The Perfect Christmas Gift

by Mike Scopa
AllEars® Feature Writer

Feature Article

This article appeared in the December 25, 2007 Issue #431 of ALL EARS® (ISSN: 1533-0753)

This year before leaving for Mousefest my wife Carol and I discussed Christmas presents and she chuckled and said how each year she knows exactly what to give me for Christmas. She says it's the perfect gift; Mousefest.

How is that? Well, due to her position with the local school district, it's next to impossible for Carol to accompany me to Mousefest every December. Of the five Mousefests she has been to only the first two.

I tend to have some guilt feelings as I leave her every year to the cold, snow, and ice while I head off to the land of talking mice and ducks. Still, she always encourages me to have a good time, to say hello to everyone, and above all do whatever I can to make sure others have a good time as well.

That peace of mind she gives to me is so important.

Her mention of Mousefest as the perfect Christmas gift made me think about that concept and the more and more I thought of it I was convinced that she was right.

As each day of the land portion of Mousefest came and gone I became more aware that Mousefest was very much the perfect Christmas gift for me.

When I think of Mousefest a lot of things come to mind but right at the top of my list is one simple fact and that is that Mousefest is the absolute number one time of the year for me to go to Orlando. Why?

It's very simple. When else is there a better time to see as many of my friends as possible? When else is there a guarantee that I will run across old friends and perhaps make new ones as well?

Mousefest is all about the Disney internet community and the friendships and relationships that have been forged over the years and how these relationships have been nurtured during Mousefest be it either the cruise or land portion of this annual event.

We all have a common bond and that is our love for what Walt Disney has created for us, an environment that never fails to generate a positive feeling towards life. What better way or venue to also celebrate the magic of friendship than during Mousefest at Walt Disney World?

Let's get back to the idea of Mousefest as being a Christmas gift.

Imagine that you are flying to Orlando for Mousefest. You have landed and the excitement builds. You rush to collect your luggage and it's off to your destination, be it a Disney resort or non-Disney resort.

There is always the possibility of spotting a friend or two at baggage claim. Oh that is such a tease as it just makes you even more anxious to get to Walt Disney World not to see Mickey but to see your friend from the great Northwest who you haven't seen in a year or that long time buddy from the Northeast who has not been able to come to Mousefest for two years.

As the years have moved along and my universe of Disney friends has continued to grow there are always special relationships that continue to grow as well.

As much as we all try to treat one another equally we cannot deny that within our own circle of friends will always be an inner circle of people with whom for one reason or another we hold a special bond.

Even this inner circle grows each year.

It is this inner circle of friends which really made me think long and hard about Mousefest as being akin to a Christmas gift. Actually, it is not just one Christmas gift, but a multitude of gifts for not just me but for all who venture to this annual event.

Let's think of Walt Disney World as a Christmas tree...a huge Christmas tree that has just been put up but it has no lights, no ornaments, and no tree topper.

That's where Mousefest comes into play, at least for me.

When I see a friend who I have not seen in a long time, be it several months, or a year, or even over a year, I know my face lights up with the knowledge that my friend has made it safely to Orlando and I will have a chance to spend time with this friend.

The first sight of this friend to me is very much like spotting a beautifully wrapped Christmas gift; a Christmas gift found under the Walt Disney World virtual Christmas tree.

As I greet my friends with either a handshake or a hug, or even both, that to me is like unwrapping this virtual present. Just think of it, you are at the Happiest Place on Earth and you have just greeted a friend you have not seen in oh so long. Aren't you happy? Haven't both your faces lighted up? Isn't it just like opening a present on Christmas Day?

It works even better for me.

As I meet and greet each of my friends I open more and more presents. Each relationship; each friend, also to me represents an ornament that I might "hang" on my virtual tree. With each greeting the tree becomes more festive; more alive; more colorful.

Of course let's not forget the inner circle of friends. Perhaps these may be friends with whom you have had a relationship with for a very long time, or with whom you share a special bond, or just someone who you feel extra close to because of maybe a special Disney Magic moment you both experienced.

Either way, we all have this virtual inner circle of friends.

When I see these friends for the first time at Mousefest the grip on the handshake is a bit tighter and the hug lasts a bit longer, and something else happens.

Deep inside me there is warmth or a glow that I can feel when I embrace my inner circle friends. Like all my friends these special people also represent gifts for me to "unwrap" and the salutation or greeting is the unwrapping and the unveiling of yet another ornament.

But these ornaments are somewhat different than the others, for when I place these ornaments on my virtual tree they glow and bring light to the color already draped on the tree.

As I come across more and more of my inner circle the tree receives more and more of these special glowing ornaments.

It's very simple, we all have our inner circle of friends and they very much light up our life whenever we are with them to enjoy their company. My inner circle of friends very much light up my life and thus light up my tree as well.

Walt Disney, a very long time ago, sat on a bench and wondered what it would be like to have an amusement park in which families could enjoy each other's company and ride together and share the joy of having fun as a family.

Along the way he created an environment that over the years has brought more than just families together. In fact, I'd be so bold as to say that he has put in place a very mystical piece of machinery that draws people together; people with similar values and beliefs...people who over time establish friendships and relationships with others who share this common bond.

Whether I'm watching Christmas Wishes on Main Street USA during Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party, or gazing over World Showcase Lagoon during Christmas Illuminations, in both cases the magic, the joy, and the oh so warm feeling I experience is only realized if I am in the presence of my friends, my Christmas presents, the lights of my life.

Mousefest and Walt Disney World during the holiday season is truly special but only because I am blessed with having my friends there. There is no greater feeling in the world than the blessing of friendship.

More importantly, Carol was right.

There is not a better perfect Christmas gift than spending time with my friends at Walt Disney World at Mousefest.

Thank You Walt, and from all of us at AllEars®: Happy Holidays.

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EDITOR'S NOTE: I'm pleased to announce that Mike Scopa is now part of the AllEars® team. Mike will be writing a monthly article for the AllEars® newsletter in addition to his blog entitled, The View From Scopa Towers ( http://allears.net/blogs/mikescopa/). Mike's 30-plus year journey from riding Swan Boats around Cinderella Castle in the 1970s to podcasting in 2007 has given him a special perspective on Walt Disney World.


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Editor's Note: This story/information was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all current rates, information and other details before planning your trip.