My Disney Side

First of all, I just want to take another chance to thank Heather for the brilliant job she did over here while I was enjoying my little hiatus. Everything she wrote was excellent, so if you didn’t check out her posts, stop what you’re doing and do it now!


As many of you know, I recently returned from a blissful Walt Disney World vacation. Last year, I wrote about how a trip to WDW always brings out my best self. It’s my “happy place,” the place where I find myself acting closest to the person I always want to be.

This years theme around the Disney Parks is “Show Your Disney Side.” For some people (including many who rocked their Disney sides with my sister and I at the 24-Hour Disney Day last Friday), their Disney side is represented by a specific Disney character: Mickey’s joy, the Evil Queen’s poise, Elsa’s strength, Rapunzel’s enthusiasm.


What’s my Disney side? That’s a question I’ve been thinking a lot about lately. I think my Disney side is the side of me that is at its strongest when I’m within the confines of Disney World. It’s my happy side, my positive side, and my enthusiastic side. In short, it’s the side that I also try to bring to everything I do here at Nerdy Girl Notes.

Disney World is the perfect place for nerds (and I’m not just talking about all of my fellow Star Wars nerds that I saw during Star Wars Weekends on my trip—more on that later). It’s a place that encourages enthusiasm like no other place on Earth. It’s a place where genuinely, passionately enjoying things is the norm instead of the exception.

Cynicism has no place in Disney World, and that’s one of the biggest reasons I love it so much. Smiles are more prevalent than eye rolls, and even the most jaded can find themselves getting choked up while watching Wishes or Illuminations. Being in Disney World allows you to feel like a kid again, and, for me, that means feeling like I’m not going to be judged for allowing myself to be completely enthusiastic about the things I’m experiencing.


Those experiences included taking selfies before riding the Carousel of Progress at 7 a.m.

My Disney side is a part of me that I hope comes through in everything I do, and it’s a side I want to show the world even when I’m not in the Magic Kingdom or Hollywood Studios anymore. My Disney side is the part of me that is unashamedly positive, isn’t afraid to care about things in a way that others might not understand, and encourages others to also be passionate about the things they enjoy.

After coming home and trying to catch up on news from various fandoms, I was reminded that fandom—and the Internet in general—can be a decidedly unhappy place. However, all that has done is make me feel more committed than ever to NGN’s mission to be a respectful place—a safe space—for people to talk about the things they love. Being a part of a fandom should be a source of happiness—not anxiety, depression, or belittlement. Fandoms should be like little versions of Disney World, where people might not always have the same favorite things, but they still let each other enjoy the magic.

I hope to always channel my Disney side—my positive, enthusiastic side—into everything I do here (and everything I do in general). I hope all of you have a magical day, and here’s to a great summer at NGN!

If anybody needs me, I'll just be imagining I'm back at EPCOT's Starbucks.

If anybody needs me, I’ll just be imagining I’m back at EPCOT’s Starbucks.


14 thoughts on “My Disney Side

  1. Confession: I think the Disney Side commercials are mostly terrible. I also take personal offense at the idea that I even have a non-Disney side 🙂
    BUT I LOVE THIS. I completely agree that the aspect of my personality most influenced by Disney is my ability to get positively obsessed about things, and I mean “positively” in every sense of the word. It’s my happy place, for sure, and I’ve already decided that if anyone ever told me I could only be in one place for the rest of my life, Disney World would be it. It’s where I feel most connected to my childhood and my family. I might have teared up at a few of your photos (ILLUMINATIONS). It’s fine. It’s not fine. Someone give me a plane ticket.
    Super jealous that you got to participate in the 24-hour event. It looked so fun!

    • Thanks, Kelly!

      “I’ve already decided that if anyone ever told me I could only be in one place for the rest of my life, Disney World would be it.” – You are not alone in that choice, my friend. 😉

      Your love for Illuminations is life-affirming for me because I feel like it gets ignored because Wishes is so great, but Illuminations holds such a special spot in my heart.

      The 24-Hour day was fantastic, even if I did get to only spend 2 of the 24 hours there (of course that would be the day we left)! Someday we will do Disney together, and it will be a truly magical occasion. 😀

    • Thank you! I had a wonderful time, and I hope that you do get to go someday because a Disney World trip is something that I believe everyone should experience at least once.

  2. As someone who is looking to discover her Disney side this fall I have to say, I love this for many reasons. I am that cynic in the middle of the grind of life that is a career and raising a family. But as the last week riding the NY Ranger fandom and this show there is beauty and joy to behold. I only went to Disney World once as a kid and I was the only one of my siblings to do so with my parents. It just was untouchable growing up in our family. It is why I have such a sense of humility that I can offer these experiences to my child. For me, the last couple of trips we’ve made are distinct in one feeling — joy. It is pure joy when we arrive and make our way around the parks.

    For me that is the sense that is invoked in all the magic. Joy for the sake of joy. There’s no end game behind it and there is no expectation. It is simply a state of being there for the taking. It taps into the wonder of children and the willingness to believe. That for me is what makes those trips so worthy. That is why we in the Vargas household are counting the days down to October.

    A look at what our Disney side is all about:

    • I love this comment for so many reasons. Those videos put the biggest smile on my face. One of my favorite things to do when I’m in Disney World is to watch the little kids just radiating with happiness in the presence of their favorite characters. You are completely right when you say that the magic of Disney lies in the idea of joy without condition—it’s just there to be experienced without strings attached. The fact that the joy is there for parents, kids, and twenty-somethings like me who are between those two stages in life is so beautiful.

      I am so excited for your family to get to experience that joy again this October, and I can’t wait to live vicariously though you!

  3. Sounds like a great vacation! I have never been to Disneyworld, but I do love me some Disneyland. It really is a magical place that makes you smile no matter what is going on with your life. I think a part of it has to do with the world building and attention to detail. Nothing is missed. Even the bathrooms are adorable and it helps keep you immersed in the fantasy. I just heard they are going to have a Star Wars marathon at Disneyland in January. I am not much of a runner, but I think I will have to make an exception just to see everyone dressed up and running. I will just pretend like I am being chased by stormtroopers (which I probably actually would be) and it will be fun.

    I have always said there is a fine line between geek and snob. Geeks are passionate and get super excited and involved in the things they love. But when you start to feel like your opinion is more important or better than others, that is when you start venturing into snob territory. Its hard not to. I am guilty of it just like I am sure everyone is at times. But what I love about your site is that it never ventures into snob territory. And I think that does wonders for keeping the tone you have here on the site. I have a biting, sarcastic sense of humor, which can easily come off as snobbish over the internet. I actually find myself editing and censoring a lot of my comments on this site. But I in no way see that as a bad thing. It forces me to focus on the positive and let go of the unnecessary negative. There are plenty of places I can go for the criticism and the sarcasm (which I do), but there are few places like this that keep you focused on the positives, while still allowing for discussion of the negative in a level headed respectful manner. And its why I cherish NGN as much as I do.

    Keep up the great work Katie! What you have here is truly unique, and you should feel incredibly proud of it. Whatever the future holds, this little site has already been enjoyed and appreciated, and that will never change. ❤

    • Thank you so much for all of those kind words, Shauna. This comment made me all kinds of emotional (in a good way), and I cannot even begin to express how much it means to me that you feel so positively about this little corner of the Internet.

      Also, if you do the Star Wars marathon, I expect a full report, especially because I’ve been to Disney World many times but have never been to Disneyland!

    • I’m happy to be spreading the smiles with this post! And yes, sometime (in the near future, hopefully) we are going to take Disney World by storm together! (And by “taking it by storm,” I mean “eat as much Disney food as humanly possible.”)

  4. Sounds like an awesome trip! My friends and I have gone together the past two years, and it’s something we reminisce about for MONTHS afterwards 🙂 You’re totally right about its’ lack of cynicism, I think that’s one of the big reasons I love it so much too. And the delicious food doesn’t hurt!

    • It was an awesome trip, Becca! I had a fantastic time. Like you and your friends, I’m sure my sister and I will be talking about all of our Disney memories until our next Disney trip.

      And I think you’re right about the food being second only to “lack of cynicism” on why Disney World is so amazing. I ate so much wonderful food on this trip!

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