Dave the Disnerd
As soon as you receive an email from David Daniels, before you even open it, you can tell that David, is a Disnerd.
David’s email address, “DavidDoesDisney” tells you everything you need to know about him – his passion for Disney knows no bounds.
David also has three Disney related Instagram accounts:
The first Instagram account, “Dave Does Disney”, features beautiful, high resolution pictures of spots around the Disney Parks.
The second, “Disney in Slow Motion” displays videos Dave has taken within the Disney parks, set in slow motion.
The third, is very unique. “Spinning Disney” provides fans with ‘a new take on a magical place’ using 360 cameras to immortalise shots within the Disney Parks, which Dave says allows people to “see the magic from a new perspective”.
“@spinningdisney came about last year. I have all of this fun, and sometimes unique, camera gear. So, I thought, ‘how do you stand out in such a saturated field?’ Instagram is massively huge. There are thousands of Disney only Instagram accounts, so how do you stand out? I thought, ‘this 360 camera is different. That will certainly stand out in someone's feed!’ “
A Media Production Specialist by trade, David also does freelance videography and drone videography to fund his passion for Disney trips. The technical knowledge he has acquired for his job allows him to translate these skills into his Disney passion, where he creates the unique circular images he produces for ‘Spinning Disney’, which he created by using a camera with 180 degree lenses on either side.
“People are usually wowed by them. I often get asked how I did it, or what kind of ‘magic’ have I done.”
Born and raised in Virginia Beach, Dave’s first memory of Disney was as a child of just five years old, visiting Disneyland for the first time.
“I was 5 years old and we were on the Jungle Cruise and the hippo came up out of the water… I’ve never “loved” that ride since.”
However, it wasn’t till later, as an adult, that Disney became a big part of his life.
“The older I got, the more I chased after experiences. To me, the attention to detail and excellence sets Disney apart from the pack. We first visited Disney as a couple in June of 2007 for a quick Anniversary trip. We loved it so much that we went back three months later for a week.”
The Daniels have graced the Disney Parks with their presence many times, with David having visited Disney World in Orlando, Florida 11 times. However, the family were also recently able to visit Disneyland in Anaheim, California in January.
“We loved the nostalgia of Disneyland, but were wowed by California Adventure. Cars Land was the most incredible visual experience we’ve seen in a Disney park.”
This passion for Disney has extended into the family home, and has resulted in a collection of Disney items which have found a room of their own in Dave’s home.
“We have a dedicated home theater room that is themed Disney. From posters, to Starbucks mugs from the six US Disney Parks, and of course Mickey ears! We also have countless park t-shirts, and several pairs of Disney Vans.”
Among David’s Disney items, is a prized collection of 13 Run Disney medals, which he has earned himself by competing multiple times in ‘The Happiest Race on Earth’.
Run Disney is a run which takes place during ‘themed weekends’ where both new and experienced runners are able to race through the Disney Parks. These runs are held in both Disney World, Florida and Disneyland, California, as well as in Disneyland Paris. Participants can choose to participate in marathons, half-marathons, 10Ks, 5Ks and children’s races. These themed weekends also typically include guest speakers, a health and fitness expo as well as the opportunity to purchase exclusive race merchandise.
After having good weight loss and fitness results from running as a hobby, Dave decided that he was ready for Run Disney.
“My first Run Disney race was the 2016 wine and dine half marathon weekend. I participated in the 5K on Friday, and the 10K on Saturday. I had run half marathon's before, but was nowhere near ready to take on that large of a race. However, I loved the event, mixing Disney and a passion for running was the perfect fit. The courses are nice and flat, and there are characters that you can stop and take pictures with during the race, as well as before and after the race.”
Completing one of the runs is often a bucket list item for Disney fans, mainly because of the coveted medals you earn when you cross the finish line. The crowning achievement of the weekend is a ‘challenge’ medal, which is awarded to runners who complete more than one race during a race weekend. Of course, the holy grail of Run Disney medals, is the ‘coast to coast’.
“I wanted the Coast to Coast medal, which you receive when in the same year, you run the half marathon at Disneyland, and the half marathon at Walt Disney World. Since we had never been to Disneyland, I thought, what better race than the Star Wars weekend! That was in mid-January in Disneyland, and then late April in Disney World. In Disneyland, I only ran the half marathon. I wanted to spend as much time exploring those parks since I've never been to Disneyland before. This past April though, I did all three races for the entire weekend, with a total mileage over three days of 22.4 miles. I ran the 5K on Friday, the 10K on Saturday, and the half marathon on Sunday. By doing that, I was able to get six medals, including the coast to coast challenge medal.”
David’s wife of 16 years, Kim, and their two beautiful children Makaiya (6) and Isaiah (2) are extremely supportive of Dave’s passion for Disney.
“My daughter Makiaya has been five times (seven by the end of this summer) and she’s my Disney partner in crime. My wife thinks I’m crazy. Always refers to me as a super fan!”
When asked what Disney character Dave considers his favorite, he answers:
“Goofy has always been my guy!”