Broward News

We Made Disney Fans Say Incredibly Mean, Angry Things

​They are faithful to a huge organization, led by the vision of one man, claiming to find love, happiness, and redemption in allegiance to its symbols and lore. It makes them sing, cry, and make pilgrimages of thousands of miles. But there's a dark side to this faith: catch them off-guard with any criticism of what it offers and they'll spew venom.

No, we're not talking about religious zealots. Not exactly.

We knew that this week's cover story on Disney die-hards was going to ruffle some feathers among other sects of Disney die-hards, particularly those who don't think that the company's official fan club is "bullshit," for example. 

The story follows Pete Werner, who came to Disney in an unconventional way: In his mid-20s, recovering from multiple addictions, he stepped into Epcot and was never the same again. 

We followed Werner through the establishment of his own fan site, its growth into a large fan community, and his disappointment (and anger) when Disney unveiled its own club, D23. We also profiled some other Disney fans, most of whom were unconventional (and middle-aged men) but all of whom admitted that their nitpicking fascination with Disney was rooted in a very sentimental, sometimes nostalgic love for the feelings and companionship that the parks and characters evoke.

RECORD SCRATCH. Wait, Pete Werner said bad things about the company? That's all the people commenting on our story needed to hear. Did they chime in with thoughtful, reasoned defenses of D23 and Disney or elaborate why they thought these fans were misguided?

A little. But they prefer ad-hominem attacks. No need to reprint them here. 

The discussion thread about our story on the DIS boards, Werner's site, got shut down because DIS regulars were arguing with one D23 faithful who joined the boards just to argue with them. They were cursing too much, violating board policy.

The people on the DIS boards are largely happy with the story, praising Werner for his honesty and personal growth. They ventured over to our comments section, but were quickly fought back by the Disney faithful.

​Note that the last commenter's name is "Holy."

Feel free to judge, lest thou be judged, for thyself by actually reading the story.

Stefan Kamph is a New Times staff writer.
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Stefan Kamph
Contact: Stefan Kamph