Defining a DisNerd


By Craig Barton
Hello. My name is Craig, and I’m a DisNerd. I have been nearly all my life, but there were times I was reluctant to admit as much (I refer to this time period of my life as “the years of struggling to fit in,” or, “puberty”). However, as the years have gone by, I’ve realized DisNerdom defines me. It makes me who I am, and I have since wholly embraced it.

So, what IS a DisNerd anyway?

A DisNerd is someone whose life is influenced by all things Disney, whether it be movies, music, theme parks, television, or even general Disney company history. In recent years, this fandom has grown with new factions of Disney, such as Marvel and Star Wars (For me, I’ve always been a huge Star Wars nerd, so that union in particular was pure bliss – especially since it brought us fantastic new movies!). We’re seen by some as freaks, completely obsessed, kids who never grew up, people who can only relate to nothing but Disney.
This isn’t necessarily true.
It’s not that our lives are nothing but Disney; there is plenty of room in our lives for other interests. I personally enjoy musical theatre, sports, music, reading, and spending time with my family. I also enjoy other fandoms such as the World of Harry Potter and the aforementioned Star Wars Universe. But as a teenager, I was lucky enough to experience “Fantasia” on the big screen during its 50th anniversary cinematic run. I discovered the songwriting genius of Richard and Robert Sherman and their many contributions to my childhood memories of Disney movies and television shows. I found friends that I shared a common bond with. When Disney released their latest movie, I was able to have in-depth discussions with like-minded individuals. It filled me with a desire to learn more about the Disney company, history, and of course, Walt Disney himself. Out of high school, I found myself working retail at The Disney Store, using Cast Member discounts on books, music, and collectibles; anything that fed my love and knowledge of Disney. As it turned out, it was there that I met a fellow DisNerd that happens to now be my wife of 16 years! In short, a love of Disney helped shape who I am today, and time has not diminished that love.
Perhaps the best part of being a DisNerd is the different ways we show our nerdiness.
disnerd 2

Examples of DisNerdom are as follows, but not limited to:

– Multiple trips to Disney parks within a one year period.
– Volumes of Disney music and a desire to find musical rarities that relate to Disney, be it directly or indirectly.
– Pausing at a bookstore anytime a book with the words “Disney”, “Walt,” “Imagineering,” or “Magic Kingdom” catch one’s eye, with the knowledge that there’s a good chance that book will make its way to the cash register instead of being put back on the shelf.
– Buying tickets to the latest movies. Like other fandoms, opening day is the only option.
– The overwhelming desire to correct people who spout off false Disney knowledge (anything from incorrectly dating the year a movie was released to the false doctrine that Walt was racist and anti-semetic).

A few very specific things that may make a DisNerd stand out:

– A DisNerd may be somewhere with a water fountain, and the musty smell makes them think of one thing and one thing only: Water from “Pirates of the Caribbean” at Disneyland.
– A DisNerd may buy anything frozen with the word “pineapple” in it in the hopes that it resembles Dole Whip.
– A DisNerd surprises their friends when the t-shirt they’re wearing is NOT Disney related.
– A DisNerd may buy a new compilation CD full of Disney songs they already have due to the fact that there’s one song they don’t.
– A DisNerd may have a hard time throwing away specially packaged food containers because they’re “too cute for the garbage can.” (Note – I say “have a hard time,” because they eventually do make their way to the garbage can… usually.)
– For DisNerds, the name Walt is big. However, names such as Mary, Richard, Robert, Ollie, Frank, and even X hold a pretty big reverence as well.
– Many Disnerds don’t have “Disney rooms”; their house is Disney.
disnerd 3
This is definitely not an all-inclusive list. There are so many things that make a DisNerd a DisNerd. Much like any faction of nerdom, we’re all individual in our tastes. We all have different likes and dislikes within our specific universe that make us tick. What brings us together is a love for a company that was all started by a hardworking and driven individual named Walt.
And, of course, a mouse.


  1. Ally StuartFebruary 7th, 2017 at 9:51 am

    This is an awesome, comprehensive list. Have you heard of Disneybounding? It’s sort of low-key closet cosplay inspired by a fave Disney character, that you can do either at the office (*coughlikemecough*) or in the parks (any day outside of Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party). There’s a whole Instagram devoted to it, if you want to check it out!

    (Also, I’ll forever be disappointed that no frozen pineapple products actually taste like a Dole Whip…)

  2. Suzanne TimmermanFebruary 7th, 2017 at 1:26 pm

    Totally agree with everything!!!! My husband and I just got married at a Disney themed at-home wedding and honeymooned at Disney World and on a Disney Cruise… I definitely identify! 🙂 Some of the Disnerd points that I have experienced are:
    -Knowing all the lyrics to every Disney song ever.
    -Made my own Disney Halloween costumes because the adult versions I could find weren’t accurate enough.
    -Needing to rewatch a Disney movie because I forgot one Trivia point about it.
    -Belonging to multiple Disney clubs, blogs, podcasts, and websites.

    And so many more things I could mention….

  3. Drew GrahamFebruary 7th, 2017 at 2:01 pm

    I always wonder about this, because I know it’s not shameworthy or anything to be a nerd, I just don’t think that Disney is nerdy. It’s art and entertainment and a really wide variety of media, which seems to mean that if it’s nerdy, just about anything is nerdy. Ah, labels.

    (And yes, if this is a thing, then I am definitely one too.)

  4. Liz TFebruary 7th, 2017 at 2:12 pm

    Craig!! my Disnerd brother. I am with you in that Disnerd trench and I will never crawl my way out! Ever!!! (I’ve been to Disney World 4 times in the past 3 months!!) 😉

  5. LissFebruary 8th, 2017 at 8:19 am

    Guilty… my first son is named Ollie because Walt was apparently off the table.

  6. CraigFebruary 23rd, 2017 at 11:56 am

    Ally – I have definitely heard of Disneybounding! For Dapper Day a few years back, my family and I loosely Bounded as Anna, Hans and Elsa! So much fun!

    Liz T – Sounds like WDW is to you what Disneyland is to me! At least we have company in that trench!

    Liss – At least you can give it a Disney connection and say he’s named after animator Ollie Johnston. 😉

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