There are fans and then there are FANS.
Walt Disney World is no stranger to mega-fandom. Indeed, long before “geek culture” was a popular term, Disney cultivated a thriving fanbase passionate for its films, parks, collectibles, and characters. These uber-fans don’t just love Disney—they take that love to the next level and make the Most Magical Place on Earth even more magical. Are you one of these?
We’ve talked about Disneybounders before on Theme Park Tourist. Disneybounders are creative Disney parks superfans with a penchant for creative fashion. The practice is similar to cosplaying but more subtle. Adults and children over the age of 14 are not allowed to wear costumes at Walt Disney World (except for at rare special events like Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party or for Star Wars film premieres in Disney Springs), so Disneybounders get around this by wearing modern or vintage clothes inspired by Disney characters.
The nods can be as simple as just using the same color palette as a popular character or as vibrant as wearing carefully crafted modern versions of Disney character clothes. They’re not quite costumes, so that keeps them within Disney’s rules. I once accidentally Disneybounded as Mary Poppins (which I discovered when two different children at different times confused me for Mary Poppins when I wore a long black coat, scarf, and black hat), and it certainly gets you into the Disney spirit. While the practice is not without controversy, Disneybounders really do add a unique flavor of fun to Disney parks. They’re a colorful breath of fresh air in a crowd of a thousand t-shirts and rose-gold mouse ears, and their character meet-n-greet pics are usually a blast!
2. Pin trading junkies
Love a good treasure hunt? Walt Disney World pin trading may seem like a bizarre hobby to the uninitiated, but to those who have taken the plunge, you know “there be gold in these waters”. It’s insanely addicting fun, and pin trading superfans aren’t usually hard to spot.
Maybe it’s the jingling lanyards you can hear a mile away. Maybe it’s the giant binder of treasured pins revealed at the pin trading commons. Maybe it’s the way that the best among them are quick to share tips and starter pins with young-pin-traders-to-be. The truth is, even without these, it’s easy to spot the best pin trading superfans by the look of sheer glee on their faces as they spot a treasured pin, run up to a cast member, and politely (but oh-so-enthusiastically) make a trade. The hunt is on!
3. Disney Historians
Any guest can read up online or take a tour to get some behind-the-scenes trivia on Disney parks. However, visiting the Most Magical Place on Earth with a true Disney historian feels like having your own VIP tour guide—Disney parks are positively brimming with history and these superfans know the backstory of every attraction, park, and curiosity in the House of Mouse.
There is no bit of lore too obscure for these founts of knowledge. Even normally mundane attractions become instantly more interesting with a backstory told by these lore-masters. Did you know the Tower of Terror used to have only one drop, or that the Enchanted Tiki Room once housed an alternate version so abhorred by fans that they cheered at its closing? How about that Disneyland was once overrun by yippies or that Disney’s Animal Kingdom was originally meant to house an unparalleled fantasy land featuring a roller coaster ride through a dragon’s tower? These are just tidbits to the Disney history superfan, and there’s no telling what new stories you’ll learn spending time with them!