*waves* I’m Estelle, but you can call me Stelle.
A bit of background: My love of Disney started before I even stepped foot in a theme park. Every summer, my mom would take me (and eventually, my little sister) to the newest animated film in the movies. I practiced being Ariel in our pool. I dressed up like Snow White for Halloween. Posters filled with these familiar characters filled my room. Of course, my parents didn’t plan our first trip to Walt Disney World until I was 12, thought I was way too cool for a “kid” theme park, and pretty much obsessed with Tweety Bird.
Oh gosh. I don’t think I’ve ever been so wrong about something in my life.
Okay. A lie. I’ve come to realize: so many places, people, things I resisted at first have become some of the best things in my life.
Anyway, that first trip sparked something (obsession?) in my family. As soon as it was over, we couldn’t wait to do it all over again and I distinctly remember my mom starting a list for next summer’s trip on our car ride back to New Jersey.
In the years that followed, I became known as the girl who always wore Disney t-shirts to class, got a part-time job at our mall’s Disney Store, and found any excuse to compare local landmarks to something WDW-ish. My parents became Disney Vacation club members, and filled every corner of our house with Disney somethings. Our love for the parks and this place was absolutely everywhere.
Going to Disney World in August always felt like a true escape. I went right before my grandma died, before I graduated from high school, before I started college, before I switched schools, when I was facing breakups… it became a place where I could take a break from the real world and reflect on all the things happening in my life. It was a place for me to regroup. Afterwards, I reentered reality with a brand new energy and positive attitude.
If anyone told four-eyed Estelle in the oversized, tie-dyed Minnie Mouse t-shirts that she would be writing about her childhood trips to theme parks when she was married and “grown up”, she would never believe it. Since I started writing THPB in 2011, I feel so lucky to have connected with a community of people who feel so strongly about THIS place and what IT MEANS TO THEM because when I was a kid, I felt alone in that and even a little ashamed of my love for this “childish” thing.
It’s so important to find your ear-wearing, pin collecting, Dis news reading people.
Our trips to WDW don’t happen annually anymore, but when I do get to plan a trip, I’m happy to share the adventure with my husband (and sometimes meet up with lovely people I’ve met through this community). I’m also a big fan of Disney cruising, a relaxing way to explore new places and still experience all the magical stuff.
I’ve also become slightly into the Muppets since 2011. I can thank our Muppet Mondays feature from back in the day for getting me interested in all things felt and Jim Henson.
When I’m not wearing my ears, I work in book publishing. I love hanging out in our Queens neighborhood: visiting the Museum of the Moving Image or our independent book store. I’m also a huge fan of checking out musicals; there’s always a new one on my list to see. I also write (infrequently) on Rather Be Reading with my Austin bff. I really like to keep busy.
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quick wdw favorites
♥ theme park: Animal Kingdom (almost tied with Epcot)
♥ must do (by park): MuppetVision 3D, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Kilimanjaro Safari, Spaceship Earth
♥ fancy reservation: artist’s point @ wilderness lodge
♥ quick service must: fresh market @ animal kingdom
♥ drink stop: dawa bar @ animal kingdom (runner up: crew’s cup @ yacht club)
♥ resort: boardwalk resort
♥ travel tip: don’t feel like you have to see EVERYTHING. take it in; relax.
♥ how I deal with post-trip hangover: listen to theme park audio loops; plan another vacation; write this blog.
♥ something you have to do at least once: take a disney cruise. (runner up: wild africa trek @ animal kingdom.)