Summer in the Pacific Northwest brings the annual MouseMeet to Lynnwood, WA. The 9th MouseMeet was another amazing event brought to us by Don Morin and his team. This year I walked the red carpet in my Orange Bird dress that had to come home from D23 with me. My friend Jennifer wore her Tiki Bird dress.
As usual Jen and I checked into the LaQuinta in Lynnwood to participate in the door decorating (didn’t win this year), trivia and other pre-event activities. It also gives us a chance to visit with some friends who travel to the area for the event. The pre-event activities are so much fun that we stay several days in the hotel even though I live in Lynnwood and Jen lives in a neighboring city.
This year’s guest speakers were Disney Imagineer Charita Carter, Disney artists Mike and Patty Peraza, and the voices of the Disney Parks Bill Rogers and Camille Dixon. We had the pleasure to meet the guests at the hotel the night before and they greeted us a breakfast the day before. Without fail, the MouseMeet brings amazing guest speakers and you have access to them. The event sells a limited number of tickets which allows each of us time to visit with each of them.
Imagineer Charita Carter began her work at Disney as an accountant and moved into the creative department. She is now a Senior Producer and is working with Imagineer Kevin Rafferty (a former MouseMeet speaker) on the new Mickey’s Runaway Railway at Hollywood Studios. Kevin and Charita assure us that this attraction will have more hidden Mickeys than any other attraction in the parks. Charita was instrumental in the development of projection technology in the parks and the future possible uses of the technology. If you have ever seen the video of animation being projected on a wedding cake at Disney, this is Charita’s work.
Next up were Bill Rogers and Camille Dixon. If you’ve ever heard a park announcement in Disneyland or California Adventure, you are familiar with these two. This charming married couple shared how they began work as voice actors and their careers led them to Disney – and each other. Together pair has recorded over 128,000 announcements for the parks. Some of these we will never hear – dealing with an incident in the park, etc. but Disney has them ready to go if need be. Bill said that what keeps him going when recording endless messages is that “band mom”. The mom who has hauled students and instruments to the park to perform and although exhausted she lights up when hearing the announcement of her kids are coming down Main Street. Bill and Camille also do announcements for special events at the parks such as movie premiers. Bill has introduced Keith Richards and Johnny Depp at Pirates premiers. Bill also opened the MouseMeet with his “Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls” spiel. I think we all started sentences like that for a few days after the event.
The lasts speakers were Mike and Patty Perazza. I could take an entire column to list the works and accomplishments of this pair. Another married couple and just wonderful people. They both attended Cal Arts and were classmates with John Lassiter and Tim Burton, among others. They shared stories and photos of their work over their careers at Disney. Mike is well known from his work on Duck Tales (both the original and the new version) to designing the Alice in Wonderland maze in Shanghai Disney and everything in between. Patty is an animator who worked on Black Cauldron and more and is featured in the new book Ink & Paint: The Women of Disney Animation.
The charity raffle raised over $9300 for Ryman Arts and Seattle Children’s Hospital. Our favorite travel agent, Beci Mankhen at MouseFan Travel, does not like odd numbers and rounded the total donation to $12,000. There were vendors of all kinds at the event.
Without a doubt this is a day well spent with fellow Disney fans. Thanks again to Don Morin and his team for another magical day.