LYNNWOOD — For eight years, the Pacific Northwest Mouse Meet has sprinkled a little Disney magic on Snohomish County.
The annual event brings together Disney fans at the Lynnwood Convention Center for a day of presentations, photos, autographs, sweet treats, activities and displays.
This year’s event was Saturday. It sold out, with 450 tickets purchased by people in 11 states along with Canada and Japan.
The Mouse Meet has gotten a lot bigger since it started, founder and event organizer Don Morin said. It’s sold out every year and he’s increased capacity to keep up. The first year, 150 people bought tickets. Next year, he may have to prepare for more than 500.
“When I started this thing, I had no idea if there were 10 Disney fans (around here) or 100,” he said. “Turns out, there are thousands.”
Throughout the year, the Mouse Meet group of about 20 volunteers puts on other smaller events that always are well attended, Morin said. A newsletter goes out to thousands of subscribers, and there are thousands of followers on social media sites, namely Facebook and Twitter.
The annual meet included presentations from people who worked with Walt Disney to create classic attractions and movies.
Over the years, the list of guest speakers has included voice actors for Donald Duck, Goofy, and Belle from “Beauty and the Beast” and Imagineers who designed iconic Disney rides such as Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Indiana Jones Adventure, Matterhorn and Cars Land. There also have been animators and producers for films, among them “The Lion King,” “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” and “Maleficent.”
This year, the Mouse Meet headliners were: Stacia Martin, a Disneyland artist and historian; Bob Gurr, who started working at Disneyland in 1954 and designed the original Autotopia cars and more than 200 other projects; and Marty Sklar, who was part of the Disneyland team a month before the first park opened, headed up Walt Disney Imagineering for years. Sklar is the only person known to have attended the opening of all 11 Disney theme parks around the world.
Other guests included authors, podcasters and travel planners.
When he started planning the Mouse Meets, Morin thought his favorite part would be the celebrity speakers. Now he’s realized that isn’t the best thing about the event.
“What it’s become for me is seeing 500 people come through the door with so much joy and excitement,” he said. “There’s just this energy. It’s an exciting thing that you can’t get anywhere else.”
Morin, who lives in Mukilteo, got interested in Disney when his high school English teacher assigned a paper on a historical figure and he picked Walt Disney. He became fascinated by Disney’s life and “how he went about creating magic for people.”
Over the years, that fascination extended to the designers, animators, producers, voice actors and park managers who made Disney’s dream come to life. He wanted to create an event for people who share his interest.
“It’s a full day of Disney fandom and excitement for a lot of people,” he said.
Kari Bray: 425-339-3439; email@example.com.