Mickey and MINIs 2008
by Barry Patascher (aka Snooter)
Images by the Author
If you host it, they will come. That seems to be the motto behind how many of the MINI community events get started. The annual Mickey and MINIs event is no different. Four years ago, a small group of Sunshine MINI enthusiasts got together at a Disney hotel for a weekend and went “Drinking Around the World” at Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival.
Total registration 279 Number of MINI Coopers registered 160 States represented (+2 from the UK!) 11 Welcome Dinner attendees 154 Sleuth Dinner attendees 145 Drinking Around the World 75
Fast forward 4 years later to the weekend of September 26th-28th, 2008 and the event has grown to attract a record-setting 279 registrations, up from 137 the previous year. The pre-weekend festivities got started on Thursday night as a few of us got together at Disney’s Wilderness Park for dinner to enjoy some great food and fireworks.
Friday as the official activities began, folks from 11 different states motored in to meet up at the Embassy Suites Buena Vista hotel in Orlando. As Pedro pumped up the volume with his mad DJ skills, the crowds parked, mingled, purchased mods and swag from our vendors Way Motor Works and MINIBees Motoring Merchandise and got ready to vote for the MINI / Mini Cooper car show. We even managed to collect over 600 food items for the Orlando local Food Bank. Later that night a great time was had by all during our Welcome dinner as we gave out our Car Show Awards and laughed at all the “Hard Luck” story contestants and enjoyed a slide show from last year’s event. After dinner a large group took off for a thrilling night of go-kart racing followed by a Midnight run thru the back roads of Orlando. And of course the annual tradition of continuing the party on at poolside into wee hours of the night was honored.
Saturday we all gathered in the Hotel parking lot to break up into groups as many of us went “Drinking Around the World” at the Epcot Food and Wine Festival. Unfortunately not much can be revealed from this event, since we have a strict policy of what happens at Epcot, stays at Epcot. So those that are curious will just have to join us next year.
Those that did not go to Epcot decided to join our “Scavenger Hunt” as folks ran around Disney trying to collect the 50 items of the Scavenger card in just four hours. Folks had a great time as they had to get silly and creative to find the items on the list; such as obtaining a picture of a Disney employee in your MINI. Later Saturday night we joined up for awesome non-stop laughter as we headed out for “Mystery Sleuth Dinner” show. Image 140 MINIacs, unlimited adult beverages, and an English Themed Who-dunnit complete with some “MINI” innuendos…I think you get the picture. And of course some folks just decided to relax pool side and enjoy a “Dive-in” movie showing of the “Bourne Identity.”
Sunday, after a hearty breakfast, we checked out and said our goodbyes to our new and old friends. Some hit the road to motor home and some stayed on to fi nish the day with some MINI golf and some lunch. As we all parted our separate ways we shared that same warm smile, knowing that once again we shared another magical weekend that only a MINI gathering of friends can provide.