Thoughts on the Disney Fan Community

Castle-PictureIt’s that time of year.  You know, when even the least warm and fuzzy among us are prone to some sort of sappy sentimantality.  I’ll cry during a Hallmark commercial, so I’m especially susceptible to all the nostalgic and happy feelings brought on by the holiday season.  I’m a little more patient (or I should say, I’m actually a little patient), I try my best to slow down and enjoy each sweet and precious moment with friends and family, and I reflect more on where I’ve been and where I’d like to go (in both figurative and litteral ways).  Which, of course, brought me to today’s topic.

Thoughts on the Disney Fan Community

1. Our common love draws us close. It’s been well over a year now since I started writing articles for Tips From the Disney Divas and Devos, since I started my own blog, and since I began to truly participate in the Disney Fan Community. Prior to that, I mainly listened to Disney podcasts and read an occasional interesting-sounding blog article. I didn’t know what I was missing. My passion for Disney is generally little-understood by my friends and coworkers, but those podcast hosts and bloggers? They speak my language. I’ve always enjoyed Magic Kingdom / Cinderella Castlehearing and reading about people who “get” why I love Disney so much. Then I realized that you can, through the wonders of social media, engage with these people on a (somewhat) personal level and before I knew it, I had a new group of friends! Some from as far away as Great Britain, Australia, The Netherlands and Japan, New Jersey even!

2. In 140 characters or less. Twitter is probably my favorite place to “hang out” with other Disney fans. The hosts of all my favorite podcasts engage listeners via Twitter and within the confines of that limited number of words, entertaining discussions are taking place all the time. I’m incredibly humbled and appreciative of the number of my own Twitter (and Facebook) followers that regularly read my blog and make comments to me about an article I’ve written or question I’ve posed. If you’ve ever met me, you’ll have noticed that I say what I think. If there’s a Disney food, movie, attraction, resort or lumberjack show I don’t like, I’ll say so. It doesn’t mean for a nanosecond that I don’t love Disney – I can love Epcot's Iconic Spaceship Earthsomething in spite of its imperfections and I cannot pretend to agree with or like every individual part that makes up the whole. Lots of Tweeps seem to feel the same way and are accepting of my tendency to voice my opinions (which are many).

3. An ever expanding circle of friends. What wonderful friends I’ve made! Real ones. Friends I’ve met face to face. Friends who I’ve been fortunate to get to know as people, not just as a podcast host, blogger or Twitter handle. Generous, caring, lovely people who have shared life’s ups and downs with me while we’ve supported, cheered, and picked each other up along the way. I love you guys!

4. Lively discussions and debates are the best! Nothing delights me more than a good exchange of thoughts and ideas. Especially from differing points of view. Honestly, my very favorite podcasts are the ones that cause me to yell at my car stereo – sometimes in outrage, sometimes in support. I’ve been super fortunate to have been invited to make a guest IMG_2862“appearance” on several of the podcasts I enjoy and when you gather around the old Skype to talk Disney, the most fun comes from what we don’t agree on rather than what we do.

5. Trolls, nitwits, and stranger danger still exist – Fortunately, the vast majority of Disney fans that congregate to share their passion on social media are kind. But not all people are there for the same reason – sadly, some people only come to complain or create drama (or worse). A word of caution if you’re just joining in on the fun: Open Facebook groups appear to be the most fraught with potential danger – especially the ones with moderators that seem to thrive on the sensationalism and accompanying drama of some of the posts and comments. Occasionally, those situations rapidly decline into what amounts to nothing but a demonstration of how childish and intolerant people can be – that is not a part of the Disney fan community I understand or wish to be a part of. It’s easy to avoid, luckily.

Ready for Toy Story Midway ManiaSo, during this season of being thankful and remembering what peace on Earth and goodwill towards humankind is all about, I wanted to take a minute to tell you how much you mean to me. For every Facebook “like” and comment, for every Tweet, retweet and message of support, for every email, and every shout-out, I’m grateful for the chance to join along with you in our shared love for Disney.

From our family to yours:  Wishing you all a very safe, happy, and peaceful holiday season.

And may you get every present on your Disney wish list…Lisa

7 Styles of Disney Park Walking

RM-Main-Street-USA-Magic-KingdomEveryone has a style.  I’d be willing to be that in this particular category of Walt Disney World guest, you have a style from which you rarely deviate!  I’m talking movement – how you travel within a Disney park on foot.  I’ve had the opportunity to observe Disney park visitors over the past couple of dozen years and I’ve identified what I like to refer to as….

The 7 Styles of Disney Park Walking

1. Walk OR Talk – If this is you, a multi-tasker you are not.  This type of traveler cannot walk and talk (or eat) and must stop and start repeatedly.  Walk….stop and turn to a particular traveling companion, speak…..resume walking.  No brake lights makes this type of fellow park guest RM-Fantasyland-Crowdone we shouldn’t follow too closely or a collision will most definitely occur!

2. Diagonal Walker – At first these cross-movement specialists seem as if they might be trying to traverse the crowd to reach a specific destination, but no…the diagonal path leads to the very edge of the walkway and then, like a pinball, this vacationer bounces back into the crowd in a new direction back across the path of every other visitor.  This is one of Disney vacationing’s greatest mysteries to me – If you’re a diagonal traveler, please enlighten me – Why must you walk that way?

3. Weavers – These fans of the random zig-zag seem virtually incapable of walking in a straight line from points A to B.  Not to be confused with the Diagonal Walkers, the zig-zag pattern is very narrow and repeats often – most commonly in the RM-Epcot-France-Pavilionvery center of paths and sidewalks.  It seems to me that Weavers are more likely to be pushing a stroller which makes me wonder if a faulty stroller wheel may contribute to this phenomenon.

4. Red Rovers – Remember the semi-violent playground game “Red Rover”?  The premise was to physically band together in an impenetrable straight line – the goal being to remain attached firmly enough to repel attempts by opposing team members to break the line.  The Red Rover style of park crossing involves the same principle:  Walk side by side with friends or family across as much of the walkway as possible, allowing no one to pass between you from either direction.  Oncoming or overtaking foot traffic must not be allowed to pass!  Personally, I find this to be the #1 most annoying type of group walking behavior in Disney parks.  Please don’t tell me if you are a member of this category.RM-Walkers-Walt-Disney-World

5. The Classic Mosey-ers – I admire them as much as I dislike this type of Disney guest.  They care not one whit about getting anywhere in a hurry.  The masters of the mosey walk in a straight line while their heads slowly swivel from side to side, soaking up the atmosphere, taking in all the sights and sounds, living the dream, baby!  My problem is that I always seem to be stuck behind them with a FastPass that’s about to expire.

6. Rear Viewers – This style is so difficult to execute successfully, it may be impossible – but that doesn’t keep plenty of brave souls from trying.  This method of reaching a final destination involves walking backwards to converse with other travel party members, check on offspring, or gesture in the direction from which they are moving away.  Rear viewers have absolutely no idea what they may be walking into!  Probably the most entertaining walkers to watch, these Disney tourists are missing some pretty awesome stuff in front of them – mainly the comical flight of the folks they’re about to run down!

RM-Adventureland-Magic-Kingdom7. Roundabouts (a.k.a. Dodgers or Gappers) – This is the category I call home!  We are the fast paced travelers who swiftly negotiate the other 6 types of walkers by taking advantage of gaps and openings wherever we find them.  Our ninja-like stealth allows us to flow through all the other park guests unnoticed with barely a ripple.  We are always moving forward briskly and with purpose.  Oh, okay, I’ll admit it – I just want all the non-like-minded people to get out of the way so I can be in front!  Since that rarely happens, I’ve developed what I like to believe are some well-honed skills that make me and my family members amazing crowd negotiators.

Yes, I really want to know!  Which type of Disney park walker are YOU?



What if Wednesday – What New Disney Show or Parade Would You Add?

What if WednesdayLadies and Gentlemen!  It’s time once again for What-If Wednesday!  The game show where we use our imagination to bring about Disney change.  Contestants from Twitter and Facebook go head to head and compete to invent the most popular (pretend) changes.  Get ready to let your imagination run wild!  And as Drew Carey would say, this is ”the show where everything’s made up and the points don’t matter.”  Let’s play!

This week’s episode – Bringing a New Parade or Show to Walt Disney World!

1 Min Disney Dream (@1MinDisneyDream) suggested this: “New nighttime parade at MK incorporating both Spectro (SpectroMagic Parade) and MSEP (Main Street Electric Parade) music and new floats including some more villains” My two cents:  This is a great idea!  As long as the villains replaced those creepy Spectro dolls – those things completely freaked me out.  I know it was a combination of their facial expression and how they moved.  Usually, I don’t have a fear of clowns or dolls, bot those Spectro Magic characters were just spooky!  I’d take villains over them any day  For that one reason only, the Main Street Electric Parade has always been my favorite.  If you have no idea what I’m talking about watch this YouTube video from Orlando Attractions Magazine

IMG_5212Disney20Somethings (@DisneyTwenties) was also thinking about villains and would like to see a  “villains parade at DHS in old style villain modified cars” was their idea and WOW!  Think about that!  How much fun would it be to see all our favorite villains and instead of parade floats, they were riding in their own bad-guy-mobiles!  Cruella’s roadster is an obvious choice, but what kind of cool car would Hades drive?  What about Captain Hook?  A ship-like ride?  I can just picture Professor Ratigan in a steam-punk ride!  Jafar in a snake-y ride or maybe a genie-lamp-shaped one?  Dr. Facilier from The Princess and the Frog – I picture a low riding, stretched out magical purple and black car with flames!  Think about Yzma and a funky art-deco-looking flintstone-ish vehicle – driven and powered by Kronk!  Oh, the possibilities.

Michele T Williams (@MSimbaspride) – Michele wants her new parade to be at the Studios and she said, “I would bring out the Star Wars characters at DHS all year round for a parade once or twice daily. May the force be with you”  Michele, being a huge Star Wars fan, clearly doesn’t think Star Wars Weekends are enough – and I’m inclined to agree.  If a Star IMG_4880Wars Land ever became a reality, a parade that included Jedi Mickey, Yoda, R2-D2, C-3PO, Wookies, Ewoks, Storm Troupers, Jabba the Hutt, and (duhn-duhn-duhn, dun-da-dun-dun) – Darth Vader!!!  Yes!

“Truly wonderful, the mind of a child is.” – Yoda, Attack of the Clones

A couple of members of The Fam wanted in on this What-if Wednesday…

Megan had ideas for several parks and agrees with Michele from Twitter that Star Wars needs a year-round representation and also voted for “a Star Wars parade at the Studios”.  Megan would also like to see “a parade of Disney throughout time at Magic Kingdom. The parade starts with floats and characters from Disney’s early works and ends with today’s stuff like Frozen. A parade at animal kingdom that incorporates live animals, maybe.”  My favorite of these is the Disney Through Time idea – the floats and characters could even start out in black and white (Steamboat Willie)!  The musical styles would change as time goes by as would all the costumes and characters – yes, that would be a bunch of fun to see.

Raymond, who has a lot of faith in Disney Imagineers, suggested a “Parade around the lagoon at Epcot. When the parade gets to a country everything changes to match that country. Costumes and all. If there are characters from Disney movies, they suddenly appear.”  Now, THIS idea would really be amazing!  How cool would it be to see the parade move along, morphing as it goes – flags, clothing, characters, music – all changing through Disney magic to match each of the World Showcase countries.  Oh, I give this one a big round of applause!

So, what about you?  What new parade or show would you add to Walt Disney World?

Thanks for playing, everyone!

You Have Superpowers – But Only at Disney World

photo 1Do you have a wild imagination?  I certainly do – it runs away constantly imagining all sorts of fantistic things.  So, my imagination and I got to thinking this week – What if we had superpowers, but only while at Disney World.  What would they be?  What superpower would be the most useful?  The most fun?  The most diabolical?  WHOA!  So, I put the question out there – I asked The Fam, the Facebook Peeps, and the Twitter Followers – What superpower would you most want at Disney World. Kudos to you all!  Some of you have imaginations every bit as wild as mine.  Let’s take a look at some of my favorite answers:

“To be able to teleport from park to park and anywhere in Disney” was Megan’s answer, but variations of that idea were very popular.    @BerryMary92 on Twitter also wanted teleportation abilities to “go from park to park in a nanosecond!”.  Joseph voted “instant park hopping” as one of his superpower possibilities (the other being the ability to sit in the front of every ride) and Ashli was also a fan of teleportation, but would possess “fast pass boosters” with it.  There’s certainly something to be said for not dealing with busses, boats, or cars – the waiting and walking or the 3

@dolewhipdaily and @1MinDisneyDream who are both (coincidentally) hosts of The Enchanted Tiki Talk Podcast had the same idea.  Invisibility.  Invisibility would eliminate having to wait in line (just walk past everyone to the front), but typical of these two – there was a more diabolical benefit – they both, along with Twitter buddy @dabenter, would use the invisibility superpower to hide in the Haunted Mansion and scare people!  No wonder I love Enchanted Tiki Talk!

“Super speed” was another popular response.  @CheshireCanuck voted for super speed “so I could do all the rides in one day.”  Dave of @thedislife (The Dis Life) was a fan of this idea as well.  If you had the super speed superpower, it would certainly come in handy – especially if you also had the super-power our next participant came up with…..

@ISIParksBlog suggested “levitation, to move the SLOW people!” as a handy superpower at Disney World – you know, get the “clueless folks and the browsers out of the way for quicker movement”.  I thought that one would also have the added bonus of being very entertaining to watch.

Both @scottcampbell and @DisDreamGirls wanted the ability to stop time.  For the Disney Dream Girls, this would mean “vacation never ends”, Scott just wanted to eliminate having to hurry – vacation where “Lines don’t matter.  Would be so enjoyable.”

The Pixie Dust Princess (@PrincessofPD) put a lot of thought into her answer – when I first posed the question early one morning, she said she’d think about it and get back to me.  Later that day, in the evening, she came back with “some type of food superpower.  Because I get full kinda fast, and I want to be able to enjoy all the yummy food Disney has.”  So we discussed this back and forth for a while – I am totally loving this idea.  It would be like those super skinny people who always win the food eating contests!  You could keep eating and not gain weight and not get full too fast.  That would be a nifty superpower to have indeed!

Twitter follower @ERNava simply wanted a superpower that would “make all rides walk-ons” and Theresa on Facebook would have “VIP Line Skipping Powers” – I think that one would have to involve the ability to “disappear” most of the other Disney park guests – another superpower!

This one cracked me up – @YoPaulieNJ wants a “Guest Pleasantness RayGun” – now wouldn’t that be something.  Especially in July!

@elby2007 voted “Time Machine.  Takes the park you’re in back (or forward) to the year of your choosing”.  Wouldn’t that be fantastic!  We could all find out if our favorite rides from the past were as good as we imagined (Mr. Toad’s!) or see how Avitarland will turn out at Animal Kingdom.  Just imagine!

IMG_4880Sandy on Facebook would have “Super bladder control”.  Hmmmmm.  Hadn’t thought of that one, but I can see how (for some people) that would be a good superpower to have.  I did point out that the new Tangled-themed restrooms in Fantasyland are supposed to be spectacular.  Just sayin’.

Personally, after all of that – and I loved all the answers! – I would have Jedi powers.  Think about it – at rope-drop, find the right Cast Member and do that Jedi thing, “We are the Family of the Day”.  Cut to the front of the line, waive of the hand and “We were here all along” or “You don’t notice us”.  Could be a little evil as well – “You want to give us free food” or “All this merchandise has already been paid for” – Think of the possibilities!