Still Living In Never Land

I’ll be the first to tell you: I was never what you’d call a big fan of Peter Pan. In my eyes, Peter was, and still is, kind of a punk. No regard for authority, egotistical, no ambition beyond staying a kid, laughing at Wendy Darling as the mermaids in the lagoon teased, and for all intents, tried to drown her. Sometimes, you can’t help but wish Captain Hook would teach him at least a little lesson.

Nonetheless, over the years, I’ve softened my stance and warmed to the boy who never grew up. In fact, I’ll even say Peter related stories and characters within the Disney realm have become some of my favorites. Most of this I owe to a few things:

My wife, who has always loved the movie and counts it among her favorites. I doubt I would have watched it much without her to watch it with, and I’m grateful for that.

My daughter, whose love of Peter and Never Land is unmatched. My wife and I often joke that Peter was and is her “first love.” She still is enamored with Peter, his Lost Boys, and of course, the Darling children. In fact, we even commissioned a piece from a friend that showcases her love of Peter.

My favorite part of this picture? She’s flying over Never Land, and too busy looking at Peter to notice!

And, of course, Disneyland. How can you ride Peter Pan’s Flight without wishing your boat would get stuck over the fiber optic beauty of Never Land and just stay there? The fact that guests wait in 45 minute lines for a three minute ride is a true testament to how well this ride works as well as to the place it holds in people’s hearts.

But there’s a bigger reason that the older I get, the tales of Peter have become so meaningful to me.

Is this because of the fact that Peter never grew up and I’m longing for my childhood? Is it the dangerous beauty of Never Land? The enticing adventure that awaits (the Pirates on the Jolly Roger seem much more fun to battle than the corporate ones faced in daily life!)?

Maybe it’s a combination of all three..plus a little more. You see, although Peter never grew up, I don’t think that is necessarily a good thing. Wendy realized it. John and Michael did, too. In other stories, the Lost Boys came to see this as well.

Yet, when growing up, you run the risk of becoming a pirate. George Darling was well on his way. There’s a reason throughout the history of stage and cinema that He and Hook are portrayed by the same actor. The difference being, there was redemption for Mr. Darling.

It came in the form of remembering Peter Pan.

“I have the strangest feeling I’ve seen that ship somewhere before…”

As the years go by and I get older, it’s not the actual growing up that concerns me (as it did Peter). It’s the thought of losing touch with the memories of childhood (as with George). If I were to completely let go of those memories; If I forget what it’s like to pretend, to tell stories, to have an adventure just for the sake of adventure… I’m a pirate. It’s important to take on the responsibilities of an adult. But without the memories and feelings of childlike innocence and wonder, we grow self centered, annoyed, sometimes despising the beauty of wonder. And that, more than anything else, is why with each passing year I embrace the story of Peter Pan more and more.

At the end of Peter Pan: Return to Never Land, there is a scene that gets to me every time. If you haven’t seen it and don’t wish to be spoiled, don’t watch. But if you have seen it, or don’t think you will, watch with me. This little exchange between Peter and the now grown Wendy puts it all into perspective for me.

 

I think that now, I mostly relate to Wendy, who was ready to grow up. Although time may take its toll, I will always remember the magic of childhood, and cherish it in adulthood as well. Perhaps that explains my love of Disney, and my childlike amazement I still get whenever I set foot in a theme park or see the company logo flash at the beginning of a movie.

It’s because there’s part of me that never grew up and is still living in Never Land… and I embrace  it wholeheartedly.

The Internet and Disney – Is the Joke On Us?

May 22, 2019: I wrote this piece over 6 years ago. However, any time I see a change within the Disney company, or fandom reactions of almost anything, I’m constantly reminded of this article. With Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge due to open very shortly, I decided not only to revisit the piece, but to also update with new thoughts. I hope you enjoy!

I’m not a big fan of practical jokes that come in the form of fake ads and misleading articles. I’m not talking about stories on sites such as The Onion, which are known for such over-the-top satire. I’m talking about the type of articles that are usually released on or around April Fool’s day, or as it has come to be known, “Don’t Believe the Internet Day.”  While I find many of them amusing (who doesn’t like to see how many ways companies can wrap bacon into their products?), I feel many of the “news” articles written can be misleading. For that reason, I don’t take much stock in articles I see posted on that day.

However, I do appreciate the idea of a good joke as much as the next person, and judging by the amount of sharing of false ads and whatnot, I know I’m not alone. This led me to really think about the internet, the sharing of news, ads, pictures, and, of course, gossip. And sometimes, if you will pardon the cynicism, I wonder if the internet in some ways isn’t just one big joke we’re playing on ourselves.

Okay, I'm not suggesting we do away with the internet.. but please, read on....

Okay, I’m not suggesting we do away with the internet.. but please, read on….

I’m sure I’m not original in my thought, but the thought enters my head more and more often: What if the internet had been around when Walt had been building Disneyland?

Here’s the first preview the general public got of Disneyland:

Can you imagine “insider” reporting by some of the select few, who focused mainly on what was going wrong?

“Rumor has it the wrong trees were bulldozed. If this is the kind of care being put into this construction, what can we expect for the rest of the park?”

“Insiders are saying there aren’t enough attractions in the area of the park called ‘Tomorrowland.’ Instead, looks like the suits are pulling in sponsored exhibits, so get ready for lots of corporate plugs, folks. We don’t need that in a theme park.”

“@DisneyLanding1955 tweeted: Apparently @RealWaltDisney is using the plumbers strike to justify the lack of drinking fountains. Yet he’ll take your money for drinks. (@RealWaltDisney replied:@DisneyLanding1955 People can buy a Pepsi, but they can’t pee in the streets.)”

“Apparently the river that’s going to hold a steamboat completely drained overnight. I wouldn’t count on this park to be worth much with this kind of thing not being thought through.”

“The color scheme of the buildings in Fantasyland are loud and look more like a circus than a Fantasy. What’s more, there’s not even a Pinocchio ride.”

“I’m at the park, and a lot of guests seem to be coming in with counterfeit tickets. The ticket takers seem to be powerless to do anything about it. This is not a sign of good management”

“Crowd control is going to be an issue. The Mark Twain is about to tip over. This place was not built soundly.”

“It’s hot, and the asphalt isn’t hardened. Ladies are losing their heels. I’m beginning to think Disneyland will never be completed.”

Now, let’s be honest. If these were the images you had in your mind, would it influence you on whether or not you wanted to go to Disneyland? I’m not saying it would for everyone, but it would at least make me reluctant. However, people at home didn’t have that outlet. They had black and white TV sets. They had Walt showing up in 1954 with a new TV show that was essentially a huge commercial, albeit a very entertaining one at that. Opening day? Except for a few miscues, the viewing public had no idea of the craziness behind the scenes. They had a front row seat to a new and amazing world! The following day, newspapers ran the articles on the chaos, but at that point it was a bit late to form much public opinion. The general public had already seen magic from the comfort of their living room and now had a way to experience it themselves.

Now, I’m not saying that criticism is a bad thing. We learn from it. Mistakes and misfires are corrected and we move forward. However, it does pose the question: do we let it affect our personal judgement? The above scenarios, the “imagining” of internet reporting from back in the day – they’re all true instances thrown in with a bit of opinion (Although the bulldozing of the wrong trees has been purported to be a myth). As I asked before, would those statements make you more skeptical about going to Disneyland, or would you still go eagerly? What about movies that were predicted bombs, like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs? The issues Walt had with P.L. Travers in getting Mary Poppins made?

I guess the point I’m trying to make is this:

Although I’ve used Disney as the example, this one could really apply to anything. Are we letting ourselves be influenced by inherent negativity online without actually thinking for ourselves, or is it better to go in with a bit of skepticism? The jury is still out for me personally, just a bit of something to think about as you read all those “insider” and negative articles. Perhaps a balance of both is in order?

I’d love to hear others’ thoughts on this!

I know this is overstating. I just find it really funny, too.

I know this is overstating. I just find it really funny, too.

It’s Been A Little Quiet Here….

I wanted to take a moment to apologize for a lack of updates here on the blog. Life has been very busy for the past couple weeks and I have not had the time necessary to provide what I would consider “quality” posts. As well, although I started out the year raring to go with Disney Parks’ “Limited Time Promotion,” to be completely honest, I’ve noticed not every promotion necessarily warranted a new post from me. I still plan on using the promotion for tie-ins throughout the year, when it seems fitting, but to write a post for every special sale or new line of merchandise…well, I honestly don’t see that happening.

But I do want to say this: Confessions of a DisNerd is not going anywhere. I may reshape the direction a bit as I strive to make it perhaps a bit more interactive, utilizing social media even more; but I’m not going away. Confessions of a DisNerd will continue to bring you positive posts from all aspects of the Disney company, hopefully with personal reflections that draw you, the reader in as well. I can’t wait to see what the rest of 2013 brings, as well as years beyond!

Thank you for your understanding, and I will say this: Be on the lookout for a new post on Monday, April 1st. Until then, enjoy your Easter weekend, everybody!

Pardon Our Dust

Happy Birthday, Walt!

Walter Elias Disney, 1901-1966

111 years ago today a man who would alter the course of entertainment was born. Though most would not be aware for quite a few more years, the effects of his influence continue to be felt to this day, some 40 plus years after his passing.

The accomplishments of Walter Elias Disney are quite numerous and can be found on many websites, books, and documentaries. They can be witnessed through animation shorts such as “Steamboat Willie” and “Flowers & Trees”, feature films such as “Snow White and the Seven Dwarves” and “Mary Poppins”, and in theme parks worldwide. His legacy is evident in the company name alone.

To many people, the adoration of the man can tend to near the point of worshipping the man; faultless and amazing at every turn. The man who believed in the power of dreams and imagination – a true hero worship. I personally find myself fascinated with him because he was human. He had many failures, financial struggles, bad ideas, could sometimes be gruff, even impersonal to many he worked with. Yet through it all, he was also a hard worker, a master storyteller, a man with outlandish and genius ideas. Yes, a dreamer with a huge imagination. But someone who was willing to work and sacrifice to make those dreams come true. Someone who would learn from his mistakes and keep moving forward. Someone who didn’t take no for an answer. That’s the man I admire and pay tribute to today.

So happy birthday, Walt. Thank you for your contributions you made to animation, film, music, theme parks, technology, and so much more. Thanks for being the man behind the magic – and for making that magic happen with hard work, determination, stubbornness, and yes, dreams.

Millions of fans, both casual and otherwise, are grateful.

As is this DisNerd.

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, Sptember 2012: A Photo Essay (Part 3)

With the first two parts of my photo essay taking place over on the Disneyland side of the resort, it’s now time to head over to California Adventure with a few pictures of their two newest areas, Buena Vista Street and Cars Land.

Of course, first, we had to stop and eat our fill at Goofy’s Kitchen. While a little up there in price, the character interactions are always awesome. We always make sure to go back for seconds in the all-you-can-eat buffet, along with desert; thus eliminating the need for lunch, making things a touch more cost effective.
Not to mention, the PB&J pizza is out of this world!

Peace out, Pinocchio!

Time to walk off our breakfast from Goofy’s and head to Disney California Adventure! So much to see, new places to discover – where o where do we start?

Luckily, we have our tour guide to check the map!

I have to say, Buena Vista Street is a great addition to the park. I love the idea of a 1920’s “Walt was here” theme. The music is great, the “citizens” roaming the street are awesome – the atmosphere is just right.

I keep wanting to call the cop “Ward” for some odd reason…

I couldn’t help feeling truly transported on Buena Vista Street. I have a friend who happens to live near the resort; one of his favorite things to do is drinking coffee and reading the latest copy of the Buena Vista Bugle in the mornings while people watching.

With views like this, I can’t say I blame him!

From one red car to the next…

See what I did there with that transition?

Cars Land is a huge home run for the folks at Disney. the detail of…well…. everything is amazing. So great to see such a welcome addition to the park! I couldn’t help but notice everything from the tiniest details like the tops of the chain stanchions in the queue for Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree….

They’re radiator caps!!! I’m amused by these little touches.

…. to the tribute to Teepee-style lodging on  Route 66 with the Cozy Cone Motel!

FYI, if you have the opportunity (and don’t mind ultra sweet stuff), I highly recommend the deliciousness that is Red’s Apple Freeze at the Cozy Cone!

Of course, the rides are awesome as well – I’m just a huge fan of being able to take in all of the touches that bring about an authentic “Disneyfied” feeling. Both new parts of the park do this well. I couldn’t help but think as we exited, that it truly lived up to the name of Disney, as well as the fun and entertainment it stands for.

Thanks again, Walt. For your dream that turned into so much more! I know so many dreamers who appreciate that!

Folks, that wraps up my photo essay of the latest trip. I look forward to bringing you more for the kickoff of the holiday season in November. Keep your eye on the blog for more stories, thoughts and views of Disney (parks and otherwise) from the eyes of a true fan. Please know that I appreciate your reading, your comments, follows, likes and shares more than you know!

Raising A DisNerd, Part 3

This afternoon, my wife was explaining copyrights to my daughter. The little girl was talking about wanting to write “Froggy” books, based off of the popular picture book series by Jonathan London. As my wife continued to explain why we couldn’t sell our own Froggy books, the subject of Disney came up as an example.
“For example, only Disney could sell stories of Mickey, Minnie, or other Disney characters. Nobody else.”

“But, aren’t I Disney, Mommy?”

Maybe she has a point. Time to discuss her rights with Disney marketing, I guess….

 

Yup, Disney through and through…