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Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Disney Fan Community

In just a few short days the 2nd D23 Expo will take place, again at the Anaheim Convention Center.  The D23 Expo is a Disney event for the Disney Fan, so I thought it might be fitting to have a little discussion of the Disney Fan community.  The Disney fan community is much like any other special interest community, a microcosm of society in general.  It just seems to be more vocal than most.  

This fan community is populated by a vast array of individuals, from the casual to the fanatic.  Interestingly, fan is a shortened variant of fanatic…  You’ll find those who know a little about Disney, and those who are very knowledgeable. You’ll even find a few sycophants and conspiracy theorists thrown in for good measure.

As part of my research, I spend a part of my day perusing some of the Fan sites looking for tidbits of information or ideas to pursue.  In doing so, I do find those occasional little tidbits of gold to mine, but, I also see a lot of comments, often based on false or inaccurate information.  Like IRL (in real life), opinions are all too often formed regardless any real consideration of facts, or in the absence of facts.  Also like IRL, we often think our opinion is the only one that is correct or important, regardless of any facts presented.  The Disney fan community is no exception to these rules that guide society, but, the Disney fans do take their experience of the magic very personally.  There is one thing I have discovered; for the most part Disney fans are very friendly and not afraid to share their views.

An unsolicited (well, I am usually in my Disney regalia when it happens) question I get frequently is where Walt Disney was a Mason?  If you look out on the internet, you’ll find many claims that Walt was a Master Mason and an “illuminatus.”  Of course, these are what I consider conspiracy theory sites that take a fact or two to skew a story to the ridiculous.  I’ve written some of this in previous postings.  The other myth that keeps resurfacing is whether Walt was cryogenically frozen after his death. I heard that the question was even asked at a recent presentation at the Walt Disney Family Museum.  No one has ever presented on iota of evidence to support this claim, yet it continues to flourish, most because some people will believe anything told to them.  But one of my absolute favorites was a conversation I had with a “fan” at our local Costco.  Pass down one isle, I passed a gentleman sporting his Disney regalia, we acknowledged each other and move on.  As we approached each other again a few isles later, we stopped and talked for a bit.  I started looking for an exit as soon as he informed me that he had actually met Walt Disney as a kid in 1965 as he was sitting next to the Partners Statue in the Hub.  I was polite and didn’t exclaim it out loud, but in my mind, I was screaming, WTF!!!  The Partners Statue was not installed in the Hub until 1993.  There is no way this guy met Walt sitting next to that Statue.  But, instead of created a confrontation, I simply thanked him and said I really had to go.  Always interesting to hear the stories - really or imagined - that Disney fans have to share.

There are some fans who are more informed than others, and I think it behoove anyone with an interest to do a little more research before just accepting someone view as fact.  To that end, I have recently had the please and honor to begin to develop friendships with a special group within the Disney Fan community; The Disney Historians and Authorities.  Walt Disney is truly such a global Icon, and created an organization that inspired so many other talented individuals, that he has, in turn, created a cottage industry of individuals exploring the various impacts of his life and talents.  No matter what your interest in Walt is, you can find someone, somewhere, who has or is researching it, and is willing to share his or her efforts.  One other great bonus, I’ve yet to me one of these individuals who isn’t one of the nicest people you’d want to meet.  The Walt Disney Family Museum has been one the greatest sources for expanding my Disney knowledge, and meeting some of these Disney authorities.  And, of course, the Museum’s staff and volunteers are the greatest.

One of my new favorite places to hit every couple of days is the Disney History Institute.  The site is run by Paul F. Anderson and Todd J. Pierce.  I got the chance to see Paul present at the D23 Destination D: Disneyland 55 last September, and more recent at the Walt Disney Family Museum (without his spear).  Paul is a very funny guy, but more importantly, very knowledgeable and a great speaker.  Todd, I have not met yet, but, hopefully some day soon.  Another very helpful blog the Walt Disney Family Museum’s storyboard.  They publish interesting articles that coincide with the current months activities and presentations.  Some of the other blog sites that I check regular are; 2719 Hyperion, Disney Dean’s, The Disney Blog, MiceChat Blogs,, and to keep up on what’s happening currently at the parks The Disney Parks Blog.  There are so many more, but, these are some of my favorites.  There are many other sources for the Disney aficionado, in books, videos, and especially on the internet.  Just be careful on those site the claim truth to some of the more absurd myths and legends, remember I did say there are a few fans out there that fall into the conspiracy theory realm.  J

So, no matter what your Disney interest might be, there’s a source of information out there for you.

If you happen to be in the San Francisco area, definitely take the opportunity to visit the Walt Disney Family Museum, I have yet to meet a fan there that I would not want to include in my circle of friend, and have actually added a few.  As for the rest of Disney related venues, I have rarely met a fan that I did not enjoy meeting and talking Disney.

So if you’re a fan and you want to learn more about the Disney magic, find a reliable source or sources of information, there are plenty out there...  It’ll make your Disney journey a much more enjoyable experience.

And, I’ll be publishing my thought about the D23 Expo in a couple of weeks.  In the mean while, have a Disney-rific day!  J

Your comments or questions are always welcome.  If you have a correction or something you think I should look at in my research, please feel free to contact me at
You can find us on Facebook at:  Discovering Disney History on FB

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