Here’s one that’s basically written about you guys for you guys, so I really hope you enjoy it, and I also hope I don’t offend anyone! (Hey it happens some times, the written word can be difficult)
The Disney community is something that’s become such a huge part of my life in the last 12 months especially, and it means different things to different people, recently it’s been getting some pretty negative press, so I thought I’d try and put my opinions on the matter into some sort of coherent order.
Community is defined as “A group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common.” and also “The condition of sharing or having certain attitudes and interests in common” , simply put, we all like Disney, or theme parks, or possibly a combination of the two, and this has brought us together.
“It was all started by a mouse”
Except, in my case, it was all started by a little bear called Duffy, that’s when I really became involved in things, where this blog and my twitter account were born from. Suddenly I realised there were a whole bunch of other people who Loved Disney, and Disneyland Paris the way I did, and even better they all wanted to talk about it, share experiences and pictures and videos! It was perfect.
“You’ve got a friend in me”
When I started this blog, and made my twitter, and gradually found my feet and started talking to some of the most wonderful people, I never honestly thought i’d end up meeting them in real life, let alone building some of the friendships I have. I guess that was what surprised me most, I think I started tweeting from my Disney account in Late march, after an amazing day trip to DLP when I finally brought Duffy home. as my confidence grew I started talking to more people, getting involved with the Dedicated to DLP podcast, and eventually Periscope too, talking to these people, though they were just pictures on a screen, became something that made me increasingly happier, it gave me a sense of belonging and acceptance. then in August it was finally time to start meeting people away from the screens.
Disney meet ups started to become a more regular occurrence across the community, a way to get out from behind the screen and meet people who live close (ish) to you and get to know them beyond the realms of twitter. Before Long my friend Brian decided it was time to bring a Disney meet to the southwest, and in August 2016 we all met up for the first Disney Southwest MU in Bristol, we shopped, had lunch, and even squeezed in a round of adventure golf! Though I was incredibly nervous to begin with, by the end of the day I knew I’d made some really good friends, I’ve been to a few south west meets, and even some in London since, I’d love to make it to Manchester one time to see some of my northern friends, but it’s a rather long day out so we’ll see.
The real turning point though, was my Halloween trip to Disneyland Paris, affectionately named DLP Boo. What started as a trip to the Halloween soiree with a few friends, ended up as a chance to meet so many people from twitter that I’d been speaking to for months, and although I was super super nervous, it was actually the best trip with some of the most memorable moments!
Meeting friends from online in real life is always a bit scary, but when you’re all brought together by your love of Disney, and you meet at a Disney park, suddenly everything seems a whole bunch easier. Maybe it’s because it’s such a happy place, and somewhere I feel a bit more comfortable to be “me”, no one judges me for having my Duffy bear, I can dress as Disney as possible and I don’t look out of place. And there’s never a shortage of things to talk about!
Getting to meet so many friends in one holiday was such an incredible moment, and now although I don’t see some of them often, I love to watch their other trips through photos, blogs and vlogs they share online, and seeing them so happy makes me happy too.
Not only that, but there are a few people I’ve grown incredibly close to following time spent together in the parks, what started as online friendship, has become real friendship, people I see regularly, that I can talk to daily about literally anything. Those people know who they are, and I hope they know just how much I appreciate them, they really do feel more like family than friends!
“Ladies do not start fights, but they can finish them”
Of course, like any other group be that a friendship group, a family or an online community, not everyone is always going to agree with everyone else. Unfortunately recently there have been a few examples of this, and I guess in part this is what prompted me to write this post.
When you feel so much passion about any one subject, it is so easy to want to defend your opinion, and unfortunately this some times comes at the expense of other peoples feelings. I truly believe that 99.9% of the time this isn’t an intentional consequence, or certainly not from the people I know in the Disney Community.
Sometimes though, in these events it’s easy to get caught up in the moment and miss out on all the really wonderful things people are doing for each other, and I can truly say I’ve seen and experienced far more of these moments than the bad ones. I’ve been offered places to stay on multiple occasions, making trips and meet ups possible, I’ve seen people come together to help get limited edition merchandise from the parks, help with practical day to day things at home, offer a supportive ear to people when they’re going through tough times.
I think it’s important to look for these moments, recognise them and share them, at the end of the day, that’s a far more accurate of the community I joined all that time ago, a community I am a proud part of, and a community that’s given me so much when I’ve been to proud to admit I needed it.
So to every single one of you, who has made me feel so welcome and wanted, thank you.