With a Smile and a Song


My name is Taryn Dryfhout, and I am a Disney addict.
It has been over a year since I first started writing for this blog and I have been lucky enough to be able to interview many passionate collectors who are willing to showcase their collections to other fans, in order to spread the Disney joy.
I have also been so fortunate as to be able to dig into the origin of Disney characters and films, look at the reasons why we love the iconic movies, investigate the phenomenon of Disney villains, the dark side of Disney and write about some of the best features of visiting any of the Disney Parks.  
In the background of these articles, it has long been my intention to showcase my own Disney collection, and to introduce myself as the doll collector, toy collector, Disnerd, and child at heart, that I really am.
This is my story.




It’s a Small World



My love affair with Disney started as an infant, when my mother purchased a Disney Dreamtime Carousel – a music box which projected pictures of Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Daisy as babies, riding a carousel onto the ceiling while it played ‘When You Wish Upon a Star’. (Click Here to watch a video of the projection).

Though I would have been only a year or two old when it was first purchased, I have never forgotten the images circling my ceiling, or the soothing song that lulled me into a deep sleep every night of my childhood. As I got older, more Disney pieces came to inhabit my bedroom, including a Mickey radio, framed prints of Disney characters on my wall and plush toys of my favourite characters from Disney films.

My mother also bought me dolls when I was a child – for every Christmas and birthday, many of which were Disney. While my mother was a Disney fan herself and often fitted my bed with Mickey Mouse sheets and took me to Disney films at the cinema, I don’t think even she could anticipate the collection that I would come to have as an adult, and the tremendous affection for Disney that would continue to grow, as I did.

Throughout my childhood and young adult life I frequently took part in musical theatre. I still vividly remember my first audition at seven years of age. I sang ‘Colors of the Wind’ from Pocahontas. As a teenager I entered local singing competitions, winning one when I was 15 for my rendition of ‘Tale as Old as Time.'

I cannot underestimate the thread that Disney has woven throughout my life - an influence which continues to encourage and inspire me to be the dreamer that I am. Now I get to write every day about what I love.  





God Help the Outcasts



Raised in the South Island of New Zealand, I had a hard time at school. I was different in a lot of ways. One of those ways was that I enjoyed being a child. Having excelled academically, I was accelerated through my primary school years and started high school a little younger than my peers. Though I was mature for my age, I still enjoyed toys, Disney films and other things that were deemed ‘too young’ for me by my classmates. For this reason, and others, I was bullied.

Skipping forward to the present, having just turned 30 years old, I am now used to sideways glances when I purchase Disney products and explain to the sales person that I am buying them for myself…not one of my four children. Time has taught me to be okay with that. People don’t have to like everything that I do, and unlike secondary school, ‘being cool’ is no longer a concern of mine.

I am also lucky to have married a man who is a fellow Disney fan, not to the same extent I am, but his favourite movie is The Lion King, and he keeps an eye out for pieces for my collection. He is also more than happy for the children and I to indulge in as much Dis-nerd-ery as we like, and will even put on our Disney music playlist in the weekend, to listen to, while we catch up on the housework.

Naturally, our children have become Disney fans. Though I like Mickey Mouse, I don’t have the same passion for him that my oldest son has taken on, preferring Disney princesses myself. He has become very passionate about all things Mickey, particularly the more original Mickey such as ‘Steamboat Willie’. Meeting Mickey in person at Disneyland was a dream come true for my boy, who will soon be nine years old. (You can read all about his collection here.)

My five year old daughter is a little more modern in her tastes, preferring films such as ‘Toy Story,’ ‘Big Hero 6’ and ‘Wreck it Ralph’. Her favourite characters are ‘Woody’ and ‘Lotso Hug n Bear’ who she has decorated her room in honor of. 

Our differing tastes make for a well-rounded Disney household.





The Bare Necessities

My collection ranges from the vintage, to the straight-out-of-the-store. Most of my items are found at thrift stores, department stores or shopping online at the secondhand website “TradeMe,” but I also pick things up on Amazon and from doll and toy shows that we attend. 

My favorite Disney piece is a large Queen-sized bed tapestry that I purchased at Disneyland, featuring the stained glass window picture that appears at the end of Beauty and the Beast. It hangs on the wall in our bedroom.

As well as this piece, the following Disney items have come to inhabit various spaces of our house;


 Pop! Vinyl figures

















Plush Toys


Vintage Mcdonald’s Toys












Polly Pockets

Trading Cards


Lego Minifigures




Supermarket Collectables


Figurine Playsets












In a World of My Own



As well as collecting Disney, my hobbies are numerous.

I enjoy reading, watching movies (especially Disney!), thrift shopping and indulging, occasionally in a bit of Disney sketching.


I have also recently opened a YouTube Channel where I am posting videos of my collecting including Doll and Toy events I attend, op-shop hauls, giveaways, reviews and more.





For the First Time in Forever




I always thought going to Disneyland was out of reach for me. A 14 hour flight from New Zealand and a large sum of money, I had never even met anyone in my hometown who had been. 

At 27 I was able to go and watch my dream become a reality. 

My husband and I took our then six year old son and spent three days at Disneyland and Disneyland California Adventure Park. I still remember standing at the gates with tears in my eyes, unable to believe I had made it there. 

When we are at home in New Zealand, we get our Disney fix by watching Disney films, going to Disney on Ice, and to Disney musicals. We have been to Beauty and the Beast three times!



That's my story. I look forward to bringing many more stories of collectors, and of the characters and films which have inspired us, warmed us, and given us all Disney shaped hearts.

1 comment

  • A

    Your story is beautiful as well as your collection! I’m so sorry you were bullied, so was I, I know what it feels like. :( I’m glad you are now happy with your family who share your Disney passion. And you have the picture books, too! I usually buy them when I have a coupon for the book store and pretend they’ll be presents (well, they are, from me to myself :D). I get THOSE glances too but I try to ignore them.

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