About Grumpyfan

How do you do?
Mighty pleasant greetin’
How do you do?
Say it when you’re meetin’
How do you do?
With every one repeatin’
Pretty good sure as you’re born.

-“How Do You Do” from “Song of the South”  and Splash Mountain

Who?

Okay, how do I put this? How do you explain yourself to others and make it sound interesting and exciting, without embellishing the truth (too much)?

Grumpyfan is just your average, everyday guy who happens to be a big, BIG Disney fan. Specifically, I like Disney theme parks, the creativity, story-telling and imagination that goes into creating their parks. You might say I’m a wannabe or armchair Imagineer. For now, I work in IT at a medium sized company, mostly managing their legacy ERP system and occasionally doing programming to fix or enhance that system. My dream would be to someday work for Disney or perhaps some other entertainment company designing the next generation of theme parks and attractions.

I’m also a father of 3 boys, 1 girl, and husband to 1 wife. When I’m not working my day job as an I.T. Manager, I’m usually confusing our younger two kids by helping them with their school work. My wife home schools our two youngest children, and I do my best to assist her. I also spend time volunteering at my church, Crossroads Baptist in The Woodlands, TX working behind the scenes as an AVL techy mixing audio, shooting video and programming lighting. I consider myself a techno-geek, in that I enjoy technology, computers, electronics, etc. and playing with them. A friend at church said once, “You wouldn’t do too well working at a missile launch facility, because if there’s a button somewhere, you’ll probably push it”. I laughed and said he was right.

Whenever possible, which is usually about once a year, my wife and I, and sometimes the kids too, will make the trek to Orlando and visit Walt’s Magic Kingdom, also known as Walt Disney World. I’ve been to Disneyland 2 or 3 times in my life, but since 2000, we’ve made at least 14 trips to Florida, and we’re always looking to make another.

Why?

I created this blog/site after one of my armchair Imagineering projects came to mind in 2009 and I posted it on a Disney-related message forum. I’m kind of a concept and idea person, a constant dreamer really, where I get all kinds of ideas at various times about various things, but a lot of them tend to be Disney-related. Sometimes these ideas lead to inventions, one of which I created and sell at a third party Disney-related web-site called LaughingPlace, that sells various merchandise mostly related to Disney. You can see that product here. Other times my ideas are about new attractions or new ways that I think would enhance Disney’s theme parks. And since I’m not a Disney imagineer, (not yet anyway), and Disney doesn’t accept outside creations (been there,  done that, got the form letter) I thought I could share my ideas with the rest of the world, or at least anyone who might be interested in hearing about them. And, who knows, maybe if I’m lucky, someday Disney will contact me…

I have reached a point in my fandom, or appreciation for Disney and its parks where I think about them quite frequently. Probably more than I should sometimes. But, when I think about them, I find myself thinking about how they can be improved, or “plused” as the Imagineers might say. I don’t do it to criticize their efforts or bad mouth them in any way, but  I would like to think I do it in the spirit of Walt Disney, who said, “Every time I go on a ride, I’m always thinking what’s wrong with the thing and how it can be improved”.

Grumpyfan?

Before I became a fan of (almost) everything Disney-related, I was somewhat grumpy, moody and way too serious for my own good. So, my kids nick-named me Grumpy. Even though I took vacations, I never really let myself or my mind escape from work. I was always “on”, always thinking about work and the problems there and how to solve them. My wife and I were in the habit of taking a short vacation about once a year without the kids. We use this as a time of refreshing our marriage and our relationship with one another, and it’s been really good at keeping us tuned in to each other and keeping our marriage healthy. She’s the one who would plan where we went and we would usually go somewhere reasonable and maybe not too far from home.

One year I had been working and traveling a lot and had enough frequent flyer miles, and she decided that maybe we could go to Walt Disney World for our little retreat. I was somewhat reluctant to the idea at first, thinking it was too expensive, but when she showed me the pricing, it turned out to be about the same as what we had spent the prior year going somewhere else. So, I agreed to her plans. Our first trip to WDW together, and my very first visit, was in 2000. At first I was just happy to be away and enjoyed the parks and attractions. But, after returning from this trip, I started researching WDW and the parks and attractions. We started planning on a return trip with the kids this time, and I started reading various Disney fan created message forums. I was still somewhat grumpy at this point, so when I created my first forum handle at Intercot, I picked the name GrumpyFan. I don’t post as much over there as I used to, but I still visit about once a week to see what’s going on.

We went back to WDW again that same year, but this time with the kids. I’m not sure when exactly, but it was about that time that I started to “get it”. I started understanding the Disney “magic”, and I became a fan of it. I started posting more on Intercot and other message boards, reading books and trying to find out more and more about Disney and the parks. Mostly though, I was always trying to find out more about Imagineering and what their next big project was. I checked Screamscape 2 or 3 times a week to see if there were any new rumors or announcements, and I planned yet another visit to the World with my wife and kids.

Needless to say, I’m not really grumpy or moody or as serious as I used to be. Okay, well, sometimes maybe. But, thanks to the magic of Disney, I have learned how to turn “off”, from work at least. My new always “on”, however, seems to be Disney or theme park related.

What?

The answer isn’t so easy. I don’t know that I know why or can explain it myself. The short answer is, I’m a dreamer, I always have been from my earliest childhood memories, and I’m still today dreaming of things I would like to do, places I would like to go, ideas I would like to explore.

Two things happened in the 1999-2000 time frame that turned my already active imaginative mind more so toward theme parks. First, was my very first trip to Walt Disney World, which opened my eyes to the magic of imagineering. Second was the video game, Roller Coaster Tycoon, developed by Chris Sawyer. This game was simply incredible and brought me hours upon hours of entertainment and allowed me to explore my creative side and build highly themed, imaginative amusement parks, just how I wanted or dreamed they should be.

Many of my dreams these days involve Disney and/or other theme parks, the music, the characters, the shows, the attractions.  I’ve taken to trying to record these thoughts and dreams, as they seem relevant or somewhat interesting.

I’ll usually start out with a spark of an idea that comes to me at random times and I will write a few lines about it in Evernote. If you’re not familiar with it, Evernote is a free site and client software for saving notes. I like it and use it because it’s accessible almost anywhere I want it to be. I can use their web site, or the client software on my computer, or on my iPod touch, or my mobile phone to record and edit notes, it’s kind of like the Visa slogan “Everywhere you want to be”, that’s Evernote, it’s everywhere you want it to be. The notes are synced to their sever and I can access them from anywhere. The problem sometimes though, is keeping up with the notes. Sometimes I’m very random, or crunched for time, so I will only jot down a few words or a short sentence. Ideas are usually best harvested if the thought can be expanded upon when the original thought occurs.

Imagination/Ideas

I often find my self wondering where do ideas come from?

Or, where do I think/dream the best?  Oddly (or strangely), many ideas I get, come to me while in the bathroom, while showering, or doing other “business”. In fact, I discovered early in my career, while I was in school for computer programming, that whenever I got into a bind, or I couldn’t  figure out a problem I was working on, a trip to the bathroom, usually cleared that mental block I was having. Still to this day, it’s part of my occasional routine. Yet, these days, I find myself dreaming up new ideas about Disney or theme parks in general.

Feedback? Drop me a line!

Favorite Disney Park: Disney’s Hollywood Studios, or Epcot

Favorite Resort Hotel: Disney’s Boardwalk Resort

Favorite Character: Goofy or Ludwig Von Drake

Favorite WDW Restaurant: Ohana

Pure Imagination – from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

This is one of my favorite songs from one of my favorite movies.

Willy Wonka:

Hold your breath
Make a wish
Count to three

Come with me
And you’ll be
In a world of
Pure imagination
Take a look
And you’ll see
Into your imagination

We’ll begin
With a spin
Traveling in
The world of my creation
What we’ll see
Will defy
Explanation

If you want to view paradise
Simply look around and view it
Anything you want to, do it
Wanta change the world?
There’s nothing
To it

There is no
Life I know
To compare with
Pure imagination
Living there
You’ll be free
If you truly wish to be

If you want to view paradise
Simply look around and view it
Anything you want to, do it
Wanta change the world?
There’s nothing
To it

There is no
Life I know
To compare with
Pure imagination
Living there
You’ll be free
If you truly
Wish to be

“We are the music makers, and We are the dreamers of dreams.” – Willy Wonka to Veruca Salt

Whenever I go on a ride, I’m always thinking what’s wrong withe the thing and how it can be improved. – Walt Disney

  1. June 20, 2013 at 5:53 pm

    Looks like you have some great content for Disney nerds! Keep up the great work!

  2. August 16, 2012 at 11:22 pm

    I feel I have met a kindred spirit here… Can’t wait to read more of your blog!

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