A Very Special Day

| May 4, 2008

Today turned out very different than we originally planned.  Today was the day we were supposed to record our first ever Live Audience Podcast for the The DIS Unplugged.  We had worked with the Gaylord Palms Resort for several months and arranged for a nice convention room set-up to accommodate a modest audience, some ‘finger’ food, drinks and roundtable whereby we were going to set-up our microphones and headsets and let those in attendance see how we record a show.

On Monday April 28th Bob Varley passed away suddenly and all our plans changed.

While dealing with our grief and comforting his family it became apparent that we could not record the Live Show. Not only did we all realize we would not be able to ‘get through it’ we felt it would not be appropriate.  However, we did recognize that we had a whole bunch of people either planning on coming to see us, or already in town.

We quickly changed gears and decided to make it a ‘Meet and Greet’ and a chance for folks to come and honor Bob, his memory and pay their respects to his family.

As soon as the folks at the Gaylord Palms Resort heard of Bob’s passing they ‘took over’ and altered the space to match our revised ‘event’.

To say they did an awesome job would be an understatement.  When we first stepped foot into the room today I was overwhelmed.  It was a much larger space than we originally secured and it was set up with extremely elegant table settings.  There was an Italian buffet set-up to one side and a desert buffet setup at the back of the room.


The Italian buffet consisted of Minestrone Soup, Traditional Ceaser Salad, Caprese Salad (which was my favorite), Chicken Piccata, Rigatoni Casserole, Honey Glazed Snapper, Oven Roasted Italian Vegetables, Focaccia Bread and Breadsticks.


The desserts were Amaretto Macaroon Cheesecake, Biscotti, Tiramisu and Flourless Chocolate Cake.


I thought the food was excellent and everyone I spoke with seemed to think it was very good as well.

To say the Gaylord Palms went ‘above and beyond’ for us is an understatement.  I cannot express how grateful I am to the folks at the Gaylord Palms for all they did for us, Bob’s family and our listeners.  A very special Thank You goes out to Todd Farber (Director of Travel Industry Sales and E-Commerce) and his assistant Lauren Siegrist.  Two incredible people who are not only business associates of ours but who had come to know and love Bob as we all had.  Thank you again for setting up this wonderful event.

Folks started coming in about 12:30PM and everyone was so warm and wonderful.  Diana showed up a little after the first ‘listeners’ and set-up two nice ‘whiteboards’ of pictures of Bob.  Her daughter Erin along with a Diana’s good friend Marianna and our good friend Majk (pronounced Mike – don’t get me started) spent some time and made wonderful CD of pictures of Bob.  We asked the staff at the Gaylord Palms to set-up a TV with a DVD player for us to have that running.  They did and it was very nice to have going.

While the mood was respectful I think that everyone had a good time.  I know I did.  I got to see some old friends who we met back in December, and make many new ones.  I was going to try to list everyone who attended but there were so many that I didn’t want to accidentally leave someone out.  I enjoyed meeting and talking to everyone, the afternoon seemed to fly by.

I would guess we had about 64 folks total in attendance at the meet.  Some were our personal friends and family but I believe we had 50+ listeners present.  I was very happy to see such a great turn-out – and I know Bob would have been pleased as well.

Unfortunately Pete wasn’t there – he had started to get a chest cold the day before and he felt as if he didn’t want to get anyone sick.  I believe I speak for Corey, Julie and Kevin when I say we all enjoyed spending time with so many listeners and telling Bob stories.

This was a truly magical day.

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  • cocowum

    Wow John, The room looks lovely. Thanks for posting. I wish we could have made it down. You guys were in our thoughts all day. :)

  • LovesThumper

    My goodness what a beautiful place and a gorgeous presentation. Thanks for sharing John. We all were with you in spirit.

  • TSWJan78

    What a great thing Gaylord palms did for you… and for Bawb… It is wonderful to know there are resorts in Orlando that are in the business for more than makeing money… It gives me a whole new respect for them. Glad you all had a good time and I am sorry we could not be there in person

  • Madi100

    Thanks for sharing. How beautiful.

  • tinkerbellblondie19

    I’m really glad it went well, and I wish I could have been there. I’m guessing that there weren’t issues with people not knowing what happened?

  • mommyceratops

    Thanks John for sharing. I am glad to know the Gaylord Palms was so wonderful.

    Blessings, wish I could of been there.

  • checkwriter

    Thank you so much, John. You all did a great job with a very difficult situation. The place looked beautiful, and the Gaylord Palms really did itself proud.

  • DisneyCruise05

    Thanks for the update, John. I so wish I could have made it to the ‘Meet & Greet.’ It’s great to see that the Gaylord Palms went above and beyond what was needed.

    I really wish I could have been there. Y’all have been in my thoughts today.

  • maiziezoe

    I was thinking about you all today…

    The Gaylord Palms did a beautiful job with the room and from the looks of it, the food.

    Thanks for sharing, John.

    Bless all of you.

  • miss missy

    Thanks for sharing that John. It looked so beautiful!! The ROUND tables-WOW perfect touch! Gaylord Palms did an outstanding job for sure and I am so happy it all went well.
    I wish I was there. You were all in my thoughts today… hugs to you all!

  • calypso

    Kudos to the Gaylord Palms — I want to stay there now! Thank you to the DIS Unplugged for finding an appropriate way to include those of us that couldn’t be there…it is greatly appreciated.

  • Disney Khi

    It looks like a wonderful tribute for a wonderful man. Thanks for sharing with all of us. So many of us were there with you in spirit.

  • elemusing

    Thank you for sharing that with us John. Kudos to Gaylord Palms for stepping up and making a beautiful celebration for Bob.

  • Cyrano

    What a lovely setting.
    Thank you for sharing.
    Hope Pete is better soon :)

  • Roxy217

    Hey John,
    Everything looked beautiful. The Gaylord Palms really did a wonderful job. Uncle Bawb (as my kids call him) was smiling down on you that day. We tried so despirately to get Anthony & Tony tickets to the live podcast but I guess it worked out for the best. Anthony would have been crushed. He wore the proto type t-shirt that Julie sent him all week in memory of Uncle Bawb. (Thanks Julie – Now it means even more). Our whole family is feeling the loss. Tony just said to me this morning, “Thank God we met them (Kevin, Bob & you) when we did.” Our thoughts and prayers go out to Diane and Bob’s family and to the Podcast crew. Hope to see you on our next vacation and thanks for sharing.

    “Anthony’s Mom”

  • MM32830

    What a wonderful thing Gaylord Palms Resort did for Bob and the entire DIS community. Do you think it would appropriate to send them an email thanking them for their wonderful generosity? If so, perhaps John can furnish an email address?


  • mla973

    What a wonderful way to honor Bob. Bless the staff at Gaylord Palms. I wish I could have been there.

  • http://mommywho.blogspot.com tonyadenmark

    Thank you so much for sharing. What a beautiful occasion. Sorry we couldn’t make it. He will be deeply missed.

  • DebbieT11

    The Gaylord Palms *did* go above and beyond…. how gracious of them. And unusual in today’s business world… kudos to them!

    The room looks lovely, and I’m pleased that so many got to meet and share Bawb stories…. godspeed.

  • tinkbutt

    the room looks amazing and I am glad to hear you guys had a nice day!

    so sorry pete wasn’t feeling well!

    The Gaylord Palms did an amazing thing!

  • grumpy0711

    The room and the podcast crew were fantastic. We were fortunate to attend and it was a delight to meet everyone under the circumstances. Diana is a wonderful, strong women and it was our pleasure to share our feelings for Bawb. Gaylord Palms? Impeccable!

    Jon and Kelly