Fans all ears at Disney meet- mcall.com - 7/10/05
160 aficionados gather in Allentown to share Mickey and magic.
It's a small world after all.
Until Saturday, Estelle Taylor of Bethlehem and Melinda Walsh of Easton had never met face to face, yet they had an instantaneous bond of friendship as they sat together at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Allentown.
They call it Disney magic.
More than 160 people just like Taylor and Walsh descended on downtown Allentown to talk Dopey, Goofy, mouse ears, pixie dust and all things Disney.
That to end, organizer Fred Block made the second annual Disney Fan Meet a mousing, er, rousing success.
A year ago, Block planned a similar event in Edison, N.J., that brought out 40 Disney enthusiasts. As word spread, Block of Sayreville, N.J., said he was asked to plan events in other states.
Instead, he decided to organize a regional event in a central location. Using mapping software, Block said he plotted a 200-mile radius of the Northeast and determined Allentown to be the central point, giving his audience the ability to drive to the event within three hours.
Block said he hopes to bring the meet back to Allentown next summer with about 250 Disney fans. The fan meet is modeled on a national event called MouseFest, held each December at Disney World in Orlando, Fla.
The event featured talks from Disney vacation experts such as Len Testa, the director of data collection and field research for ''The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World.''
Among his job duties is to ride the rides at Disney World, keeping track of how long it takes to wait in line. Tuesday is apparently the best day of the week to avoid crowds at the Magic Kingdom. Saturday, contrary to popular belief, is not the busiest day; Sunday is.
The meet was mostly a social event, as guests mingled and chatted, sharing their Disney vacation experiences or planning future trips.