Describing the Impossible

by Mike Scopa, contributing writer

Describing the Impossible

For the past five years I've found myself in mid-December trying to put into words this event we have come to know as Mousefest.

It's not an easy task.

But for those who are fortunate to attend Mousefest my hope is that as they read my words a smile comes to their face and perhaps a little nod in agreement as to the accuracy of my words.

So for the fifth time since 2003 let's give it a whirl.

I have come to the conclusion that even though the structure of Mousefest through the years has essentially stayed the same, each year brings with it a special personality, flavor, coloring, call it what you will, that makes that year unique from all the other years.

Mousefest 2007 is no exception and personally I found this Mousefest to be filled with so many special moments that when I boarded that Southwest plane for my flight home I was completely drained of energy.

So you're asking why this is so?

Well, let's look at what the Mousefest 2007 edition had to offer and perhaps we'll understand more.

Mousefest 2007's land portion to many was basically viewed as an opportunity to meet and greet friends and the so-called Disney Internet "celebrities" or in my mind "personalities."

This works for most of those "festers" that are coming for their first Mousefest.

At the Mousefest 101 meet, Mark Goldhaber and I tried our best to prepare our first-time Mousefest guests with information that would help them squeeze as much enjoyment out of Mousefest as they possibly could without wasting time and energy.

I cannot speak for Mark but I found that the "Do's and Don'ts" that we spewed forth during that meet were hard for me to follow, and I've been to every Mousefest so I should know better.

There's something that befalls the Mousefest veteran during the land portion of this annual event and I fall prey to it every year but welcome it nonetheless.

As much as I enjoy the venue for Mousefest, which is Walt Disney World, that is not the draw for me.

What pulls me to Mousefest every year is the fact that essentially it is my one-stop shopping spree for which I can shop around and visit old friends and make new ones as well.

Sure, the Dancing Osborne Lights are spectacular but they pale if I am not in the company of friends to share in their shimmering nightly dance.

Of course, Holiday Wishes in The Magic Kingdom takes my breath away but I want to breathe the same air that evening as my friends and experience the wonders of a WDW nighttime spectacular with those with whom I share a special bond.

Unless I am in the company of dear friends who also react the same as I do when we first hear the golden tones of Walter Cronkite, Christmas Illuminations hits me like a wet fish.

For many of us who have been there from the start, Mousefest can be best described as our personal "Friendfest" where the all too familiar "Random Acts of Kindness" seem to pop up everywhere.

I was witness to several special moments that could happen only at Mousefest:

  • At Mousefest, 101 a spur-of-the-moment challenge resulted in the raising of more than $500 for several charities. It was to be the beginning of several special moments on that particular day.

  • On that same day a friend of mine was telling me how it was her 10th wedding anniversary but that her husband could not make the trip because of a potential conflict with work. Little did she realize that his schedule shifted and a few friends had flown him out to surprise her and she was presented with a very special anniversary gift from her friends at the base of the Cinderella Castle; her dear husband. Yes, I lost it when I saw them embrace. It could only happen at Mousefest.

  • Throughout the week I saw friendly reunions with those who hadn't seen each other in years. Smiles, tears, and hugs were the protocol of the week.

  • One of my most memorable moments was during Christmas Illuminations when I found myself in a group hug with four of my dearest friends and we all said, in almost the exact moment, how we were grateful to have each other in our lives.

I know it sounds corny but this happens every year. Sure the meets are fun and everybody has a grand time but it is more than that. It is these special moments that make for a very special week.

Mousefest has become a lightning rod, a vehicle, a magnet, call it what you will, for friends to gather annually to not just share their joy of Disney but to more importantly share the wonder of friendship.

At Mousefest 101 I tried to make a point that for those who were coming for the first time that they should look around at the 300 or so faces that were at that meet and keep in mind that they could very well be in the presence of several people who may become some of their closest friends.

The notion of the webmasters, podcasters, and authors as being celebrities has always rubbed me the wrong way.

One of, if not my dearest friend, once told me that during Mousefest 2004 she did not have the nerve to come up and introduce herself to me.

That bothers me and I'm sure that if they were told the same thing the other so-called Mousefest celebrities would also be troubled with that statement.

I'm sure I speak for all those who were "behind the tables" at the MegaMouse Meet when I say that the biggest thrill for all of us is to meet old friends and to make new ones each year.

As much as I was looking forward to seeing the "frosted castle" this year during the night of the Very Merry Christmas Party, the highlight of my night was seeing my friend "Figgy" who I hadn't seen in two years and whose health issues had me wondering if I would ever see her again. Mousefest brought us together.

At the MegaMouse meet while interviewing a friend of mine, Jim Townsend, he described our friendship as being "brotherly" and caught me off guard with those kind words. I have seen Jim at every Mousefest.

There are times during Mousefest when I even forget where I am because it's not the location that becomes the important issue but the company I keep.

That's what Mousefest has become to me.

As much as I love the fact that Mousefest has offered me a chance to make and nurture so many wonderful friendships, this blessing also comes with a drawback.

As each year comes and goes the "pool" of friends grows and with that growth comes the notion that it's becoming more difficult each year to spend as much time as we would like with all our friends.

Obviously, as the Mousefest attendance grows each year everyone finds that their schedule becomes more and more of a challenge.

For many Mousefesters, the meets they plan on attending will have the draw of a celebrity host or of an attraction.

However there is another important factor in selecting meets and that factor involves friends who are also planning to attend those meets.

It wasn't so in the past, but it was very apparent for Mousefest 2007.

My point in all this is that for Mousefest and Mousefest attendees, the relationship with Walt Disney, Mickey Mouse and Walt Disney World takes a back seat to the relationships that have been formed with other "festers" over the last five years.

If you had asked me five years ago if I thought that Mousefest would evolve into what it is today, that is a vehicle for drawing people together and forging friendships, I would have cast much doubt on such a theory.

But as I recover from this year's Mousefest and think about all the wonderful and treasured friendships that I have been blessed with thanks to this annual event, then I know that, as the title of this column says, I have been describing the impossible.

The blessing of friendships is very much a special magic to me and Mousefest will always go a long way in helping me ... Remember the Magic.

Next Time: The end of an era.