Magic Meets: Best, Worst, and Strangest

23 Jul

Magic Meets was my first major Disney fan gathering, and it was a blast! I’ll be on a roundtable discussing this event later this week on the All About the Mouse podcast…so for the time being, I’ll simply offer some “slice of life” observations and tidbits from my weekend.

Best in Show: Spending time with a boatload of fellow Disney freaks was truly a treat! I’ve never seen a friendlier, more welcoming community. It was especially fabulous to get some face time with friends I’ve gotten to know online, and find out more about how much we have in common. It has been brought to my attention that I truly am not the only evil queen around here. It was also incredibly satisfying to learn that Lisa’s and my Those Darn Cats podcast does, in fact, have several listeners! Sure, our download stats already told us people were subscribing…but listening is a whole other thing!

Bitchiest Moment: There were two major events taking place in the Radisson that weekend: Magic Meets and a Marriage Enrichment workshop. In the gym Saturday morning, I kept wanting to ask people, “So, are you a Disney geek, or is your marriage just all fucked up?”

Deepest Observation: I attended my first ever Pin Trading meet, and realized just how intimidated I am by the people sitting with enormous binders of pins before them. Can I blame this on a little PTSD from a bad experience with a pin shark putting the hard sell onto my son at Disneyland Paris? Maybe. But I also notice that hardcore pin traders seem to be the stigmatized out-group within the out-group of Disney geeks. People with pin trading binders and lanyards overflowing with Hidden Mickey pins (like, say, myself) will nonetheless say, “I’m not really a serious pin trader…” or even, “Those people scare me.”

How much of this is because we’re intimidated by their awesome collections, and how much is because we want to believe that, at least for this one moment, there is somebody freakier than ourselves? (“If you can’t find nobody else, then help yourself to me.” Thank you, Kris Kristofferson!)

I was also interested to learn that plenty of hardcore pin traders used to be Beanie Babie collectors, and that when Beanie Babies went bust, the collectors needed something new to do. Unlike, say, those of us moderate-level pin traders like myself, who seem to be Disney fans who find in it a simple expansion of our passion for all (or many) things Disney.

Saddest Moment: Missing my son terribly, after attending the Pin Meet. He’s the one who got me into pin trading in the first place, and I know he would have had a blast playing bingo, and looking at all the rare and special-edition pins. Late Saturday night I became overwhelmed with sadness about the fact that he can’t join me at MouseFest 2008, and was too embarassed to tell anybody, so I just hibernated in my room a while (so, what is it that now compells me to share this intimate tidbit on the wilds of the interweb? am I nuts or what?).

Best Place to Stretch Your Legs on I-78: Roadside America! Pal Mickey and I needed a little break on the way home Monday, so we stopped into this indoor miniature village to walk around a little bit. I was taken by the nighttime pagaent, but his favorite was the caverns. Remember, stalactites stick tight to the ceiling, but you might trip over a stalagmite!

Even More Deepest Observation: I found myself reflecting a bit on my cultural orientation and class background, and the priorities I unconsciously apply to my decisions about vacation time and money. Sometimes I deeply envy those who stay in the Deluxe accomodations, who book trips through Adventures by Disney, whose lives are such that a Disney Vacation Club investment makes sense. But then I consider, is it truly that I couldn’t afford those choices? Or is it that I simply have different priorities for my time and money? I am a travel junkie…there’s no doubt about that. And regardless of what my income is, or might someday be, I’ll probably always choose quantity/length of trips over luxury of accomodations or service. I’d rather spend 6 nights at All Star Movies than 2 at the Grand Floridian.

But when a travel agent referred to Disney Deluxe accommodations as being “what we’re all comfortable with,” it really came home exactly how different my experience is. Do I enjoy deluxe accommodations, on the occasions I’ve partaken thereof? Absolutely. But am I uncomfortable at the Best Western or Pop Century? Absolutely not.

Best Animatronic Cows: What, animatronic cows? Well, yes indeed. Lisa and I spent some time Sunday at Hershey’s Chocolate World, where we needed to ride the Chocolate Tour not just once, but twice. I’m hoping that the ridethrough we recorded comes out okay! I tried to buy a copy of the theme song in the gift shop…the look on the clerk’s face was priceless.

Most Timely Bargain Shopping: On Sunday we made a highly successful expedition to the local Disney Store Outlet, where I found a Tinkerbell watch I’d admired (priced at $50) at a deeply discounted price ($7.50, to be precise). I also saw a wall full of WALL-E merchandise, which made me feel deeply conflicted. I love the movie, so I want the merch, but the movie’s message about conspicuous consumption makes me question whether I really need one more t-shirt, or that plastic watch. I had some serious lust for the WALL-E metal lunchbox I saw for sale at Magic Meets, but resisted for those same reasons. Of course, that didn’t stop me from buying the Tinkerbell watch, or a few other cheapo goodies for the boys back home. I never promised I’d be consistent, did I?

9 Responses to “Magic Meets: Best, Worst, and Strangest”

  1. Lori July 23, 2008 at 8:43 am #

    I’m glad you enjoyed your first MagicMeets! Hope to see you there next year.

  2. collateraldamage July 23, 2008 at 9:52 am #

    You two really do look alike. And no, I’m not talking about Pal Mickey.

  3. foodiedani July 23, 2008 at 10:47 am #

    So glad to meet you face to face this weekend! And I thought of you when we were in Indian Echo Caverns and the tour guide used your same definition for stalactites & stalagmites!

  4. Jennifer July 23, 2008 at 10:51 am #

    Dani, I hope you had a blast at the Caverns! It was great to hang out with you last weekend. I hope I’ll see you at MouseFest?

  5. foodiedani July 23, 2008 at 12:50 pm #

    Yes, the caverns were fun (not as much as the meet of course!). Sadly, I won’t be at MouseFest this year (unless I win the lottery).

  6. Doc July 23, 2008 at 9:31 pm #

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts about MM. I miss not being there. Looking forward to MouseFest though and the chance to meet and hang out with the Cats. Oh, I am a loyal listener!

  7. Matt July 25, 2008 at 9:07 am #

    It was a lot of fun hanging out with you and Lisa…we’ll always have the Sheraton!

  8. Jennifer July 25, 2008 at 10:41 am #

    Matt, don’t you mean the Polynesian Harrisburg?

    And, as I’m sure you know, Lisa’s taken to calling it the Hochberg Hotel, or Ho Ho.

  9. Eric August 4, 2008 at 5:44 pm #

    It was so nice meeting you at Magic Meets! I know I can’t wait to see you down here for MouseFest 08!

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