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Walt Disney World Fans Gather in Allentown, PA

What's the best way to see Mickey Mouse? Where's the best spot for watching the parade? Hey, have you ridden that new coaster, Expedition Everest, yet? Disney enthusiasts will have a lot to talk about this year at the third annual Disney Fan Meet, to be held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Allentown (PA) on Saturday, July 15, 2006. The meet will bring together members of an enormous worldwide family of Disney fans, many of whom only know each other through e-mail and the Internet. The event will take place from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and requires pre-registration to attend.

More than 170 men, women, and children from all over the country attended last year's event, but meet organizer Fred Block, of New Jersey, expects a gathering of more than 200 this year. "It's so much fun to put faces to names," notes Block, who, with wife Renee and daughters Julia and Hailey, visits Walt Disney World several times a year. "We sit at our computers and 'talk' to each other online almost daily, but this is the time and place where people can really get to know each other. It's all quite magical really."

This year's Disney Fan Meet will feature a full day of activities, including special guest speakers, contests, breakout session seminars, a kids' play area, door prizes, and pin trading, as well as plenty of time for conversation over a relaxing meal. In addition to their special presentations, each speaker will also be available for personal chats with attendees at tables set up in the main hall. "The Crowne Plaza Allentown (located at 9th and Hamilton Streets in Center City Allentown) takes great pleasure in welcoming the third annual Disney Fans Meet. We are pleased to have the opportunity to host this magical event for the second year in a row and look forward to it being another huge success!" said General Manager John Boas.

Guest speakers attending this year's event include names immediately recognizable to those who follow Disney on the internet and in bookstores. Speaking in the main ballroom will be: Steve Barrett, author of "Hidden Mickeys, a Field Guide to Disney's Best-Kept Secrets" and "The Hassle-Free Walt Disney World Vacation" guidebook. Barrett also manages, an online guide to showcase descriptions and photos of Hidden Mickeys, the small images of Mickey Mouse subtly woven into attractions and architecture by Disney's Imagineers.

Mike Scopa, biweekly columnist for the website Scopa, who has written about Walt Disney World for the website for the past six years, also co-hosts a thrice-weekly internet "podcast" (an internet-based broadcast available for download to MP3 players) on "Whenever Disney fans get together they create their own special Disney magic," says Scopa, "so I am thrilled to have been invited to attend this meet. I am looking forward to meeting many new Disney friends and finding out how Disney magic touches their lives."

Other presenters include:
Deb Wills, founder of the unofficial Walt Disney World information website known as and co-author of PassPorter's Walt Disney World for Your Special Needs. Wills, who also publishes ALL EARS, a weekly electronic newsletter about Walt Disney World that reaches 70,000 subscribers, is widely recognized as an expert on Walt Disney World. This will be Wills' second year attending the event. Louis Mongello, author of the "Walt Disney World Trivia Book" (and soon to be released Volume II) and founder of the website Mongello, who has been fascinated by Walt Disney World throughout more than 60 visits, will also try to stump the guests throughout the day with randomly drawn questions from his book. He is also known as the Co-Host for the extremely popular Podcast. This will be Mongello's third year attending the event.

Jennifer and Dave Marx, PassPorter Travel Press, authors of PassPorter Walt Disney World, PassPorter's Disney Cruise Line and its Ports of Call, and the soon-to-be-released PassPorter Disneyland. John Rick, founder of Central Jersey Disney Pin Traders. Rick, a Disney Fan Meet participant every year since its founding, will speak on the art and obsession of Disney pin trading, as well as host an extended pin trading session at the conclusion of the meet. This will be Rick's third year attending the event.

Rebekah Mahnken, CTC-MCC, owner of Mouse Fan TravelT (, the official travel agency sponsor of this year's event. Mahnken has been planning magical vacations for eight years and was named as Travel + Leisure Magazine's A-List Super Agent for Disney destinations. She will have special offers on Disney vacations available, as well as door prizes to give away.

"This event is designed in every way to sprinkle pixie dust on Disney fans," Block says, "enough to hold them over until their next trip to their favorite destination, Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida."