Why Another Disney Podcast? / by Matt Merlino

I'm sure you are thinking the same thing as everyone... "Why another Disney podcast? There are already hundreds of them floating around online." Sure, this statement has some merit to it, but dig a little deeper and you find the true magic of Disney. Every person has a different story, a different passion, and a different love when it comes to Disney. 

 This was at a baseball game... Albeit a baseball game in Florida, but my point still stands. Shoutout to Tori's Disney sunburn too!

This was at a baseball game... Albeit a baseball game in Florida, but my point still stands. Shoutout to Tori's Disney sunburn too!

For me, that love has been prevalent for as long as I can remember. And when I say love, I mean love. A lot of people would probably think that it is weird for a 23 year old guy to wear Disney shirts every other day or have toys on his desk at work, but if I'm being completely honest, I don't care what anyone else thinks.

Disney has driven me through every stage of life (and I don't mean literally - even though a Monster's Inc. Sulley toy currently sits on the dashboard of my car...). To get back to my original point; through the highs and lows, I have always been able to turn to Disney to put a smile on my face.

My love for Disney started at a very young age. I had all of my favorite movies on VHS - shoutout to anyone who still remembers those! - I vividly remember watching them as I sat in front of my tv with my coloring books and crayons scattered across the floor.

 One of my kindergarten drawings of the Winnie the Pooh "Mind Over Matter" sequence (circa 2000).

One of my kindergarten drawings of the Winnie the Pooh "Mind Over Matter" sequence (circa 2000).

Disney movies have always inspired me as an artist. In kindergarten I remember filling out a survey of "What I want to Be When I Grow Up." I wrote (poorly) a Disney animator.  I used to have sketchbooks full of drawings of my favorite scenes and characters filled to capacity. Ah who am I kidding, my sketchbooks are still littered with Disney character illustrations. Now a professional graphic designer, I still dream of someday working for the Walt Disney company in any way, shape, or form. I want to make people happy with my work the way that Disney has made me happy my entire life.

I've been fortunate enough to travel to Walt Disney World four times to this point in my life, the first coming in January 2005 when I was in fourth grade. We only went to Magic Kingdom that year. I remember loving it then, but I truly don't think I was able to appreciate my first trip for what it was.

 Rest in peace to those Cheez-Its, licorice, and the hotel carpet...

Rest in peace to those Cheez-Its, licorice, and the hotel carpet...

I didn't have the opportunity to return to the parks until my senior year of high school in February 2013. I remembered a little bit about Magic Kingdom, but this was my first time experiencing anything else in the Disney Bubble. I was able to attend all four parks with my best friends (who later also became my college roommates), and after that I was absolutely hooked. There's just something extra special about experiencing Disney alone when you're still young enough to be considered a kid.

That's the fun of it though, I have been back to the parks two times since then, and I have felt like more of a kid than ever! Taking in the parks for what they are, especially with my girlfriend by my side, is nothing short of amazing! It's something I will honestly remember for the rest of my life. And when I start to feel down, I know I can look back to those days strolling down Main Street or witnessing the Happily Ever After fireworks show for the the very first time. My eyes begin to sweat even thinking about them.

And that's the key to all of this... Happiness. Disney makes me happy. I want to share my Love of the Mouse with you.

- Matt Merlino