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Duffbert's Random Musings is a blog where I talk about whatever happens to be running through my head at any given moment... I'm Thomas Duff, and you can find out more about me here...

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It's getting close to the time where the Duff family starts its trek across the US to the Land Of The Mouse.  For those who don't know, that means Walt Disney World in Orlando.  Yes, I am proud to admit I'm a Disney nut.  Between last year's vacation down there in June, a short stay prior to a 20th anniversary Disney cruise in October, Lotusphere in January, and the upcoming trip, I'll have been down there four times in 12 months.  Not bad when you consider we live thousands of miles away.  We have a Disney Vacation Club membership (basically a timeshare), too...  That's usually how we are able to stay on property down there for not very much cash.

We get the questions every time...  How many times have you been down there?  Don't you get bored?  The answers are lots and no.  It's one of those things that works on many levels for me.  First off, there's the fun of being at Disney.  After that, there's the study of Disney as a corporation and how they run the parks.  It's a study in how things should be done.  When you've been there as many times as I have, you can start to look for little things that you don't see on your first visit(s)...  Like the mural at Malestrom (in Epcot)...  Ever notice that one of the vikings in the ship is wearing mouse ears?  The fact that Lotusphere is held there also adds to the atmosphere for me.  LS has meant a lot to me over the years, and I always associate Disney and LS together.  It's meant a lot to our family over the years, too.  When I go by myself (thinking I just want time to wander on my own), I almost always end up thinking how much the kids and/or wife would like one thing or another.  And to get horribly philosophical, there is a connection you feel when you walk down Main Street in the Magic Kingdom, knowing that you are part of Walt's dream and the experiences of millions over the years.  Yes, I've got it bad...

So...  starting mid next week, this blog will go silent for awhile.  I know that Chris will probably take the opportunity to trash the blog in my absence knowing there is little I can do about it.  Maybe Libby will be gone too and Chris can blog on all three!  If anyone else is interested, send me an email.  I can work something out to get you an ID and connection info to fill in during my absence...

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Gravatar Image1 - This year's Lotusphere was the first time that I went to Orlando without visiting Epcot. I had never been to Disney World prior to 1993, but that year I was there twice: for Lotusphere in December, and for another (unrelated to technology) convention earlier in the year. I visited Epcot for a day on both trips, and there is so much there that I decided then and there that if the next Lotusphere was also in Orlando, I would schedule a dinner reservation at one of the restaurants there for any clients or business associates who cared to join me there. Of course Lotusphere did return to Orlando in 1995, and I followed through on my plan, and I repeated it every year. I also started to bring my family every year. It was actually not anything that I saw in the parks that convinced me to do that. It was the scene in the lobby of the Yacht & Beach club on the day after Lotusphere finished. They ran some training classes that day, and I had cashed in one of the vouchers I got when I joined the Lotus BP program and took one of the classes. When the class finished, I was waiting for a friend to make his way to the Yacht & Beach lobby from his room so we could go out for dinner, and while I was waiting I saw a tidal wave of kids rush by... and saw that Beauty and the Beast characters had just come into the lobby. Seeing that made me realize that I just had to bring my family the next time. The kids have gotten older now, however. They're still young enough to enjoy Disney, but taking them out of school for a week -- or even a part of a week -- is now something that we just don't feel right about. They miss too much, and we don't want to do anything to reinforce any feelings they have about being able to skip out of school just for fun. So, this year we made the decision that there would not be a family trip to Lotusphere, and I made the decision not to stay for a few extra days to see the parks... so a tradition for me came to an end. Perhaps I'll restart it again. Perhaps not.

-rich

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