Wednesday, December 12, 2012
To all who come to this angry place...
If you're here, it's most likely because you follow me on Twitter, a place where I've had a lot of fun and met a lot of great people -- 673 so far, to be exact!
Most of you don't know why I call myself @AngryDisneyNerd, or who I am, or anything about me other than my love of the Disney parks, film music, and @LostOnTheFringe.
A little less than a year ago, I was a total pixie-duster -- the kind of Disney fan who thought The Mouse could do no wrong, and who couldn't stand to read any criticism of the parks and the way they are managed. The legion of critical MiceChatters and tweeters whipped me up into such a fury that I started @AngryDisneyNerd specifically to lampoon the people I deemed to be Disney haters. My entire Twitter persona was sarcastic, mean-spirited, and altogether unpleasant.
This got really old. Quickly.
I realized my shtick was tiresome around the time I called Michael Crawford (@ProgressCityUSA) a "Disney-hater" on Twitter. Anyone in this fan community with half a brain knows that's completely wrong. I decided it was time to stop being annoying and start being me -- a sometimes bitchy but always enthusiastic Disney fan who loves way bigger than he hates.
So the persona changed, but the name didn't. I thought about changing it to @HappyDisneyNerd, or @NotAngryDisneyNerd, but ultimately I decided that I should own up to my faults and keep the name. It reminds me of the annoying guy I can be and the even more annoying guy I used to be. I don't wanna be that guy, but I have to own up to it.
So who am I, anyway?
I'm Sean, a lifelong nerd who lives in the Chicago suburbs and works as a copy editor and designer. My Disney nerdery is hereditary -- my parents love the Disney parks even more than I do. This past October, they went on their 29th trip to Walt Disney World (their 36th Disney Parks trip overall). A family friend once joked that I was conceived on Pirates of the Caribbean, and I can't deny that it's a possibility. (I've never really asked them about that special night, you know?) Nearly every conversation with my family comes back to Disney somehow. One of my sisters worked at Epcot as part of the WDW College Program, and I was supposed to go myself -- on Sept. 12, 2001. The events of the previous day kept me home, and I wound up getting a full-time job with the company where I interned that summer.
My life was park-free from 1994-2007. In that period, I went to Las Vegas for the first time and thought, "Well, who needs Disney?!?!" But when I made my triumphant return to Disneyland in January 2007, the mania came rushing back, and it's been full-steam ahead ever since.
Why do I love the Disney parks so much? The sounds. The smells. The laughs. The anticipation. The people. The bad jokes on the Jungle Cruise. The realization that yes, you actually are going to ride Space Mountain today. The odor of the Harbor House's food when you exit Haunted Mansion. The finale of Hallowishes. The cream cheese-filled pretzels. The ghostly caves underneath New Orleans Square. The ferry ride to Magic Kingdom. The smiles of all those kids riding their first roller coaster. The cast members who say "Happy birthday, Sean" as I walk by. The guests at Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party who wore DHARMA Initiative jumpsuits while riding Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. The day my best friend got his "My First Visit" button. The day my girlfriend got her "My First Visit" button. The day I shared a kiss with that special lady during World of Color. The days I shared with my parents, my sister and my co-worker at the Food & Wine Festival. The day my sisters and I held hands as we walked out of the park as my mother took our picture. The first, perfect ride on Star Tours in 1988. And so on and so on.
I expect the best of Disney, and I want to believe they will deliver the best. I've been to Universal Orlando, and they do have some wonderful rides, but nothing touches the atmosphere that Disney can create. Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey may be the best theme park ride in the world, but only Space Mountain makes me jump up and down with the giddy energy of a 7-year-old.
Am I angry? Sometimes. But mostly I'm a smiling, laughing, hopelessly idealistic nerd. And this is my blog. Hopefully you'll like it.