From the day I was born, I have always had a connection with Disney seeing as I was given the middle name of Ariel. My love and relationship with Disney, however, truly started after one fateful day.
On September 11, 2001 my parents found themselves in Disney World, 18 hours away from where I was staying with my grandparents. They had been terrified. Scared that I had been so far from them in the face of a national crisis. After that date, they decided that I would be taken on any long distance trips along with them, despite my young age.
This was where my long-founding love of Disney began. In my family, we don't have many traditions. We never hid a pickle in a tree on Christmas. We didn't host monthly barbecues with our extended family members. However, we always had Disney.
Starting on my second birthday, going to Disney became a yearly event. I could always count on breakfasts with Mickey Mouse who at the time was a very big deal to my small self. Most of my childhood memories are from days in Disney World. Sitting on my dad's shoulders as we paraded around the park or getting my face painted in metallic red chairs with my mom, I absolutely loved it.
In fact, one of my happiest memories was of my family spending Christmas at Disney World. On Christmas Eve we had been walking around when it started snowing. While I was young, even I understood that seeing snow in Florida was not typical. That night I had placed 'reindeer food' outside our hotel room door and went to sleep absolutely thrilled. Disney is the type of place that makes you believe in miracles.
As I grew up, I never got tired of Disney. I never thought that the movies were too childish and I never thought that I was too mature to enjoy cartoon characters. Even now, I can always count on Disney to bring a smile to my face. Disney has a way of bringing people together and I appreciate that.
While new movies have been released and their theme parks have changed, I have never felt disconnected from the brand and what it stands for. It has remained with me as a constant reminder of my youth and happiness. I hope to share the childlike wonder and joy that Disney has brought me with others and eventually with any future family that I may start.