What makes you a Disney Geek?
I have a lifelong passion for all things Disney, especially Disney dolls. I have a collection of nearly 500 Disney dolls, and it all started with my Tyco and Mattel The Little Mermaid dolls. A few notable dolls in the collection include Ariel’s daughter, Melody, all of the Disney Designer Princesses with the same box number, and a Jessie cowgirl doll signed by Joan Cusack. My favorite dolls are the ones where Disney leading men and women are packaged together, dressed in their movie outfits. Yes, it’s cheesy, but I totally love it!
At the 2009 and 2011 D23 Expos, I enjoyed meeting the Disney doll designers and seeing the latest Disney dolls. Dolls aside, part of the fun of the Expo is attending as many presentations as possible, meeting cast members that make the magic possible, and dressing up in costumes. Some of my favorites include Snow White and the Prince, Sleeping Beauty and Prince Phillip, Tiana and Naveen, and the fan-favorite (because we resemble them):
Jasmine and Aladdin! My husband and I also love dressing up for Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and seeing other fans’ faces light up. It adds to the experience, and we look forward to it every year.
What is your favorite Disney memory?
Our Disney wedding is one of my favorite Disney memories! It all started with a mouse… My husband surprised me with a marriage proposal, down on one knee holding a ring, right after I had teared up at my favorite Dream Along with Mickey show in front of Cinderella Castle. The show’s title and meaning never seemed more relevant!
Thanks to our Disney wedding planners, we became the first couple to film a “Love Story” interview in the Rose Garden at the Magic Kingdom. After such a magical proposal, this setting was never more appropriate for a video that details how we first met.
There’s nothing like being helped into Cinderella’s carriage while wearing a big white Aurora-inspired Disney wedding gown, tiara, and veil, with footmen, white horses, and the whole nine yards, and feeling like an absolute princess! My parents and I rode in the carriage to the wedding, waving to onlookers and guests, and my mom burst into tears: “I never knew how much I wanted to do this!” It was so incredibly perfect. After a beautiful ceremony and the last toss of rose petals, I also cherish the memory of my husband and me riding away from Disney’s Wedding Pavilion, kissing in Cinderella’s carriage as a married couple.
A day after our wedding, we had a very early morning Disney photo shoot booked inside the Magic Kingdom. As we were being photographed on top of Cinderella Castle, we saw NASA’s final night launch of Space Shuttle Discovery! It looked like a thick bolt of fire slowly ascending across the sky. Many cast members in the vicinity couldn’t resist the sight, and they joined us on the castle for the view. Talk about the ultimate shooting star!
What is your favorite character?
That’s a tough question! It’s impossible to choose just one. Mickey, Minnie, and Goofy always make me smile—they danced the night away at our wedding reception! I also love how Disney princesses are curious, good-natured, and go out of their way to seek adventure. I’ve always admired Ariel’s independence, Belle’s patience and grace, and Jasmine’s sharp instincts and passion to see the world. Jessie is my favorite Pixar character—she hits the heartstrings of anyone who loved toys and dolls as a child—and as a gamer, I have to include Vanellope Von Schweetz for her perseverance.
Do you have any other special Disney stories?
In the late ’90s, my high school band of 300 kids raised money, and we were invited to fly down and perform in a parade at the Magic Kingdom! Going backstage behind the Jungle Cruise to set up for the parade, and of course, marching down Main Street. U.S.A. in uniform with my trumpet was such a thrill! I also have fantastic memories of being at the Walt Disney World Resort that week, memorizing and quoting spiels from the shows and attractions with my friends.
At a recent D23 experience for Epcot’s 30th Anniversary, we had an opportunity to attend a cocktail party in the Siemens lounge in Spaceship Earth. This was cool enough in itself, but the Disney Legends who Imagineered and designed Epcot with Walt Disney were also in attendance. It was wonderful to be able to talk with all these Imagineers as well as our favorite personalities from D23 and the Walt Disney Archives. Meeting Marty Sklar was a particular highlight of the night—he is an inspiration!
Many years before D23’s magazine, I used to subscribe to Disney Adventures magazine! Remember that? I subscribed right from the start, and I have the first issue with Baloo and Rick Moranis (of Honey, I Shrunk the Kids fame) on the cover. I continued to subscribe until I was about 16, and I was no longer qualified to enter the contests according to the rules. I felt like I wasn’t the target any more, so I was relieved to learn about D23 and that there would be a new official Disney club for fans of all ages.
Where do you go to get your Disney fix?
It’s everywhere! Our home is decorated with lots of Disney Big Figure statues, Disney Fine Art, and there’s even a green Mickey topiary. For the holidays, our Christmas tree is completely decked out with Disney ornaments and a gold Disney monorail circles the base. Fortunately, there are two Disney Stores within walking distance, and I regularly read Disney-related blogs and tweets, which helps to keep things fresh.
It’s also a great feeling to have an annual pass, knowing that we could hop on a plane and walk right into a Disney park at any time. You never know!
The best fix is always from visiting the parks, particularly Walt Disney World and Disneyland, or taking a Disney cruise on the gorgeous ships. I really enjoy getting to know some of the Disney cast members and other fans wherever we are, and it’s satisfying to hear their favorite Disney experiences and memories when they share. When it comes to the end of the day, Disney has a remarkable way of bringing people together, and that is definitely something that I will support and believe in for the rest of my life.