Disney fan club creates whole new world for UT students

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Photo Credit: Angel Ulloa | Daily Texan Staff

According to the story of Peter Pan, all children, except one, grow up, but that’s not true for members of Disneyy Club Texas.

In fall 2015, advertising junior Cortney Carter created Disneyy Club Texas for her undergraduate studies class. Originally, Carter was the only officer of the club, but her lifelong love for Disney inspired her to stick with it and grow the club long after she’d completed the assignment. Carter’s organization is designed for students who share her passion for Disney movies.

“There’s those people who are fanatics,” Carter said. “It’s a good way to bring together all the people who share a love for Disney, and that was what I wanted to do when I founded it.”

Disneyy Club Texas, spelled with two “y”s to avoid copyright infringement, hosts biweekly meetings, free trivia nights and themed social gatherings. At the club’s most recent event, “Be Our Guest,” members celebrated “Beauty and the Beast”-themed party. In April, the club will be celebrating their annual “Alice in Wonderland” tea party where members are invited to paint roses red and enjoy free snacks.

Although the club is known for its Disney-themed soirées, Carter is unable to screen Disney classics because of copyright difficulties.

“We were paying for the movie rights and it was ridiculous,” Carter said. “The first movie night was ‘Toy Story,’ and it cost hundreds of dollars.” 

Instead, members opt to see new Disney movies such as “Finding Dory” and “Beauty and the Beast” in theaters together. Club member Denia Martinez said she enjoys club events such as Trivia Nights, where members show off their knowledge of all things Disney and compete for Starbucks gift cards.

“I’m not a competitive person, but I like seeing other people being competitive,” marketing sophomore Martinez said. “It’s really fun because everyone gets excited and they get really into it.”

But not all members are just Disney fans. Several are serious about working for the company in the future. The Panel is a recurring Q&A session between club members and UT students with Disney internships or returning students of the Disney College program, where college students live and learn at Disney World in Florida.

Natalie Fisher, an radio-television-film and American studies sophomore who wants to work for Disney someday, said the panels helped her learn more about internships and the Disney College program.

“If you’re scared of applying, it kind of eases your fears,” Fisher said. “It’s a lot better than trying to find information on your own because you can interact with people in a more friendly setting.” 

Carter, a returning Disney College student herself, said the experience was a dream come true. During the program, she was able to get in touch with Yellow Shoes Creative Group, a Disney advertising agency Carter one day hopes to work for.

“Being down there opens the doors to amazing opportunities,” Carter said. “You can meet the right people, make the right connections.” 

The club welcomes all Disney fans and hopes to attract new members in the future. Events are free and new people are taken in with open arms. 

“You don’t have to be a fanatic,” Martinez said. “There’s different levels of the spectrum.”

Beyond the appeal of networking, Disneyy Club Texas is rooted in nostalgia for movies that shaped the childhoods of its members and a love for the company that made them. 

“It impacts adults as well as children, and it translates worldwide,” Carter said. “No matter who you are or where you came from, you could bond over these characters.”