Thursday, December 18, 2008

Mousefest Memories

It's official. My first Mousefest is now over. And I have to say, in a lot of ways it was different than I thought it would be. Not different in a bad way, mind you, but it was definitely different than I ever dreamed it would be.

For the past I'd say 3 years or so, I've been wanting to go to Mousefest. But, I really had no reason to go down. My husband and I usually vacation in Sept. and I didn't want to drag him down to a fan event where he wouldn't enjoy himself. He may like going to Disney World on vacation, but I didn't see me dragging him from meet to meet very successfully. So, I quietly sat in my car and online, wishing I could be there and actually experience it firsthand for myself. I, had always been dreaming of going to Mousefest pure and simply as a fan.

This year though...that all changed. I now had my reason to go down, what with the podcast and I was excited to get my first chance to go. (Mousefest was actually one of the reasons why my hubby bought my AP for me for my birthday/anniversary.)

So what was it that made Mousefest different for me? What was it that I didn't realize would happen? While there, I stopped dreaming of going as a fan and instead got to experience it in a totally different light. That was of someone who's in the Disney community.

It was something that I wasn't expecting. I had thought that I would end up gushing all over the Disney "celebrities" but when it really came down to it...yeah, it was cool to meet them...but you know what was even cooler? Being allowed that chance to get to hang out with the fans. Getting the chance to talk to people or joke with them, Riding rides or just eating a meal together. And as I quickly learned, that, truly is the spirit of Mousefest.

So, lt's get onto the things that helped change my opinion, and in my opinion, for the better, about Mousefest.

The first meet in front of the Magic Kingdom was so surreal for me. I was walking down the pathway from the bus stops thinking, what on earth am I doing?! This is so bizarre. But as soon as I got there, all my fears and anxiety slipped away. We all got along so well and had a ton of fun just riding rides together. (And of course, who couldn't forget the most boring Jungle Cruise skipper EVER!!!! Seriously, what was that guy's problem? Did he not get the handbook that the ride's funny now?!)

Another thing that really got me connected with people was the podcast recording session. It was so unique. We were all just sitting there, in this laid back atmosphere, some eating their lunches and just watching, while recording an episode for the show. What was great was just about anyone who wanted to be on the show, got to be on and we chatted with everyone. Even more fun was people were having their own conversations, getting the chance to bond with other listeners and us, while the recording was going on too.

I also really enjoyed Podfest. Actually, I think this was one of my favorite parts to Mousefest. At first, it was all kind of scattered...we didn't know what was happening or how the event would really be run...but once the speech was given, off we all went talking away.

Some people interviewed others and this was where my fun set in. I was given the task of interviewing people for the show (because Mike didn't want to, by the way) and I have to say, I had a BLAST! It was so great getting to talk to those who maybe hadn't listened before, but were then learning about us, to talk to people who did listen to us (special shout out to Steve! I know your name now, don't I?! That could be a bad thing...) I got to also interview others who were maybe smaller on the online community totem poll and help them get their voices out to people who maybe hadn't heard of them either. And last, I did get the chance to interview the big wigs who's name's you immediately recognize. All of it was so rewarding though. It was great getting the chance to talk to everyone, from all walks of the online community.

The last meet that really meant something to me was the one on Sunday, meeting those of you who couldn't make it to some of the other meets, and once again getting to hang out with those of you who we'd already met. Granted it was a short amount of time we got to spend together, but it was still some great bonding time that I'm glad I got to get with you all. (Even if I was feeling queasy that morning.)

Last but not least, one of my favorite parts of Mousefest this year was the bonding time I got in with Mike and Pam and their families. It was so great getting to hang out with both of them, either together or separate, that really helped to make this trip even more magical this year. Whether it be on the Wishes Cruise, talking in the Iron Spike Room, eating a meal together or just walking around the parks, goofing around and taking in the sights, we made some major memories that I know will blend into making the podcast even better, since we now know each other just a bit better.

So thank you to all of you who helped to make my first Mousefest amazing. It was such an honor to get the time with you all and I only wished we'd gotten to spend more time with each other. For those of you who maybe couldn't make it down, the good thing is, there's always next year!


DebWDW said...

That is a perfect description of a first MouseFest! It really is amazing meeting everyone, and amazing how quickly friendships can be made. I feel like I am great friends with the BOG family now! (Deb from Michigan)

Anonymous said...

aww, I like this post! It was great meeting you rikki and I know the mousefest experience only strengthened the podcast that much more! I can't wait to see what 2009 brings the BOG family!

- marci BOG forums

Anonymous said...

Hi Rikki!
I met you at Mousefest-- you ordered food from me at Pizza Planet! Tonight I was packing for a nice Orlando weekend and found your card again. I like your blog and the podcasts! They are great! Hope to hear from you soon =)