“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.”
– Walt Disney
Now, please, please, allow me to stress that I recognize that Disney is, for lack of a better word, problematic. However, I also want to stress that, as an adult human being with the capacity for critical thinking, I am able to enjoy and appreciate Disney’s content while still recognizing its flaws.
Disclaimer given, my Fandom Friday this week, is devoted to a bunch of things that all fall under one umbrella: Disney.
Let me re-start by saying I’m a self-proclaimed Disnerd. Many of my favourite and most watches films are Disney ones. I spent my childhood watching Disney Afternoon and One Saturday Morning. I can recite the lyrics to the Weekenders’ Theme and sing you ‘Spoonful of Sugar’ with full theatricality. If you asked me to pick a favourite Disney character, I would stare at you blankly, because I have a list. My Christmas Tree is almost entirely decked out in Disney ornaments (and surrounded by a Disney tree skirt). I have two Disney tattoos (counting my cover Star Wars tattoo) and am still trying to decide if I should go full Disney sleeve on my empty right arm or if I should go with animals/a West Coast theme. Today, I listened to my massive Disney playlist while trying to get through some repetitive paperwork. I slept in ‘Rebel Princess’ Disney PJs last night. I have a pretty intense Disney pin collection. I’m going to Disneyland in November and am a member of the D23 fanclub.
In short, I really, really, really love Disney.
Narrowing this list down to five items to fit my general format for these posts was almost impossible, but I did my best, so here are five of the many things I love about Disney:
1. Pirates of Caribbean (the Ride)
PotC has been my favourite Disneyland ride since I was three years old. The last time my hubs and I went to Disneyland, we rode it three times. That might not seem like a lot, but that was a product of me trying to be courteous, because I could probably ride it all day long, be super stoked, and not get bored.
I’m 97% sure that the ride actually started my life-long fascination with pirates???
(It’s definitely the reason that I created and performed a PotC themed burlesque number, complete with sweet iron pirate keys and a daring escape from the Royal Navy…)
There’s just something about it that makes me so happy, even with the movie compliant changes. (Oh, let me tell you, I made my dad and brother go to the first movie unnecessarily early when it came out, just so we could get the best seats, in order to experience the fullest adventure on the high seas.)
As an aside to this, Pieces of Eight is my favourite Disneyland store, the Blue Bayou is my absolute top in-park dining experience, AND my mousketeer ears are pirate themed with a tiara on them.
2. Lilo & Stitch
While I may not wax as poetic about this movie as I did about the PotC ride, it’s my favourite. I do have faves from each era (Classic, Renaissance, Early 2000s, Current), this one is my top. It’s a beautiful story, done in a gorgeous animation style (check it out, friends, water colour backgrounds and no straight lines), bursting with heart, and containing one of the best lines of any Disney film (“Oh good, my dog found the chainsaw”).
It’s stunning and hits me right in the feels every time, because while Stitch has an unusually high badness level for someone his size, the film makes it clear that he’s not less worthy of love and care because he’s not traditionally ‘good’. (I’m also a sucker for the ‘found family’ trope.)
3. The Wonderful World of Disney
Some of my fondest memories are of spreading a blanket on the floor on Sunday evenings to lie down on while the CBC simulcast ‘The Wonderful World of Disney’. It was always so exciting, because most of the time, the program played Disney movies or shorts that I hadn’t seen or didn’t own on VHS.
However, I always loved the seasonal specials best, like ‘The Legend of Sleepy Hollow’ and ‘A Christmas Special’. Before the Internet was a thing and I could find them any time year, I really looked forward to the airings of the specials because it meant that the accompanying holidays were on their way. Watching the specials (usually with my little brother, because I made him) always built anticipation and excitement for the holiday.
4. A Spoonful of Sugar (Song)
Written by the Sherman Brothers for 1964’s ‘Mary Poppins’, ‘A Spoonful of Sugar’ is a Disney classic. So many people are familiar with it and the expression ‘a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down’ is arguably ingrained in the cultural vernacular of North America.
For me, the song holds special meaning because learning to perform it helped me through one of the most difficult periods of my life. In November of 2016, I was diagnosed with a truncated (flipped) ovary, which required emergency surgery to remove. It took me what felt like a really long time to get back on my feet afterward. According to the doctors, I had had a large cyst on the ovary that was removed for an undetermined amount of time, which caused, among other symptoms, back pain that had impacted my ability to stand for long periods of time and to create proper breath support for singing.
After it was removed and I had recovered to the point where I felt comfortable on my feet for the majority of a singing lesson, I chose ‘A Spoonful of Sugar’ as a recital piece, because I was familiar with it and had worked on it before, but felt it was challenging enough to work through while I adapted to singing with my healing (and healed) body. With my voice teacher’s help, the song itself sort of ended up being the spoonful of sugar that helped me through the medicine (and by that I mean dealing with all the post-surgery feelings), so that I felt a little more like myself again. (I feel like I’ve said this in another post before… Side note, for readers who have ovaries: PLEASE get checked out if your menstrual cycle puts you in extreme pain, because ‘just cramps’ shouldn’t be debilitating, thanks for listening to my PSA.)
5. Walt Disney
When it comes to the man himself, I’m well aware that Walt Disney is not a perfect person (definitely not) and I don’t hold him up to be. I do, however, hold up what he achieved for himself (starting his own animation studio, producing the first full-length, Technicolor animated feature, popularizing animated features for all ages, envisioning and creating Disneyland) as inspiring and awing.
I admire him for what he created and for the impact his creations have had and still have to this day on popular culture in the 90 years since he debuted ‘Steamboat Willie’. (Shout out Lillian Disney for suggesting ‘Mickey’ over ‘Mortimer’, by the way.)
I also really love the quote I opened this post with, which is one of his. I used to have it taped up to the wall of my work station at my old office, to remind me to keep working on my creative endeavors outside of my 9-to-5.
To close this out, I open up the floor to you, readers. I would love to read in the comments what, if anything, Disney means to you, and to learn about your favourite Disney things, if you have them.
❤ Stay passionate!