by Emma Godbold
What do you do if you’re a Disney fan stuck in the UK and need a fix of the magic? Well, why not attend a Disney meet right here in the UK?! This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending my first Mousemeets event, along with some of my WDW Radio UK buddies. Mousemeets are unofficial Disney events that have taken place for the last couple of years, run by Disney fanatics for Disney fanatics!
Mousemeets 2012 was organised and hosted by Adam Goodger, the man behind the Disney Brit podcast. This year’s event took place at a hotel in the centre of Birmingham over the Saturday and Sunday, and was organised so that people could attend every scheduled session over both days or choose just the sessions which interested them. In addition to the presentations in the main conference room there was also a pin and Vinylmation trading room nearby.
It was great fun turning up at a hotel for a fan ‘convention’, passing people at the entrance that also had no shame in wearing a Disney t-shirt outside of WDW! At registration on the Saturday morning we were even given a Mousemeet lanyard, which would be our ticket for the events over the next two days.
Having not yet had the good fortune of being able to attend an official Disney event (D23 Expo, Destination D etc) I can only assume that I felt a fraction of the excitement that you must feel attending one of those events…but it was great! From the first moment I took my seat in the main convention room I was taking pictures and posting messages on Twitter and Facebook. It was fun to be able to share the information with both my US and UK friends who couldn’t attend.
Now as this was a fan weekend rather than an official Disney event we weren’t expecting big reveals or Captain Jack Sparrow to make a surprise appearance (that would have been just too dangerous with all the females in the audience!!). The weekend was broken down into scheduled sessions which covered an excellent variety of Disney subjects such as ‘WDW: How It All Began’, ‘Disney Dining vs DDP’, ‘The Grand Opening of WDW’, ‘Getting Married in WDW’ and ‘Becoming a Disneyland Paris Shareholder’.
Now the most obvious drawback of holding a Disney fan event in the UK is that most of the people involved in the wonderful world of Disney just happen to be based in the States. Luckily these days it’s easier to connect with people in different time zones and with the aid of technology we were able to talk live with Len Testa from Touring Plans and the Unofficial Guide to WDW, AJ Wolfe from the Disney Food Blog and the DFB Podcast, and last but by NO means least….Bill Farmer, the official voice of Goofy. You just know that we all had our ‘nerd’ moment when Goofy made an appearance and even recorded a message for an audience member’s voicemail!!
There was also some live podcast recording on both days and Sunday morning saw a big screen ‘Mousemeets only’ showing of Beauty and the Beast at the UK’s oldest working cinema. The trivia quiz on the Sunday afternoon was tough but was proudly won by a group made up of WDW Radio friends.
The highlight of the weekend for me was the charity auction, in aid of the Great Ormond Street Hospital charity. Some wonderful prizes had been donated such as Podcaster for the Day, a limited edition Rapunzel doll, a Glen Keane signed Animators doll, a selection of pins and Vinylmation, a Euro Disney map from 1992 and six posters featuring artwork from the new Storybook Circus in WDW. There was lots of good natured banter in the room during the bidding (although apparently my face indicated that I wasn’t leaving without the 9” Florida Project and the 3” Passholder Orange Bird vinylmations!!) and the auction alone raised £2,300 for the charity.
The weekend was an excellent example of how people from all walks of life can be brought together because of their love for one thing and the one man who created it all. My first Mousemeets event was a lot of fun; it was great to meet new people and make new friends, and I look forward to attending again in the future!!
Emma Godbold lives in the East of England and has been visiting Walt Disney World since she was a teenager. In between trips, Emma can be found reading about Disney history or researching and planning her next Disney vacation. She also writesÂ her own blog at www.daydreamingdisney.com.