I’ve been to many writers conferences over the past fifteen years. Part of that time I was also attending many crafts industry trade and consumer shows. At some point they all started blurring together into one giant amorphous image of airports, convention centers, and hotel rooms. I’d have to say, though, that the Romance Writers of America national conference this past July in Orlando stands out for me, and not just because it’s the most recent conference I’ve attended.
That’s the good news. The bad news is that the conference doesn’t stand out for the conference, per se. It stands out for the location. You see, ever since I was a little kid, I’ve been hooked on Disney. Some of my earliest memories are of sitting in front of our tiny black and white TV, watching the original Mickey Mouse Club, the one with Annette Funicello way back before she ever stuffed a wild bikini. (Yeah, I’m really that old!) I still cry when I watch Old Yeller or Bambi, and I really do believe that a dream is a wish your heart makes.
Anyway, there was no way this lover of all things Disney was going to head down to Orlando for a conference and not spend a day at DisneyWorld. So the day after I arrived, in 95 degree heat and 100% humidity, three friends and I set off early in the morning for a day of park-hopping. We started at Disney’s Hollywood Studios where we took in some rides before eating lunch at the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater. After lunch we headed over to Animal Kingdom for more rides and a safari adventure. Epcot came next with a trip down memory lane to watch Captain Eo and my favorite, the Journey Into Imagination with Figment attraction. We spent cocktail hour sipping frozen margaritas at the Mexican pavilion, then headed over to the Magic Kingdom for such classics as Pirates of the Caribbean, the Haunted Mansion, and It’s a Small World, before returning to Disney Studios for the highlight of the day -- the 10:30pm showing of Fantasmic!
Fantasmic! is like nothing I’d ever seen before, and I’ve seen quite a few Disney parades, fireworks, and laser shows over the years. Nothing comes close to Fantasmic! -- a 25-minute extravaganza of pyrotechnics, laser lights, water effects, animation, music, and live action featuring 50 costumed performers. It combines Disney’s trademark silliness with suspenseful action that will blow you away, whether you’re 2 or 102. You really have to see it to believe it.
And that for me is my favorite conference story -- playing hooky to let my inner kid come out to play for the day.
The first book in Lois Winston’s Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries series, Assault With A Deadly Glue Gun, will be a January 2011 release from Midnight Ink. Meanwhile, Anastasia is blogging at Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers, and you can visit Lois at her newly redesigned website.