I spent the first four years of my life living in California, just a one hour drive from Disneyland. Suffice to say, my parents took my sister and I there constantly, even after we moved to Idaho. There wasn't a lot of fun going on in my life. I was a sick kid dealing with chronic ear and sinus infections, asthma, severe allergies, you name it. Then there was the fact that my family didn't always get along. There was just the normal dysfunctional aspects of a functioning family at work, you get the gist of it. When we were at Disneyland though, or sitting down to watch a Disney movie or show... none of that mattered. We were transported to a fantasyland where we all became mesmerized by the magic and possibility. Sickness and fighting suddenly didn't feel so obtrusive and annoying.
Just thinking about Main Street, I can smell the sugary churros and the sweet cotton candy. When I see the castle, I see glittering ballgowns and dancing. I remember the princesses I tried to embody and dress up as when I was a little girl. I see fireworks pop into bright colors creating mesmerizing shapes in the sky. There are the rides too, which are dazzling yet sometimes simple experiences, all of which is told with the help of the mascots from their beloved movies and shows: the gallant men, the dream-ridden and hard-working women, the rambunctious children, and the little yet bold animals. We all have our favorite characters, right? The ones we simply love and resonate with?
For me, that's Tinker Bell. I used to spin my Tinker Bell glow spinner sitting on the sidewalk, waiting for parades to start, trying to distract myself from severe ear pain. Pain so bad I would claw at my cheeks and draw blood out of pure agony. With Tinker Bell though, I loved and still love her as my mascot. She helped me get through bad times. Mostly cute, helpful, and dainty, but with moments of sass, jealousy, and serious rage—I definitely identified. Just having that resembling and adorable character in my grasp was enough to alleviate my spirits and make me feel giddy instead of sad. I get this way even now watching my favorite Disney movies or even the trailers for upcoming Disney movies.
Often when someone asks why I'm grinning so big from anything Disney-related such as my Disney Emoji Blitz game or watching a trailer or reminiscing over my time spent at one of the Disney Parks, I just tell them in reasoning, "I love Disney!". It's easier than explaining that I love being reminded about that child in me, that part of me needs a fantastical character or idea to cling to in this crazy, tumultuous life. That's not going to change. I still grab my Eeyore plushie when I don't feel well. My family still takes trips to the Disney parks and watches Disney movies together to bond (one of our only family activities).
When anyone's trying to get to know me, I tell them they should know I'm obsessed with Disney. It's gotten to the point that it's a defining characteristic of mine. To me, when I say I'm obsessed with Disney, they should know I cherish magic, wonder, and creativity. I love the cheesy, clumsy, cute characters and catchy songs. That's what I enjoy, and it's not simply my escape, it's just what I love. It won't change with age and maturity—it's just me.