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Last week’s announcement of the Disney Vacation Club’s new Grand Floridian Villas validates that DVC is really Disney’s worst kept secret. The news did not come as a shock to anyone who follows Disney in the news as the details of this new offering were broken back in March when the project plans were uncovered. A few days later MousePlanet.com had all the details in its weekly report. In addition, the departure of DVC President Jim Lewis just prior to the opening of the Aulani resort made headlines a few months ago. Like I said, this stuff is no secret despite what billboards tell you.
With DVC a lot more well known than Disney will have you think, I thought it’d be nice to cover one of the fun little perks provided each year to its members: the Merry Mixer. Generally speaking, a mixer is a social event for members of a group or organization that allows those members to become acquainted with each other. At its core this annual event tries to do this by presenting itself as a family event rather than a cocktail party. Just a flash your DVC Membership card and you and some guests can get into the event.
While it has changed quite a bit over the past few years, Disney does try to spice it up a bit by throwing in a few surprises. In the beginning this event was held just outside of the International Gateway entrance to Epcot. If you’d visited during the holiday season in the past you might have noticed the large tented area that hosted the event. Last year the event was moved over to the convention hall at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. This year however they changed it up a bit and moved the party into the World Showplace Pavilion in Epcot. This was an interesting change because it now means that you also need park admission to attend. I’m fairly certain that this was to trim down the size of the crowd at the event somewhat as last year (2010) it was extremely crowded.
Inside it’s just a party. You can stand or sit at various tables and just meet and chat with other DVC members. However there’s also a few things to do like character meet and greets. There have been several characters over the years including: Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisie, Goofy, and Chip & Dale. In addition the hostess with the mostest herself Deevy See has attended along with her family “Doctor” and Ariel. However, a source tells me that due to a prior engagement Deevy is not attending the event this year. Instead we got some elves with a lot going on in the wardrobe department.
There’s also gingerbread cookies to be had, but sadly they are not as good as the shingles you can get elsewhere on property this time of the year. There are also gluten free options, but be forewarned, they are not vegan – for that you’ll have to head to Downtown Disney to partake in the ginger awesomeness of the Gingerbread Dudes found at BabyCakes. To wash down your cookies, Hot Cocoa, Apple Cider, and Water are provided.
In addition to waiting in line for those character meet and greets, there are a few other activities. For all you pin aficionados, there’s not just pin trading, there’s also a pin preview station. That’s right you can see pins that currently for sale, on sale in the near future, and on sale a bit futher out or perhaps are still just in the concept / pre-production stages. There’s also a kid activity center called “Santa’s Workshop” where they can color, create, and have fun. And what party would be complete without a dance floor? Listen and dance to a mix of holiday, Disney, and more common dance party songs. As well as a Simon Says Battle Royal that pits the kids against the adults in a final epic duel.
There are also some special collector items that are only available at this event. This year’s ever present limited edition event pin looks like a rocking horse. It really really rocks as you move the pin around, and is adorned with the new DVC logo on its side. As with prior years, as you exit the event you are presented with a holiday ornament that is a slightly larger metal replica of the event pin itself.
Have you attended the DVC Merry Mixer? What did you think? If not, are you interested in going? Are making some reservations? Packing your bags right now? Camped outside of Epcot waiting to get in because the ornament is calling you?