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!!!

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.

Mickey’s Halloween Party at Disneyland Park

 

Happy Halloween, all! This week, we’ve got a treat for you as Confessions reader and fellow DisNerd Crystal so graciously shared a few pictures she took while attending Mickey’s Halloween Party at Disneyland Park!

 

 

 

 

Looks like a fun party with just a few of your closest friends!

 

Crystal (Jessie) and her parents, dressed up for the occasion!

 

Thanks for the pictures, Crystal. Looks like you and your family had a blast!

I’ve never been to one of these events myself, but it looks like a lot of fun. What about you, dear readers? Have you attended a Halloween party, either at Disneyland or Walt Disney World? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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!

It’s a Jolly Holiday For Mary!

Love this poster. Looks like it’s staring Gene Van Kelly And Cyd Andrews.

Happy Birthday, Mary Poppins! You’ve aged quite gracefully!

Today, Walt Disney’s masterpiece (and this DisNerd’s favorite Disney live action movie) turns 50, and we celebrate all things Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious in honor of its release.

Instead of posting every reason I love this movie (including the Sherman Brothers’ most amazing score), I thought I’d share my absolute favorite part of the movie, then open it up to you, dear readers, to share with the DisNerd community your favorite part as well!

As magical as Mary Poppins is in the movie (in no small part to the amazing performance of Julie Andrews), the defining moment for me comes from a scene where Ms. Poppins is absent. After an incredibly and understandably frazzled Mr. Banks (David Tomlinson) has returned from a career defining (and not in a good way) day at work, after chasing off countless chimney sweeps, and seeing the one person he blames for all of his problems, George Banks is left to reflect on his misfortunes as he sees them while Bert the chimney sweep (Dick Van Dyke) finishes up his job. His utter disappointment in anyone but himself is quite clear, and Bert is all too understanding. Watch the look in his eyes as he hears Mr. Banks pour out his frustrations. He realizes the problem of a man not being able to see past himself, and figures out a way to reverse the tables, allowing George to take a long look at himself. Mary may have come to save the family, but in no small way, it’s Bert who helps to “save Mr. Banks.” There is some true magic in that as well, and this scene and song have helped me to shape my life philosophy, especially when it comes to spending time with my family. I don’t think there will ever be a time when it won’t get to me.

Now it’s your turn, friends! Do you have a favorite scene or song from Mary Poppins? Sound off below – we’d love to hear and discuss! In turn, your pick may be featured on our Facebook page, as we continue to celebrate this motion picture achievement over the next couple days!

Happy birthday, Mary Poppins! No wonder that it’s you (along with Bert, the Banks family, Uncle Albert, Admiral Boom and so many others) that we love!

We Never Had a Friend Like You

This morning, we pay tribute to a man who left us way too soon. Entertainer and Disney Legend Robin Williams left his mark on this world in so many ways, and left us way too early. Perhaps because of how it happened… perhaps because the stigma of depression that so many struggle with was given a very public face… perhaps because we just weren’t ready to say goodbye… This one affected so many in so many different ways. Today, Craig, Jake and Hayden share their individual tributes to the talented genius that was Robin Williams.

 

Robin Williams (1951-2014) and his Disney animation alter-ego, The Genie

Robin Williams (1951-2014) and his Disney animation alter-ego, The Genie

 

From Jake:

When kids like myself grow up, we look up to people who can make us laugh. Why? We look up to people who can make us laugh because it’s the purest form of happiness. Laughter is universal, and with laughter is its predecessor: comedy. The world lost one of the best comedians who made the world laugh for years and years. Robin Williams was a man who I admired growing up. His humor was for everyone. He had family jokes, kid jokes, adult jokes. Just a little something for everyone. Yet today, Mr. Williams passed away. A man who was admired for decades worth of roles that spanned a variety of film styles. He went from being a doctor with a red nose, to a wise cracking professor helping Will Hunting fully utilize his brilliance. He was a stand up comedian who didn’t just get us to laugh, but think about why we were laughing, and what we were laughing at. It was true brilliance. Some may disagree, but I would put him on a pedestal next to other greats. If Charlie Chaplin were alive, I would bet he could give him a run for his money.  If George Carlin had a stand-up competition, Robin would go toe-to-toe. He was a mastermind of what to say, when and how to deliver it, and we would all erupt with laughter. Now, we’re going to laugh less because we lost him. There’s no more new characters, only the ones we grew up with. Thankfully, we can revisit Genie, Pan, Patch Adams, and Mrs. Doubtfire, and many more, and remember a man who once said as Dr. Sean Maguire in ‘Good Will Hunting’: “Real loss is only possible when you love something more than you love yourself.”

 

From Hayden:

The news of Robin Williams’ passing has been a tough reality to process. The Birdcage has one less bird, Peter Banning has flown back to Neverland.

Unbeknownst to many of you, I spent the weekend in Disneyland. On an evening walk down Main Street, it was touching to see a hardly-noticeable homage paid to Mr. Williams by the Silhouette Studio; A small, Genie portrait was placed in their window display. I spoke with the artist responsible, briefly thanking him for such a sweet gesture. We both agreed: the world lost a lot of good heart today, and has a little less to laugh about.

Toodles, Mrs. Doubtfire. Good night, Mr. Colema… Er, Goldman. Enjoy your freedom, Genie.

 

From Craig

Words were hard to come by upon learning of his passing, but emotions weren’t. In a mere matter of moments, I felt myself going from shock to extreme sadness, from sadness to anger, from anger to empathy, to a feeling of true loss in this world. Even now I find myself asking why. Sure, I can feel angry that Mr. Williams chose to leave this world and rob his fans, and more importantly friends and family of any time he may have had left on this earth. But then, a form of depression so strong can take its toll in ways I personally have no understanding of, so that’s not completely fair. Nonetheless, I feel an emptiness at the passing of one of the true greats in the business. As a child I grew up with Mork from Ork. With the addition of a cable box in my household, I watched Robert Altman’s Popeye more times than I care to remember. Say what you want about the very… unique movie, Williams’ performance as Popeye was very memorable. As I got older, movies like Dead Poets’ Society, Good Morning Vietnam,  and Awakenings showed an entirely new side of Robin’s talent. Then came Aladdin. The role of the Genie may be the most remembered role by any Disney fan. Giving Robin free reign to improvise was a sheer genius move – even from the animation side. Sitting in the movie theater, watching this incredibly spastic and hilarious performance… I was in tears of laughter. It was Robin Williams unleashed in a family friendly format, yet still with decidedly adult comedy. I loved it, as did countless others.

However, for me, the most memorable performance of his career was yet to come. In 1997, Miramax Films (a division of Disney pictures at the time) released Good Will Hunting, a movie about a troubled South Boston youth who is eventually helped and mentored by a therapist, played by Robin Williams. Williams won an Academy Award for best supporting actor, and it’s not hard to see why. To me, this movie showed the most genius levels of his acting. Williams’ Sean Maguire is funny, inspiring, and in turn, heartbreaking. The following scene epitomizes what I’ll miss most about the amazing work of Robin Williams. In one scene, he manages to go from heartbreaking to funny, only to turn sentimental and inspirational at the end. It was by far, one of the most human roles I’ve ever seen him do. (Warning: Some pretty foul language here. Don’t watch in front of kids or if you’re offended by strong language.)

 

 

 

Robin, I hope you’re at peace now. I want to thank you for the years you spent with us. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: You left too soon. But you left us with a lot. And for that, you’ll always be remembered fondly.