Raising A DisNerd, Part 2

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

Literally.

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 http://www.formspring.me/COADisnerd 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 random.org . At that point, a sequence generator was generated through random.org 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 random.org. 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…

 

“IMAGINATION!!!!!”

 

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.

ONLY ONE?????

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?

The 15 Day Disneyland Challenge

I’m sure many of you have seen those posts on Facebook: “30 Day Movie Challenge,” “30 Day Song Challenge.”

Today, a friend of mine sent me a new one: The 15 Day Disneyland Challenge. While my initial thought was to do this on Facebook, I thought to myself, “Why not post on the blog instead? It would give readers an opportunity to know me better, and they could respond with their choices as well!”

Since a big part of the changes I have in store for Confessions of a DisNerd involve community and interaction, I felt this would be a great way to kick things off. I’m posting the picture of the challenge here; I lay no claim to being the inventor of the challenge, just an eager participant. Feel free to use it on your own Facebook walls, but I truly hope you will post and share here as well! Obviously here you won’t be able to post photos in the comment section, but as fellow DisNerds, I’m sure we’ll all know what each other is talking about.

If you’re more familiar with Walt Disney World, feel free to talk about that here as well – or even combine the two!

Tomorrow starts day one of the challenge: The attraction you have to go on multiple times. See you then!