Making Walt Proud

I was backstage at Disneyland, just behind the backstage entrance near “it’s a small world”. My high school marching band had just finished parading, marching down Main Street USA and beyond Sleeping Beauty’s Castle. With the gates now closed behind us, the band began setting down their instruments, taking off their uniforms, relaxing. I, however, was not. I was crying. I was happier than I had ever been in my entire life. I had just marched down Disneyland, an absolute dream come true. As I sat there backstage, alone and still crying, a hand patted my back, and a voice told me simply… “Walt would be proud.” (That certainly didn’t help stop the tears, if anything it brought on an onslaught of more, but only because it resonated so deeply in my sophomore-age heart.) Certainly, that sentiment seems fluffy and shallow, and if you were to think too much about it, you might be able to disqualify the statement entirely. But such meant so very much to me then, and still continues to mean so very much to me now.

Today is Walt Disney’s birthday, and in honor of such, I simply wanted to share a bit of what this man has done for me in my life, much of which I am certain you will heartedly agree with. I have never met Walt Disney. I will never meet Walt Disney. My knowledge of him only extends so far as the knowledge his closest associates have shared. Yet in learning more of this “man behind the mouse,” I found a man who helped to create my dreams, and then taught me how to make them come true. He taught me, and still teaches me, of imagination, optimism, spirit, and ingenuity. Walt Disney has inspired me and will continue to inspire me.
At the end of each and every trip to Disneyland, I sit myself on a bench near “Partners”, the commemorative statue of Walt with Mickey Mouse. I sit under the twinkling lights in the trees, with tired guests walking past me for one last photo of the castle. Many families stop and look at Walt and Mickey, and many small kids have turned to their folks to ask, “Mom, who was Walt Disney?” Their answers never fail to bring tears to my eyes. “He was a magical man who made Disneyland,” some say. “He was remarkable, he had so many dreams.” “He’s who you have to thank for the wonderful time we’ve had at Disneyland.” I stay on that bench until security asks me to leave, but until they do, I have little conversations with Walt. I report back on my dreams. It’s a tradition of mine I’ve been doing since I was 12. I make sure I am doing him proud. And to all of us dreamers, hoping to carry on ol’ Uncle Walt’s legacy, I’m sure we’re doing him proud.

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.

More “Long Lost Friends” at Disneyland

Today, the Disney Parks Blog announced the return of “Long Lost Friends Week” to Disneyland for the week of August 19th – 25th. Characters announced for this turn are as follows:

 

Hercules and Meg from “Hercules”

Merlin from “Sword in the Stone”

Tarzan, Jane and Terk from “Tarzan”

 

Of course, last time, there were a lot more unannounced long-lost friends that showed up in Big Thunder Ranch. I’d love to be there for one of these weeks – I remember feeling eight years old getting to meet Horace Horsecollar last year when he showed up in the Jamboree area, and I’m sure I’d feel that way if I got the chance to meet more!

 

Of course, every time I visit Disneyland, it’s like visiting a long-lost friend each time I enter the gates….