By Katye Brock
Distinguished Young Woman of America for 2011
“Laughter is timeless. Imagination has no age. And dreams are forever.” – Walt Disney
Those of you who know me know that I am a HUGE Disney fan—like, much more than the average person. I still have dreams of being a Disney Princess, my family goes to Disney World every year (by my persistent request), and I have a plethora of Ariel merchandise scattered about my room. Maybe some of you think I’m weird (which is probably a tad bit true), but hear me out:
I do not want to grow up. There, I said it. I love the beauty of childhood—the unquestioned faith, the wild imagination, the unending energy—all of it. College is one giant reality check that opens up to the real world. For me, that’s one big horse pill to swallow. As much as I don’t want to, I am going to have to grow up. All of us are. However, that does not mean I can’t retain some of that childhood wonder that is ever present in all of Disney’s films and parks. I think that, much too often, growing up means growing boring; people forget what it is like to be a kid! My love for Disney has rejuvenated my spirit again and again. Besides many wonderful and priceless memories with my daddy and others, Disney has provided me with several important things. Here’s what Disney does best.
I’m not a wishful mermaid or an abused stepdaughter, nor do I live with seven stunted men. I’ll never live in a palace or be awoken with a kiss; however, my dreams can come true. This is one thing I love about Disney; they make the impossible seem possible. The reality is, dreams DO come true—every single day! Disney makes dreams beautiful and important. All the Disney princesses dreamed about something, and many times, it was those dreams that drove their daily lives. We should always keep our dreams with us, no matter how childish they are.
My boyfriend Jason has the most adorable niece, Kennedy. Like any proper two-year-old, she adores Disney (I like to think I had something to do with that.). Kennedy has the most stunning imagination. She’ll run around the house yelling, and when we ask what she is doing, she replies, “I’m running like ‘Punzel!” (For those of you that don’t speak toddler, that’s Rapunzel from Tangled.) She will dance and sing like Belle or Ariel, and she will make each of the adults play along. I am fortunate to be part of this precious little girl’s life, and each day, she reminds me how boring life would be without imagination. Disney and all of the whimsical tales it tells stress the importance of imagination—for both two-year-olds and nineteen-year-olds alike.
“The Magic of Disney”—How many times have we heard this? If it weren’t so true, it might get a little old. But it is true. The magic of Disney overwhelms me. I’ll admit it. I cry like a babbling baby when I watch the fireworks show at Disney World. There is something about the combination of touching storylines, fireworks, and music that hits me like a train. Though we may not be able to see a multi-thousand dollar fireworks show each night to make life magical, Disney can serve to remind us that life is magical. Those special moments we spend with our families and friends—they aren’t things we should take for granted. I’ve created many special moments at Disney; however, the magic I experience at the parks makes me appreciate the magic I experience every day.
So, never think you’re too old to sit down and watch a Disney movie or go on a family vacation to Disney World. Dream big, laugh loud, and always retain a bit of childhood. You’ll be surprised at what you might learn along the way. God bless you all, and remember: It all started with a mouse.
Katye Brock is a college freshman at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, Tennessee majoring in International Studies. Originally from Tullahoma, Tennessee, Katye was a participant in the Distinguished Young Women program and was selected as the Distinguished Young Woman of Tennessee for 2011 and the Distinguished Young Woman of America for 2011. Learn more about Katye here!