MouseFest Primer

Primer: What to Know Before You Go
and How to Get the Most out of MouseFest When You Arrive

Guest Columnists
Michelle Scribner-MacLean,
Mike Scopa, and Jennifer Marx

article appeared in the
October 16, 2007 Issue #421 of ALL EARS® (ISSN: 1533-0753)

Confessions of a MouseFest "Newbie"
by Michelle Scribner-MacLean

Imagine yourself
at Walt Disney World about to ride an attraction with 20 other Disney-crazy
friends. Got that image? Okay, now imagine four days at Disney, chatting,
sharing tips, and making friends with hundreds of WDW lovers from all
over the country and even throughout the world. If that sounds appealing
to you then you are a perfect candidate to attend the 5th Annual MouseFest
in December 2007.

Last year
at this time I was doing what most Disney fans do — surfing Disney websites,
reading Disney books, and listening to Disney podcasts — and I heard
about this annual event called MouseFest. I learned that each year fans
got together for a land and/or sea "conference" on all things

I popped
onto the MouseFest website (, and read about dozens
of meets hosted by Disney authors, webmasters, podcasters, and other members
of the Disney community. This sounded like something I'd be interested
in so I signed up to attend the land portion of the event and was on my

MouseFest is a low-stress, highly entertaining event, there are certain
things I wish I had known ahead of time that would have made the experience
even more enjoyable for me. So, now that I'm a MouseFest veteran, I thought
I'd share some tips for anyone thinking of attending this annual event.

Tip #1:
Plan Your "Menu"

The MouseFest
website has descriptions of all the meets and hosts and these are very
helpful in planning your MouseFest experience. Print out the schedule
for each day and check off the meets you'd like to attend and make a plan.
You will not be able to do it all, so planning your menu will ensure that
you get to the meets that are most interesting to you and that you're
not scrambling around trying to figure out where to go next. Take note
that some meets may require RSVPs to attend.

Tip #2:
Make Friends

For many
people, MouseFest is the time to get together with like-minded Disney
fans. Before you go you might want to hop onto one of the many online
Disney communities and make some connections. My experience is that people
are friendly, welcoming, and many of them attend MouseFest. Some examples
of websites with threaded discussions are:,,, and

Many of the
webmasters of these online communities have meets at MouseFest, which
are attended by people who post in their forums, so attending one of their
meets may result in you meeting some of your Disney online buddies.

Tip #3:
It's Okay to Go Solo

I decided
that, although I am very comfortable traveling on my own (and do so frequently),
I wanted to take a friend with me to the event. She likes Disney but does
not love Disney, as I do. All weekend long I felt torn — my friend wanted
us to tour the parks, while I wanted to attend meets. This year when I
go, I'll be attending solo and going to many more meets. There are so
many friendly MouseFesters that I know I'll have a much better time.

Tip #4:
Leave Room in Your Suitcase

The Mega
Mouse Meet is the culminating event of MouseFest and it's a blast. You
will get a chance to meet authors, webmasters, podcasters… it's a
chance for the MouseFest attendees to come together all at the same time.

What I wasn't
prepared for was the amount of stuff I walked away with when I left the
event. Many of the hosts have booths with fun, free, Disney-related freebies
which can accumulate quickly. You'll also have the opportunity to browse
through Disney-themed books — I walked away with several of these. Finally,
there are several raffles at the end of the gathering… so there is
a chance that you'll walk away with even more Disney items — possibly
even a free night at a Walt Disney World resort hotel — so save room
in that suitcase!

So, right
about now you might be saying, "Michelle, we are in awe of your MouseFest
knowledge," but read on… there is more to be learned! Because I
am still a rookie, when searching for more info, I look to the likes of
those who have ventured those frontiers (or those Frontierlands) before
me. I look to people like Mike Scopa…

Confessions of a MouseFest Veteran
by Mike Scopa

Yep, I confess.

Even though
I've been there since the very first MouseFest I confess that the lure
and anticipation of this event every December still finds me prone to
making mistakes I hope those attending their first MouseFest will avoid.

So, as a
reminder to me and as a guideline to those attending for the first time,
here are some MouseFest Guidelines, MouseFest Do's and Don'ts, or just
call them whatever you want… wait, I have a better idea.

Let's call
them the "Ten Commandments of MouseFest," as seen through
the eyes of a MouseFest veteran who has paid his dues, made the mistakes,
and has advice for all who venture toward MouseFest 2007.

Thou Shall
Plan Thy Week:
We all go to WDW with a plan don't we? This is no different.
Go to the site and make a list of your top 10 meets. Then
you will have a general plan and if possible and if need be, adjust it
as you see fit.

Thou Shall
Go to MouseFest 101
: This meet is being offered to all those first
time MouseFesters. It's a great opportunity to dive into the MouseFest
atmosphere and get your questions answered early on for the land portion
of Mousefest. This meet will be held Thursday, December 6, at 1 p.m. at
the Tomorrowland Terrace area.

Thou Shall
Ask Questions:
This is very important. There is no such thing as a
dumb question and if you're going to your first MouseFest you will have
lots of questions. Seek out those wearing special MouseFest credentials
because they will most likely have the answers. Of course you can start
answering your questions today by going to or visiting
the many MouseFest forums on the Disney fan sites (See Michelle's Tip

Thou Shall
Seek Out and Greet the MouseFest Personalities:
I like to call these
individuals those who "stand behind the tables," but you know
who I mean. We're talking webmasters, podcasters, and authors… personalities.
They are there to see you, too, so in a rhyme let me say, "Don’t
be shy, come up and say hi."

Thou Shall
Remember this is a gathering of Disney fans from all over
the world. Their interests are your interests. They share the same love
for Disney that you do so mix and mingle.

Thou Shall
Not Burn the Candle at Both Ends:
There is no way, I repeat, NO WAY
that you can do everything listed for MouseFest. Well, you can, but you
will need to have a personal physician at your side 24/7. It's just not
humanly possible to do all the meets and emerge from this week without
a MouseFest hangover. This should not be taken lightly as the first few
days will be an adrenaline rush and then all of a sudden you can easily
"hit the wall."

Thou Shall

Everyone at one time or another will hear the phrase, "No one sleeps
at MouseFest." It's not true. The wise 'festers will sleep at MouseFest;
otherwise, they won't enjoy their entire time. To ensure you will get
enough sleep, start your day early, don't end it too late, and when you
retire for the night, do not, I repeat, do not turn on your television
set or jump on the laptop. Trust me.

Thou Shall
I know. You're saying, "Of course I’ll eat." Well
it's very easy to get caught up in all the meets and talking with people
and such, and you don't want to find yourself low on energy. Stuff some
snacks in your pocket or bag and keep them with you, just in case. Also,
if you're concerned about time then I suggest starting the day off with
a big breakfast and do quick-service throughout the day.

Thou Shall
Enjoy the Holiday Setting:
This is especially true for those 'festers
going to WDW for the first time during the Christmas holidays. Be prepared
to be wowed by all the Holiday Happenings and plan ahead to figure out
how to fit in your Christmas touring with your MouseFest touring. In some
cases you can do this at a meet.

Thou Shall
Take Pictures:

When you go home and try to tell your friends and family about MouseFest
you will need help. Be sure and take your camera to MouseFest because
those pictures you take will aid you in trying to explain what MouseFest
is all about… and they will help you convince your friends and family
to think about going down for MouseFest '08… because after your first
MouseFest in '07, you will be hooked.

See you there!

Confessions of a MouseFest Founder
by Jennifer Marx

I have a
confession, too. MouseFest is an amazing, wonderful, magical event, but
after nearly a full year of planning and coordinating MouseFest with my
co-founders Dave Marx and Deb Wills, I confess that I most look forward
to the more relaxing aspects of MouseFest. For me, the MouseFest cruise
onboard the Disney Wonder is hands-down the most relaxing and enchanting
experience. I adore Disney cruises, and the MouseFest cruise is a perfect
combination of friends and fun. So for those of you sailing with us on
the MouseFest Cruise December 2-6, here are my top three tips and pointers
for a magical MouseFest cruise:

the MouseFest Sailaway Party.
This is the first real MouseFest meet
onboard, and it's the perfect place to meet other MouseFest cruisers in
a relaxed, festive environment. This event sets the tone for the entire
cruise and gets us all into the Disney spirit!

Show your
MouseFest Pride.
Identify yourself as a MouseFest cruiser by wearing
something with the MouseFest logo on it, be that your registration nametag,
a lanyard, pin, or something you make yourself from the graphics available
This lets everyone know you’re "one of us" –- you'll
be amazed at how it opens doors and sparks conversations! And don't forget
to decorate your stateroom door (see the site for details).

Tap into
the Collective MouseFest Experience.
Some of the folks you'll be cruising
with have cruised before, some several or even a dozen times. These experienced
cruisers are a fount of knowledge and experience, and can offer excellent
tips and ideas. If you have a question, ask a fellow MouseFester! And
your resident Disney cruise guidebook authors and webmasters (that'd be
me, Dave, and Deb!) are always delighted to help, too. What other cruise
can boast such a heavy concentration of Disney cruise experience, knowledge,
and expertise?

relax, relax.
If you'll be continuing in the MouseFest fun at Walt
Disney World, get your rest and relaxation in now… you're going to need

See you onboard
and at Walt Disney World!


MouseFest '07 runs December 2-10, 2007, starting on the Disney
Cruise Line and then moving to land, scattered around Walt Disney World
locations. For details on MouseFest '07, be sure to visit the official

And to get a sense of MouseFests past: