It Always Comes Back to Disney (Or, However Many Degrees Of Disney Separation)….

I have a music recommendation for you all today – I’ve provided the link to Amazon, where it can be bought digitally. It’s a great collection of Disney music, all instrumental. Very peaceful, well done, great background music. I love stuff like this. The album name: Gävle SymfoniorkesterEn Helt Ny Värld.

Or, A Whole New World by the Gavle Symphony Orchestra for those of you who can’t read Swedish.

If you’re finding yourself wondering if I’ve taken DisNerd to a whole new level, searching for foreign and obscure orchestra covers of Disney songs… Well, sorry to say, the answer is no. At least not this time. In fact, this discovery had nothing to do with Disney at first. But it always seems to come back to Disney for me. I can’t escape it, but why would I want to?

Believe it or not, I’m not all Disney, all the time. Especially when it comes to musical taste – they go all over the board. This morning the theme was folk music. So as I was creating a playlist on Spotify titled “Folkish,” I decided there was a song that had to be included along with The Kingston Trio and Phil Ochs. Only problem was… I wasn’t sure of the exact title or who sang it.

All I knew for sure were the lyrics:

“All day, all night, Marianne…down by the seaside sifting sand.

Even little children love Marianne…down by the seaside sifting sand.”

Well, this prompted me to search. Was it called Marianne? Mary Ann? All Day, All Night? Best way to find out was to search the lovely world of Google, upon which I learned the song, “Marianne” was made famous by Terry Gilkyson. Armed with this knowledge, I go back onto Spotify and type in Terry Gilkyson. Yes, “Marianne” was one of the results, but what came first? En Helt Ny Värld, which, after listening, deterred me from my search for Marianne and her sifting sand.

But now, I was curious. What was the connection between this album of Disney songs and Gilkyson that led me back to Disney? A little more research would clear that up: according to his bio at, Gilkyson was also the Academy Award nominated composer of a song called “The Bare Necessities.”  Ever hear of it? Of course you have. And the Bare Necessities was one of the tracks on En Helt Ny Varld.

While this may serve as just an interesting bit of trivia to most, I wanted to share this as there really is a “Six Degrees of Separation” aspect to Disney that just constantly amazes me. It leads me to find new things, to smile at the way Disney connects even unintentionally. This is how my mind works; what makes me the DisNerd that I am. All because of a song that I at first thought had nothing to do with Disney…

I’m All Ears!

Year Of the DisNerd, Week 1

From the Disney Parks Blog: ” We’re also excited to announce that 2013 will be the “Year of the Ear” at Disney Parks. Every month, Disney Parks will release new ear hats to add to your collection as part of “Limited Time Magic.” January will start with the limited release of Disney Couture Ear Hats. And each month, there will be fun designs to discover.”

From the first airing of the Mickey Mouse Club in 1955, I’m sure Walt knew mouse ears would be big. After all, he’d seen coonskin caps take off  the year before with Davy Crockett, and also knew the marketing power of the mouse. However, the phenomenon of mouse ear hats in the parks… well, who could’ve guessed?

Ears quickly become a must-have for fans of all ages, especially on their first trip. It was that way for me…

Vintage Mickey, and Vintage Me.

And it was the same for my daughter.

Though you can barely see them, mine say “I Never Want To Grow Up.” I stand by that statement.

Of course, it doesn’t end with children, or Mickey ears for that matter. Kids and adults alike can be seen wearing all kinds of headgear, ranging from ears, to wigs, to oversized hats throughout the park. Why? Perhaps because everyone else is doing it? Certainly not the fashion sense, although with a line of couture inspired ears, it could be possible.

I truly believe it’s because we lose our inhibitions at places like Disneyland and Walt Disney World. We walk through the turnstiles and, for the most part, embrace fantasy. We skip down Main Street, we talk to the characters as if they’re long lost friends (of course they are!), we journey with pirates, and sing along with birds and tikis as if it were an everyday occurrence.

And we don the ears, as if they are a natural extension of us within the park. Yes, we may buy a ball cap to wear at home to remind us of our trip. But for our time within the park, it’s more natural to have wild auburn hair under a top hat, dreadlocks underneath a pirate’s three-point hat, or spherical rodent ears protruding from our skulls.

Year of the ear?

As long as there’s imagination left in the world, I see many more years of ears to come.

Announcement: The Lost Safari

Hello, dear readers! It’s with great honor and pride I make this announcement to you:

Confessions of a DisNerd is joining forces with two other blogs, Tales of a Disneyland Cast Member and Disney Park Secrets, to form a new partnership: The Lost Safari.

Special thanks to Jenny Skousen for the awesome picture!

So, what exactly is The Lost Safari?

The Lost Safari is a primarily Facebook focused group consisting of the aforementioned blogs created with the intent of having one location to share information and blog postings with our readers. By having this group, this one location, readers can join and choose to be notified via Facebook whenever one of the blogs has a new post, story, or something else we want to share with everyone.

Why was the Lost Safari Formed?

When we first started discussing the possibility of a “support group,” so to speak, our main intent was for a group of bloggers to be able to show support for each others’ writing and postings, as well as promote each others’ blogs in one place. Stated plainly, there are many sites and blogs and websites out there – many on the subject of Disney alone. We realize the individuality of each blogger, but at the same time find ourselves united in one common denominator: Our love for Disney. Through our discussions, we’ve come to realize that the blogosphere is not a place of competition. There are so many worth reading. If we can occasionally partner with each other on content and support, perhaps we can broaden our audience and share our passions with others while maintaining our own unique identities.

In doing this we promise two things:

1:To remain upbeat. If you are looking for Disney “watchdog” groups, you won’t find them in The Lost Safari. There are plenty of websites, blogs and even Twitter accounts that specialize in that sort of thing; just not us. We are, first and foremost, fans. Therefore, our views will more than likely celebrate the things we love about Disney.

2: We won’t overwhelm you with posts. The beauty of Facebook groups is that one can elect to receive notifications whenever there is a new post as opposed to relying on a news feed to show you the latest posting, which can easily be missed. This being said, we promise not to overload your notifications with multiple posts.

So, Mr. DisNerd, we know about your blog. What about the other two?

The other two blogs come highly recommended – great reading indeed! A little info on both:

Tales Of A Disneyland Cast Member

Danielle, author of Tales of a Disneyland Cast Member, worked for The Disneyland Resort at both The Grand Californian and The World Famous Jungle Cruise. Through her recollections of experience and one on one personal interactions, you’ll find yourself laughing one minute and in tears the next. Many of her stories seem to hit home with many readers, either through the magic Disney provides or similar life experiences. I highly recommend reading stories like “A Main Street Kiss” with a box of tissue.

Disney Park Secrets

Meanwhile, over at Disney Park Secrets, Austen and Jake have taken the time to set up a blog to appeal to even the most casual of Disneyland visitors. They have combined their knowledge of park information, such as history and details of rides, to give park visitors a new appreciation for what they are seeing as they go through the park, as well as things to keep an eye out for, such as finding Jabba the Hutt in Adventureland (who knew?!?). In addition, with one of the authors living locally, you’ll see newer pictures and reports of more recent experiences, such as the space shuttle Endeavour’s final flyover of Disneyland.

As for me, I’ll keep doing what I always do, covering and chronicling my love for all aspects of Disney, perhaps with more reviews and articles that focus outside of the parks. One thing will stay consistent – hopefully my love for all things Disney, i.e. my DisNerdom shines through.

I encourage anyone who is interested in following this new partnership to check out and join The Lost Safari on Facebook, as well as follow both Tales and Secrets on their individual Facebook fan pages as well. And of course, if you haven’t yet followed Confessions of a DisNerd on Facebook, I encourage you to do that also!

Thanks for taking the time to read this rather lengthy post – we all look forward to seeing what the future holds for our new partnership!

Disneyland, September 2012 – A Photo Essay (Part 2)

I’d like to start this next part by stating the following: I never understood the appeal of Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique at Disneyland. Never understood, that is, until I had a little girl that was old enough to be appealed to.

Oh boy, do I understand now!

The Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique is a special experience that caters to the inner princess of every little girl. From the care of the “Fairy Godmothers in Training” to the magic mirror reveal, it’s a great way to make a little girl feel very special for a day (or two, if the hairspray and style holds)!

Who doesn’t feel like a royal princess after this experience? Our little girl sure did!

In fact, a few families with small children (and a couple grown ups as well) asked our daughter if they could get their picture taken with her. Of course, she obliged and felt like holding court to see if she could get even more visitors! Special thanks to my good friend Austen from the Disney Park Secrets blog for being part of her entourage and acting as royal guard along with another friend!

“Sure, you can have my autograph too!”

Going forward into Fantasyland, the next stop is definitely a must for multiple rides in a trip….

In a discussion with a friend the other day, we were both talking about how well classic dark rides have held up in Fantasyland. The paint schemes, the story, the music, the feeling of immersion –  you ARE part of the story; it just draws the rider in. Nowhere is this exemplified better than in Peter Pan’s Flight. The continuous 30-45 minute waits for a 2 minute ride are proof of that!

“There it is, Wendy – second start to the right and straight on ’till morning!”

Moving on to our next destination, It’s a Small World, we stop for a picture in the stationary teacup, a photo favorite of kids and adults alike… wait…it’s missing!

Hopefully it’s just getting some touch-up and will return; perhaps it has already. Any readers who frequent the park, can you confirm this?

No time to stop and cry over spilled tea… we have to journey to the rest of the world!

It is a small one, after all!

We arrived at It’s A Small World, right about the time of the Soundsational Parade. With all eyes fixed on the parade route, the line for Small World was nonexistent. Not only were we loaded onto our own boat, the boats behind us were empty!

Which gave me thoughts for a great Small World Halloween picture…..

“Sure, they go on, but nobody ever comes out…….”

Time to move from that horror into Toontown. Such a great themed land. Sure, there could stand to be a little more in the way of rides, but the detail put into this area is just amazing. From the curved architecture, the talking mailboxes and gag boxes to the little details in every house, there are so many opportunities to just admire the thought that went into it!

One of my favorite resting spots (for a parent, that meant about two minutes to be still in shade) is the area behind Donald Duck’s Boat, The S.S. Daisy. Between the shade and constantly running water, it’s quite a nice area to cool off! Which leads to one of my favorite pics of the trip – finding a bit of Adventureland in Toontown:

I’ve titled it “The Backside of Duckwater.”

With the mention of Adventureland, I’ll leave you with one more picture today; this one a bit of an observation. I often forget how awesome Adventureland looks in its theming. Even in a little area, it really does feel like you’ve been transported to a little outpost in the Jungle. The reason it gets missed so much is due to the bottlenecks that tend to happen between strollers, people walking toward New Orleans Square, and Indiana Jones riders. This past trip, with Indy closed, Adventureland became walkable again, and we were really able to enjoy the beauty:

Look! Elbow room!

Well, dear readers, that wraps up part two of my photo essay! I have one more part coming – a few pictures from California Adventure. Until then, I hope you’ve enjoyed these pictures. Feel free to share with your friends and leave any comments you may have as well! Thanks for reading!

Raising A DisNerd, Part 2

There’s no two ways around this: This morning did not start off on the right foot.


When my four year old woke up at 4 in the morning to go potty, I noticed the canopy netting above her loft bed was out of whack, so I climbed up to straighten it out. On the way down the stairs of her bed, my left foot went straight through the wooden step, not only rendering the step useless, but twisting my ankle pretty good as well.

Now, some people, even kids, tend to go into a mothering mode when people injure themselves. Not my kiddo. She goes into Rapunzel mode. “Flynn, are you okay? I’m so sorry! Let me sing to you Flynn, I’m sure that will help!”

This is not uncommon for my silly goose. She’s constantly breaking out into character, depending on the situation.

If we’re on a trip to someplace she’s never been to, it often turns to Rapunzel time. “Flynn, I’ve never been to the outside world before!  Everything’s so beautiful!” If someone’s hurt, it’s Rapunzel as well; however, Doc McStuffins has been popping up into role play more often. When she’s dealing mostly with her cat, she turns into Alice, coddling Dinah. When she feels like swimming, she becomes Ariel – her cat becomes Scuttle, and her dogs become Max and Fruit Snack (Don’t ask – really no idea on that one).

She also plays Peter Pan a lot. However, that one can get a little confusing. Between, Peter Pan, Peter Pan 2:Return To Neverland and Jake and the Neverland Pirates, she fluctuates between Wendy, Jane, Izzy, or even the Pirate Princess. So many characters and so little time!

From being Disney characters to playing with playsets; from watching Disney movies to playing games like Disney Sorry and The Magic Kingdom board game, I’m just amazed with this little girl’s imagination and love for Disney. I realize to many it’s a no-brainer: “Well, of course she’s that way, you’ve saturated her with so much, it’s all she knows!” Yes, there’s no doubt in my mind that Mom and Dad are big influences in that. However, there is a genuine love that cannot be forced. Sometimes it grows on you, and other times you’re just born with it.

Considering on her first trip to Disneyland, she walked with a purpose down Harbor Avenue, map in hand, as if being drawn by some invisible force….

…I’d say “born with it.”

I can honestly say I’m looking forward to enjoying the ride in the years to come, holding on to every second I can. And if I’m doing that as Flynn, Peter, King Triton, Jake, Prince Phillip, Beast, Grumpy, or anyone else – that’s fine with me.

So Now What, Mr. DisNerd?

I want to start off with a sincere thank you to readers of this blog. Your follows and “likes” on the blog itself, Facebook and Twitter have meant the world to me, as have your comments and participation here.

It’s been a great beginning.

When I started this blog journey a few months back, I started with a desire to tell stories from the perspective of a fan; not a cynic, not an all-encompassing news outlet, not a focus on one aspect of Disney. I love sharing stories with a personal slant, as well as observations I make from a DisNerd’s point of view. I have plenty to say and talk about, and I’m not going anywhere. As long as you all keep reading, I’ll keep sharing. However, in writing, I found something else I’ve enjoyed just as much:

Other people’s stories and perspective.

I realized whenever I posted my thoughts on a subject, I wasn’t alone. Others had their own opinions and experiences, and I loved reading those as much as I enjoyed writing my stories. I’ll admit that The 15 Day Disneyland Challenge was not just an exercise in a near-daily writing for me; it was also an exercise in getting people talking about Disney. I guess it’s nice to know we’re part of a bigger community. Call it what you will: Disney fans, geeks, nuts… I prefer DisNerd of course, but regardless of what we’re called, we’re our own Disneyfied family.

With that being said, I have plans to continue writing with that in mind. While the regular blog entries and stories aren’t going anywhere, I also plan on more “challenges” and posts that pose questions to readers in an effort to engage loyal readers and newcomers alike. As well, look for the occasional picture, quote or little tidbits of trivia or fun on a regular basis. Look for the possibilities of more giveaways as well, as supply and opportunity arises!

Feel free to message me via Facebook or Twitter with questions, comments or ideas. I’ve also created an account with Formspring at to answer any questions readers may like to pose. In turn, I may post the reply on the Confessions of a DisNerd blog and pose the same question to everyone else – just another way to keep the feeling of a DisNerd community going!

I’m looking forward to continuing this journey with all of you and sharing the love that a man and a mouse started!

A DisNerd Giveaway

NOTE: The entry period for this drawing has ended as of 9:00AM PST, July 23rd.

Congratulations to COADisNerd reader Andrew on winning the signed book!

(How the winner was chosen – all names were compiled, and randomized with numbers on a list through . At that point, a sequence generator was generated through as well; the first number in that sequence was the winner!)

Dave Smith is a pretty big name in the world of Disney. As the company’s chief archivist, Dave has been the go to guy for all sorts of trivia and information. I still remember the district trivia competitions during my days working at The Disney Store – we would be reminded that if there were any dispute over the validity of a question, Dave was sitting by the phone ready to answer any questions. Of course, no questions were ever asked, as the questions and answers were provided by Dave himself; and they weren’t easy.

Dave Smith is probably best known for his ongoing “Ask Dave” column that started in the now defunct Disney Channel Magazine and currently appears on the archives page of Disney’s D23 site. After many years, Dave has compiled many of his “Ask Dave” questions into one book – Disney Trivia From the Vault.

You’ll Even Find a Question From Me in There!

This is a highly recommended book for lovers of Disney – the questions and answers range from personal history of Walt, theme parks, movies and the company itself. Having full access to the archives, if there was an answer to be found, Dave would be the one to find it.

And now, dear readers, I have a copy signed by Dave to give away exclusively to readers of this blog!

All you have to do to enter is simply comment on this blog entry with a reply to the following question: What question would YOU ask Dave? Maximum number of times your name will be entered in the random computer generated drawing is one; multiple comments do not buy multiple entries. And of course, my family members are not eligible. Any obvious spam posts (ones that WordPress itself recognizes as spam) will be deleted and not eligible as well.  This contest will remain open until 9:00 AM PST on Monday, July 23rd, at which point a name will be drawn using The winner will be announced on the Facebook fan page by first name (and last initial if necessary) as well as notified by email. As an FYI, no worries – I will never put your name on an email list of any sort. Any questions, do not hesitate to contact me!

Good luck everybody – can’t wait to share this book with a lucky winner!

The 15 Day Disneyland Challenge – Day 5

Note: This post is part of a 15 Day challenge with questions referring to Disneyland or Walt Disney World. For more information, or to see all 15 questions, please refer to the introductory post, The 15 Day Disneyland Challenge. As stated in that post, I am not the creator of the challenge – just a willing participant!

Day 5: Your Favorite Snack

Oh, Disneyland. What a dream you are for foodies. Almost anywhere in the park, you can follow your nose to something. From the lovely scents pouring out of the Candy Palace on Main Street, to the buttery aroma of fresh popped popcorn, followed by the cinnamon & sugar mixture that is a churro, there are no shortage of quick bites and snack foods in Disneyland. The Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlor is a favorite, with the specialty sundaes that our family of three often shares. No trip is complete without a souvenir bucket of popcorn for the ride home. At some point, you can be guaranteed we’ll be stopping at a cart for a Mickey shaped ice cream bar or frozen banana. The bigger question as far as snacks are concerned is:

What snack don’t I like at Disneyland???

Nope. Can’t think of one. So we’ll just go with my favorite of them all:


Pineapple Goodness!

Whether you choose to have it as a float (with pineapple juce), or just by itself, Dole Whip – that heavenly frozen concoction sold at the stand that has longer lines than many rides – just cannot be beat. The tangy/sweet flavor of a mix of pineapple and soft serve has served as a delicious cool down on many a warm day for many people. I realize it’s not popular for everyone, and to those people, I want to say one thing:

Thank you for making the line a few people shorter.

Dole whips have taken on almost a cult following, with people looking for copycat recipes and locations away from the parks that serve it. I have yet to find a location where I live, and have not tried to make my own, but I pay tribute in a different way:


Now I take Dole Whip with me (in spirit) wherever I go, thanks to the awesome designs of Richard Terpstra!

Yes, it’s the only time I’ve paid homage to food with a t-shirt, but being a DisNerd, it only seems natural…. and I haven’t saved up to buy the churro t-shirt yet.

The 15 Day Disneyland Challenge: Day 2

Note: This post is part of a 15 Day challenge with questions referring to Disneyland or Walt Disney World. For more information, or to see all 15 questions, please refer to the introductory post, The 15 Day Disneyland Challenge. As stated in that post, I am not the creator of the challenge – just a willing participant!

Day 2: Your Favorite Show.

Once again, I have to say: ONLY ONE?

Oh, so many choices I could go with just based on emotional impact and beauty alone. “Believe: There’s Magic In the Stars” was the firework show that was playing the year my wife and I were married – we watched it every night we were there, because it was just that good. Even now, hearing the soundtrack evokes some great misty-eyed memories. “Remember – Dreams Come True” – the firework show created for Disneyland’s 50th Anniversary – is just beyond phenomenal, bringing back memories of rides from today and yesterday. “Aladdin” over at Disney California Adventure is a great Broadway style musical that never gets old, with a genie that mixes things up on a regular basis. “Believe… In Holiday Magic” – the Holiday firework offering – holds a near and dear spot to my heart. It was my daughter’s first firework show; the sight of her watching in wonder, then in awe once more as the “snow” began to fall is permanently engrained in my mind as a wonderful memory I’ll never forget.

Of course, those are just a few of so many great shows, but if I had to choose just one…




I remember when Fantasmic first opened – my junior year of high school. Traveling in by bus, seeing the signs along the freeway, I had no idea what exactly Fantasmic was… but my interest was definitely piqued. However, once at Disneyland, seeing crowds staking out their spaces on blankets as early as noon, the impatient teenager in me took over. I would rather ride rides than watch “some show,” and chose not to watch. Now I’m not saying I would have waited THAT long to see it, but I wish I could go back and kick the teenage me in the pants for not waiting. All I heard about on the bus on the way back home was how amazing it was.

My first real exposure to Fantasmic was not the show at all, but the music. A friend of mine had the CD, and being over at his house I experienced the awesome orchestrations long before the show. However, that was enough. I had the show memorized before I had ever seen any of it.

My first experience of seeing the show in person came about five years later, on my next trip to Disneyland. To say I was in awe would be correct. The theatrics, the pyrotechnics, the water screens, special effects, music, story…everything flowed perfectly.

And it still does. Good still triumphs over Evil, and imagination reigns supreme. As it should be in the world of Disney!

I’ve included a multi-shot edit video from my friend Matt. Although nothing beats seeing it live, the essence is still there. For those of you who don’t live near enough to see it often, or have perhaps never seen it -enjoy!



So now, I ask – what’s your favorite theme park show? Make sure and leave your answers below. I love reading others’ input!

Make sure to come back tomorrow for Day 3 of the challenge and tell your friends!

The 15 Day Disneyland Challenge: Day 1

Note: This post is part of a 15 Day challenge with questions referring to Disneyland or Walt Disney World. For more information, or to see all 15 questions, please refer to the introductory post, The 15 Day Disneyland Challenge. As stated in that post, I am not the creator of the challenge – just a willing participant!

Day One: The Attraction You Have To Go On Multiple Times.


When thinking about this one, the first ride that came to mind was “It’s a Small World,” mainly because of the multiple times we have ridden it. It was my daughter’s first ride, and the one fail safe with the shortest line and an opportunity to sit in air conditioning for nearly 15 minutes. But while the ride is classic and the song charming, ultimately, it’s not the one that leaves me longing for more.

I then thought of my favorite ride: Space Mountain. Thrilling at every turn, great effects in the “launch tunnel,” and an amazing in ride score, it’s a must ride for me. However, riding multiple times, I’d rather see more than stars and asteroids, or whatever silly pose I choose to come up with for the picture in the end.

So which ride is it that leaves me wanting more? That makes me want to ride over and over if only the line would permit? That makes me wish the ride would just stop for a minute in any given scene?

Second star to the right, and straight on ’til morning!

I actually don’t remember riding this one as a child. That’s not to say I didn’t; I just don’t remember. I do, however, remember the first time I rode it in high school. I don’t know if I could even talk about it afterward – I was just a 15 year old with his jaw very near to hitting the ground. Flying over the city of London, then onto Neverland… I was in awe. To this day I dream of building a room with a loft bed and thousands of fiber optic lights that turn on once the room is dark – just because I want to live in my own Neverland.

Now that I’m older with my own family, I still see the look of wonder in my little girl’s face whenever we ride; it is definitely a family favorite. Of course, we’ve put our own traditions into riding the ride. While waiting in the queue, we yell at the Evil Queen from Snow White peeking out through the window across the way to be nice. When we are first able to spot the Darling children’s nursery we say hi to Nana in our own special way: either barking or making other various animal sounds. However, once the ride starts, we’re still all transfixed by London and Neverland, although we do try to spot Mickey hiding in the windows of Big Ben.

Of course, the view of the real night sky isn’t so bad either!

So many rides could have been used for this one, but I think this one takes the cake for sheer beauty and wonder. Perfectly fitting for a boy who refuses to grow up!

Now it’s your turn, dear readers: What’s your repeated ride of choice?