The first Saturday in August, KP and I trekked south to Lynnwood, Washington for the 2012 Pacific Northwest Mouse Meet. A fan run Disney convention, the event is a day of great Legends and stars, fun activities to connect you with other fans, and much more!
Neither of us had been to a Disney convention before so we really didn’t know what to expect. But wow, did we have a blast!
The day began with check in. We wandered over to the Lynnwood Convention Centre to pick up our badges. Our sign-in package came with red lanyards with our names on the placards. We were both given Disney store bags filled with goodies including art lithographs, a Moustalgia button, a coaster from AllEars, an audio guide to Main Street by Lou Mongello at WDW Radio, plus much more (we felt spoiled already!). Since there was plenty of time left, we wandered back to our hotel to drop off the goodies so we wouldn’t have to tote them around all day.
We then sat out in the lovely sunshine while we waited for rope drop! Approaching the time we headed back inside. There was of course introduction music and a great countdown, where all guests were then showered in sparkly confetti!
All the rooms opened and we were first greeted by some beautiful displays. A tribute to it’s a small world, a Luxo Jr tribute, Main Street and other Disney displays out of Legoes – needless to say the hallway alone was a pretty sight.
We then made our way into the vendors room. Goodness, I’m sure KP and I could spend a fortune in there. There was also a charity auction in support of the Ryman Arts Foundation. There were lots of great items up for auction for this great cause. $7,000 was raised in support of Ryman Arts, which just goes to show how amazing Disney fans are. Both of us tried our luck, but neither of us won (maybe next year?). There was also a tiki stand selling Dole Whips! Yum!
The first presentation of the day began with a great welcome video by the PNWMM crew – a Soarin’ parody that had everyone laughing. When our location zoomed by on the screen we had to cheer, so KP and I clapped loudly for British Columbia! Beaker also tried to take over from event host – luckily the PNWMM crew shooed him away… meep meep!
This was followed by keynote speaker Paige O’Hara, the voice of Belle in Beauty and the Beast. Hosted by Lou Mongello, Paige spoke about the work that went into the creation of Belle and the voice work she did. She also spoke to how voicing a Disney Princess has impacted her life. One of the great tidbits we learned was that Paige is also a great painter. Her works “Belle by Belle” were being sold by Art of Disney, and she had some of them for sale in the vendors room. She also sang a little bit for us which was great to hear in person.
After KP and I took a little lunch break, walking in the heat to grab some grub. We hauled the food back to the convention centre and ate in the hallway. Watching all the happy Disney fans chatting happily, with park music in the air, it felt a little like being there. There was a Hidden Mickey scavenger hunt, so we went on the hunt before the next speaker. Part hunt part trivia contest, there were 12 questions to answer in all that you turned in to win a Disneyland coin.
The next keynote was Senior Vice President of Disney Imagineering Tony Baxter. What an inspiration he was! He spoke to his journey to Imagineering, how he used to design attractions for fun and submit them to Disney. Any attraction he’d had a hand in he’d spoke to from Big Thunder, Splash Mountain, Disneyland Paris, and Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Forbidden Eye (Indy!!!).
Back in the vendors area KP and I finished off the Hidden Mickey hunt. There was also a Disney fan scavenger hunt put on by Mouse Fan Travel. We needed to find fans to had done certain things (been to Aulani, been on the Lily Belle, wearing a character) and get them to autograph the sheet. It was a great chance for us to connect with other fans. We also gave out our Dole Whip and Citrus Swirl buttons.
We had the chance to also chat with Lou Mongello. Discovering we were Canadians he asked us to settle the debate: poutine, yes or no? Unfortunately KP are split on that… me yes, she no. That’s even after we’d had poutine on Canada Day at the Canadian pavilion two years before they were serving it at Le Cellier. If you were watching Lou’s livestream of the day you would have spotted us!
The next keynote was Disney Legend Marty Sklar. A hushed awe was the best way to describe the room with Mr Sklar on stage. Disney historian and author Jeff Kurtti hosted the session. The stories Marty told were incredible, tales from his days working with Walt. He touched on a little bit of everything, from his early days putting out the Disneyland newspaper through his leadership on EPCOT Center. He also spoke to the great work the Ryman Arts foundation has been doing in memory of his fellow Disney Legend Herb Ryman.
After that KP and I grabbed Dole Whips while we waited for the auction draws.
All in all I definitely had a tonne of fun and it was great to connect with other Disney fans. A big BIG thank you to Don and the PNWMM crew for planning this great event and bringing some extra magic to the Pacific Northwest! We can’t wait for next year!