Be a Disney Nerd at Any Age


by Marianne Paluso (@Marianne_P81)

For me, and I am sure countless others, being a Disney Nerd is as easy as breathing. Growing up during Disney’s second renaissance in animation (The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, etc.) and taking yearly (sometimes monthly) trips to Disneyland, my Dis-nerdiness has pretty much been ingrained in me since birth. Fellow nerds no doubt share the same mindset—that being a fully-fledged Disney Nerd is about encapsulating that special Disney magic into our lives whenever possible, from what we watch, to what we wear, and even our philosophy on life. Being Disney nerd is easy. I grew up one, but you are never too young or too old to become one. Here are some ways to create or increase your Disney nerdiness:

Remember the Past

No one can deny there have been some amazing films and attractions added to the Disney Parks in recent years. But before Ariel swam into our hearts or Storm troopers invaded Tommorowland, Disney produced a cavalcade of delightful films and shows. Classics like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Pinocchio are staples for any Disney fan, but do not forget the second tier titles which are just as good, such as Lady and the Tramp and Robin Hood. I also have always had a soft spot for the musical short compilations from the 1940s: Make Mine Music and Melody Time. Speaking of shorts, Disney’s seemingly endless list of animated shorts should be at the top of any Disney’s nerd watch list. Many can be found on YouTube, and you can purchase a great many on the Walt Disney Treasures series. These a little hard to find today, but it’s not impossible. Some of my favorites are the Goofy sports cartoons, especially “Hockey Homicide” and “How to Play Baseball,” the Mickey, Goofy and Donald classic “Lonesome Ghosts,” and just about anything with Chip and Dale.

Remember there is more to Disney than animation

Most people automatically associate Disney with animation, but do not forget their live-action films. Although they are not all created equally, many, especially some of the lesser known ones are definitely worth a look. No doubt most Disney nerds know and love the Pirates of the Caribbean films and Mary Poppins. Let us not forget The Parent Trap (the original and superior one), That Darn Cat, Swiss Family Robinson, Wild Hearts can’t be Broken, Shipwrecked, and many more.

Brush up on your Disney trivia

Fun facts are out there and easily obtained. Read a few books, watch few episodes of the classic Disneyland television show and you’ll be able to impress your friends with your vast Disney knowledge. A cool little tidbit I always like to share is about the New Orleans Square Train Station in Disneyland. If you listen closely you can hear the taps from a telegraph. The message you’re hearing is actually Walt Disney’s opening day speech from July 17, 1955. Even the biggest Disney Nerds many not know that.

Visit a Disney Park

I know we all cannot be so lucky to live in close proximity or have the means to visit a Disney Park. But if you can, the experience is priceless. Whether it is the park in Anaheim, Orlando, Tokyo, Paris, or Hong Kong, the memories you make and that special kind of Disney magic are irreplaceable. And when you do make that trip, do not forget to bring along a camera. Disney Parks showcase by far some of the most beautiful and eclectic visuals in the world. Where else can you see a street reminiscent of the turn of the last century, a fairy tale castle, and African jungle in the same place?

Show off your Disney love

Whether it is a t-shirt, a hat, a snow globe, or a Christmas ornament, there is no shortage of ways to display you love for all things Disney, both in your wardrobe and your home. And there is no one way to do so.  Do whatever makes you happy. I adore some of the more subtle touches, such as a Disney figurine. My favorites are from artist Jim Shore. They are beautiful and affordable.

Embrace Your Inner Child

There will always be naysayers that tell you that Disney is just for kids. I say, ignore them. Or better yet, prove them wrong. Remember there is a difference between being childish and childlike. The truest Disney nerd matures, but never loses their inner child. We still proudly wear that Mickey Mouse sweatshirt, sing along with the music, and spin in a giant sizes pastel-colored teacup with as much glee as ever.

Walt Disney never lost sight of the fact that many of us long for the simplicity of happy films, happy places, and happy times. If you love Disney, embrace it whole heartedly, and show it off. When you do, you will be a true Dis-Nerd.

Photo Credit: Disney Grandpa on Flickr


  1. ShannonOctober 22nd, 2012 at 11:04 am

    Thanks for sharing this Marianne!

    I grew up in Ohio so I had more trips to Cedar Point & other amusement parks instead of making the long trip to Florida or California. That didn’t stop me from enjoying all of the movies growing up. My first theater movie was “The Little Mermaid” at the Apollo theater in Oberlin. Whenever I visit my family back in Ohio I make sure to drive by and soak in the memories. Growing up we also had a cassette tape of all the classic Disney songs. One of my favorite songs is “Makin’ Memories”.

    As my dad has said for most of my life, “Growing old is mandatory, Growing up is optional”. The classic Disney cartoons are unforgettable. I love the Christmas classic with Donald Duck and Chip & Dale. However, I was very impressed with the “Tangled” storyline. The Rapunzel story seemed to be quite simple, but the story they told was unique. I’m not certain of the process of how they developed the story into what it became, but they did an excellent job.

    Four years ago I moved to Southern California where a couple of my friends from camp also live. A few other camp friends came out to visit us & we decided to go to Disneyland together. It was a priceless day! It was my first time to any Disney amusement park & I was able to experience it with some dear friends. I will always cherish that day & I have plenty of photos that remind me of the fun we shared. The Tea Cup ride was the most fun. We split our group into 2 cups & tried to see who could spin the fastest. Priceless memory!!! 🙂 Hopefully sometime soon I will be able to go again with some other friends. Unfortunately Disney has become quite expensive. That’s why it’s important to make the most of the day & share it with people you love!

  2. NatalieOctober 22nd, 2012 at 12:42 pm

    I can still vividly remember as a kid watching reruns of the original Mickey Mouse Club, singing the theme song as I paraded around the house, and getting in the mail my honorary Mickey Mouse Club Mouseketeer certificate. My parents raised me right, making the trek from Utah to California as often as we could, taking in every Disney movie released, going to The Villa theatre to see Fantasia when it was periodically re-released, filling our bedrooms with Disney toys and paraphernalia.

    And from those roots, I have grown into an adult who is very much a little girl at heart. I fully embrace the nerddom which is me – from being a die hard Star Wars and Tron fan, to being an avid gamer, embracing shows varying from the likes of Battlestar Galatica, Dr Who, Firefly to Grimm and Chuck, and basically anything about any sort of superhero. And to those attributes I add my love for all that is Disney… I’m pretty sure I’ve signed up for every blog, newsletter, and website that has anything to do with Disney. We make the pilgrimage any chance we get, and hopefully someday will make the one to the opposite coast to experience WDW.

    Now it is my honor to pass these nerd genes on to my kids. My six and three year olds are just as enamored with anything Disney, and our little family remembers with such fondness the first time we took them to Disneyland three years ago. None of us can wait to go back.

    Walt Disney was a true visionary – a man of inspired genius who has brought joy to millions and gave us all a place to “Leave Today and Enter the World of Yesterday, Tomorrow and Fantasy”.

  3. AnandaOctober 22nd, 2012 at 5:01 pm

    wow that was awesome great one!! will never forget The first time I stepped into Disney Paris!! priceless moment!! for some reason I ended up in the Paris one more times and even to the Tokyo ones, and never to the originals in the US!! hopefully one day!! It brings so many memories!! Peter Pan ride, where you see the little lights and Space Mountain!! absolutely amazing!!
    ow yeah and mom has in her memory that I disappeared for a second in the carrousel !! love my 6 years old memories from it!!
    and now I find myself in NY where they have a disney store, and I plan to make my figures collection bigger!!my bag will be filled with toys!! can’t help it =)

  4. PeavesOctober 23rd, 2012 at 12:40 pm

    working for Disney, I love this post. I interact with guests who are just as wonderful as you. Thanks for putting a more detailed spin on this.

  5. MarcusOctober 24th, 2012 at 2:45 am

    Just another thing on my Bucket list is to visit a disney park, thanks to your post I want to more.

  6. MarianneOctober 24th, 2012 at 12:21 pm

    Such sweet comments. Thank you so much! I am happy to see people responding so positively to my little article 🙂

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