If you’re like me, Disney is a big part of your life. The Disney theme parks are a hobby, of sorts, and you spend a lot of time fixating on them. All of your relatives and friends of your stories about the glory days of Dreamfinder and Figment, and are tired of your odd excitement when you report the huge “news” that Be Our Guest Restaurant is now accepting reservations.
Of course, even in our obsessing, it’s important to remember that all things are best in moderation. Being a well-rounded person with plenty of other interests and hobbies is important, and a love of Disney should never come at the expense of “real” life. It’s easy to get carried away with a hobby, but you probably should shave a mickey mouse head pattern on the back of your cat (scratch that, you absolutely should…it would be totally awesome!) nor should you spend your life savings commissioning someone to carve a recreation of a totem pole in the lobby of Wilderness Lodge. With that little disclaimer out of the way, let’s talk about how we “Disneyify” our lives.
As someone who has perfected the fine art of fixating on Walt Disney World and Disneyland, here are a few suggestions for how you can embrace your inner Disney geek and make the theme parks a “hobby” even when you’re not visiting, based upon the things I do:
Disney In Your Home – Is your significant other reluctant to let you add a third shelf for Vinylmations in your living room? If your house is anything like mine, it’s not decked out in Disney art or collectibles. For the life of me, I can’t figure out why my wife doesn’t want me to have Disney ephemera pinned up in random places around the house. Even my framed attraction posters are relegated to the garage. However, even if a Duffy portrait doesn’t fit the decor of your house, there are still ways to infuse Disney in your home.
Do it in little ways, such as with Mickey Mouse ice cube trays, coasters, and other kitchenware. Stock up on retro mugs from eBay (or old refillable mugs…who among us doesn’t envy those who own Dixie Landings refillable mugs?!) and use those. Buy Disney ornaments for your Christmas tree. Stock up on Disney shampoo and use that throughout the year. Sometimes it’s the little touches of Disney that resonate the most with us and remind us of our happy place–you don’t need to turn your yard into a mini version of Radiator Springs, raising the eyebrows of your neighbors in the process, to have Disney in your daily life.
Podcasts, Blogs & Social Media – Discussing Disney on social media and reading blogs eats a ton of my time. A scary amount. Most blogs I read focus on the history of the Disney theme parks and feature a lot of historical photos, with only a couple focusing on trip planning or news. I currently have 596 unread posts sitting in Google Reader, so, suffice to say, I read a lot of Disney blogs. I could never comprehensively list all of the blogs I read here, so I don’t want to make a list and accidentally exclude any of my favorites. I focus on historical blogs because they give me a greater appreciation of the parks.
Like blogs, I listen to many podcasts. I listen to a lot of podcasts focused on trip planning or discussing trips, and I enjoy these podcasts because it’s great hearing the passion these podcasters have for Disney. Plus, their enthusiasm prevents me from becoming too jaded by any negative commentary I read elsewhere.
I enjoy a myriad of social media sites, but Twitter and Facebook are the places I visit the most. For a while I didn’t use Facebook at all because my friends there were mostly casual acquaintances from college or high school with whom I haven’t communicated in years who were starting to post baby photos and…I don’t have any interest in seeing photos of babies from casual acquaintances. Recently I’ve learned to use the lists feature better and now have more “Disney friends.” I’ve also jazzed up my profile with a Disney Facebook cover and have started sharing more Disney content, making Facebook relevant for me again.
Twitter is my favorite hang-out for discussing Disney, and I’ve formed a number of friendships there. I originally got “into” Twitter by discussing WDW Today Reunion 2010, and since then, I’ve been hooked. It’s easy to jump into random Disney conversations (the community is, generally, very welcoming!) and it’s a great place to read about breaking news and rumors.
Multimedia – Photography is a hobby of mine, and when I go to Walt Disney World or Disneyland, I take a lot of photos. I usually find myself editing and sharing these photos for months after trips, which is a way of reliving the trip well after its over. For those who enjoy taking photos on their trips, but aren’t so inclined to edit them, Disney scrapbooking is a popular way to preserve memories for years to come. With digital scrapbooking, it’s now cheaper and easier than ever–and you can also use these digital (or traditional) tools to make Disney countdown calendars to get ready for your trip!
If you’re really ambitious, you can create your own Disney time lapse or film about your visit to the parks, like this ambitious guest. Thanks to modern technology, the only barrier to creating these fun projects is knowledge, so if you want some fun (and sentimental!) do it yourself souvenirs, all you have to do is learn how to make them.
Books & Magazines – With the proliferation of eBook readers and iPads, there are now a lot of Disney eBooks. While I enjoy reading eBooks on my HP TouchPad (iPad? psssh, I’ve got a TouchPad!), I love real from-the-presses, tactile books even more. I enjoy walking past my bookcase dedicated to Disney books and grabbing one to take outside and read in the sun. Plus, buying real books and magazines helps Bob Barker in his quest to help control the tree population.
I love the photography and art in books made by Disney, especially some of the older ones. A few of my favorites are the brand new Poster Art of the Disney Parks, the Imagineering Behind the Dreams books, the Gardens of Walt Disney World Resort (1988–not the Glorious Gardens one!), Disneyland Inside Story, Disneyland Nickel Tour, and the Art of… books for both Walt Disney World and Disneyland. Be warned, though, some of these Disney books can be expensive!
There’s no better feeling than pulling a new Disney magazine out of my mailbox (what can I say, I’m easy to please), so I also love reading D23’s Twenty-Three, Celebrations Magazine, and Orlando Attractions Magazine. I used to also love Tales from the Laughing Place, but they haven’t sent an issue in two years now (to anyone) despite a lot of active subscriptions out there. Avoid subscribing to that one.
Other Hobbies – The above are just a few of the ways I infuse more Disney into my everyday life. The great thing is, with the advent of the internet, you can find like-minded individuals who put a Disney spin on just about any hobby you might have. Enjoy sewing? Check out one of the Disney Boutique groups! Avid runner? Check out one of the many Disney running clubs! Enjoy camping, especially at Fort Wilderness? Chat with those crazy “Fort Fiends.” The possibilities are truly endless, and no matter what your interest, you can probably find others online you share it and also share a love of Disney!
Finding ways to intertwine Disney and your everyday life and hobbies can be a lot of fun. It’s much cheaper than building that Radiator Springs garden and, best of all, it gives you a way to experience the magic of Disney at home without boring your “non-Disney” friends out of their minds!
How do you put a little “Disney” in your everyday life? Share your thoughts in the comments!