Do most of the people in your life look at you like you are nuts when you announce you are going to Walt Disney World again? Do they constantly ask you why you go so much? Do they roll their eyes when you bring up WDW yet again in conversation? Well then you need to get yourself to a Disney fan gathering and meet people who are just like you and can talk about Disney for days on end.
Several Disney podcasts, blogs, magazines, and websites host gatherings for their fans throughout the year. Some of these events take place around the country, but many of them happen on Disney World property. I cannot speak of those off site since I have not been able to attend any of them. However, I have been to several held within in the World so I can easily discuss them. I’ve been to both big and smaller events and I have to say the really large ones are be fun, but it’s harder to meet people and make new friends. People tend to stick with the people they know at events with several hundred people rather than branching out like they tend to do at the smaller ones. If you are heading to your first fan gathering I would recommend starting with a smaller one.
So what goes on at these sorts of events? Each is different. Some are smaller affairs like Lou Mongello’s WDW radio meets of the month. Other communities host similar meet ups generally somewhere in a park and advertise them via their podcasts or blogs as well as on facebook and twitter. Some people may just stop by to say hello, but many will linger and chat for hours. These types of are a great way to get your Disney meet up feet wet if you aren’t so sure you’d like to commit to a whole weekend of events.
Other events such as the upcoming wdwtoday Reunion will feature days of meets, group rides, and fun. Guests do not need to feel obligated to attend all of the various activities, but of course they could. For example, at Tentfest there was a barbecue at the Fort Wilderness Campsites, a night of group rides during Epcot’s extra magic hours, and a time to meet at the Mexico’s tequila bar, La Cave del Tequila, to name a few. Many members of the Disney community (like me) will plan their trips around these kinds of gatherings. However, if you just happen to be in Orlando at the right time and would like to stop by to check out the scene you would be more than welcome.
My most recent fan get together was in early March for wdwtoday‘s Tentfest. It was a blast! Some friends I had met at previous fan events and I planned to travel together to this one. We made some of our plans and also attended many of the organized meets throughout the weekend. It was a great opportunity to a great time with old friends, but also make a lot of new ones! I have to give a shout out to all of the new friends I made that weekend. You guys were a ton of fun and I can’t wait to hang out with you at WDW again soon!
If you’ve ever thought about signing on to a Disney community meet, I encourage you to try it. I’ve been lucky enough to meet a lot of great people from all over the country (and a few from across the pond) and there is almost an instant bond with fellow Disney geeks. It’s nice to hang out with people who understand why you are so passionate about Disney World and who don’t look at you like you’re crazy when you tell them you average three trips a year. I love not having to explain what an ADR is or who the Voices of Liberty are. Don’t be shy! We crazy Disney folks couldn’t be more friendly and welcoming. You’ll come away with a bunch of new friends and a smile on your face.
It may seem silly, but you won’t believe how the people you meet at Disney fan gatherings will impact your life. My Disney friends have quickly become very near and dear to my heart and I know they all feel the same way. My next two trips to WDW will be planned with friends I have met through the Disney fan family. If you are willing to put yourself out there you will be adopted by our fun, inviting, silly, and genuine group. It’s nice to know I am a part of such an awesome community and I count myself lucky every day.
If you aren’t already a part of our Disney addicted bunch, consider this your formal invitation.
Next week I’ll take a look at this year’s Flower and Garden Festival…