Marvin Gaye once sang, “Ain’t no mountain high enough. Ain’t no valley low enough. Ain’t no river wide enough to keep me from gettin’ to you . . . .” As devoted Disney fans, these lyrics perfectly express the mania most of us feel when we have been separated from the “motherland” for any significant period of time. This month’s Neurotic Disney Person of the Month doesn’t have to just overcome a river though. She has to overcome an entire ocean every time she needs to touch home base. Meet Janine P., Neurotic Disney Mom #275.
As a resident of the UK, Janine crossed the “pond” for the first time as a young bride when she was 21 years old. She made a beeline for the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort the morning after her arrival out of sheer excitement. Janine admits that during this initial encounter Mickey got his hooks into her; however, she relays that she carefully guarded her heart against complete surrender at this stage simply because she didn’t know when she would be able to return.
That return trip took place five years later with her husband. On this vacation she took her time, looking at the details that Imagineers had planted in abundance. This enabled her to experience Disney on what she calls “her terms.” The smitten couple relished every second of their time at Disney and even “Left A Legacy” near EPCOT’s entry, signifying that they were yielding more of themselves to their dream destination. When Janine arrived back in the UK that year, it was clear that not all of her heart had made the trip back.
Seven years following her initial visit, Janine was placed in charge of organizing a vacation to Disney for her immediate and extended family. She was deemed by her father-in-law to be the resident Disney expert, so he entrusted her with the responsibility of handling every single detail. Diving head first into her newly appointed responsibilities is what Janine credits with turning her into a 100% Disney Geek. She joined the British Disney forum, The DIBB, to gather all the information she needed to put her family’s trip together, but she quickly realized that she could answer just as many questions as she was posting. By the time Janine landed on Florida’s sunny ground, she had produced a hand-written guide for her less-informed family members and was ready to lead the pack with complete confidence. This third trip to Disney felt very different to Janine. She no longer felt like she had left home in coming to Disney; she felt as if it was her homecoming.
Currently, every aspect of Janine’s life is touched by Disney. And while she is mocked by some because of her Mouse-oriented lifestyle, she stands proudly, wearing a Mickey t-shirt and drinking from a Tigger coffee mug. Janine makes no bones about the fact that if there is ever a Disney option, that is the choice she will make. This is witnessed by all as her baby is toted around in head to toe Pooh Bear attire or when her Christmas gifts are wrapped with Disney Princess paper. It’s not to be missed on the rear bumper of her car which displays a mouse-eared sticker or on her laptop wallpaper that showcases her family in Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
Although she does not live in the same state (or even the same country) as Walt Disney World, Janine makes a concerted effort to connect with the Disney brand daily. Her very abode serves as a type of “shrine” to it. “I have collected many different types of WDW memorabilia over the years,” she informs. “For example, . . . [I have Disney] towel and pot stands in my kitchen . . . cushions, [drink] coasters, artwork and ornaments in the living room, and plush toys in the bedroom. [My daughter’s] nursery is even Pooh Corner-themed, and that’s just the start of it. We all have Disney clothing. My jackets, purses, totes, and coin purse are all either Mickey, Tink, or Jack Skellington. We watch Disney Channel and have Pixar DVDs. I have hundreds of photos from holidays displayed . . . . That, along with listening to Magical Mouse Radio and various podcasts, . . . . reading blogs and writing for Growing Up Disney, gives me more than enough magic to keep me going.” Janine also emphasizes that the allies she has made with other Disney fans on Twitter and Facebook definitely help to keep her Disney spirit alive. You can see her passion to unite with “her kind” as she welcomes each and every NDP that is inducted and announced in the DisDrivenLife twitter feed.
All of it serves to put her back in touch with that first moment she stepped on Disney property. Her heart swelled as they drove into the parking lot of the Magic Kingdom. Simply standing at the Ticket and Transportation Center made her eyes water, but when she finally walked onto Main Street USA and set sights on the castle, stately situated at the end, everything culminated for her. Years of dreaming about being in that very place had become a reality. The visions she had yearned to see were now actually right in front of her. The sounds and smells that were once only a part of her imagination presently danced in her nasal and aural passages. She had made it. She connected. She cried like a baby right then and there, and she hasn’t turned back since.
Janine, we all feel our distance from Disney in terms of increasing pressure. It builds and builds like a pubescent zit on the forehead, pressing ever more heavily on our minds and threatening to explode. But you have not succumbed to this pressure. Instead you have channeled this manic energy into styling a Disney Driven Life that recreates Walt’s vision for uniting families and friends even though you are on a completely separate continent from the realization of his dream. Your persistence is more than admirable. It is astonishing, and for this The Disney Driven Life is honored to present you with the title of Neurotic Disney Person for the month of December.
*The NDP of the Month will receive a free premium subscription to TouringPlans.com for comprehensive assistance in vacation planning . If you or someone you know does something noteworthy within the Disney fan community, we hope you will take time to nominate him or her by contacting NDM#1 (putting NDP of the Month in the subject line) for consideration.*