To Be Determined

You know. Things really don’t ever turn out just how you thought it was going to be.

I thought I was going to be bored to tears in my college town, home of the University of Itty Bitty.  Its  population is tiny; barely over 10,ooo when school is in session. Main Street is peppered with mom-and-pops and fast food. The school was “average,” “undistinguished.” I was a Division II athlete, “lesser” than the best of the best.

I thought Animal Kingdom was going to be so-so as a  home park. I wanted Magic Kingdom; everyone does.  Classic and magical and the best of the best in entertainment. Animal Kingdom, in contrast, is new, environmental. Slightly smelly to be quite honest. I loved Disney with all my heart, but I was never sure if I loved Disney’s Animal Kingdom before my college program.

Preconceptions are stupid, my friends. I know it’s a “bad” word in Kindergarten , but they are stupid. And sucky.

The University of Itty Bitty? It turned out to be the very best experience possible. I became an English major and fell in love with writing and reading and analyzing and academia. I excelled as a college athlete, even though my version of excelling did not involve a Division I national championship. I discovered my love for autumn and authentic blizzards. My heart belongs to the miles of miles of uninterrupted patchwork views, littered only by immense wind turbines and their blades that rhythmically beat against a brilliant, red dirt-dusted sunset.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom? My goodness. It’s my home. I will always remember walking through an empty park at 7:50 in the morning, marveling at how the sun glinted off of the Tree of Life’s  foliage, how the distinct morning shadows highlighted the tree’s animal carvings. The mouthwatering aroma of Flame Tree Barbecue would overpower the stench of the birds that make the Oasis their home. Multicolored macaws noislily squawked and beat their wings, stirring the sweet humid air that forced my hair into its signature braid for six months. When the nighttime offerings began, I would park myself in front of the Tree of Life to watch it awaken.

If you’ve never experienced these awakenings, I’m here to tell you that they create just as much magic as Tinker Bell’s pixie dust.

Now that I’m home, I’m working and applying to graduate schools. As I sit down to complete applications, I notice that I’m applying to big schools with big names and little schools with little names. I realize that I probably won’t get into every school I apply to. Once this whole process is over, I must choose the right place for me. I also know that there is a possibility that I won’t have the option to choose the “right” place–there might be an “only” place.

The “right” place might not be the biggest school with the most distinguished program. But it might be. I’m not sure yet.

What I must consider from past experiences? Preconceptions are stupid. I can’t wait to continue to add to my collection of homes:

My home town.

University of Itty Bitty.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

To be determined.

 

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My Disney Side

Since a lot of you are Disney freaks like me–this is a good thing, an excellent thing–I would like to get to know you and your “Disney Side.” Since I’ve joined the Disney fandom, I’ve come to the conclusion that “Disney people” are some of the best people. We believe in magic, possibilities, and the importance of family. We know that just wishing on stars won’t cut it; you have to work and keep the faith. Every time I enter Walt Disney World, I sense an immediate camaraderie among everyone there.

In short, Disney people (much like my English major people…hi guys) are my kind of people.

I think it would be fun if I shared some of my favorite Disney things, the likes and interests that ultimately make up my “Disney Side.” When referencing parks and whatnot, I’ll only be referring to Walt Disney World. I haven’t been to Disneyland, but it’s definitely on the bucket list.

  • Favorite Park: The Magic Kingdom. So classic. So happy. So perfect. Main Street, USA, is my absolute favorite place in this world.
If you ever want to take a picture like this, just ask the balloon vendors; they will happily oblige.
  • Favorite Attraction: Splash Mountain. I don’t know what it is, but I love riding along and witnessing the mischievous going-ons of Brer Rabbit and the whole Brer gang. I’m actually familiar with the Uncle Remus stories (a big thank you to my Intro to American Literature class), so I love seeing Disney’s adaptation come to life in “ride” form.
  • Favorite “Fab Five” Character: Donald Duck. He has my heart. See picture below:
This is one of my top “magical moments” on a Disney vacation. Dancing with Donald Duck will forever be the coolest thing.
  •  Favorite Princess: That’s so incredibly hard. I love Mulan because she kicks butt, Tiana because she knows the value of work ethic, and Elsa because I can relate so much to her. To read a previous post on my beloved Elsa, click here. I also love Belle because she is a bookworm.
  • Favorite Disney Movie: So hard. I love Frozen because of the whole “sisterly love” thing. But I love Mulan because of the “woman saves China in a time where women were valued as nothing” thing. And I love Maleficent and Cinderella (2015). It’s so hard to pick just one!
  • Favorite Character That isn’t an Animal or Princess: Alice from Alice in Wonderland. Click here and read so my love for Alice can be aptly expressed.
  •  Favorite Disney Food: Rice Crispy treats that are Mickey-shaped. During my last visit, some were in the Shape of Maleficent’s head. I found both versions rather tasty and magical.
  • Favorite Show at the Parks: Wishes. I can’t express this enough. So much love for Wishes. 
  • Favorite Disney Song: Probably the hardest question of all. I love to sing (I’m not talented or anything, I just love carrying a little tune or two) so I always have my iPhone playing Spotify or my own Disney music. Some of my favorites: “Let it Go,” “I’ll Make a Man Out of You,” “Let’s Go Fly a Kite,” “Almost There,” “When You Wish Upon a Star,” and “Go the Distance.” Again, these are just some of my favorites. I also always get chills when the “Finale” from Fantasmic plays on my Spotify.
  • Favorite “Obscure” Character: Jiminy Cricket or Dumbo. I just can’t help but love them.
  •  Favorite Disney Prince: Flynn Rider is hilarious and possibly the most good-looking animated character this whole world has ever known.
  • Favorite Disney Collectible: Mugs. Give me all the Disney mugs. If you want to see some of my collection, browse the “Mug Shots” category located in the menu above.
  • Favorite Quintessential Disney Scene: I have a few. Of course. I get chills when Ariel sings “Part of Your World.” I bawl when Carl from Up flips through his “My Adventure Book” and sees the note from Ellie. My heart pounds when Mulan flings the arrow down to the ground at the conclusion of the musical number of “I’ll Make a Man Out of You.” I sing along to the lantern scene in Tangled and marvel at the animation. My heart soars when Peter Pan exclaims, “Off to Never Land!” and cuts through the sky on a clear London night.

Ok. I had more than a few.

I feel like this is a solid list–I’d like to think my Disney favorites reflect who I am sans the Mickey Ears. I value family over anything else, cherish work ethic as a cornerstone of my existence, and whole heartedly believe in childlike wonder and innocence.

Just Disney dreaming.

So, my friends, what’s your “Disney side?”