The Disney Community – The Magic is in YOU!

Faithful readers may have noticed a gap in updates here in ZannaLand. Never fear – I have lots of fun stuff lined up. I’ve just been working on some behind-the-scenes (or backstage to use a Disney term) things on the site and trying to make it better organized for visitors that may be looking for specific posts or planning help. In addition (outside of running after my 3 kids), I’ve been working on another page within the site to list some other places to get your Disney fix online. Basically a blog roll, as is very common on other sites – however I really want to make this a lot more than just a listing of links. And here’s why…{you knew there had to be a story in here right?}

I know I’ve talked a bit in the past on here about the how and why of wanting to write about Disney. To go into a little more detail, it was really because of twitter and the amazing Disney community that lives there. A year ago, I was just a fan connecting with other Disney fans on twitter and discovering that there existed so many sites and blogs about Disney. When the thought occurred to me to change the focus of my blog here to one about Walt Disney World, the support was overwhelming. I never heard a “oh, don’t bother, there are 10,000+ Disney sites out there!” or “it’s already been done, what could you possibly bring to the table?” even though those were exactly the doubts I was having. Quite the contrary, I received cheers and open arms waiting to help. And trust me – I asked for help – a LOT.

I remember begging and pleading for comments and for ReTweets on twitter and getting so discouraged when I wasn’t an instant success. It wasn’t pretty. I had people drop me on twitter because I was promoting my site and myself so much. I’m sure I rubbed some people the wrong way because I do wear my heart on my sleeve. I asked so many of the major bloggers out there {I’m looking at you themeparkmom, MainStGazette, imagiNERDing and StitchKingdom!} “What am I doing wrong? How can I get more people to read my blog?!” And of course the answer was “give it time…”. I was so grateful that each of the people I went to, basically whining, took the time to answer my questions and encourage me to keep going with it. So I did. And they were right. By no means am I on the same level as those bloggers I asked, but I’m sticking with it thanks to them, and sticking with it has led to so many wonderful connections with people that love Disney just as much as I do. I consider myself so lucky every day to have been welcomed into the Disney blogging community and have built up the readership I have so quickly. I have made this a personal site from the start and not just about Disney, but how Disney affects me. And as much as some people didn’t appreciate my personal take on things, I think others found themselves identifying with some of my history and experiences, which is what helped me get where I am today. I know there was a little lapse there as I got my sea legs and thought I could blog about everything but realized that Disney was my passion and what I should stick with. Getting back on track is the best decision I could ever make here.

In embracing my love of Disney and committing to blog about the Parks, Resorts, Special Events and History that I loved, I found even more support, and my community is expanding because of it. It’s funny, in most mediums, there is such stuff competition about who can get the best story and get it first. That exists to an extent within certain areas of the Disney blogging world, I know there are those that report the news and all want to be the first to break a Disney story {Disney is so great for exciting new announcements isn’t it?} and there is probably some behind-the-scenes competition among various podcasts and radio shows which, as a fan, I of course avoid and just try to take in as much info as I can and enjoy it all. However, in regular ol’ blogging about Disney, there is nothing but love. I’ve said many times that it’s all been done, but there’s always a new way to look at an aspect of Disney. You could have 12 blogs covering Cinderella Castle at Walt Disney World and have 12 completely different takes on it. This, I admit, took me a while to figure out.

As a new blogger, you want to get noticed and appreciated and want to be READ of course. So it’s only natural to think, well I need to make sure they are reading ME and not anyone else. This couldn’t be further from the way it is with Disney blogging. You want people to discover other blogs and stories and pictures and videos because they are all just part of the Disney love we all share! A perfect example of this is my good friend, Amanda Tinney, from the fabulous DisneyEveryDay.com.

Amanda Tinney and Suzannah DiMarzio

Amanda and I at Disney's Social Media Moms, I made this graphic for her recent "Disney song in pictures" post.

Amanda found me on twitter over the summer last year. She was just starting her blog then and had already built up an AMAZING amount of followers on twitter and her blog {I still haven’t figured out how she did that, so if you want to send any twitter followers my way, Amanda, feel free! šŸ˜‰ }. She very easily could’ve left me in the dust and said, “see ya later!” but she saw something in me that led her to be one of my biggest champions during the Moms Panel process last year, to the point that she didn’t even apply because she told me she didn’t want to reduce my chances by even one person. I didn’t fully understand this selfless act back then. As I’ve gotten to know Amanda, I’ve seen just how amazing she is and how much she really does want to help not just me, but everyone that’s trying to achieve their dreams. She loves bringing people together, showcasing others and connecting with our community in such a way that no one is left behind. It was such an important lesson for me to learn, and I think, has made all the difference in how I view my place here online and within the Disney community. Of course, Amanda is not alone, there are so many out there on twitter and various other places that really aim to promote ALL that the Disney community has to offer and I am so grateful to have benefited from that support. It’sĀ  now time for me to give back.

Over the next few weeks and months I’ll be showcasing some of the Disney blogs and sites that really spoke to me as I was starting out, and some new discoveries as well. I’ll be spotlighting podcasters and radio show hosts and photographers, all of whom help to make our community so strong. I’ll also be introducing a new ZannaLand weekly round-up feature showcasing other blog posts of interest – which is, in my opinion, part of what makes some of my favorite sites {and the people behind them} so wonderful.

That said, (and I’ve posted this on twitter already) check out the “Your Disney Community” tab above and explore some of the wonderful sites listed there. If you would like to add your site/podcast/radio show/flickr feed/etc. to the page, just leave me a comment or email me at zanna@zannaland.com and I’ll be happy to visit your site and add it to the list.

And to all those who told me I could do this (and you know who you are) and supported me along the way, I thank you from the bottom of my heart and promise to keep moving forward! To new friends, I can’t wait to become a part of your Disney community and share in the magic together.







About Suzannah Otis

Boston girl living and blogging in Walt Disney World's backyard. Wife, Mom of 3, coffee addict, lover of travel and adventure.