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Old 08-03-2011, 01:12 PM   #1
I am only allowed to visit Disney World once every five years... darn husband. Co-host of the Virginia Dis Meet 2011.
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Location: North Chesterfield, Virginia
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A Dis Meet Planning Report

Okay, I have never put together a Dis Meet and I thought I would have you come along with me as I try to do this. We enjoy reading Disney Trip Reports, so I thought this would be something new to try.

Before I begin, please note that I am very excited to be part of this Dis Meet. I am not complaining or upset that I am a part of it. So please don't take any offense to this, if I tend to vent.

BACK STORY: I am not really sure how I got myself into this. I was reading a thread on a Dis Meet, either Texas or Indianapolis and I noticed this post from Cherinva. She posted something about trying to get a meet started in Virginia, but it has yet to happen. I remember about a year ago, some Disers were trying to have one in Williamsburg, but it never happened. So anyway, I private messaged Cheri about having one in Richmond. Next thing I remember I am actually looking for locations. Cheri, did I actually agree to do this...? Anyhoo, what the heck, I enjoy parties and besides Richmond is the capital of Virginia, how hard can it be to find a location?

Okay, I had to get that out of my system. Believe me it is harder than I thought.

Oh darn, I will have to share those stories with you later, I am off to check out location number 5 or was it 6, maybe 7. I don't know, I have lost count.

Last edited by disneym2m; 08-03-2011 at 09:59 PM.
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Old 08-03-2011, 04:30 PM   #2
I am only allowed to visit Disney World once every five years... darn husband. Co-host of the Virginia Dis Meet 2011.
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Okay, so where was I. Oh yeah, location finding in Richmond. Cheri (Cherinva) and I teamed up to host the Virginia Dis Meet. I was to look for locations in Richmond and Cheri was to look for locations in the Virginia Beach/Williamsburg area.

So I sat at my computer ready to look things up and my brain just froze. I had no idea where to begin or how to even start looking for places. My 20th high school reunion was happening in a month, so I contacted that party planner. She would have connections because she is a party planner, right.

Well you would think that. But actually she has you look for a location and then she calls that place and then you plan from there. What kind of party planner is this person? I thought party planners had a Rolodex just sitting on their desk waiting to be turned to at a moment's notice. Well this particular party planner does not work that way.

So on with the story. She basically wanted me to give her a location and then a budget and then we could go from there. She provides decorations, invites, gift bags, etc. Sounded pretty good to me, until she asked for the budget. Now I just froze. How do you explain to someone that you really do not have a budget and you were trying to put something together as cheap as possible because the goal was to raise money for a worthy cause.
Yeah, there was silence on the other end for a couple of seconds.

Basically the party planner route was NOT the way to go and I had to find a location myself. Google here I come.
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Old 08-03-2011, 08:54 PM   #3
I am only allowed to visit Disney World once every five years... darn husband. Co-host of the Virginia Dis Meet 2011.
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So I Googled rental places for the Richmond area and it was not helpful. A lot of the places were in not so nice areas of Richmond. And I was putting the Disers safety first before a cheap location.

By this time Cheri had found a Chinese Buffet that looked promising. But after some discussion we decided that some Disers may not like Chinese and it may not be such a great idea.

I was becoming "desperate" and my husband let me know that his company had a huge room that we might be able to use for free. Well, sign me up. Aaron received permission from the correct people and I went to check the place out. It was perfect. It had tables, chairs, restrooms, and a separate kitchen space. My only concern was some of the computer equipment.

A couple of days later the company gave me permission with one condition. If any of the expensive computer equipment was broken Aaron and I would be held responsible for the cost, which started in the thousands of dollars. Well, okay, we would be held responsible, where do I sign. Then the room coordinator let me know that only 30 people could be in the room due to fire code.

Great, how do I invite people to a Dis Meet but only 30 people could attend. Of course in the back of my mind, I kept thinking there would be no way we would have 30 people.

Just so you know our thread for anyone interested in a Dis Meet had been up for almost 3 weeks and we were up to 28 attendees. So good-bye room and onto the next location.
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Old 08-04-2011, 08:05 AM   #4
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Melissa..I'm loving this report so far !!! Oh, and YES..you did agree to do this........actually, it didn't take much arm twisting for either of us...it just kinda happened...you know us DISers...we get an idea and run with it !!

I'm really excited about this..it's going to be great !!!

Don't let yesterday use up too much of todayºoº
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Old 08-04-2011, 01:48 PM   #5
I am only allowed to visit Disney World once every five years... darn husband. Co-host of the Virginia Dis Meet 2011.
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Since my husband's company was not going to work out, I needed a new place. Aaron's co-worker suggested Dogwood Dell. They have sheltered areas that can be rented.

Of course, why didn't I think of Dogwood Dell. It is only one of Richmond's nicest parks. They have an amazing 4th of July events and the fireworks are great. And if you are going to have a meet in Richmond why not at a Richmond landmark. Geez, where was my thinking.

I was a little worried that a park might be too cold in November, but knowing Richmond weather, we could all be wearing shorts. So I called the nice park coordinator lady to inquire about using this beautiful park. I was so excited.

Yeah, well that excitement didn't last very long. Since our meet was a private one the cost was more expensive than a public one. I would have had to pay for a least 4 park employees to help and monitor our meet, plus pay for a security guard. The meet could only be for 4 hours and I had to pay extra if I wanted to come in an hour early to set up. Oh and if I wanted tables and chairs I had to pay even more. I thanked the park coordinator for her assistance and hung up the phone.

What was I going to do now??

Since I was looking at a park for our meet, I checked out Chesterfield County's parks. Since I live in Chesterfield and pay for the use of the parks, I should be able to actually use them for an event. The price was actually reasonable but again I was nervous about the weather. Richmond weather in November is either warm, comfortable or freezing. And with my luck, on this day, we would have a snowstorm followed by a hurricane.

So my day was ending and I had ruled out parks. Cheri had agreed about the weather and maybe it wasn't such a good idea.

Onto the next idea.....that is if I had one.
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Old 08-04-2011, 02:16 PM   #6
Having a blast!
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Location: Western Mass
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As I'm going to school to be a wedding/event planning, your party planner is right with asking for a budget and location. Normally we charge for "researching" or only give one location. It's a way to make sure we get customers without giving free advice.

With that said, as I'm not in your area, have you checked local hotels/conference centers. Like the Renaissance Conference Center. They can usually hold up to 400 people.
Or in Mass we have whats called "American Legions" (not sure where else they are) but they usually run about $150, some are nicer than others and if for a non profit event, will allow you to rent it on a non busy day for like $25. They're like "Elks Clubs", they're just little halls that don't provide food. We can usually rent it from 11-5 for the 150.

Amy James Victoria

Feb 25-Dec 10.
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Old 03-08-2012, 03:16 PM   #7
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Great info!! Congrats on a successful meet!!! We're having one in IA in a few months so your info helped!! Thanks again!!
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