Storytelling and dreaming big

Storytelling Sisters

In a few days, I will find myself in a completely new environment full of storytelling and magic!  But first let me tell you how I even got here.

I come from a long line of Disney lovers.

My parents chose Walt Disney World as the destination for their honeymoon.

Hennig Parents

Look at these love birds circa 1980

They have the fondest memory from their time at the most magical place on earth!

And I was personally already crawling around the place before I even turned one!

I used to love hearing my parents tell the story when I was young.

My father had to travel to the US from Caracas, Venezuela for a work trip. My parents thankfully ignored everyone’s thoughtful advice and decided to bring me along on their international adventure. I was just 11 months and our first stop was New York City. According to them, I was very sick during that entire leg of the trip but as soon as I landed at the Disney Parks, I was magically cured.

Here I am with Tigger, one of my favorite characters of all time. My mom would tell me how much I loved interacting with the cast members and just how memorable that trip was for all of us. She is so proud that I was never scared and would seek out the characters.

It’s amazing how these lovable characters can break through the language barrier!

Since those early days, I have had many memorable experiences with Disney. Some of my favorite anecdotes with my siblings are spent running around the Disney parks.

The year we moved from Venezuela to the United States we had the treasured Florida resident passes and made the four hour trip to Walt Disney World quite frequently. Disney is very accommodating to multilingual families. You can find maps and information about the parks in many languages. This was really handy for our family as we made our language transition and were slowly but surely learning English.

But perhaps my most treasured memory is about to take place this Saturday.

Disney Princess “Dream Big, Princess” is the presenting sponsor for the amazing 2017 #WeAllGrow Summit taking place this week in Long Beach, California! It is thanks to Disney that I will have an opportunity to venture into storytelling for the very first time.

This summit is jam packed with Disney love but there is one event in particular that I am holding near and dear to my heart.

The team behind the Disney Princess “Dream Big, Princess” campaign is bringing to life the stories of six finalists chosen as this year’s storytellers. I am so very fortunate to have been chosen along with five other inspiring women to take the stage and share one of the most defining moments of my life.

I am so in love with this campaign because of the beautiful message of empowerment it’s sending to our little girls. We have one of those princesses in my own home and I want her to dream big and tap into her inner strengths to take on the world as she chooses.

When I first received the news back in December I was overjoyed. Tears began to flow down from my face. I felt so privileged to tell a story of a not so privileged time. I can’t wait to share this with you and the fellow content creators that will be in the room.

I am a lover of the creative process and so I really enjoyed the story submission guidelines. Submitting my pitch was the first in embodying the spirit of the Dream Big campaign.  We were then asked to submit a 1-2 minute video with a video pitch reflecting one themes from the values of the Disney Princesses.

Here were the choices:


  • Snow White – Making new friends/creating a family
  • Cinderella – Never giving up
  • Aurora – Always wondering/hoping
  • Ariel – Exploring new worlds
  • Belle – Seeing the good in others
  • Jasmine – Trying new things/seeing the world
  • Pocahontas – Respecting the earth
  • Mulan – Finding your inner warrior
  • Tiana – Making a dream real
  • Rapunzel – Jumping into adventure
  • Merida – Being brave
  • Elena – Being a leader

Which princess do you think I will represent? I’d love for you to take a guess and let me know which Disney Princess you think has inspired me to dream big. In the meantime, you’ll have to tune in to my next post to find out.  I’ll give you a hint, it has to with languages : )

The storytelling process has been really empowering.  We all have a story.  Challenge yourself to share those stories with your kids.  Who knows they may just enjoy the storytelling process themselves and find a new way to leverage their language skills. Give it a try!

Comments 3

  1. Thanks for sharing your experiences (and photos) Mariana! I am guessing Ariel ( Exploring new worlds).. but really could be some of the others because languages are so tricky/exciting eg being brave/ dreaming of adventure/ being a leader! Mine would probably be Tiana- making a dream real haha.

    1. Post

      Wow Caro, good guess! That’s exactly it, my story ties into Ariel’s themes! Looove that Tiana’s theme of making a dream real is yours. What a beautiful message.

  2. Pingback: When you wish upon a star with Disney | Bilingual Avenue

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