Wednesday, November 12, 2014

KeyCon 2014 Trip: Day #5

Monday morning began with a ton of excitement.  I couldn't wait to have our KeyCon 2014 meeting.  I met Joleen and Tricia outside of the Pop Century lobby and we headed over to Hollywood Studios meet the rest of our group.

When we got there, other Key to the World agents had started to gather over by the flag poles near the Sorcerer Mickey topiary outside the park entrance.  We introduced ourselves to those we hadn't yet met while waiting for the others to arrive.  Before heading in, we took a group picture outside of the park.

We walked through the empty park: down Hollywood Boulevard, past the sorcerer hat, finally making our way towards the back of the park.  It was then that we were told we got to go on Toy Story Midway Mania before the park opened!

There were lots of smiles and laugher as we all filed through the queue area.  The cast members helped Tara and me on the ride and we had a blast.  Then, they let us all go on one more ride if we wanted to.  Another ride on Toy Story Midway Mania with no line whatsoever?  Sure, why not!!!

Afterwards, we made our way to our "top secret" backstage location.  We found ourselves entering the "Backstage Prop Shop" filled with classic film decor, movie props and other memorabilia.  I found a place to sit at one of the tables and then joined everyone else taking photos.  There were so many things to look at!

Shortly after we were settled in, our buffet breakfast was served.  There was fruit, coffee, juice, croissant breakfast sandwiches and fruit and yogurt parfaits in champagne glasses.  It was so yummy.

Once we were finished with breakfast, we started the KeyCon meeting with a game of (not) Pictionary.  The room was divided in half and we were told to pick someone to draw for our team.  Jeff said he "nominated Melissa Cady" for our side and I agreed to do it. Now, you'd think that I'd be able to draw pretty well with an interior design degree, and I can when I really want to.  This was not one of those times.  It was hilarious.  The answers were all Disney characters or movies and my team did guess most of my drawings.  Joleen went next and her team did well too.  In the end, my team ended up winning by only a few drawings.  As the team "drawer", I won a Mickey Mouse ice bucket!  I was pumped!  I don't have one of those!  Afterwards, Cheryl had me pose with my ice bucket in front of my drawings.

We got started with our meeting presentations.  We had representatives from Disney, Adventures by Disney and Disney Meetings come speak to us.  We learned a lot of good information about some great website resources.

In between the presentations, Heather and Jeff drew numbers for prizes.  We each had a sticker with a number on the back of our KeyCon backstage passes.  At the beginning of the day I wondered what they were for.  I happened to get my lucky number 20 and I thought that was a good omen.  (Ha!  Little did I know…)  The prizes they handed out were gift bags with Disney mugs, candy, towels, and other souvenirs.  One of those drawings, they pulled out a number 20 and I got a new Minnie mug and some candy!

Before we knew it, it was snack time!  We got a quick break to stretch and grab some food.  Disney had more fruit and delicious brownies laid out waiting for us.  Yum!  The pomegranate lemonade was amazing.

After a few more presentations, we had a surprise guest come visit us!  Sorcerer Mickey strolled in through the back doors!  Yay!  Everyone got to take a picture with him and then we did a few group shots.  I screamed "Mickey!" like a little girl when I got to go over and hug him.  Why not?  It's Mickey Mouse!!!

During Sorcerer Mickey's visit, my "top secret" projects finally made their debut.  I had made Key to the World ear headbands for Heather and Jeff.  We all took turns wearing them and taking pictures with Mickey Mouse.  Everyone was impressed with them and I was very pleased all my hard work paid off.  (I do some of my best work at those little tables in the Pop Century hotel rooms… Mousekeeping probably thinks I'm crazy.)

Next, we were served our buffet lunch!  We could make our own sandwiches and they had pasta salad.  I also grabbed a few crackers and more of that pomegranate lemonade! I was really glad while in the air conditioned room, my appetite came back.  This was by far the most I'd eaten the entire trip!

Afterwards, I indulged some more and had dessert.  Yum!!!

We had a few more presentations after lunch.  We had a great presentation by Cheryl about social media.  That was my favorite presentation.  Ryan showed us a great quote tool that he designed.  In between sessions I ran to the restroom quickly.  When I returned, I found out my number had been selected a few times while I was in the restroom.  Since I already had a prize, they picked someone else.  It seemed #20 kept making an appearance.

In the afternoon, we were shown a video with some details for next year's KeyCon 2015 event: Universal Studios!  As much as I love Disney, I'm excited to learn more about Universal.  Plus, I love Harry Potter!!!  We had a quick question and answer session and then they gave away the Haunted Mansion Dooney and Bourke bag.  I'm glad Jamie won it!  She hadn't been feeling too great and she was so pleased.  Before we the end of the meeting, I grabbed the soaps Eliot had made to give out.  Everyone absolutely loved them and I gave out every single package including the extras.

We packed up and left the Prop Shop and were free to roam around Hollywood Studios until we had to meet back up for the Fantasmic Dessert Party.  Tara and I headed to the front of the park together to get a locker for all of our stuff.  At this point, I had my KTTW bag, meeting folders, the mug and the Mickey ice bucket and it was quite a handful!

After depositing our extra stuff in the locker, we tried to find something to do inside with air conditioning.  The heat and humidity were brutal.  I suggested the Animation Academy. I told Tara I'd never been but that I have always wanted to.  She said it sounded like fun and we set out for the Magic of Disney Animation building.  There was long line but we decided to go for it.  We ended being the last two in the room in the far back.

I was really excited when the animator said he had a special request for Minnie Mouse! She was the perfect character for my first time at the academy!  It was so much fun.  My Minnie animation turned out well!  I was very proud of it.  (It definitely made up for my Pictionary skills from earlier in the day.)  At the end of the class, the animator told us about Mickey's debut in Steamboat Willie and asked us a trivia question about Minnie to win his drawing.  His question was "when was Minnie's official debut?"  My hand shot up like a rocket.  He called on "the girl in the far back" and I answered that she debuted the same day as Mickey.  He said I was correct and that it was a trick question because they both made their debut in Steamboat Willie.

I went up to get my prize and he saw my KeyCon pass and wrote "To Melissa" in the upper corner of the drawing.  I thanked him and practically skipped back to Tara at the back of the room.  I was over the moon excited.  Really, you'd think I'd just won the actual lottery.  I carefully wrapped my drawing and the animator's drawing and rubber banded them together.  Tara and I went back to the front of the park and placed them in the locker with the rest of our belongings so they'd be safe.  I had a ridiculously huge grin on my face as I daydreamed about framing the two drawings for my home office.  I've always wanted to get one of the animation drawings from the Disney art store.  Instead, I'd won one and it was the actual drawing the animator had drawn to teach us.  It's much more meaningful to me than buying one.  Yippee!!!

After we left the lockers, Tara and I ran into Stacey.  She was on a mission to find a different shirt since her KTTW polo was really warm for the insane Florida heat.  We joined her and checked out the stores around the park.  We found ourselves wandering into Wandering Oaken's Trading Post- of course we had to go check it out. The store had tons of Frozen merchandise and the kids seemed to be enjoying the snow play area.

Stacey found a shirt she liked at the Hollywood Tower Hotel store.  We met up with a few more KTTW members and we all got waters to rehydrate.  Tara, Stacey and I realized that we'd all missed phone calls from our husbands so we took a few minutes to call them back.  It was a pretty funny photo op.  Eventually, we made our way over to meet up with the rest of our group outside of the entrance to Rockin' Rollercoaster.  We had to be escorted backstage to our Fantasmic Dessert Party!

It was fun to walk backstage at Hollywood Studios.  (I've been behind Epcot for our wedding reception and behind the Magic Kingdom for our Bridal Portrait shoot.)  We passed behind the Hollywood Tower Hotel and then climbed up a ton of stairs to get to our private dessert party location in the back of the Hollywood Hills Amphitheater.

We were greeted with a ton of delicious desserts.  I was already stuffed from earlier in the day, but I made sure to grab a few things to try.  Yum!

Once we all had our desserts and were settled in, Jeff and Heather announced that there was one more prize to be drawn.  They said that everyones' numbers were back in the bag for this particular drawing.  In my mind, I thought they were going to pick a winner for a pair of Key to the World ears that I'd made.  (That was the original reason Jeff asked me to make them.)  Before I knew it, Jeff's son had picked a slip of paper.  It was #20.

I was shocked when my number was called.  I kinda of chuckled when I thought I might have won a pair of my own ears.  Jeff and Heather had me come up in front of the group and I was very aware of everyone looking at me.  I still had no idea what I'd won.  Then they told me I'd won the grand prize: a trip for KeyCon 2015 with my hotel and theme park tickets being covered.  I just had to get myself down to Florida.  I only half heard them at the time; I think I went into shock.  I thanked them and hugged them both.  I kept telling myself not to cry and to hold it together in front of everyone.

I went back to my table and everyone congratulated me.  We enjoyed our dessert and hung out while other park guests made their way to their seats.  We took pictures, laughed and enjoyed each other's company.

Fantasmic started and we had a pretty good view.  I've never seen so much of the stage before.  Since we were all the way in the back, I could see the entire thing.  I teared up at a few parts, like usual.  I felt so blessed and incredibly grateful to have had such a great time with all of these people.  By the end of the show I really had to hold it together.

After Fantasmic was over, we all filed out of our VIP area, down the stairs and back through the backstage area.  A bunch of us decided to stay at Hollywood Studios for a bit longer.  I walked around with Tara, Stacey, Cheryl, Jen and Laura.  We went on the Great Movie Ride and then over to Muppet Vision 3D since half of the girls hadn't seen it before.  It was a lot of fun.  Before we left, we took a photo on the Streets of America since they were empty.  Cheryl and Stacey had a car and offered to drive me back to Pop Century.  I was very grateful and they dropped me off right near my building.

When I got back to my hotel room, I called my Mom to tell her about my amazing day.  As soon as she asked me about the meeting, I got incredibly overwhelmed and started sobbing.  After a few minutes of happy tears, I calmed myself down enough so I was able to recount the day and my unbelievable experience.  My Mom was already shocked by the time I told her about winning the animator's drawing.  I barely held it together when I told her that wasn't even the best part and announced I'd won the KeyCon 2015 prize. (Another round of joyful tears followed.)  Finally, we said goodnight and she went to tell my Dad all of the good news.

KeyCon 2014 was magical.  I'm incredibly thankful and blessed to be a part of this amazing family.  Almost a month later, I still can't believe the good fortune I had.  It really was the perfect Disney Day.  Appropriately, on another stroke of good luck, this is my 200th My Disney Life blog post and a special day for KTTW!!!  Cheers!!!  °o°