 19th, 2008

Photos for December 18th, 2008

Photos for December 17th, 2008

Photos for December 16th, 2008

Photos for December 15th, 2008