Friday, August 26, 2011

My So Called Disney Life

So, as many of you know, I was not always a Disney fanatic.  The parks scared me as a child and I simply didn't want to go, with one notable instance that I can remember of being in my grandma and grandpa's kitchen BEGGING my parents not to take me.  PLEASE let me stay with grandma and grandpa instead.

Of course, as a kid, I did love the Disney movies though.  I wanted to be Ariel....matter fact, I sang Part of Your World in a talent show, which I have on video somewhere....and no...I'm not sharing it.  :)  But the Disney Renaissance of Movies was something that was very strong in my background growing up.   Those movies shaped my childhood.  However the Disney theme parks were another monster of their own being something just I wasn't so fond of.  

If you are wondering how my transformation of non-Disney fan to Crazy Disney Person came about, make sure to check out these blog series called "Let My Memories Begin".  (Which there will be more of those stories to come!)

Part 1
Part 2

Once I did get sucked into the Disney life changed drastically.  I started what I like to call My Disney Life, with Disney shaping my entire 20s in a way that is quite profound.

I started out as a simple Disney Parks Fanatic...and I went through phases.  At first I would try to soak up as much information as I possibly could.  I would be on message boards consistently throughout the day (seriously...I would be on message boards the entire made my parents so mad because it interfered with work...but it was like a drug...I couldn't get enough.  I was addicted to them.  It was bad.)

My visits to the parks were also very different.  Back then, I would try to accomplish anything and everything I possibly could.  This was because I never knew when my next trip down was going to be.  I would drive Brian crazy because we had to be going non-stop.

Somewhere in the middle of my Disney Life, the whole Save Disney campaign came about.  (For those who don't remember, this campaign was a time when Eisner was really loosing touch with the parks and the parks began the whole cutting things to make profits more fiasco that they still sort of employ to this day.)  Now, I was quite young still when all this my memory of the details are fuzzy.  All I can remember was noticing things that weren't being done in the parks.  This is where my first brush of cynicism with the parks started.  All the sudden my rose colored glasses slipped down a bit.  Of course, I still loved the parks, but I started seeing things from a different perspective.  It was at this stage when I started being a realist of the Disney Parks.  Knowing not everything Disney does was going to make me happy and my catchphrase at the time was "Disney is a business and they can do what they want."

This realism has stuck with me to this day, but I think somewhere in the middle I realized that I still enjoyed the parks, that they still made me happy, so I could have a good mixture of Rose Colored Glasses and Disney Cynicism in my repertoire.  I realized it's not bad to see things from both perspectives. 

That takes us to 2008, when I got a message from Mike, asking me if I wanted to help him with his podcast he was starting.  Of course, as a Disney fan, I thought...yeah that would be fun!  I'd always wanted to start a podcast after listening to Lou Mongello's, but I never could figure out a hook for one.  At first, I was thinking that I'd just be on one episode talking about one of my trips.  Little did I know Mike had other plans for me.  :)  Hence, starting with Episode 5, I became a regular on the show, along with Debbie.

So, at this point, in my Disney Life, I starting thinking, I am going to have to pay way more attention to what I do in the parks.  There are people who are going to be listening to this show that know a lot about Disney and I don't want to let them down by having a majority of them know way more than I do.  (I mean, all things considered, at this point, I was still relatively new to this whole Disney fanatic thing!  My knowledge of the parks was really only from the few trips I remembered as a kid and the few trips I had taken as a recent Disney fan.  I was well aware that I was quickly going to be considered to be a Disney expert by being on this show.  (Granted, I still know I'm no expert!)  So, I knew I had to learn my stuff.)

From that point, I started trying things I hadn't before.  I started going into attractions I never considered doing, I started visiting restaurants for the pure reason of doing "research", and I started doing things outside the parks so I could increase my knowledge base even more.  To me, that's bee one of the best things about doing this podcast.  I've been able to widen my Disney scope all in the name of research.  (Of course, the other really amazing thing is being able to meet all kinds of amazing people, who would never have been in my life if it weren't for this show.)

Also, the podcast has allowed me to go to events I would have never thought I would get to go to.  This started back in 2008 when we went down for Mousefest.  Then of course there was the Marathon in 2009, Epic October in 2010, the cruise this year, not to mention Epic October 2.0.    So really the podcast has just made me spend more money to get to the Disney parks more often!  :) 

The one thing I have to say, and I'm not trying to sound snobbish here, but it's kind of cooly weird being a female Disney podcaster.  There aren't that many of us.  I can only name a handful of us, and most of them are on our show.  I love being one of the few female podcasters in what is a predominantly male driven medium.    And I have to say I am in extraordinary company.  The other women who are on podcasts are all very amazing! 

Like I said, Disney has definitely shaped who I am, both as a child and as a young woman.  My life has something Disney in it every day.  Whether it's checking out Twitter, reading my Google Reader, podcasting, working on blog posts, etc, Disney makes a presence.  It is a comfort, with this move to Albuquerque, knowing that my life will still have a sense of normalcy in it...because my Disney Life is such a huge part of my everyday life.  It will be like I never moved at all!

I cannot wait to see where my Disney Life goes in the next chapter of my real life.  I already know I want to make the pilgrimage to Disneyland (hopefully next year) and I'm sure that I will have a kid at some point in the next 10 years of my Disney Life, so I am anxious to see how those things change my perspective on Disney once again.  And I really do hope that you will continue along in my journey! Because, you all are such an important part of My Disney Life. 


sea_bass said...

Rock on, Rikki! Keep up the excellent podcastin'.

Unknown said...

Thanks Henry!

Jessica @ Wanting Adventure said...

I never thought about it, but I think one of the reasons I like the podcast is because there are three lady podcasters on there! That's a really cool thing.