Tuesday, July 26, 2011

54. WDW Radio Meet of the Month

It has been nearly two weeks since my last article. However, I have a good excuse......I was at Walt Disney World! Along with my wife and little boy, I had a great time on a twelve day road trip which included four days in the vacation kingdom. We stayed at Bay Lake Tower for the first time and had amazing views of the property, including the ability to see the Wishes fireworks show from our balcony. One of the highlights of the trip was meeting several prominent members of the Disney fan community at a great little gathering hosted by none other than Lou Mongello.

One of the benefits of creating this website is that it has connected me to a large, online group of Walt Disney World fans. I have had the pleasure of befriending many of the members of this community through the articles in this blog as well as through emails and forums. It has amazed me how many real Disney geeks (otherwise known as enthusiasts) are out there with similar interests as myself. Up until this past week, however, this great group of people only existed in my computer.

Lou and I
If you have been following Digital Disney World, you certainly know who Lou Mongello is. Among other things,  he hosts an award winning podcast each week, is a respected author and speaker, and now even gives historical tours of the Magic Kingdom. Lou has also developed a way to utilize the modern technology of the online world to bring fans together through his WDW Radio Meet of the Month. Each month, he picks a different spot on Walt Disney World property to bring fans together to meet him as well as each other. This casual gathering is open to everyone and doesn't cost anything. I had the pleasure of attending his most recent meet at Starring Rolls Cafe in Disney's Hollywood Studios.

Amy & Craig Petermann and I
Lou is a very popular guy so many people wanted to meet him. I got there pretty early and got a chance to say hi and chat with him a little. I also got a chance to meet Tim Foster, Lou's partner in Celebrations Magazine. Both Lou and Tim were very personable and it was alot of fun actually talking with them "in person." I then got to chat with Scott Otis who is a regular on the WDW Radio Newscast as well as a good friend of Lou's. Shortly after the meet started, Craig and Amy Falk Petermann arrived. They write "The Relocated Tourist" blog and I was looking forward to meeting them as I had recently wrote an article about their website. They were very personable and just as nice in real life as they seemed in their blog. I spent nearly an hour chatting with Craig all about their recent move to Central Florida, and he was gracious enough to answer all of my questions about their relocation experience. Toward the end of the meet, I had the pleasure of meeting Beatrice Feeney. She is another big fan of Walt Disney World who also recently moved to Central Florida. Beatrice has an infectious personality and real excitement for Disney World.

Dr. Steve Barrett and I
In addition to the great group of online friends, there were also a couple of Disney celebrities who came to the meet. It was fun meeting Dr. Steve Barrett, the recognized expert and author of the Hidden Mickeys Guide. Also in attendance was Ron Cohee, an actual Disney animator. He worked on features such as Mulan and more recently illustrated several children's books including some based on the Pixar movie, "Cars." As soon as I returned to my hotel room, I looked at one of the books in my son's backpack and it turned out that Ron was an illustrator for it!

The WDW Radio Meet of the Month is truly a great experience, and I am so happy I had the opportunity to attend last week. I feel that many of my online friends became real life friends during the brief but eventful gathering. I have to thank Lou Mongello for organizing this type of event and realizing how important it is for the online community to have a chance to get together. If you are planning a Disney World vacation and see that there is a meet scheduled when you will be there, I highly recommend taking the time to stop by. You can see when meets are scheduled by visiting wdwradio.com.

Have a Disneyriffic day and remember to keep moving forward. See ya real soon!

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