It is now very much a part of my thought process. After Halloween comes Thanksgiving, and after Thanksgiving comes Mousefest, and then comes Christmas.
Since Thanksgiving is right around the corner, I know that Mousefest is coming up fast.
There may be some of you who have never heard of Mousefest. If you haven't, then you've come to the right place.
It is my duty to tell you all about Mousefest -- what it is, where it came from, and especially what to do if you decide to attend Mousefest.
As a matter of fact, not only are there things you should do before and during Mousefest but also a few things that you should not do.
So if you are planning to go this year's event, or even if you are seeing the word Mousefest for the first time, pull up a chair, slide your feet into your favorite Mickey slippers, and let's talk about Mousefest 2005.
Simply put, Mousefest is an annual international gathering of Disney enthusiasts from around the world. Actually, it's probably more accurate to say that it is a gathering of both Walt Disney World and Disneyland enthusiasts from around the world. Mousefest offers an opportunity for all those in the Disney Internet community to meet face to face and put a face to a name or a voice, as well as a chance to meet the authors of those Disney theme park guidebooks and those who have constructed Disney fan and information sites and special Disney communities.
Mostly, it's a once-a-year chance to make and renew Disney friendships that began through a passion for Disney.
The predecessors for Mousefest were the informal meets or get-togethers at Walt Disney World by the subscribers of the rec.arts.disney.parks (RADP) Usenet newsgroup.
These gatherings were started to give everyone a chance to meet face-to-face and get to know one another on a more personal level.
These meetings were held either the first or second week in December because of the light crowd capacity, off-season room rates, relatively mild weather, and festive holiday atmosphere offered by WDW.
This was during the salad days of the Disney Internet community. As the years went by, some original RADPers founded other Disney sites, message boards, forums, and chats -- building many ways to connect with Disney fans all around the world.
Mousefest founders Deb Wills of AllEarsNet and Passporter authors Dave and Jennifer Marx were the main architects and sponsors of this outgrowth of the annual WDW RADP meet, and gave it a new name: Mousefest.
For more information on the beginnings of Mousefest and some additional history on Mousefest 2003 and 2004, you may find it best to read my articles on the 2003 and 2004 Mousefest gatherings. They truly capture, in detail, how the first two years of Mousefest was planned and enjoyed by all who participated. In addition, you can read my articles (article 1 | article 2) on the initial Mousefest gathering in 2003. The second two articles focus on last year's event (link 1 | link 2).
This year's Mousefest dates are Wednesday, November 30 thru Thursday, December 8.
The Land portion runs from November 30 thru December 3 and the Disney Cruise portion runs from December 4 through 8.
The date to circle on your calendar is Saturday, December 3 as that is the day for the MegaMouseMeet.
During Mousefest's land portion there is an official designated park for each day.
For 2005 the designated park days are as follows:
These designated days are designed to help Mousefesters focus on certain parks on these days and to help everyone meet and enjoy the offerings of that park together.
For information such as official Mousefest events, the official Mousefest Pocket Guide, and a list of those who will be attending this year's event go over to the official Mousefest site (link).
MousePlanet will be well-represented at Mousefest 2005. MousePlanet is one of the gold sponsors for Mousefest 2005.
Attending the event will be Mark Goldhaber, David Koenig, and yours truly.
For more information on MousePlanet activities at Mousefest 2005, check out Web page (link).
If you are attending your first Mousefest, you may want to take note of the following list of suggestions as to how to prepare for this event and what to look for and do (and not do) over the course of the week.
Right at the top of the list would be to be sure to attend the MegaMouseMeet on Saturday of Mousefest Week to meet and talk with the author or authors of your favorite guidebook or meet some of those webmasters who have created a Disney fan site or Disney community you particularly like.
The prime objective for Mousefest is to bring the Disney Internet community together. This is the one of those rare times during the year where both the webmasters and the guidebook authors will be together in one location. All the webmasters and authors look forward to this annual event and the opportunity to meet and greet the Disney Internet family. Don't disappoint them and yourself by not attending.
In order for you to be sure and understand all that is happening during Mousefest week, you will need information. The best place to get this information is the official Mousefest Pocket Guide, which you can download at the official Mousefest site (link).
My suggestion is to download and print this guide the day after Thanksgiving. On that day, the link should go to a version that is most updated and close to the final version.
The Pocket Guide will list all the official events for the week and is small enough so that you can carry it around with you.
Before you go to Mousefest, you should review the pocket guide and make your own private Mousefest guidesheet to list all the events you may want to do.
You should create your own itinerary guide sheet listing all your Mousefest activities on one piece of paper. This itinerary should list days, times, and specific info about each event you want to attend.
Mousefest veterans understand that sometimes there is so much to do that attractions usually get swept aside. For that reason many try to schedule their stay Do try to schedule your stay so that you have one day before Mousefest officially starts start and one day afterwards so you can spend some your last day doing an attraction or touring a park that you may have not been able to do during the Mousefest event wee.
Remember that this is an opportunity to meet authors and webmasters. It is also a chance for you to meet up with those you may have met online at a Disney community. If you frequent a community or two find out who is attending Mousefest and arrange to meet them. This is a great opportunity to meet your online friends and to put a face towards a name.
Mousefest is held between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and it's important to try to integrate your Mousefest activities with the seasonal events happening at Walt Disney world.
This means trying to partake of Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party in WDW's Magic Kingdom, Holidays Around the world in Epcot, and the Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights in Disney-MGM Studios. This will take some planning and thought, and will make for a very packed trip -- but it will be worth it.
Let's get back to the Mousefest Pocket Guide. Don't try to do everything listed in the guide. There is no way anyone can do every Mousefest event, so don't get caught up in the false belief that you can do and see everything. The excitement of Mousefest can sometimes cause many to feel that they can do more than they are physically capable of doing. Don't fall into that trap.
During Mousefest don't expect that you'll be touring the parks as you would during a regular vacation. This just won't happen. This is why I had suggested earlier about adding a day up front and a day at the end for doing some park touring you may not be able to do during the Mousefest days.
Do not miss the MegaMouseMeet. For most people it's the only Mousefest event they attend. It's a fun time with lots of fellow Disney enthusiasts.
As you may have noticed the MegaMouseMeet was on my list twice. The intent was to make sure it was mentioned right at the top of the Do list as the most important thing to do and right at the end of my Don't list as the thing not to forget to do.
So will Mark, David, and I see you there?
We certainly hope so because it will help us...
...Remember the Magic!
If you are planning to attend a Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party this year and have never attended one before then you need to come to our next discussion. It will focus on touring Magic Kingdom during that party.
We do have some special MousePlanet activities planned this year, and we'd really love to see you there. They include:
For the competitive-minded, our premier event is a smaller, non-competition version of our flagship event, MouseAdventure (link), which is held twice each year at the Disneyland Resort. This marks the first time that the event has been held in Florida. (Last year, a "taste of MouseAdventure" was included in the MouseFest program guide).
This version of the event will not have an entry fee, but pre-registration is requested so that we can make sure that there are enough game packets for each team. The event will run from approximately 10:00 a.m. until 12:00 noon on Thursday, December 1.
Since this event will not have an entry fee, there will not be a prize ceremony, though finishers' buttons and an answer key will be distributed at the end of the event, when we will also have an opportunity to ask questions about the game.
While much more about MouseAdventure is available at the main MouseAdventure page (link), we'll try to give a synopsis here of the smaller event that we'll be doing at Walt Disney World for MouseFest.
MouseAdventure is a popular and fun questbased event produced by MousePlanet and held twice a year at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California. The mini-MouseAdventure during MouseFest 2005 will be a shortened, non-competitive version of the event.
Players in the Open division for the Spring 2005 game. Photo by Frank Anzalone.
In the late-1990s, former staff member Kevin Yee created an ambitious game he called ADDQuest (for the alt.disney.disneyland Usenet newsgroup). Basing it loosely on Disney's Minnie's Moonlit Madness cast member event, Kevin almost singlehandedly developed the core elements of the multi-faceted puzzleandhunt game. Brought under the organizational umbrella of MousePlanet, the first official MouseAdventure debuted in Spring 2000.
Immediately following the mini-MouseAdventure will be our second event, the second annual Mike Scopa Dole Whip Meet, at Aloha Isle in Adventureland. Those who have read Mike's columns and his posts on our MousePad discussion forums probably know of his love of the Dole Whip, a frozen soft-serve pineapple concoction beloved by many Disney fans.
This is an opportunity to come and hang out with other MousePlanet fans and staffers and chat while enjoying the frosty treat. Those who have just completed the mini-MouseAdventure will also have the opportunity to ask questions about the game. This event will be held at Aloha Isle in the Magic Kingdom's Adventureland at 12:00 noon on Thursday, December 1.
A Dole Whip, Mike Scopa's favorite treat. Photo by Brian Bennett.
If you'd like to let us know that you plan on attending the Dole Whip Meet, you can check in for this event by either emailing Mark Goldhaber (link) or posting on the Dole Whip Meet thread on our MousePad discussion forums (link).
We wanted to have an event to celebrate the community on our MousePad discussion forums, so our final scheduled event will be the first annual MousePad Shocolate Mousssse Meet at Boulangerie Patisserie in Epcot's France pavilion. This event might perhaps be subtitled "MousssseFest 2005." This event will take place at 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, December 3, following the Mega Mouse Meet.
For more on the origin of the Shocolate Mousssse phenomenon among MousePlanet readers, please see this thread on our MousePad discussion forums.
Registration for this event is not necessary, but we'd appreciate it if you'd let us know if you plan on attending, so that we can alert the staff at Boulangerie Patisserie approximately how many mousssses they might need to have on hand. You can check in for this event by either emailing Mark Goldhaber (link) or posting on the Shocolate Mousssse Meet thread on our MousePad discussion forums (link).
(Send an email to Mike Scopa)
Mike Scopa first visited Walt Disney World almost 30 years ago. Planning a trip was simple back in the 1970s, with only the Magic Kingdom and a few Disney-owned resorts in Orlando.
Over the past 11 years, Mike has been perfecting his WDW trip-planning skills as he has hosted chats and bulletin boards about Disney for a Fortune 100 company.