For 30-year-old San Diego urbanite Stephanie Hadfield, there is nothing more enjoyable than collecting Disney. Except for perhaps visiting a Disney Park.
However, what’s truly interesting about Stephanie is her passion for music, and for American Sign Language, and how she has come to express this using Disney music.
“Before I start practicing important music that is assigned to me, I use Disney music to do warm-ups whether it’s singing, or violin. I also work on keeping up with my second language which is American Sign Language, through Disney music as well, because I don’t want to lose it.”
Stephanie’s unusual skill came about when she encountered the language as a child, and her strong desire to learn, and retain the language, has continued to grow.
“American Sign Language was something I fell in love with when I was at summer church camp when I was 8 years old and there was a deaf child at the camp who was accompanied by his sister who acted as his interpreter. I grew fonder and fonder of this language and then ended up falling in love with it. I took it in college for my general studies as my foreign language and now I use it as a hobby when I am at worship on Sundays, at Christian concerts, or through Disney music.”
A Disney Childhood
A self-confessed Disnerd since childhood, Stephanie grew up watching VHS tapes which, as an adult, she has now replaced with DVD versions. Her all-time favorite Disney movie is One Hundred and One Dalmatians, but as an adult she has come to also love modern Disney films such as Brave.
Stephanie was raised on Disney, and admired her Grandfather’s very special collection.
“Disney has always been within me since the day I was born. My grandparents on my father’s side raised me into the world of Disney. He felt connected to Disney because he and Mickey Mouse were born the same year, and so he took his kids (my father and his siblings) to Disneyland. My grandfather collected and owned every single Disney movie whether it’s live action film or cartoon, plus every historical artifact you can think of.”
For Stephanie, living a Disney life is not just a hobby – it’s a calling. Stephanie has made it her mission to keep her grandfather’s spirit alive by living her life in an authentically Disney way.
“Anyone of my family members that you ask will tell you that my love for Disney is beyond all measures. I am a Disney aficionado within the family. I am carrying my Grandfather’s legacy of Disney through and through.”
This planted a passion for all things Disney, in Stephanie, that would continue to grow into her adult life.
“I grew up watching One Hundred and One Dalmatians and it became my favorite movie. I also grew up going to Disneyland since I was in a stroller. The one particular memory that stayed with me from there was meeting Pinocchio. He was the very first character I met.”
Stephanie’s Own Collection
Growing up with a grandfather who was an avid collector, naturally, made Stephanie want to collect Disney for herself. Though her grandfather collected vintage Disneyana, Stephanie collects modern items including Disney trading pins, lanyards, blankets, hair accessories, mouse ears and music.
Of course, the majority of Stephanie’s collection is devoted to One Hundred and One Dalmatians, which Stephanie collects anything and everything on!
Stephanie also collects Disney clothes, and has amassed an impressive collection.
“I would have to say one-third of my wardrobe is nothing but Disney wear. Shirts, leggings, earrings, hair bows. I incorporate colors based around my hair bows.”
The pinnacle of Stephanie’s collection is her beautiful assemblage of Winnie the Pooh figurines.
“My Favourite pieces would have to be my sister’s Winnie The Pooh figurines. Winnie the Pooh was her favourite character. When she has passed I came to owning them. I love them.”
Stephanie’s love for Disney stretches far and wide, with her tastes varied. Her favorite Disney movies are:
- 101 Dalmatians (cartoon, and live-action)
- Pirates of the Caribbean
- Haunted Mansion
- Peter Pan
- Alice in Wonderland (cartoon and live-action)
- Winnie the Pooh
- Beauty and the Beast (cartoon and live-action)
- Mary Poppins
- Robin Hood
- The Nightmare Before Christmas
- Bedknobs and Broomsticks
- Pete’s Dragon
Her favorite characters are:
- Jack Skellington
- Belle, Merida
- Pooh Bear
- Peter Pan
- Scrooge McDuck
- White Rabbit
Stephanie’s Disney Life
In addition to collecting Disney items, Stephanie has brought small Disney elements into all areas of her life.
“I have a Build-a-Bear stuffed rabbit who I named Clover based off the rabbit’s name from Sofia the First. I used to have an email address called ‘goofybunnies’ because of my love for Goofy and bunnies in honour of my sister. My ringtones on my cell phone are all based upon Disneyland music. Also, my cell phone lock screen and home screen are pictures from both parks. My laptop is Disney based as well with Mickey, and Walt holding hands taking a stroll down memory lane with the first three Disney Parks that were ever built and all the characters in the shadows throughout the picture.”
Stephanie is also a frequent visitor to Disney Parks.
“Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure is my second home. I am a current Annual Pass Holder and going on my second year with that. When I am there I am free to do as I please. I go as a single person so I can do whatever I want and stay however long I want. I love meeting the characters and going on rides that I want to go on, trying many different foods throughout the parks, and just enjoying life while I am there. I have also attended Disney on Ice and loved watching them.”