At Disney Social Media Moms Celebration, we watched a video from D23 showing people sharing their answers to the question- When Did It Start For You?
I get asked a lot: have I always been so into Disney? The answer is yes! Thinking back I remember hugging on a stuffed Mickey while watching VHS tapes with the old castle logo and music that started each movie. I memorized the songs and performed them for my grandmother and grandfather, attempting to also dress the part.
Then when I was 4, my family went to Walt Disney World for the first time. They say you shouldn't take kids that young to Disney. Kids that young won't remember anything! I can tell you I don't remember everything, but I do remember feeling that anything was possible while staring up at the castle. It was pure magic for me, it was real, my happy place where everything was made right and it was all there in front of my eyes.
I had decided at a young age I wanted to work for Disney. As a character, as a singer, as an artist, you name it. Or they could make me a Princess I was flexible. Then I saw Pirates of the Caribbean and I added Pirate to my list of possible job opportunities.
Seeing Dumbo fly still sticks in my mind. I remember waiting patiently in line because guess what kids, FastPass + and Magic Bands did not exist! When it was finally my turn I jumped into Dumbo and took flight. The ride might have been short but it felt like I was never coming down.
Another favorite of mine as a kid and something I still ride about 10x now as an adult is Prince Charming Regal Carrousel.
Looking at this picture makes me want to find horse 33 on my next trip!
It wouldn't be a trip to Disney without seeing a parade. Standing there on Main Street U.S.A was where I first saw Mickey Mouse in the fur. My mom says I squealed and begged to run up and give him a hug. My little mind couldn't understand how that could have been an issue. So I waved and waved and cheered for Mickey and Minnie.
And then I promise you, Mickey waved back to me. Right then and there I knew these memories would be with me a lifetime.
1989 is when it started for me. From that day forward, with each visit to the park, movie, song, or new character I went further down the rabbit hole and into the world of Disney. It is a place where dreams are celebrated, magic abounds, and everyone can feel like a carefree kid again.
I was reminded of that when I last visited my grandmother, who has always been my rock and is now starting to lose her memory. I was telling her about being invited to DisneySMMC and how excited I was. Although I do not know how much of what I was saying she understood she said she was happy for me. Then she squeezed my hand and pointing to my Minnie Mouse phone case said “it's Minnie, you love Minnie.”
I carried that moment with me to Disney. And when I saw Mickey and Minnie in the Festival of Fantasy parade I teared up, thinking of her and how much she loved Disney too and that somewhere in her mind she still remembers.
For me Disney is not just a company or a place, it is a feeling of happiness, a best friend, beautiful memories, a lasting impression of joy.
When Did it Start For You? Join the convo on Twitter #WDIS4U
I was invited to the 2015 Disney Social Media Moms Celebration. I paid a conference fee to attend and received discounted & complimentary items from Walt Disney World and their sponsors. I was not asked to write about my experiences at the conference. All opinions are my own.