Wednesday, July 14, 2010

You Want To Meet?

It's one of the most nerve-wracking things you can do as a Disney fan. You think to yourself, this is absolutely crazy. Why on earth would I be doing this? What is possessing me to go meet these people that I've only ever "met" on the internet?

We've all been there. Anyone who's ever taken a screen name and put a face with it has, at one point or another, thought, "what the heck am I doing?"

My hope today is to try to convince those of you who maybe haven't taken the leap, to just do it.

My first ever Disney meet up happened in 2007. I'd been a member of WDWMagic for YEARS and developed a relationship with a great group of people who called ourselves "Magic Friends." There were probably 15 or so of us who got together every day to talk to each other, get to know each other, and share our lives. We were all very close...I still consider them to this day to be another family of mine, even though we all don't talk as much as we used to any more. (Life has scattered us into all different directions, but we still have a general idea what everyone is up to.)

But anyway, back to 2007. One of the girls was pregnant and we decided to throw a baby shower for her because she wasn't going to get one from anyone else. So, 5 of our gang all converged on this poor pregnant woman (whom I love!) and her hospitality and met to share the joys of her new baby.

This was the scariest thing I'd ever done though, up to this point. I'd never been ANYWHERE alone before and here I was, letting some "stranger" pick me up from the airport, take me to her house, have me spend the night, and really get to know her and her family. I remember sitting on the plane on the way to Baltimore thinking....I must be NUTS!!!! This is absolutely insane! What on earth possessed me to actually do this.

Turns out, it was one of the best decisions I could have ever made. Me and this girl have become such good friends now. I love her husband and her now almost 3 year old daughter....and she's got another one on the way that I simply can't wait to meet! Matter of fact, I'm thinking of asking her if I can pay her a visit sometime early next year.

Now, I don't suggest going about meeting people necessarily the way I did. It can be quite daunting to go at it this way...trusting your life with someone you only know through the internet.

Rather the best way, to me, is to ease yourself into it. Because it's scary! I know!

But we all have Disney friends we'd love to meet up with. Whether it's from message boards, or Facebook, or Twitter, or some other aspect...there are just some that we connect with and want to take that connection to a more face to face level.

So what do I suggest is the best way to meet up with what many outsiders would consider as strangers? (Though to us, of course they're not. I mean we talk to some of them more than we do our own family!)

I suggest going to some sort of Disney meet up. Almost every Disney community has one at some point or another. Lou has his Meets of the Month. WDW Today has Reunion each December. Touring Plans does meets usually every month as well. Then there's MagicMeets every year in the summer. Even our podcast has our own meets, the next ones being the first weekend of October for the Wine and Dine Weekend. (Be Our Guest Treehouse Meet! Woot!)

Meets are the best way to get to know some of the people you may have seen in some form or fashion online. It also takes off the pressure of doing it the crazy way I did! There's more of a crowd, so you can flit from one person to the next, just slowly getting to know people one on one. This way of doing it is not scary at all!

Now I know there are some of you who worry about the fact that you "won't know anyone". Trust me, in the Disney community, you can go from being strangers to being close buddies in the matter of minutes. Everyone is just so welcoming!

Take for example my encounter today. Today, someone I met at The Be Our Guest Podcast's very first meet ever (Mousefest 2008-RIP) came to visit me for lunch. Jay (@Cessna157 on Twitter) decided on a whim yesterday that he was going to try and come see me today and take me out to lunch. I had never had contact with Jay before that Mousefest meet, but he's been someone who's stuck around and become one of my really good friends. It was so nice just getting to chat and hang out for a few hours, before he had to go home again. And it doesn't hurt that he paid for my lunch! :) (I must warn you all, Jay has easier access to do this. He is a pilot! lol!)

So my point with all of this is, DON'T BE AFRAID ANY LONGER!!!! We in the Disney community don't bite! I promise! And who knows how many life-long friendships you may build, just by taking the first step and going to your first meet.

I know if you're in WDW in October, the podcast crew and all of our listeners would love to meet up with you. We'll be at the Treehouse Villas at Saratoga Springs at 1:00 on Fri. Oct. 1st. I'm sure more info will be available at a later date. It's a great warm up meet for anyone on the fence who will be down there at that time of year. Plus, we'll have free food and prizes!

But, enough shameless plugging. No matter where you decide to take the big leap into meet-dom, just know one thing. It's addictive. Like a Pringle, once you start, you can't stop. You'll end up planning trips around certain meets, rather than just a simple vacation. And trust me. I personally, wouldn't want it any other way.

So, have you meet up with Disney fans yet? What was your experiences? Any advice for those who maybe haven't taken the leap yet? And for those who haven't been to a meet yet, what's been holding you back? Make sure to let me know in the comments!

Until then, til we actually meet in the parks! (You know I'm game for meet ups!)

This post is part of the seventh Disney Blog Carnival. Click the link to see more great Disney articles!


Amanda said...

Do you guys think you're going to have some kind of meet around marathon weekend time in January? I heard you were down at that time last year, and I'm wondering if you will be again this year! I'd love to meet the BOGP crew!

Becca said...

Meeting you, Rikki, was a pleasure! Honestly, I'm so excited - but also nervous of meeting everybody in June. I'm not overly skilled at thinking before I speak, and slightly more so at thinking before I click "post"!

DebWDW said...

Well said! It's amazing how easy it is to make friends at a meet, even if you are shy or reserved.

Unknown said...

Amanda: I'm not sure about January meets yet. We really haven't discussed that time of year, since I know we're gonna be at the October Marathon.

Becca: It was so great meeting you too. And don't worry about that mouth thing...I have that problem too! lol! You're in good company. :)

Deb: You're right. Even if you're shy, meets are a great way to get to know people because people tend to come up to you too. Those who are shy need not be scared. :)

Amanda said...

Okay! Just wondering since I'm most likely going to be there around then!

Dawn B said...

Great topic Rikki! My first Disney meet was in Sept. 09 (I just missed you) We met up with Lynne to stalk Danettes wedding, both of whom we had never met but had chatted back & forth on the BOGP message board. I was very nervous about it, but I was so glad I did it! Then the second one was the NorthEast BOGP meet up at the Jim Henson Exhibit, what a good time we had. I won't make it for the October meets but will be in WDW for Reunion and I'm thinking about trying to catch a meet or two. Then the BIG ONE-BOGP June Cruise!!
I just have to get more comfortable with Twitter :)

Charles said...

Our first meet-up was this past March. We met a large group that consisted of several of the people I met on twitter such as @AmandaTinney @Zannaland (a Moms panelist) @RoraBorieAlice @Rick_Howard (travel guru) & former AIE host @SeanKlitzner. Meeting these guys helped us make our final decision to move to the Central Florida area this next year. Since then we have met so many other great people that it would take forever to list but they are all indeed a reason that we are announcing our move to our families this next week. My wife and I have lived in Texas all out our lives and have raised 2 sons here but that meetup changed our lives.

Unknown said...

Amanda: I don't think we'll be there for Marathon weekend this January after talking with Mike last night.

Dawn: I was sad to have just missed a day. :( And you've become a meet junkie! :)

Charles: That's amazing that you're gonna be moving to Florida! Living the dream for sure! Someday I hope to take the plunge myself. :)

angela s said...

I've never met anyone from the online Disney community and have never been able to go to any of Lou's meets (I'm just never there are at the right time), but I AM doing his WDW Radio Cruise on the Disney Dream next February. My boyfriend is coming, and my best friend and her mom are going as well, so I won't be alone, but I am looking forward to meeting all the Disney fans on that trip! I probably wouldn't be brave enough to go alone, but this way I can meet everyone without being nervous :)

Unknown said...

Angela: What a fun way to have your first meet! Disney Dreaming here, by the way, for our June 2011 cruise! You'll have to tell me all about it when you get back!

And I agree, taking people that you are comfortable with is also a great way to cure those meet jitters..."meetitus" if you will! :)