Hello, my name is Mort and I am an addict.
Do I smoke? No, never had a puff.
Do I drink? Does a Mai Tai once a month count?
Do I gamble? When in Vegas.
No I don’t have any of those traditional addictions, my addiction is Disney.
When I say this to people I get blank looks, sniggers and astonishment. I should probably explain that I live in Melbourne, Australia. The most liveable city in the world, if you’re a millionaire and can afford to. A city of sport, high end restaurants, enough coffee shops for every person to have their own, art that makes no sense and no Disney.
What do I mean by no Disney?
No Disney Parks.
No Disney Stores.
No Disney Cruise Line port.
Do we get Disney movies? Yes of course we do but Disney has little to no presence here. Much like the Trade Federation and Tatooine but without the Hutt involvement.
So what does that mean?
Well it means that I usually have a 2 to 4 year gap between getting my Disney fix. And that sucks.
I am Disney Detached.
Have I always loved Disney?
In a way yes but not really.
Like all people born after 1985, Disney movies were a big part of my childhood.
I believe the first movie I ever saw at the movies was Toy Story. The first movie I watched on repeat on VHS was Peter Pan so it’s safe to say as a child I loved Disney.
However, as I grew up, I grew out of Disney. I still saw some of the movies. Mainly Pixar, nothing after Lion King really caught my attention from Disney Animation. I moved onto other things. Music and girls…mainly girls.
The point is that without Disney being around and engrained into Australian culture like it is into American culture, it’s relevance to me was lost.
So how did I get to where I am now?
As I got into my late teens, I met my wife. And a rite of passage for all couples is always the first trip away. And as poor uni students living in Australia we went to the most exciting place we could afford.
The Gold Coast.
Now why is that important to this rambling story? It’s the Theme Park Capital of Australia.
Now I had been to the Gold Coast 3 times prior to this and had enjoyed theme parks. However on this trip I fell in love with one in particular. Warner Bros. Movie World.
I fell in love with the escape, leaving the real world behind and entering a world of wonder and manufactured perfection.
Over the next few years I tried to get to Movie World ever year or so but I was still heavily into my music so it wasn’t a huge focus. I was trying to make it as a rockstar and I was completing a Bachelor in Audio Engineering so I was pretty busy and distracted.
Fast forward to the next rite of passage of life. You get a full time job and what comes with that? Money. More money than you have ever had. You first start blowing it on stupid things. Sneakers, guitars, clothes ect but eventually you do what every Australian does. You sit down and watch the episode of Entourage where they go to Las Vegas and you yell out to your girlfriend in the other room “Hey you wanna go on a trip to America?”
Ok well maybe not everyone does exactly that but you get the idea.
So we started planning the trip and given my love of Movie World there was of course one plane I HAD to go.
But wait, isn’t this blog about Disney? Yup you’re right but you’re not misreading. I didn’t really care about going to any Disney Theme Parks. I was a huge Harry Potter fan and I’d heard everything about this brand new Wizarding World of Harry Potter and I had to go. Disneyland and Walt Disney World? Well they are just for kids right?
It was actually my wife who said “Well we are starting off in Los Angeles and then going to Las Vegas we should probably stop at Disneyland while we are there because it’s kind of on the way.” I agreed because I was getting 4 days at Universal Orlando and didn’t think I should push my luck on monopolising this trip anymore.
So fast forward to about 14 months later and after 3 nights in Los Angeles we hailed a cab and made outlets way down the highway to Anaheim.
We arrived at the Fairfield Inn at maybe about 3pm, dropped off our bags and went to pick up our 2 day park hoppers to be used for the next two days.
I’d done very little research before coming but knew there were 2 parks and a shopping district. Given we weren’t heading into the parks that day is said to my now fiancé “Lets go check out these couple of shops then go back to the room”.
I wasn’t even prepared for Downtown Disney.
First of all, World of Disney blew my mind. A store this huge just for Disney merchandise? This is insane!
We made our way through and we’re fascinated by the Lego store, yet another thing we didn’t have in Australia at the time, and finally made it down to Rainforest Cafe.
Now I know Rainforest Cafe isn’t fine dining but in Australia we don’t have themed dining like that. This was everything I loved about Movie World in a restaurant. I was excited to say the least.
So I went back to the room after dinner, my belly full of Chicken Fried Chicken and we went to sleep excited for the day ahead.
The next day I found my Nirvana. I stepped foot on main street and was in awe.
“Wait these buildings look real? They don’t look like theme park buildings”
“It’s so clean! Look! That person is using a feather duster in a hedge!”
But the moment I will never forget is when it happened. When I was hooked. Peter Pan’s Flight.
The moment that I flew over London I could t believe my eyes. The attention to detail, the charm, the whimsy. I was in heaven and I never wanted to leave.
Those two days were the two best days of my life up to that point and still only surpassed by my wedding day.
Universal was a disappointment compared to Disney. The attention to detail wasn’t there and it just felt sterile.
From the moment I got home from the trip and even during the trip. I was distraught that I wasn’t going to get back to Disney again.
That was 2013. It is now 2017 and I have been back to Disneyland this year and to Walt Disney World in 2015 and in the time in between I have educated myself on all things Disney and love everything about the company.
I will share with you how I cope with being so detached from Disney, my thoughts on new Disney offerings and news and just my love for all things Disney.
I am a Disney nut.
But sadly, I am Disney Detached.