John and I arrived for the long weekend on Thursday night, later than we thought after John used a “shortcut” to get to Commodore Barry Bridge. We knew our friends Carol and Gary were already there at the same place where we were staying, and as we guessed, they weren’t just in the same section but right next door to us! We saw Gary at his laptop, so we knocked on the window. Like all good friends, he opened the window and greeted us with a warm welcome:
“There goes the neighborhood,” he said.
The Blackwells are here!
They came outside and after discussing our mutual trips, everybody said good night. We saw them again the next morning as Gary walked their dogs, Zac and Zoe, and we had our three nut jobs out:
Gary had made a new top for our Mickey lamp post (you can read about that in “Birth of a Mickey Lamp”) and gave us a nice GPS software package for our laptop. As a thank you, we knew he and Carol were big Disneyana fans, so we got them a 1971 Walt Disney World Pictorial Souvenir book. It even has a great section on our favorite resort, Fort Wilderness. I was so happy that they liked it!
I did still show off my vintage Fort Wilderness shirt and jacket which they took well. They do have custom FW signs for their camper after all!
Our subtle tribute to our home away from home: Fort Wilderness!
John and I both volunteered for setting up for the weekend’s events. Last year, we mosied over after talking to Gary and Carol until lunch time, and the other volunteers looked at like, “Hey, thanks for showing up when everything’s done!” This time, we actually got over there early so we could be of some help! What a concept!
Making “magic” takes a lot of people, but we had fun doing it and it was a great chance to meet up with good friends, like Tacey, Deb, Linda… We got busy — and special thanks to whoever brought in the coffee and the greatly timed soft pretzels! I jumped on both of those like I had been chained in the basement for a month. And it was so sweet of my husband to yell, “Erin, drink your coffee from a cup, please! Don’t just pour the whole box into your mouth!” Or telling Deb that I never work at home as I did for the All Ears tables.
Volunteers had been at work already on Thursday night, including someone leaving a little joke for Mike Scopa:
Sign says "The Dread Pirate Scopa"
So here’s the Before shot:
Pretty, but where's the magic?
Team All Ears’ Michelle and I helped put together the AEN tables, joking about how the other team members would get there and rearrange everything. We did decide to make it a tradition to have an All Ears pins Mickey on the table. So it was a homage, not, as we were (jokingly) accused of : “you guys ripped off our idea from last year”. That’s our story and we’re sticking to it!
Michelle even interviewed me for one of All Ears’ audio tweets as we set up the table. I’m sure it was brilliant, filled with insight and warm charm, but just in case, I didn’t listen to it. 😉
Of course, as we set up tables, centerpieces, etc. the Dream Team Project set up the silent auction for the Make A Wish foundation. I tried to get John to go over there with me, but he wanted to be surprised by what was offered when it opened on Saturday. That killed my secret plan of “Look at THAT, honey! I would so LOVE to have THAT. hint, hint!”
Our friend Tacey gave John a nice surprise: this great, embroidered Trail Ranger Jessica Rabbit shirt:
Friday wasn’t just for setting up, but for a sort of 3 events: a little get together with food and giveaways, then Magic Tunes – a name that tune game, and a karaoke meet. All of this, plus a little collectibles market to kick off the night, all raised more money for Make A Wish.
We got to meet more friends like Scott Thomas, who I worried wouldn’t be able to make it. Deb Koma, Glo from Miami, Sandra, Terry and Stephanie… it was so FANTASTIC meeting up again! Beci and her team for Mouse Fan Travel had someone’s little girl at their table as they finished setting up, and I chastised them, reminding them that we have child labor laws in this country!
Mike Scopa gave up his karaoke ticket for auction, and when a young woman wanted to go but couldn’t meet the auction price, Deb Wills and All Ears’ Glo from Miami jumped into the auction for her. Someone else put up their karaoke ticket, raising another $150 for Make A Wish! I wish I had gotten the name of the young woman who went because it was important later, but instead I would call her Karaoke Girl whenever I saw her, which she seemed to like. Thankfully!
I finally got to see our friends John and Cathy at the Magic Tunes, and I was really impressed at how good some people were! We got to the point with the really obscure music with making things up like:
The bride’s dance at our wedding! It actually ended up being the old Transportation pavilion theme.
What John hears when he sees me smile! And it’d actually be the exit music for the old exhibit at Space Mountain.
Another great favorite was the song from the Canadian pavilion, and I excitedly said to Carol and Gary, “Listen! The song for your country!” to which they gave me absolutely blank stares. So I added emphatically, “You know – Canada?!”
Here’s a piece of trivia: did you know they play “The Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald” at the Canada Pavilion? Neither did I.
Last year, during a Michael Jackson song from “Captain EO”, Lou Mongello did a quick moonwalk, not knowing it was recorded and on youtube within 30 minutes. People shouted for him to do it again; to sweeten it, they offered money to the Make A Wish donation, which was Lou’s project. By the time it was done, it was hundreds of dollars (I think $800) for Deb Wills of All Ears, Beci of Mouse Fan Travel, and Lou to do it. Wow! And here they are!
And because he instigated the whole thing, Beci got Mike Scopa to take his turn:
Some lucky kid will never know they got their Disney World pass just from those few seconds of some really … um, good dancing!
And then, on to karaoke! We ended up in one corner of the room, but mingled with everyone. It took a little while for the singing to get started, but we were looking through the books pretty quickly. I thought of finding something fun, some novelty song. I found the perfect song, but as I wrote it up… well, the age old situation rose up:
I went with the red guy on the right, and entered my friend Cathy’s name to sing….
…. The Mighty Mouse theme song.
In my defense, I showed it to her husband John before putting it in and got a big thumbs up! Sufficite to say, when they called her name, she didn’t go up and gave me such a LOOK! The next day, she had this to say about it:
My husband John sang and for the people who thought he could only do “Mack the Knife”:
Let me be serious for a moment: Mommas, don’t let your babies grow up to be karaoke singers. Because this is the sort of people who hang out in those places:
Look at Gary trying to hide behind us, like he wasn’t there!
And a little more education: John A. ordered a Scotch and soda. The bar waitress asked him what kind of soda. We joked all weekend: Mr. Pibb. Then Deb Wills told us of a nice place actually giving her Scotch, ginger ale, and olive. Yum.
So Friday was a day of meeting friends and having laughs. And we had a whole weekend to go!
Saturday started early too with meeting at Perkins for breakfast and getting over to the ballroom for last minute checks and set up. I admit I stirred up the waiting crowd with “Wait until you see the good things in there!” The volunteers did a fantastic job because here’s the finished ballroom!
After the Meetskateers were finished!
One centerpiece with the Winnie the Pooh snowglobe:
And the other centerpieces with the Tinker Bell snowglobe:
And a view of the auction tables in the back:
The All Ears.Net tables with some great gifts for our guests and Deb's wonderful Flying Dutchman poster
We took a moment for photos:
Deb is founder of All Ears.Net and John is founder of The Central Jersey Disney Pin Traders
The Magic Meets volunteers
I even learned where the name All Ears came from: Deb Koma's son!
They had a lot of great sessions like one on moving to Orlando and Deb’s and Beci’s talk on Adventures by Disney. Listening to them, I was ready to jump on to the first trip to take me to Ireland. Then, when Beci described standing in Walt’s apartment, looking at the window as he had, sitting there on the couches we’ve seen in so many pictures, she spoke with such feeling, it moved me. Carol and I told her so at the end of the talk.
The whole day wasn’t one of decorum and lumps in the throat as one can see here by the “mature” actions….
Winnie the Pooh wouldn't drink Scotch! It has no honey in it!
…. of a certain table:
You got a gift, my friend! No, you!
When the day was done, over $26,000 was raised for charity including someone who, after meeting a Make A Wish family, raised $10,000 on his own! We did our share: we didn’t win any auctions, but John did a good job competing for something he found out I wanted (thanks, hon!), which also drove up the amount of money the charity got! And Karaoke Girl came up to us, on her own, and matched the donation Deb and Glo had made for her the night before; now you know why I wish I had learned her name. She’s starting in Disney’s college program in September. You’ll be a great cast member, KG, with your generous heart!
Friends of mine won some of the auctions; I was happy for every one of them, and thankful for everyone who was so generous for their bidding!
Deb Wills autographs her poster sold for charity to Terry on the right. With All Ears' Linda in the middle.
We collapsed that night. I think all the fun, late nights, and early mornings hit everyone at once. Plus the little bit of Scotch that I tried — ooo, mellow! So it was a quiet night…
We were supposed to go to Hershey on Sunday, but Morgan decided it was much more important to nip at a bug bite or something else in the middle of the night, and chew off a chunk of fur and really aggravate her skin. So instead, we took care of the hurt pooch and plan instead to celebrate John’s birthday in September in Hershey! That made Sunday a relaxing day with reading, hanging out at Carol and Gary’s – Zac and Zoe even allowed Elphie to come over again — and napping. But I did miss not getting over to the Sunday events and Hershey, because it meant we missed a chance to talk and say goodbye to all our friends.
Monday was the day we packed up; so did Carol and Gary. We’re going to try and meet in October when they’re in Jersey for a pin event. The fun always goes by too fast….
But not this trip report, huh? You’re probably thinking, “When is she going to shut up already?” I will now, after this pithy closing….
Don’t do drugs! Do I need to show the kind of people who drink Scotch and Mr. Pibbs at karaoke again? I thought not.
😉 Magic rules!