Washington DC RADP MEET
Here's my version of the weekend...which was way fun! Meli has interjected her thoughts and comments which I have included in the midst of my report. Laura Gilbreath (tigger) has added her memories as well. I look forward to adding comments from others who attended the meet!
The first roll of film is back -- so there are some photo links -- more photos to come soon!
The Washington DC area RADP meet was really a RADP meet weekend for me! With so many folks coming in from out of town -- the meet itself kinda stretched over a few days. This all started several months ago when Laura Gilbreath and Lee Zimmerman decided to visit Washington DC. Meli thought it would be grand to hold the 2nd DC RADP meet and the planning commenced. I want to thank Meli for all her hard work in organizing everything! She did a super job! A special note about Eureka and Jim - Jim got sick at the last minute and so they canceled their trip -- "We all missed you!"
Meli: You're welcome, but you still did a lot of the arranging, Miz Wills! It was a privilege to be able to help.
On Friday, 10/10; I met Lee, Laura and Tigger at the National Zoo. The weather (as it was all weekend) was absolutely beautiful! We spent several hours touring the zoo and taking advantage of Tigger photo ops! Tig even allowed me to carry him on my shoulder for awhile :) Being from San Diego, Laura and Lee are familiar with the SD zoo and it was interesting to hear how the various animal environments differ and compare. Some of the highlights had to have been the blind mole rats....you HAD to see them; the gorillas, the baby giraffe -- oh yes and there was the bat cave :) and while we never did see the Panda... we had a great time!
LAURA For those who haven't had the privilege of meeting her...Deb is every bit as warm and wonderful in person as she is on the newsgroup and on IRC, and we really enjoyed our afternoon with her.
We saw several things that were new to us, and especially enjoyed the Think Tank and the Small Mammal House (which is where the naked mole rats were. :-) And we were very intrigued by the "O-Highway", which is a series of cables and aerial platforms that the orangutans can use to travel hand-over-hand between the Orang House and the Think Tank whenever they want to. Unfortunately we didn't get to see any of them doing that.
Meli: I hope Laura doesn't mind my advertising her website, but the URL is http://www.geocities.com/TheTropics/Shores/1975/. As you can see, Tigger usually does his OWN report for each of their trips.
Sunday morning was another bright and crystal clear day -- we were all to gather at the Smithsonian Castle for Brunch shortly before 11. We arrived early and were walking along the mall in front of the castle when we spotted 2 familiar looking folks waving at us -- It was Meli and John Emmons. Shortly thereafter, Mike and Judy Tuchman and Nancy McClennan arrived and the meet had indeed BEGUN!
We walked to the front of the castle where folks gathered. For many, it was seeing old friends, finally meeting in person long time email/IRC friends and in other cases - meeting new friends! Barnaby (Bzall) couldn't stay for brunch but came by to say hello! We also had a couple of no shows and I hope that you all didn't miss seeing us... Not sure how you could...but we missed you!
Meli: Is it just me, or does BZall sort of remind one of Dream Finder? ;-)
So we entered the Castle and walked to the back area where the dining hall is. The ceilings were magnificent and we were seated at one long table. Brunch was an all you can eat buffet and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. Guests of Honor include:
Bronwen Britt (firstname.lastname@example.org) - a local Maryland resident (who moved in the last year from California) who happens to be a Cast Member at a local Disney Store. We had been emailing off and on for some time and it was really great to meet her in person!
Nancy McClellan from Virginia, who attended the first DC RADP meet. Nancy is an animator and had some neat stories to share. (Nancy I can't get your email address to work??)
Ed Igoe (email@example.com) also from Maryland, has a Disney fan page where you can nominate CMs for Cast Member of the Month Awards. He also has been sharing with us on RADP the treasure hunt he has set up for his kids to let them know where they are going on vacation next week. Ed brought photos of his proposing to his soon to be wife at the Magic Kingdom.
MELI:For those who don't know, Ed and his fiancee, Sharon, are getting married in WDW (well, they're getting married in Orlando, but honeymooning -- with the kids -- in WDW)!!!! And the kids have NO CLUE!!!
Laura Gilbreath (firstname.lastname@example.org), Lee Zimmerman and Wayne Zimmerman - Laura and Lee from San Diego and Wayne came up from Raleigh NC! Wayne has not yet visited WDW, so he certainly got to hear about it from some real veterans! Laura maintains a neat home page of their trips and I can't wait to see those pics!
Liz Jennings (email@example.com) - from Prince Edward Island in Canada - several days before the meet, I was scanning my email and saw a msg from Liz that had DC RADP meet in the header. I practically fell off my chair when I read that she was coming into DC for the day to meet up with all of us! WOO HOO! Liz actually was the first to arrive at the Smithsonian that morning. She had asked me how far it was from the airport to the Smithsonian and I told her an hour (everyone has since learned that I am direction/time-impaired.... :) and the ONLY place to follow my lead or my directions or time estimates folks, is on property at WDW! <big laugh> So she scoped the place out while waiting for everyone to arrive.
Gail Robinson (firstname.lastname@example.org) - from Ontario Canada -- only a week earlier I heard from Meli that Gail was also considering coming to DC for the meet! I practically fell over then too! Gail drove down on Saturday with her daughter and a friend. We had met for a few moments in August at the California Grill, but never really got a chance to chat...so this was neat!
Rob Costello(email@example.com) and Larry Reppert - both of whom I had met in WDW in December are from Virginia. Rob writes the Yacht Club FAQ for WDWIG. I always enjoy talking with them and sharing about WDW.
Meli (Webmistress@hiddenmickeys.org) and John Emmons - From Long Island New York! Meli and I have emailed for quite a long time...and meeting in person was as if we had met in person tons of times before. I really enjoyed talking with her and meeting John! And again, my thanks to Meli for organizing the meet!
MELI: If anyone wants to get in touch with Hubbly to tell him what a great guy he is (especially for putting up with me) his email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tigger and Mickey -- hmm, no email addresses for these characters! They shared a chair and enjoyed the brunch festivities -- they were rather quiet though!
MELI:I have to admit that Laura inspired me on this one. I thought it would be fun if I bought a Mickey for my trips to WDW and hide him...making my own Hidden Mickey pictures (of course, our next trip to WDW is too far down the road to even think about...) so I started by doing photo ops with him on his very first trip. I can't wait to finish my roll of film and get it developed!
Rusty Wyatt (email@example.com) drove up from Richmond Virginia. Rusty is a long time Disney fan with a great home page on IllumiNations. It was good to see him again! He shared with us some job opportunities he hopes open up for him in Central Florida.
Mike and Judy Tuchman (firstname.lastname@example.org) are long time RADP'rs from Virginia. They brought pics to share from the first DC RADP meet as well as mascarade ball pictures from the Disneyanna Convention last month. They also shared RADP buttons with everyone. Judy had some cool pins on her hat!
MELI: Those pictures were a hoot! Thanks for helping to "make" the meet!!!
Lisa Harris - flew in from Minneapolis - too late for eating but spent time talking with everyone and stayed with the group for a while. Lisa and Ed got my Energizer Bunny awards! Those two have more energy than anyone I have seen in a long time! Lisa and I traded pins - I brought her a Horizons pin and she gave me a Lion King Broadway Play pin! We were both very excited!
Carol DiPace, from Maryland. Carol's not on the radp -- but she is a big Disney fan and loves visiting WDW. She and I and 4 other friends are headed down there the end of this month!
Deb Wills - from Maryland -- hehe -- you all know me, what else could I say?!
About half way through dining, I stood and said a few words, thanked everyone for coming and we had a drawing for some "giveaways". First, an American Express 25th Anniversary Fanny Pack - went to Larry; Hunchback and Pocahontas Buttons went to Liz; Silk Pocahontas tie - one to Nancy and one to Mike; last a coveted Rainforest Cafe Priority Seating Coupon to Rob! A harpist played during the meal -- she was really excellent. Mike asked her to play a few bars from the Mickey Mouse Club March -- which she did and we all clapped and cheered!
LAURADon't forget the Hidden Mickey on the wall! The walls had shields with heraldic devices on them, and one of them featured three circles in a very familiar pattern... :-)
After stuffing ourselves and enjoying each others company....we went out outside the Castle to the gardens for the Official RADP meet photo ! Yes, we commandeered some man who became so loaded down with cameras that he got some of his family to help take pictures! We then went off to the mall where Robb, Larry, Mike, Judy and Nancy parted ways. Hope to see them all again real soon! It was so beautiful outside, we had to stop and another group shot.
LAURA:I think we had about 8 different cameras. The group pictures turned out nicely - except that we were all squinting into the sun. :-)
13 of us headed off to the American History Museum....it was quite interesting traveling in such a large group.... all we were missing was the tour flag :)
LAURA: True to her "TDC Duchess of Ducklings" title, Bronwen did a very good job of guiding us around and keeping us (mostly) together. Most importantly, we found Dorothy's ruby slippers (which were only a replica, the real ones are on tour), and the Computer Exhibit. The scary thing about the Computer Exhibit is that I can remember just about all of them...computers have come a long way in a very short time!
At one point we were all on the escalator going down and someone began yelling "We're all Going to Die" - everyone raised their hands high in the air and for a brief moment it was like being on Splash Mountain.....Laura was at the bottom taking photos! We all had a good laugh!
MELI: I'd just like to remind everyone that it's TOAD who is responsible for "We're all gonna die!" Unfortunately, we could not play the "crying children game." Still, we hope we made him proud.
Time to move on, so outside we went and said goodbye to Laura, Lee and Wayne and Lisa.
LAURA Thanks to all of you for arranging a meet while we were in town, and especially to Deb and Meli for the great job they did in organizing it. I really enjoyed meeting everyone, and my only regret is that I wasn't able to spend more time with all of you.
The rest of us went to a street vendor for cold drinks.... Meli and John were the last ones in line when a policeman came over and said, They are free, right? Because the vendor did not have a license to sell and he gave Meli and John their sodas. We went over to a nice shaded part of the mall and sat and talked. It was a very nice relaxing time....
By now it was about 4pm and getting late. Rusty said his good-byes and headed back home, we all wished him well. The rest of us decided to meet later for dinner. Meli, John, Gail and Liz continued touring...they'll have to fill in the details here.. And Bronwen, Carol and I metro'd back to the suburbs.
MELI: The four of us went into the Natural History museum to see the Hope Diamond in its new display case. We walked through the entire mineral and gems display, which is actually quite long, with many interesting and beautiful displays. It was very warm and between the crowds, the heat, and yes, the line/crowd around the Hope Diamond, there was a very Disney World-esque feeling about being there. We wandered around the dinosaur area (and took a few more Mickey pix) and the gift shop before heading to the Metro to fetch our car and meet up with the rest of the gang for dinner. (John and I stayed in Rockville and had taken the Metro into the city.) Fortunately, John had lived in the area about 9 years ago and still knew his way around!
We met about 7pm at That's Amore - a wonderful family style Italian restaurant in Rockville, Maryland. We had to wait almost an hour for the table...and we were all pretty tired... but it gave us time to sit and talk which was really nice. That's Amore does cater to large groups so the 11 of us had a big round table to sit at. Dinner Guests were Meli and John, Gail, Liz, Carol, Bronwen and David and 3 wonderfully behaved children Nathan, Morgan and Paul. We shared a lot of great food and conversation and stories and wonderful company!
I told the story of how nervous I was at my first RADP meet back in early December....getting there almost an hour early and "pacing" around Future World til folks started to arrive. Everyone had a good laugh and couldn't believe I was really like that... and I smile now knowing how easy it has become...in large part because all the people I have met have been so so nice! We had some good laughs over the photos in the restrooms and all decided Liz's new sig had to be about looking for the naked man, but only finding the mouthwash :)
Meli, John, Liz and I made plans to meet in the morning. We said good-byes to Gail and Bronwen and David and the kids.... Meli and John drove Liz and Gail back to their hotel in Virginia. A very wonderful day had come to an end.
Monday morning I met John and Meli at their hotel, we dropped my car off at the metro lot and headed to Roslyn to meet Liz for breakfast. We ran into Gail in the parking garage and so got to give hugs and say good-byes one last time as she and the girls headed home to Canada!
The four of us went for breakfast buffet on the 17th floor of the hotel... we had a window table that overlooked Georgetown...it was very beautiful! We shared Disney stories about the parks and hotels and rides and friends. The 4 of us then went Memorial touring... John got directions and we drove and parked near the FDR memorial. Bless his good nature -- it can be SO confusing driving in that part of DC -- we ended up driving over the bridge back into Virginia 3 or 4 times...but decided it was a new attraction and had a good time.
We visited the FDR, Korean, Lincoln and Vietnam Memorial. They each are very different and very well done. It was nice feeling so comfortable with each other, to quietly walk through (sometimes emotionally) and experience each of these memorials. At the Lincoln memorial we took an opportunity for photo ops and met a nice couple from England who played photog for us!
MELI: Now, Deb, it was only TWICE (over the bridge and back). We also got a bit lost driving Liz and Deb to the airport -- the signs aren't as clear as the ones in WDW!
It was getting close to noon and John and Meli dropped Liz and I off at the airport. They then went on to find the Disney Outlet and Liz and I went into National Airport. We joked about trading in her ticket and both of us buying one for Orlando -- but neither of us had our park passes with us so we figured it wasn't meant to be (this time!) and well... we'd just have to go to WDW together another time. So we found a coffee bar and talked until Liz's plane was ready to board. I bid my friend from Canada goodbye.... and turned the page on yet another wondrous chapter of RADP meets and the community we all share..
MELI:Yes, after we dropped off Debbie and Lizzie, we headed down to Potomac Mills for some quick bargain hunting (apologies to Mike and Judy, but it was already getting late and we just wanted to pop in and out and head back to NY). I managed to find a few bargains, but some of the better deals were not available in my size -- some flannel nighties for $6.99 and Pooh Halloween cardigan sweaters for $19.99!!! I bought a Mickey Halloween/Fall windsock for $6.99 -- I think it's in the catalog for $19.99. It's always hit-and-miss, but in general, there's always a lot more kids' stuff than adult stuff.
A final thought or two -- as I have every time I meet RADP friends face to face -- it was like seeing people I already knew and just adding another dimension. The wonders of RADP, email and IRC have enabled me to meet and get to know many people from all over the world. It is extra special to be able to meet in person, see people smile, hear them laugh and hug them hello and goodbye, and knowing there will be a next time.
This was such a special weekend....especially being able to spend lots of time with many different people. It speaks volumes for all of us that so many people came from around the US and Canada to spend a day or two with friends. I have some great memories from the weekend... I am sure others do too!
last updated 11/14/97
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