A Running DisNerd, Part Two: A Walking DisNerd?

This is part two of a series – A Running DisNerd, in which I discuss my desire to prep and run in a RunDisney event. In this case, it’s the Never Land 5k, in conjunction with the Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend. Being my first 5k of any kind, I’m going in not really knowing what to expect, but sharing with you, friends and fellow DisNerds, as I go. You can read A Running DisNerd, Part 1: I Don’t Run, here.

Well, the past month has crept on me, and I still feel as though preparations have not gone as well as planned. Now, this isn’t to say I’m not doing the Never Land 5K. I promise you, I will be there on Friday, May 8th, and I will give it my all. I don’t give up. But, I may be walking a bit more than running.

But I’m actually okay with this. You see, this is my first running event anywhere. It’s a push to a personal realization that I do need to be in much better shape than what I currently am. I’m using this realization to keep me going forward and doing this 5k, even if I’m going to do a portion of it walking.

Because it beats sitting still.

And what better way to do this than with the aid of Disney? I’ve already been supported by friends and fellow DisNerds – your words of encouragement have definitely inspired me! I have also talked to others who have run in these RunDisney races, and have heard that, for a starter, there’s no better race to run for support and fun. I’m definitely approaching with the fun factor in mind, as is the rest of my family. In fact, the Little DisNerd (7 years old), the dancer in the family, has informed us that she plans on sashaying through the entire run, unless she sees Peter or Wendy, because, you know, Peter and Wendy. Speaking of, we’ll also be doing a little bit of dressing up. What’s the fun of running a Never Land 5k if you’re not being part of Never Land in the process? I’m definitely focusing on the fun – I’m running through Disneyland and Disney California Adventure, so that will help! I will finish the race. If nothing else, I plan on starting by running and crossing the finish line running. There aren’t many opportunities to run through Disneyland without security asking you to walk safely, so we might as well take advantage of the opportunity! If I walk more than run, so be it. I will still be taking those first steps to getting in better shape, and enjoying the magic of Disney in the process!

 

If you're going to run, might as well run through the Happiest Place on Earth!

If you’re going to run, why not run through the Happiest Place on Earth?

 

I’m just a few days away, friends. I appreciate the well wishes and support. Over the weekend, I plan on posting and sharing pictures of not only the 5k experience, but of the parks and goings on as well. Make sure you’re “liking” Confessions on Facebook, as well as following on Twitter and Instagram. You never know where something may show up! Once I’ve returned, I’ll be blogging my views on the entire RunDisney experience – I look forward to sharing more with you!

Why Tomorrowland Matters, Part Two

Copyright The Walt Disney Company

Copyright The Walt Disney Company

In “Why Tomorrowland Matters, Part One,” I talked about the early hype and speculation I had for the upcoming Tomorrowland movie. Yet, in doing so, I realized I never discussed WHY both the movie, the theme park land, and the idea of Tomorrowland as a real place matter to me, and should (in my opinion) to others as well. I hope the words that follow make sense, as it’s a reason very near and dear to my heart. It’s also one of the reasons Walt Disney was such a fascinating man to me.

We live in a cynical world. And it’s understandable why we do. I mean, look at the news. As I write this, people in Nepal are recovering from a devastating earthquake. Clashes, riots, and terrorism are constantly main headlines for news outlets. Now, natural disasters, wars, civil unrest, and social injustices are nothing new. I know looking back even thousands of years, we can see evidence of these things happening. But at the same time, with advancements in technology and humanity, can we say this is the future Walt Disney envisioned when he built Tomorrowland in Disneyland? I don’t think anyone would argue the answer to that one. The Tomorrowland of 1955 is not where we are at today.

Yet, that vision is what we need. As many have noted, Walt was an optimist, or as Ray Bradbury preferred to call him, an “optimal behaviorist.” Every day, he was pressing forward, trying to be the best he could be, looking for new ways to do things, always looking to make better what had already been done. And better it he did. The development of the multiplane camera gave animation depth. An amusement park laid out through a central hub with themed lands in every direction gave birth to the theme park. A desire to make attractions more interactive and lifelike gave rise to Audio-Animatronics. Walt believed in looking forward, in using this technology for the greater good. I often stop and wonder what might have become of EPCOT, had Walt been given even just another five years on this earth.

 

 

Walt believed that people could work together. That they could solve problems. That the technology that was developing at such a rapid pace could be used for the betterment of all mankind. Sadly, this is not the world we seem to live in. We have this wonderful tool for learning called the “internet,” only too often it’s used to bully, attack and harm others. We have amazing opportunities for space travel and exploration that can be used not only to explore our limits, but learn more about this crazy place we live called Earth. However, at this time, the shuttle program has been shelved. We use resources and materials that can harm our environment instead of pursuing more efficient and cost effective ways to use clean energies. And why are the energies that CAN make a difference so costly and hard to obtain for some? Why are we NOT banding together more and asking, “What can I do to make a better Tomorrow? How can I help and do my part to make for a more livable future?”

It’s easy to give into doom and gloom. Turn on CNN and you can easily believe the world’s going to hell in a handbasket. However, Walt never believed that way. He believed in innovation. How can technology and moving forward help society? Peoplemovers and Monorails…. they were more than just theme park rides to him. They were mass transportation units that would alleviate everyday stresses and congestion of individual commutes. The Carousel of Progress was not just a history of how far we’d come, but how much further we could go. These ideals of a better tomorrow were ideals Walt believed in, and one of the biggest reasons I admire the man. I know things aren’t that pleasant in the world right now. But I’d love to see how we could make things better if we worked together to help instead of hinder or stay complacent.

My hope with the new movie is that Tomorrowland is seen as this sort of place. That it gives us hope that, despite all the wrong in the world, there still can be a “Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow.” I have read a few rumblings online (not many, mind you) of people unhappy with the idea of how Walt would be presented in the movie. Would he be another fictionalized account of Walt Disney, and why would they even do that? I, for one, would argue that the idea of Tomorrowland is very much the spirit of Walt, his optimism, and ideals. It’s something I personally would love to see reflected in the theme park versions of Tomorrowland once again as well. Perhaps if this movie does well, plans are in place for such a move? It’s just my opinion, and lots of speculation, but a Tomorrowland like that is an area that’s sorely needed right now. In the meantime, we can hope this optimism spreads beyond the realms of Disney. Could we be the change that is sorely needed? That’s where my real hope lies. As Father said in the Carousel of Progress, “I would like to say this much. Progress is something we can’t take for granted. Progress takes a lot of people wanting it and willing to work for it.”

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter, dear readers and fellow DisNerds? And be honest. Am I getting my hopes up on what’s really “just a movie?” Do you have hope for it like I do? Or, like me, do you hold out hope that somehow, we can build a REAL Tomorrowland if we can all manage to work together? If this article resonates with you, please comment, share with your friends, and start more conversations.

Stay tuned for Part Three in the series, as I plan on sharing my thoughts on the movie itself shortly after it opens!

 

A Running DisNerd, Part 1: I Don’t Run.

RunDisney Logo Copyright The Walt Disney Company

RunDisney Logo Copyright The Walt Disney Company

If you frequent Disney Parks or follow the Disney Parks Blog (or many other blogs for that matter) online, I’m sure you’ve heard of RunDisney. In case you haven’t, RunDisney is Disney’s, you guessed it, running division. If you’ve heard of a marathon, half-marathon, 10k, or 5k taking place within the confines of Disney-owned property, it’s a RunDisney event. Countless numbers sign up for these events many months in advance to run different themed competitive and non-competitive races throughout the parks. The races have been known to sell out in days, sometimes even hours! At any RunDisney event, you will see all types of runners, including many costumed runners, depending on the theme of the particular run they’re participating in. These races seem to be the perfect type of events for Disney fans, young and old, who are into running as well. And I’ve always thought to myself, “Well, that’s nice for them.”

But not for me. I’ve never been a runner.

Okay, there was that one fifty-yard dash in fifth grade, where I managed to come in fifth place, and actually got a ribbon. However, my running days pretty much began and ended there. I’ll admit, I’m out of shape. I’ve been meaning to do something about that. But running has never been one of my preferred methods. Do I run? Maybe when chased, but that’s about it. Therefore, is RunDisney for me? Had you asked me previously, I would tell you it was not in the cards. At least, this was the case up until last summer, when Mrs. DisNerd mentioned that registration was going to be opening up for the Tinker Bell Half-Marathon weekend in May 2015. The event that specifically caught our attention was the Never Land 5k. If you’ve been reading Confessions for any amount of time, you know through posts such as “Still Living In Never Land” and “Real Character (Or, How Peter and Jake Made Wendy’s Day Perfectly Darling)” exactly how much Peter Pan and his Never Land family mean to us. With that being said, if there were a RunDisney event I was willing to participate in, the Never Land 5k would be the one.So, on that August morning, as registration opened, I registered our family to run in this event, with full intent of getting in shape for the run.

I’m ashamed to admit, this hasn’t happened yet for yours truly, and I’m running out of time. A little more than a month out, and this DisNerd is nowhere near ready. I could blame injury (not the best knee in the world, a sprained ankle at one point), I could blame allergies and sickness, but in all honesty, what I blame most of all is me. Between everything else, there still should have been time to train and prep. It just hasn’t happen, and I can only point the finger at myself.

With that realization out of the way, I feel there is still time to ready myself for a 5k without killing myself. I know I could walk at a brisk pace even. But this is RUNDisney, and now I have something to prove to myself. So begins a month and a half of training, to get into a decent running/jogging shape, and cross the finish line to earn my first 5k medal.

Will winning this make me an honorary Lost Boy? Picture copyright The Walt Disney Company

Will winning this make me an honorary Lost Boy?
Picture copyright The Walt Disney Company

I plan on posting an occasional update on my progress here, as well as sharing my overall experience with a RunDisney event. I’d like to ask you to join me on this journey. I’d also like to hear from you, fellow DisNerds. Any other RunDisney participants out there? I’d love to know your stories or experiences – maybe we can inspire each other! Can’t wait to share with you all at the finish line!

Confessions of a Fan

Happy 2015 to all of you, devoted readers and fellow DisNerds! I realize it’s been too long since I wrote a post or shared anything here, and I would like to apologize for that. While I could blame the crazy time of year, work, or general business, the truth is, I think my time away consisted of something more.

I think, in a way, I forgot how to be a fan.

 

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You see, I love Disney. I always have, even when the preteen in me was afraid to admit it. If a new movie came out, I had to see it right away. New CD collection? It didn’t matter if I had most of the songs elsewhere, this one had a few new ones – a must have! Trips to the park were always amazing, from rides on the newest rides to strolls through the shops to see all the new merchandise. If you knew me, you knew of my extensive love for all things Disney.

I also have a second passion: Writing.

Oh, how I love writing. While never formally educated to do so, I feel I’ve adopted a style that’s my own. Long winded sentences, dashes, ellipses, parentheses that allow me to stray off topic a bit.. They’re all very much a part of me as well, and I feel very much freed when I’m able to sit at a keyboard and type. To me, the written word is my chosen method of communication, and if I could find a way to make a living out of doing it, I would jump at the chance.

With that being said, Confessions of a DisNerd was pretty much a no-brainer for me. Write about my favorite subject? Of course! As you have seen, over the past (nearly) three years, I have poured out my heart on the subject of Disney, covering a range of everything from television shows to movies, from music to theme parks. And I have loved every minute of it. However, in the past year, I seemed too determined to focus on the News side, and less on the fan side. In searching for news on the company to report, I missed out on how excited I would get as a fan of all things Disney. And that’s never been who I am.

If I were to be honest, I’d say that experience drained me, maybe even slowed my passion for writing a bit. Never for Disney – just writing about it. I had stopped writing about the chills I felt in hearing “When You Wish Upon a Star.”  About the giddiness of seeing a castle at the end of a turn-of-the-century town. About the anticipation of a new film, and the joy of seeing it through a child’s eye. Instead, I looked for bits of news to share with you, the readers and fellow DisNerds, and report on it when possible. But the truth is, there are plenty of sites that do just that, and they do it well. I realize now a need to return to what I do best: Being a fan.

Does this mean that I’ll stop reporting on “News For DisNerds?” Not necessarily, but I think it will be reported from this fan’s point of view. I recently posed a question to friends of mine. What does it mean to be a fan? While the answers varied, I think the number one resounding  theme was one word: Passion. The more I thought about it, the more I realized a simple truth. If I’m going to report on something I find interesting or exciting, I need to let that interest and excitement show! If I feel something is newsworthy, I want to present it with the passion that hits me as I find out about it.

So what does this mean going forward? It means, that I’m hoping to invoke some of that passion and fun back into the blog; to truly approach things as the Disney fan I am. This year I’ll be experiencing a few firsts, such as my first ever RunDisney event, as well as the D23 Expo. My genuine hope is to be able to convey the experience as a first timer, and share that with you, the readers. As well, I hope to share more stories of some of my favorite things: Disney books, music, movies, and of course, trips to Disneyland. Also, Mrs. DisNerd is very eager to share some of the things that we as fans have done with birthday parties and projects that show off our true DisNerds!

I’m truly excited to see what the future has to offer, and want to give you my sincere thanks for sticking out this journey with me so far. Here’s looking forward to a Disney filled 2015!

Season’s Greetings From Confessions of a DisNerd!

Although it’s been said many times, many ways…

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Whether you celebrate Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanzaa, Solstice, or any other holiday… May this season be joyous and happy for each and everyone of my fellow DisNerds. I thank you for your continued support, and wish each and every one of you a very happy holiday!

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See you in 2015!!!

Why Our #DisneySide is Still Showing… And Always Will

It’s been over a year since Disney started their #DisneySide social media campaign, and with the “Haunt Your Disney Side” contest recently announced, it looks as though it will be continuing for a while.

And that’s just fine with me.

If you’re unsure as to what “Disney Side” means, exactly, it’s defined by Disney as follows: “It’s the side you simply can’t wait to share. It’s the side of you that laughs more, screams more, and just plain lives life to the fullest. It’s the side of you that comes out to play the moment you and your family step through the gates of a Disney theme park.” I think as fans of Disney, many of us can relate to that statement and agree we definitely DO have a Disney Side. At the same time, I think there’s even more to it than that.

To me, a Disney Side isn’t JUST about the parks. It’s about Disney, and how different aspects of it are brought out through our personalities in daily life. It’s that side of us that causes us to find “hidden Mickeys” in the clouds. It’s the part that has to burst out singing, “To defeat… the Huns!” anytime someone says, “Let’s get down to business.” It’s that lump in your throat any time you hear the familiar strains of “When You Wish Upon a Star.” It’s the fact that while Disney may not rule our lives, it’s such a part that if it was no longer there, we’d feel as though something was missing.

So when this campaign first launched, I knew it was something I could definitely get into. Little did I know how into it I’d be getting.

Shortly after it was announced, Disney also launched a “Show Your Disney Side” Vine contest, challenging fans to show their Disney Side through a roughly six second video. Although I had heard of Vine, it was not an app I was familiar with using. This was soon to change. Over the course of about two weeks, the DisNerd family started brainstorming, scripting, and executing ideas for the sake of showing off our Disney Side selves.

Our ideas ranged from simple….

 

 

… to paying tribute to favorite films…

 

 

…or theme park attractions….

…. and just outright punny.

After multiple videos, we realized how much fun we were having showing off our Disney Sides. It brought out creativity, playfulness, and family togetherness, creating memories that will last a lifetime. However, we had an idea for one more Vine. One that pretty much encapsulated how we felt about taking trips to Disneyland. With that in mind, we scripted out our idea, with input from all three of us, coming up with the following:

It’s a little hard to explain why, but when we finished with this Vine, we just looked at each other and said, “This is it. This is the one. If we have a chance of winning in the contest, it’s this one.” And with that, our Vine entries were done. Sure enough, over a week later, I was contacted that “Dreaming of Disney” had indeed won the daily contest! And while that was a grand accomplishment, the bigger one was this creative flow that had come from it all – one that had inspired us to have fun and bond over something we truly loved.

If we felt our Disney Side had shown before, it definitely seems to be showing even more now! We have done more Vine videos for fun, we have encouraged ourselves to try new things (such as a Run Disney event next year), and just embrace our love for the company started by Walt even more than we already did!

Another way we show our Disney Side? Disney Bounding - Dapperly, of course!

Another way we show our Disney Side? Disney Bounding – Dapperly, of course!

 So thank you, Disney. Thank you for introducing the #DisneySide campaign. For inspiring us and countless others to be able to share our individual Disney Sides with a like minded group! What about you, fellow DisNerds? Have you participated in any official #DisneySide promotions? Or, how do you show your Disney Side elsewhere? I’d love to hear!

Why I Write (And Why I Sometimes Don’t)

Greetings all – long time no talk!

Today, I thought I’d tackle perhaps the nearest and dearest subject that I can when it comes to this site and yours truly: Why I write, and why sometimes it seems there are huge gaps when I don’t.

 

 

So why do I write?

Well, the answer to that is quite simple, honestly. I love to write. It’s something I love to do. When I sit down at a keyboard, or with pen and paper in hand (which, I’ll be honest, doesn’t happen frequently), the words start flowing. It frees the soul – it’s a true passion of mine. If I could get paid to write for a living I would in a heartbeat. In fact, I have a few things I’m working on (non-Disney related) to work toward that goal someday. But I digress….

Why do I write about Disney?

First and foremost, it’s because I love Disney. With such a vast richness that the company and its history have to offer, along with my experiences with them, I feel there is so much to be said. Not that Disney is the only thing in life I feel is worth writing about – nor the only thing I love. Nonetheless, it is a powerful subject that touches so many.

Which brings me to the second reason….

Because Disney reaches so many, we have common bonds. We have fond memories of the past and often savor the hope and challenge of the future. We also have areas of disagreement as well. Many out there like to point out flaws they see within the company: in the parks, films, leadership. Now, I’m not saying that criticisms are bad. In fact, they’re quite necessary – if we didn’t have a voice, there would be no individuality, no changes. However, many sites and blogs, when they start with criticisms…. Well, let’s just say the entire area seems to take on a very cynical tone. It soon becomes a place looked at as a “Disney bashing” site, which, may or may not be entirely fair based on the situation.

Nonetheless, seeing so much in the way of criticism sent me on a course of thinking: what if I started writing about the positives? The reasons I love Disney? The magical moments, the theme parks, music, movies… there’s just so much to speak happy thoughts of! Thus, Confessions of a DisNerd was born. In doing so, I have strived to keep a positive and upbeat vibe in everything I post.

It’s not always easy. There are times I don’t agree with decisions the Walt Disney Company has made. I think this is to be expected in every corporation, as well as in any walk of life including familial relations and friendships. If we all agreed 100% of the time, things would just be…well, weird. When it comes to such things, however, I choose to not post or talk about it here. There are plenty of sites and blogs willing to discuss those matters, so why not leave it to them? I prefer to discuss the good instead.

I will admit, when it comes to negative posts on other blogs and sites, things can get downright vitriolic. Even from those who look to defend Disney, many times arguments get reduced to name calling and incredulous statements. Nowhere is this more evident than in social media, where thoughts and arguments get reduced to memes and 140 characters. I’ve allowed myself to get caught up in this whirlwind at times, not by throwing myself into the thick of the fight, but by reading and stewing. There’s a real danger in battling negativity to become negative yourself, and this is not okay. In these times, however, I will ultimately say, I have handled it the wrong way.

I stop writing.

I get so fed up with the arguments over leadership, films, theme parks, etc. that I forget to focus on the things I love instead of the arguments that I see come across my Twitter feed. When this happens, I’m not in much of a writing mood, sad to say. But perhaps I should be. Perhaps I should remember the happy things: the music I grew up on, the tv shows and movies I still love, seeing the world of Disney through my daughter’s eyes instead of those of a grumpy old me.

Why do I tell you all of this? Simply, there are times, especially in the recent past, where I have been lax in posting here, or on the social media outlets I have. While yes, things have been busy outside of the blog (life – what’s up with that?), there’s no reason to not remember the positives. That’s what Confessions is all about, after all!

I would love to say,  “Starting today, expect more posts – even a few a week!” But I don’t want to promise what I can’t deliver. I do, however want you, my dear readers who have come with me on this journey thus far to know this: I will try to remember the happiness that Disney brings me, especially in times I am brought down elsewhere. In fansites, in social media, in life outside of the World of Walt, I think this is something we can all do. Focus on what makes us happy.

For me, that’s writing. And I look forward to doing more of it.