JeniLynn Knopp (234 Posts)

JeniLynn was born and raised in South Florida. Being so close to Walt Disney World, she grew up regularly visiting the Mouse and developed a fascination with the creativity of Disney Parks. Noticing that her happiest moments seemed to always take place in Walt Disney World, JeniLynn began trying to recreate the magic of Disney in her everyday life beginning in her pre-teen years. Adulthood, sixteen years of marriage, and three children later, JeniLynn continues to lead a Disney Driven Life and diligently works to pass her love for Disney on to her husband and children. She has blogged for Touring Plans and been a contributing writer for The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World, and she currently co-hosts Orlando Attractions Magazine: The Show; however, her primary focus has always been with the community that has grown around her own site, The Disney Driven Life. Through these venues JeniLynn strives to help other Disney fans stay connected to the brand that has served as a keystone in her family’s life.

Dear JL,

Hey there!  I just thought I’d write to you because you might understand my frame of mind right now.  Do you ever just want to give up completely on the Disney community thing?  I’ve tried to jump in at different forums and on twitter.  It is just so frustrating.  Then I see all the goings-on among people that have known each other forever on the Disney boards and twitter, and I think, “Why bother? I’m never going to fit in there.  They only RT things from friends or respond enthusiastically to the known people.  I’m never going to be able to compete with what’s already out there.”  I just want to give up.

I needed to vent a little I guess.  Thanks for reading this.

Signed, Discouraged

Dear Discouraged,

Yes, I have those days ALL THE TIME!  I’m not kidding either.  It is very frequent that I want to throw in the towel because I feel like I am not interacting enough or I am not “in.”  I see inside jokes being thrown between cliques on twitter and in the forums, and I feel like an outsider.  I see people making plans with one another to which I’m not invited and feel unwanted.  I will have a blog post go up sometimes and only a couple (if any) people will actually leave a comment, and I feel like I have failed at connecting.  But in all honesty, I think a lot of the isolated feelings stem from the disjointed form of communication we are tryng to use.  It’s hard to know if people don’t respond to tweets and posts because they don’t like you, or if it’s because they just didn’t see them.

In my minimal experience online, I’ve come to realize that what often feels like “not fitting in” is just due to trying to participate in an imperfect form of communication.

There are times when feeling “left out” is an accurate perception.  I have dealt with many clique-type attitudes in more than one Disney forum.  I have even been undeniably snubbed on twitter and in chat rooms.  It is ugly.  It is mean.  It is wrong.

In some cases, I have decided that I don’t want to participate in the group.  In other cases, the media platform has been big enough where I could find other areas on it to socialize.

But regardless of what is decided, in order to find a place in the Disney community one must show persistance.  Keep tweeting, following, posting, offering help, etc. You’ll find that it will come.

My main point is that there is no need for insecurity.  Just be yourself.  That is the best way to draw people.  If you try to be someone you’re not just for the sake of fitting in, people will see through you and be turned off by it.

Chin up! I’ve had my days where the purpose of my activity got lost.  On those days I’ve had to step back and take a breather.  But I’ve always returned and put my Mickey ears back on.  I hope you decide to do the same.

Neurotically yours,

JL (NDM#1)

Contributed by: JL (NDM#1). JL is our Disney Driven Lifestyle Coach and creator of The Disney Driven Life as well as the Neurotic Disney People Community.  If you have a question that you would like to ask JL, write to her at with “JL Speaks” in the subject line.


  1. Hang in there. Not even THE Lou Mongello was THE Lou Mongello of Disney lore when he started in the Disney community. Keep on posting your NDThoughts, reply and retweet the posts that strike a cord in you and most of all, always live your NDLife completely neuroticly. Sooner or later you will get the followers and the retweeters doing the same for you. Also, always carry extra poxie dust with you because you never know when you or someone else may be in need of some. Remember, Disney isnt a movie or place, but a frame of mind and an open heart.

  2. They say timing is everything. There are plenty of days when I see people on twitter that I've previously communicated with but feel lost because they're in the middle of a discussion and its difficult to jump in even if you have something to add. I can't tell you how easy it is for me to get lost in a chat room because its either going to fast or I step away from the computer for just a brief moment. I can honestly say I've never come across attitudes or an uninviting clique so I guess I'm kind of lucky. I have found the Disney community very warm and inviting people. I do agree wholeheartedly with JL's advice, be yourself! If you ever see me on twitter I would be more than happy to tweet up a conversation with you.

  3. thanks for your encouragement. i'm relatively new to the community (didn't even know there was such a community until a couple weeks ago), and without a doubt, i've “met” more people than i ever would have without twitter, but sometimes i feel left out because many of the people actually have met each other and have shared experiences. as much as twitter and these other communication forms can help to connect people, it's still not as good as actually meeting someone face to face.

  4. JL-Being someone who works more than 40 hrs a week and add in family life it is sometime very hard to keep up with the “disney community” on-line. I feel more often than not I am looking in on everyone. I don't do a lot a board posting, just reading most of the time (even though I belong to several boards). Thanks for this post to let me know I am not alone. Hey Discouraged-we can start a fresh community for all of us trying to get to the Disney Island, but it keeps disappearing like in LOST.

  5. I've had some bad experiences on some forums who shall remain nameless, but I have found a Disney home in the twitter community. I have really stopped participating in forums I used to occasionally chime in, but feared the wrath of the regulars so I usually just lurked. In general I feel like our twitter bunch couldn't be more welcoming and once you get to know us you'll see that our crew couldn't be more loving and wonderful. We even have some folks joining us on an August trip to WDW that I've only met via twitter! Please don't be discouraged and come join us! — NDAuntie #12

  6. Great answer to a problem I think many people getting started in the “Disney Community” face! A link to this should probably be posted on forums/twitter/etc. on a weekly basis! 🙂

    Also – sent my Please Count Me Email this morning. Looking forward to being counted.



  7. Oh Discouraged, please don't be discouraged!! I think JL hit the nail right on the head when she talked about how places like Twitter are imperfect ways of communicating. While friendships clearly can develop, like all friendships they take time. The problem that I have with Twitter is that, working a full time job in addition to my blog, I don't have a lot of time to “chat”. It is hard to get to “know” folks quickly when I can't maintain a regular presence the way that I would like. But keep up with sharing your thoughts, and as someone else said, spreading that pixie dust! The Disney magic will surely head your way as well. 🙂

  8. Oh my how some postings resonate with you when you read them… I hope you don't mind, but I would like to share just a thought or two about my last few months of being new to the Disney online community.

    Since my teenage years, I have been a magic of DIsney Parks fan. So much so that I find ways to quote attraction spiels in my conversations with people (IRL, and online). Dorky? YES! But, I embrace it. I take solo trips to WDW and DL to get my fill as well. Iv'e been married, and my ex wife didn't understand this part of me, and that is a tough turkey leg from Frontierland to swallow.

    It has only been in the last six months or so that I have discovered my long lost Disney friends and brothers and sisters through Twittter, blogs, and the like. I am a very social person by nature (OK, a former Cast Member/Tour Guide) and I tend to be able to adapt quickly to any situation. BUT- I noticed the Twitter world is a bit different.

    While it appears clique-like, I can tell you after a few months it isn't. Just like in real life, there are many groups within the group that have similar interests. We all love Disney… BUT- Some love Epcot more now than in the 80s (I am not one of those-lol); some folks love Animal Kingdom and others avoid it. I would find your inner magic for what about WDW “does it for you” and do some RT's and comments in that direction. Also, there are many different Podcasts out there. I listen religiously to three of them and occasionally to two others (not saying which as I don't want to start a turf war here). There are folks who connect through talking about the content of the shows. In fact, that worked well for me.

    Now, It didn't happen immediately. I can tell you I spent days thinking “I bet someone will comment on that” and nothing. Don't let it get you down and here's why: Now that I am up to almost 300 people I follow, things can get lost in that feed. Just like in my email, I tend to focus on those I converse with the most first and then see what else is there. Now I understand what others who are established in Twitter go through in trying to keep up. You'll find your audience. Your audience will interact. Your interactions will become friendships.

    With all this said, fellow ND's and Disney fans, let's not forget the most important thing about this: “…it all started with a Mouse.”

  9. Some good advice being offered here by both JL and other folks in the comments. I think the key is to just keep “chugging along” and participate as much as you can. By being active either in forums, twitter, facebook, or whatever, people will notice you around and before you know it, you'll start getting folks paying more attention to you. In addition, you might consider attending a fan meet that occurs in WDW from time to time as a great way to meet folks and make some great friends.

    Good luck and don't be discouraged!

  10. I've definitely been there too. Especially because I came pretty recently to the online Disney community, I sometimes feel like everyone knows each other, and I'm on the sidelines by myself. However, I like to think that, in general, the people that aren't responding aren't trying to be mean. I like to think that my fellow NDPs are just busy or didn't see what you said. It is very easy for stuff to get lost in such a huge amount of communication. But in general, I've found that the more you try to participate, the more likely it is that someone will respond. Try not to get too discouraged if no one responds at first. And hey, if anyone tweets at me, I always tweet back! =)

  11. JL& Discouraged,

    I responded back on the WDB forums, but I wanted this to get back to the site directly, discoraged please do not worry,I know it is disappointing when we find an activity that we so enjoy and we just want to connect with others to share that joy & excitement and when you do not get a warm welcomed feeling it seems that maybe it is not a place we belong, but just remember 1 thing Walt created Disney for everyone, did not to make it an exclusive club.

    When I first met JL, she was a ray of sunshine and was someone I realized that her postive attitude was someone I wanted to be connected with becasue I have visited other forums, chats, etc and just trying to get someone to engage with me at times had me wondering the same thing as you, but I continued my search and have found a few places that I hang out and as I meet others I get introduced to others that are positive. So hang in there! also I will be your friend.

    JL, Thank you for your continued effort to create a place of acceptance, friendly atmosphere!

  12. There's so many ways to communicate that people just might be missing what you're saying. For example, even the best Twitter iPhone apps only load the latest 200 posts at most. I usually try to tell it to manually load all the missing posts, but if I'm in a rush I may not read every post since the last time I looked. I usually try to respond to all my mentions and DMs. If you want someone specific to read your tweet, be sure to mention them in it (with the @).

  13. Never give up being a part of the large family of Disney Fanatics. I was worried about starting to become a part of a local group that visits Disney often. After finally throwing away my anxiousness, I have found some excellent friends who I enjoy spending time with at the parks. Just right in and have some fun.

  14. Dear Discouraged – I think many of us in the Disney community have felt this way because there are so many Disney communities out there and some are closer than others. I know I have certainly felt this way, especially on message boards. For me, Twitter is where I found a home. I was nervous that I wouldn't fit in but I stuck with it and have made some great friends. When someone puts a tweet up that you feel strongly about, comment on it. Keep commenting on the tweets you like and eventually conversations will start and soon you'll have many friends. If you don't get many responses to your tweets, don't let it bother you. There are certain times of day when it's harder to keep up with things. If you see a gathering of people that you want to attend, send a tweet to someone who is going and see if you can come along, or try organizing your own meet. Don't give up on the community. In time I know you'll have more Disney friends than you'll know what to do with! =)

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