I had the chance to visit the 2013 Pacific Northwest Mouse Meet this past weekend, and wow it was a blast!
After last year’s adventure at the PNWMM, both KP and I were looking forward to returning. Unfortunately KP wasn’t able to make it this year, but our friend Cee came along in her place!
Cee and Andy at the 2013 Pacific Northwest Mouse Meet!
This year celebrated the Pacific Northwest Mouse Meet’s fifth anniversary!
The event began with check in at 10 am. Since we were staying right next door, we walked over to pick up our lanyards and name badges. I felt spoiled again this year with all the goodies in the welcome package.
Waiting for rope drop.
Rope drop took place at 11, complete with background music and a welcome speech from the PNWMM event host Don Morin. We were then showered in confetti!
We were welcomed to the event by a lovely it’s a small world display. Hand crafted by event volunteers, the display even had moving parts. The friendly clock face moved back and forth, while the well-known tune played in the background.
Andy in front of the it’s a small world display.
There were lots of other lovely displays including…
The rose from Beauty and the Beast…..
A papercrafted Tower of Terror, complete with a ride car filled with event volunteers….
A giant tissue paper Mickey face…
Awesome themed signs, like this service elevator…
But my favourite was an actual ride car from Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride.
Mr Toad ridecar!
The event floor included vendors selling various Disneyana: pins, vinylmation, old signs, vintage toys, self published books, and more neat things. I was able to snag a few pins for my collection! The event also features an incredible silent auction, with items such as tours of the theme parks and LA with Disney Legends and imagineers, signed items, and rare prints. The auction raised $6,000 for the Ryman Arts Foundation and the Annette Funicello Research Fund.
There were also volunteers dressed up as cast members, from sweeps, to Tower of Terror bellhops, Buena Vista police officers, and a cat lady.
I think Cee’s favourite thing was being able to get a Dole Whip! So much so that she had two!
First Dole Whip of the day.
The presentations and guest speakers this year were fabulous. They were kicked off with the Soarin’ intro, where the audience got to cheer for their state or province when it came on the screen as a destination. There was also a very cool retrospective of the previous Mouse Meets, in celebration of the fifth anniversary.
Don welcomes everyone to the event.
The first guest speaker was Disney Legend Dave Smith. The Chief Archivist Emeritus gave us a look into the Disney Archives with his presentation, with images and stories of some of the treasures there contained. Some of the items he shared were a book of photos owned by Walt’s sister that included a drawing of Walt’s done when he was a teenager. Dave also shared stories about Walt joining the Red Cross, and about finding the original Steamboat Willie script in Walt’s desk.
Disney Legend Dave Smith.
Dave’s presentation of the Walt Disney Archives.
During the break Cee and I snuck away from some lunch at a nearby Vietnamese restaurant. We came back for the next presentation by Disney Imagineer Kevin Rafferty. Kevin has worked on various attractions at the parks, including Muppet Vision 3D, Test Track, Tower of Terror, Rock and Rollercoaster, among others.
Disney Imagineer Kevin Rafferty.
He spoke to the creation of Carsland, which began as “Carland”, a tribute to California’s car culture. He explained how the idea evolved when the imagineers discovered Pixar was working on the film Cars, and how eventually the two ideas were combined. Kevin’s passion for what he does was definitely evident from doing the show pitch using the character’s voices through to the great side stories he shared.
The next break we used to complete the Hidden Mickey scavenger hunt. Throughout the convention centre there were Mickey icons on the walls, with trivia questions hidden underneath. You had to find all twelve of them, input the correct answer, and then turn in your answer sheet to the PNWMM booth. The prize was a choice of posters, so of course I snagged the Tangled one.
The last presentation of the day featured Tony Anselmo and Bill Farmer, the voices of Donald Duck and Goofy, interviewed by author Jeff Kurtti. Both voice actors shared the history of how they came into the field. Tony had always wanted to be an animator, and used to write to Disney Animation asking for tips on what it takes to be an animator. He actually attended CalArts on a Disney Family Fellowship and was hired by the studio out of school. While at work he would joke with original Donald voice actor Clarence “Ducky” Nash, asking him how he did the voice. Clarence would give him tips, seeing potential in Tony. When Clarence became ill, he recommended Tony as his replacement. Bill Farmer said he got his start doing silly voices as a kid. The closest he could get to voice acting was broadcasting, so he went to school for that. When he moved out west his agent called one day and asked if he could do any Disney character voices. Bill mentioned Goofy, and went to audition. The rest is history. Tony and Bill also shared stories of recording sessions, doing press junkets and having to keep sharp for reporters left field questions, and some of the projects they’re the most proud of. It was also neat to hear both of them do their character’s voices.
Tony Anselmo, Jeff Kurtti, and Bill Farmer.
After that everyone gathered in the main room to hear the winners of the silent auction and the grand prize trip to Disneyland.
The 2013 Pacific Northwest Mouse Meet was a great event, we got to meet some great Disney stars and fans, and both Cee and I left with happy smiles. A BIG thank you to Don Morin, the PNWMM planning teams, and all the volunteers for another awesome day. I can’t wait for next year!
A special name tag.