Marking our territory in a Disney-esque way is instinctive for NDPs. This is why our iPods play Disney soundtracks. It’s why our cell phone screens are pictures of castles. It’s the purpose of our character-clad wardrobes, and it’s the reason our daughters are named Ariel, Jasmine, and Belle. The Neurotic Disney People chosen for this month have made their mark a mobile one, and they have given The Disney “Driven” Life a whole new meaning. Meet Mark and Marilyn L. (NDH#43 and NDW#65).
Mark and Marilyn met through an online dating service. Marilyn’s profile proudly declared she was a Disney pedigree, bred from an impressive line of Disneyphiles. Mark had his concerns. Describing her as “the type to break out in hives if she doesn’t have ADRs booked a year in advance,” Mark pursued her in spite of this. They had a common interest in cars, and Mark thought this would be their mutual hobby. Never did he imagine he’d be swayed into a Disney-centric lifestyle.
Fortunately, Mark misjudged Marilyn’s persuasive powers. “Not only did I get caught up in the magic, but I was pulled in deeper and deeper and deeper,” Mark relays. “I had to fall in line or get out of the line,” he chuckles as he remembers his early years with his dream girl.
Marilyn’s reasons for being such a steadfast Disney fan have a lot to do with her own Neurotic Disney Mom. As all NDMs do, Marilyn’s mom planted the seed in her life that blossomed into Disney passion. It was a bond that they shared. For this reason, when her mom passed away, Marilyn turned to Disney for comfort. “I listened to Disney podcasts a lot. I listened to Lou Mongello’s podcast religiously. It was the only thing that would quiet the voices in my head and distract me when I missed my mom so intensely.” Whatever Marilyn heard on the podcasts was the topic of conversation between Mark and her, and Mark’s interest in Disney intensified.
Much like other NDPs, Mark and Marilyn have made sure that Disney has a definite presence in their home. Not only is there something Disney related in every single room but even their cats are branded with titles like Figaro and Dot (the little ladybug from “A Bug’s Life”). The accomplishment that draws our attention, though, is the stamp that they have put on their automobile.
Cars have been a critical theme for the pair. The first time they met in person was at a car show in Michigan. One year later they married in the same location and had a car motif for their wedding. So when Mark told Marilyn that he had always wanted a 1932 Ford Roadster, it seemed like a natural progression for them to work together towards this goal.
Slowly finding the pieces and parts, the two rebuilt their dream vehicle and custom designed it to showcase their Disney neurosis. They succeeded in bringing the world of cars and the world of Disney together by creating the Mouse Mobile.
It was a fun project for both as they found creative ways to put the Mouse’s stamp on their “wheels”. By trimming the length of the tailpipe, they were able to get extra metal for welding ears to it. Purchasing a dog tag from Downtown Disney, they found a perfect keychain that they could engrave for their transportation trophy. A Pluto stuffed animal served as a neck pillow during long drives, and the tire valve stems were made from rock candy sticks out of the Main Street Confectionary. Not to be overlooked, the instruments on the dashboard were purposefully placed to distantly resemble a hidden Mickey. Also, a tiny Mickey on the engine is actually a Disney pin back that is now used to protect the end of a cable. The stitched Mickey head on the interior of the car’s seat was a bit of a splurge and custom made to their specifications. And the license plate, ET1CKET, does not escape the notice of refined Disney fans.
Taking their Mickey Mobile to car shows around the country, the vehicle has proved to be quite the conversational piece, and their style of sophisticated subtlety rather than glaring proclamation has intrigued many a gawker. “There was a lady that went gaga and was drooling over the car at one show we did,” Mark tells, “She went over it with a fine-tooth comb to find all the hidden Mickeys.”
One encounter stands out from the rest though. During a show in Plymouth, Indiana, an onlooker approached the auto and its owners. After finding the hot rod amusing, he confessed to the couple that he was a former Imagineer and friend of Ward Kimball. This sparked a conversation that carried on for at least an hour while the man described his past responsibility of hydro-engineering (controlling the water levels for all the water rides in Disneyland). Everyone felt immediately connected by their Disney paths and never realized that they failed to even exchange names until they had parted ways.
Meetings like this are what have cemented Mark and Marilyn’s love of Disney. Mark explains, “It’s not just a vacation destination. It’s more than rides and shows. If you plug in, you become part of a family–a community. That is what Disney means to us.”
We couldn’t have said it better ourselves, Mark. You have expressed what so many others have found to be true. The heart of Disney is in the fans and the friendships between them. Using your “Disney Driven” vehicle to instigate serendipitous moments of comaraderie is something we admire at The Disney Driven Life. For this reason, we have one more award to add to the many that the Mickey Mobile has already garnered for your family–Neurotic Disney People for the month of January.
*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.*