EDITOR’S NOTE: A huge congratulations to our very own MakAttack, who graduates from eighth grade this Thursday! Way to go, Makena! Best of luck in high school!
by Makena W.
June 9th was the Meet of the Month in New York City. I was there, along with hundreds of other people. Many were box people, and of course we had the star of the show, Lou Mongello, there as well. Here is a synopsis of what happened-at least in my eyes.
Before I knew it, I saw a head in the distance. This man was riding a horse and the light hit him just right and it looked like he was glowing. A choir started singing a Sherman brother’s song. Okay, so maybe none of that happened, but when I saw Lou walking towards me. I stood, awaiting the hug I have been waiting two years for. After he put his coffee down on the table I had just vacated, we finally hugged. I can now say I have received a hug from the best hugger in the world. We chatted a little bit when only a couple people were around him, but the group swelled in number within 5 minutes and I didn’t want to take up his time, so we broke apart…but not for long…
The Mixer Game
Since more than 120 people showed up at the meet, Christy realized that it would be as awkward and boring as waiting in a queue line for 2 hours amongst virtual friends and people you have never seen before while standing in a line to meet Lou. She created a mixer game that everybody got to play. Christy handed out a piece of paper to everybody that attended that had a list of things you had to find out about the people at the meet. But there was a catch- you could not write your own name and you could only put somebody else’s name down once. Some requisite inquiries included: “has NEVER eaten at Chef Mickey’s” and “watched 75% of the 40 Hour Show.” In fact, one line even said “Has met MakAttack at this meet.” That sneaky Christy… :). As predicted, her ploy to get people to interact worked and soon we were all mingling as if we had known each other for a long time. I met a lot of people and most of them were box people. Some of these people knew me from my blogs and others from the box. One of my first box friends, kstoj (who sent me a 40th anniversary map), was there and remembered me right away. She recalled a past conversation about how I wanted to meet her one day and she said hopefully sometime soon. Well, months later there we were! Another person I met was a little girl named Annika who loves Beci, Lou and the Sunday shows. In fact, she was assigned a school project on her “role model” and chose Beci Mahnken! She was a joy to talk to and was as excited as I was to even see Lou in person, let alone meet him. I believe an hour into the meet I stumbled upon three guys in a circle. We started talking and I got their names. (left to right in the picture) Chuck, Bret and Steve. While talking to them, I learned that they are involved in Disney Broadway: One is even friends with “royalty”. Steve didn’t really understand the concept of the box, so Bret and I explained it to him, and I think he finally got it! They were great to talk to because they were so incredibly jovial. Of course, Beckerman and Tony were there also. I had met Tony before at the NYC D23 Fanniversary event, but I had never met Beckerman. He was a great guy even though I only got to talk to him for a few minutes. In all, we had a great day. I was able to meet well over 100 box fans that traveled from all over the northeast to be in Bryant Park.
About a half an hour or so into the meet, a black iPhone was sighted on a stand over our heads. Could it be? Yes it was! The box! I would finally get to say I escaped the box! Eventually, Lou invited me in and I got to see the box from the other side. We talked about my blog and how Lou told me about the cruise. We even discussed our “Aquaduck schedule” which included food, the Aquaduck and more food. I loved seeing the box from the other side and finally witnessing everything the way Lou sees it.
At 12, my new friends and I (a.k.a. everybody at the meet) started heading towards the Disney Store in Times Square. I originally was walking next to KathyRN, who started singing “Follow the Leader” from Peter Pan, but then somehow I ended up behind Christy and the rest of her family. We were getting crazy looks from New Yorkers, but it didn’t matter to us. Soon, I heard laughter up ahead. I stood on the tips of my toes and realized that Mickey and Minnie were right in front of us! In one of those “it could only happen in New York” moments, they were clearly not affiliated with any Disney organization! We couldn’t have planned it better. About 5 minutes into the walk, I had both of Christy’s twin girls holding onto each of my hands. I thought that that was the cutest thing ever! I talked to them about the cruise and what they were most looking forward to. Soon enough, the big Disney sign was in sight and we walked in.
As we walked in, we were instructed to hop on the escalators and go upstairs. We were just in time for the Imagination Parade which involved little kids with masks of their favorite Disney characters on their faces as they strutted around the 2nd level of the store. It was very cute and I wish they did that when I was younger. After the parade, we headed over to the gazebo and were told to sit inside for a trivia game. The Cast Members gave a shoutout to Lou and told him that he wasn’t allowed to answer. It was directed at a younger audience, but it was fun either way. We did three rounds that each had ten questions with the topics of Pixar, Theme Parks and Classics. Then the Overtakers attacked the store! Good thing we could make pixie dust by rubbing our hands together. After our heroic saving of the biggest Disney store (not including the World of Disney in Downtown Disney), everybody started to say goodbye and the shopping commenced. I hugged Lou one last time and thanked him for taking time out of his busy schedule to meet all of us. He commented on how I am always in the box on Wednesdays and I am usually upbeat and happy. That made my day!
Scott didn’t comment on my last blog, so that’s one hit with a backscratcher! (Lou told me when I was talking to the box that every time Scott doesn’t comment on my blog, Lou will whack him with a backscratcher.) Will this number increase with this weeks’ blog? Tune in next week to find out!
The winner of the “Where in the World?” last week was Marisa Lozano with the guess of Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin. I love the mural there and always look at it when we pass it.
Quick Shout out: Congratulations to Andrew Ducote and Hali Gaskins on getting married on Sunday. I know this blog focused on Walt Disney World, but these Disneyland Cast Members are inspiring and prove that Disney fairytales can come true!
See ya REAL soon!
Quote of the Week: “If you close your eyes, you may see a pool of lovely pale colors. If you squeeze them tighter, the pool will take on different shapes, and the colors will become brighter – so bright, that in a moment they’ll go on fire. And in that moment, just before they do, you will see Never Land.” ~Peter Pan