It’s a Small World After All
At just eight years old, Jonny-ray, of New Zealand, knows what he wants to do when he’s older:
“I want to work at Disneyland!”
Jonny-ray’s dream is to go to university and enrol in the Disney Cultural Exchange Program where he will have the opportunity to spend a year working in one of the Disney parks, and spend time with his favorite mouse.
Who’s The Leader of The Club That’s Made for You and Me?
At a very young age, Jonny-ray was attracted to Mickey Mouse and the clubhouse characters and soon began to ask for a pink plush Minnie Mouse toy that was on his mother’s shelf. A connection was forged immediately and the toy never made it back onto the shelf.
When he accidentally lost the Minnie toy at the local Zoo, his mother replaced it with a plush Mickey Mouse Clubhouse toy from a department store - his ‘special Mickey’ - which has been his faithful companion ever since.
Jonny-ray’s parents, Stephen and Taryn, are fans and collectors of Disney themselves, so a lot of baby items for Jonny-ray were Disney including bedding, clothing and toys. Though he was raised by parents who are also fans of Disney, Jonny-ray’s love for the iconic mouse has been all his own.
“We have fostered his love for Mickey Mouse, but it’s very much been a passion, independent of our influence.”
Jonny-ray’s Mickey Mouse collection now consists of plush toys, cushions, figurines, costumes, clothes, accessories, wall hangings and more. His favorite item is a talking Mickey Mouse which sings the Hot Dog song. While he has come to love all things Mickey Mouse, his enthusiasm for the wider world of Disney has continued to grow. Jonny-ray’s favorite Disney movies now include Hercules, Aladdin, Big Hero 6 and Wreck it Ralph.
The Happiest Place on Earth
Growing up in New Zealand, Disneyland seemed like an experience that was out of reach for this kiwi kid, but at just six years old, Jonny-ray’s dream came true.
Jonny-ray was able to accompany his parents to Los Angeles where he spent three days at Disneyland California. The highlight of the trip? Visiting Toontown:
“My favorite memory was meeting Mickey Mouse in his workshop and walking around his house!”
While Disneyland is the fulfilment of a dream for many adults and children, meeting his mouse idol was a life changing event for Jonny-ray, and one that he vividly remembers two years on.
“I can’t believe I met the REAL Mickey Mouse!”
Eager to make the trip as Mickey Mouse themed as possible, Jonny-ray wore the quintessential Disneyland ears, an annual Disneyland sweater representing the year of the trip, as well as Mickey sunglasses, all of which he picked up in the famous ‘Wonderful World of Disney’ store. While in the park he also picked up a 2013 Fantasia Mickey plush toy as well as trying a Mickey shaped ice cream and winning several plush toys from a game in Paradise Pier.
“My favorite ride was the teacups. I like how it spun and how you could control the speed. I also loved the haunted mansion – it was spooky but the special effects were amazing!”
Hot Dog, Hot Dog, Hot Diggity Dog
When Jonny-ray is at his home in Auckland, he gets his Disney fix by attending Disney on Ice each year at the Vector Arena, and going to see new Disney movies that are released. The latest movies he has seen have been Inside Out and the live-action Cinderella.
Jonny-ray also cares for his ever-growing collection of Disney items - his large collection of Mickey’s – as well as items such as figurines and plush toys from films such as Hercules, Frozen and The Incredibles. Jonny-ray’s latest collection has been in the form of Disney Pixar Dominoes, which were given out at a local supermarket – one domino for each $20 spent. As this happened to be the supermarket where his family already shops, Jonny-ray was able to enjoy and collect these bonus Disney collectables that came with the weekly grocery shop.
May the Force Be With You
As Jonny-ray has grown older, he has begun to appreciate the more mature aspects of Disney, in particular – Star Wars.
Jonny-ray began collecting Star Wars items around a year ago, and has quickly gained a modest collection. Once he started school and was able to read independently, Jonny-ray began to read and collect Star Wars books which now sit between two Mickey Mouse bookends in his room.
“Darth Maul is my favorite!”
Check out our fantastic range of Mickey Mouse figurines, perfect for Mickey Mouse fans like Jonny-ray!
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