Melissa Weber, 42, of Kansas, came to Disney early on in life, through the energetic spirit of her quirky mother.
“Disney has been there all my life. My mom used to tell her grandkids that Minnie Mouse is her sister. She would wear Mickey/Minnie ears to work often! “
This imaginative, fun character brought Disney to life for Melissa, and she became eager to know more about Disney, and the wonderful characters and films within the Disney world. This led her to find The Little Mermaid.
Most Disney fans are enchanted by certain characters, and Melissa is no exception. For Melissa, not only does Ariel share her hair color, but Ariel’s spiritedness and passion for life on land is infectious, and utterly relatable.
“I have always loved Ariel. Her curiosity, her determination to explore the world, and to find herself, has always struck a chord with me. And we both have red hair!”
This fascination with Ariel and The Little Mermaid led Melissa to try several new things, including Disney-Bounding, Disney cruising and getting a Disney tattoo.
Melissa, who is the owner of KC Draft, has a modest Disney collection, made up of a few special items.
“I have a few snow globes I collected around 1995. My husband got me the Lego Magic Kingdom castle for Christmas last year - I cried when I opened it!”
However, her true passion, lies in Disney Bounding. Disney Bounding is an understated form of cosplaying for Disney fans, and refers to Disney fans dressing up as their favorite characters by using everyday clothing items. The fashion trend was started by blogger Leslie Kay who came up with the term as she was preparing for a trip to Walt Disney World.
Disney-Bounding is easy to do, works for any age / shape / size, and doesn’t require a lot of money, since you use regular pieces of clothing. The idea is to emulate a Disney character while wearing normal, everyday clothing by using colour blocking and accessories. This style of dressing is something that Melissa has come to enjoy, as a way of incorporating Disney magic into her everyday life.
“This year, I have collected lots of styles of Mickey Ears to wear. I recently discovered Disney Bounding - I went straight out and got green jeans and a purple tank top, to represent Ariel, and I got Ariel themed ears to top it off!”
Melissa takes inspiration from a Disney-Bounding website, and then bases her Disney-Bounds on her own personal interests, and style.
“There is a website dedicated to Bounding, and it’s not limited to Disney - they do Harry Potter stuff, and more. Nothing is off limits! This page is where I started coming up with ideas: http://disneybound.com”
Since discovering the fashion movement, Melissa has put together several outfits.
“I currently have Bounding outfits for Ariel, BB8, Sorcerer Mickey, regular Mickey, and Rapunzel. I’m always looking for other characters that I love…I never know what I’ll come up with next.”
While Melissa loves to wear Disney clothing, her true artistic expression lies in that amazing colour tattoo work she has had done on her arm.
“My artist is Kimo Russell, who owns Modified Ways in Blue Springs, Missouri. He is so amazingly talented, so much so that I have given him total freedom on this piece. He chose the image of Ariel and Flounder, and I was hesitant, because it’s not the iconic Little Mermaid image we think of. However, he loved it, so I agreed. I’m so glad I did - her face is just like mine when I saw the completed outline on my arm. I love her so much!”
Melissa’s tattoo is a colourful display of The Little Mermaid characters, with a vibrant picture of Ariel, Flounder and Scuttle embracing each other. It’s still currently under construction, but Melissa is excited to watch it develop into the artwork she dreamed of.
“She’s still a work in progress. I have Ariel hugging Flounder on my upper left arm, and Scuttle above them, like he’s hugging them. It’s going to be a full sleeve when it’s done. I will be adding Sebastian, King Titan, Ursula, and the ship that Ariel and Flounder explore at the beginning, with the beautifully tattered sails. I love that it’s beautiful artwork that I don’t have to sit at home to enjoy. Nearly everywhere I go, I catch people pointing at it and smiling. I have had little girls admire it, and touch it, and then talk Disney movies with me at length! I get compliments everywhere I go!”
Though the completion of her arm tattoo is not yet in sight, Melissa is already contemplating what tattoo she will get once it’s done.
I’m always thinking of my next tattoo. After my sleeve is done, I think maybe a Moana piece, sticking with the ocean theme. I feel like Moana’s inner strength, and finding who she is meant to be, is such a powerful message. I’m pretty drawn to her, so she may be next.”
In 2006, Melissa and her husband Matt took a trip on the Disney Cruise Line.
“Our first Disney Cruise was in February 2006. My parents took us on a short four-night cruise to Nassau and Castaway Cay. We took all four of our girls - one was turning 12 just after the cruise, the twins were turning 11 right after the cruise, and the youngest was five months.”
Castaway Cay is Disney’s pristine private island, and is reserved exclusively for those travelling on the Disney Cruise Line on Bahamian and Caribbean cruises. Going on the cruise allowed Melissa to experience the clear, tropical waters of the island while being taken care of by the Disney Cruise Line Crew Members and meeting all of her favourite characters on board.
“The cruises are amazing. They leave you refreshed, and exhausted from so much to do! You are totally pampered onboard, as Disney’s world-class service reaches on the ships as well. We play Bingo on board, we eat a LOT, we meet characters, we explore beaches, go snorkelling…the possibilities are endless.”
“The cruises are my favorite vacation ever. It’s so worth the expense to be a guest of Disney Cruise Line, and feel totally pampered and cared for, all while meeting Disney characters! I think how much I love being at sea, paired up with my love of Disney, made Ariel a natural choice for me.”
This amazing cruise experience left Melissa only wanting more, and so, she set out to make Disney cruising a more regular part of her life.
“We have now taken three Disney Cruises. After our first cruise, Disney began offering a Star Wars Day at Sea and every year since, we have gone in January for the Star Wars Day at Sea sailings on the Fantasy. We love being able to say we have been there for every year that they have done the Star Wars sailings!”
But it isn’t just Star Wars that brings them back to the Disney Cruise Line. Melissa and Matt already have multiple cruises lined up for 2018!
“In 2018, we will go on cruise number four (including parasailing at Castaway which will be a new experience for us), and in July my husband and I are celebrating our 10-year wedding anniversary on Disney Cruise Line going to Alaska for nine nights!”
Melissa’s more-than-positive experiences on the Disney Cruise Line have led her to step into her next step in the Disney journey: planning cruises for others.
“I actually became a travel agent with Magical Enchanted Vacations because I love planning the trips so much. I’ve been an agent for less than a year, but have booked a few trips for friends and family, and I love being able to help families plan their dream vacation - Disney or not.”
To hear more about how Melissa can help you plan your dream cruise location, checkout her Facebook page
....and be sure to check out our amazing range of Disney figurines!