When you wish upon a star with Disney

This post is sponsored by Disney. All opinions are my own.

When you wish upon a star … makes no difference who you are, anything your heart desires will come to you. If your heart is in your dream no request is too extreme.” – Cliff Edwards, Jiminy Cricket.

I have wished upon a star countless times for an opportunity to thank my parents for the sacrifices they had to make so that my siblings and I could have access to the American Dream. 

Like Pinocchio’s Jiminy Cricket reminds us, if your heart is in your dream no request is too extreme! I will be forever thankful for the opportunity that the Disney Princess team granted me to do just this, make my big dream come true!

It all started when I was selected to become one of the six 2017 WeAllGrow Summit storytellers and I had the opportunity to share my personal story on the big stage. 

But before I get to the juicy part, let me give you some background first!

The magical experienced began well before I took the stage with a once in a lifetime trip to Disney Studios.  I come from a long line of Disney lovers so I was giddy with excitement from the moment we stepped into the lot.

The trip started with a stroll down Mickey Avenue where we walked past the building where Bambi was created.  We learned that to inspire the film’s animators, Walt Disney brought in different animals.  They had deer and squirrels for the animators to observe.  You can still find squirrels running around the campus.

We were then treated to a private screening of the live action remake of one of my all-time favorites, Beauty and the Beast. 

I knew the movie would be amazing.  After all, it is a beautiful story with Emma Watson at the helm.  But let me tell you that it far exceeded my expectations!  The stunning visual design in scenes like the classic “Be Our Guest” performance is not to be missed.  Yet the film evoked so much emotion in some of the more personal scenes.  That was an unexpected surprise.  

On our way to lunch, we made a pit stop at the Disney Studios store where I picked up some gems for my little ones.

Lunch was at the Michael D. Eisner building in the executive dining room. The room was a vibrant rotunda worthy of Disney’s colorful brand. 

A member from Disney’s publicity team pointed out that we were sitting at the table across from Disney’s CEO Bob Iger during our lunch. To our surprise, he came over to the group to the say hello.  We were a little star struck and he kindly took pictures with anyone that asked!

Mr. Iger had so much passion in his voice as he talked about the #DreamBigPrincess campaign. He told us how much it meant to him to inspire young girls through the beloved Disney characters! My little girl is in the midst of the princess adoration stage. I am so thankful that she can be inspired by the values that the Disney princesses embody.

The icing on the cake was an advanced screening of Tangled: Before Ever After.  This is a Disney channel original movie where we had a chance to chat with the creators and meet Pascal. Rapunzel’s sense of adventure shines through the big screen and I can’t wait to share this gem with my little one. 

Our visit to Disney Studios alone would have made for a once in a lifetime experience.  But this was only the beginning. 

The big day took place on the last day of the 2017 WeAllGrow Summit for the Storytellers event. I was one of the six lucky women chosen from a number of submissions to share my personal story on the big stage.

The evening kicked off with the empowering Silvia Oliva, co-producer and head writer of Disney’s “Elena of Avalor.”  Silvia shared the personal inspiration behind the creation of Elena.  We learned about the values that she ensures are represented through the character. 

Silvia’s keynote helped to set the tone for the evening. It was a reminder that “for every girl who dreams big there is a princess to show her it’s possible.”  This is the message of Disney’s #DreamBigPrincess campaign.

I absolutely love everything about this. Our little girls are so impressionable when they are young.  It is important that we show them that they can in fact work hard, dream big and achieve their heart desires. 

I often say that one of the best ways to teach our bilingual children vocabulary is by choosing topics that are relevant to them.  The same goes for character education! You will find authentic ways to educate your children if you teach through their interest.  For my little girl, it’s Disney’s princesses which is why this positive campaign is near and dear to my heart.

And just like that, the the time we had all been waiting for arrived.  It was time to share our stories. 

Picture by Robson Muzel

One by one we took the stage and began to pour their soul into their story.  The beautiful storytellers were Vanessa Bell, Elayna FernandezDora Stone, Laura Muller, Camila Canabal and I.

Each one of us drew inspiration from one of the Disney princesses.   Every speaker brought their style and managed to sweep the room away.

As the night wore on the beauty of the moment took over. Once again, I remembered Jiminy Cricket’s words. I realized that my #DreamBigPrincess moment had arrived and for that I will be forever thankful to Disney.

I took the stage as the fifth storyteller inspired by The Little Mermaid! 

I have always had a soft spot for Ariel. This was the first animated film that I saw in the theater as a child.  I immediately felt a connection to her character. Little did I know how much The Little Mermaid’s plot would mirror my own experiences.

I promise not to spoil it for you but I do want to highlight for a moment some of the connections between my story and that of this beloved Disney princess.

From an early age, just like Ariel, I could dream for hours about exploring new worlds. Shortly before my 13th birthday that dream seemed to become true when my parents told me we were moving to a grew new land. We were moving to the United States.

I didn’t realize it at the time but with this move, just like Princess Ariel, I would essentially lose my voice. As a teenager, I struggled deeply to find my place in this new world and at times felt like my own essence was holding me back. But the worst part is that I could not speak up for myself because of my limited language abilities.

My parents, just like King Triton had to do with Ariel, fought on my behalf and taught me that I didn’t have to give up who I was. That I could take all the great things that made me special and all the great things from this new world and make it work.

I used to think my big dream was the opportunity to explore new worlds. However, that was just the beginning. My big dream became the opportunity to help other bilingual parents help their kids navigate their own new worlds. Yet it was that struggle that led me to understand my calling. Finally, I found purpose after my struggle.

Disney Dream Big

Creating Bilingual Avenue was my big dream. I thank you for trusting me with your children’s language journey. It is my greatest desire that you achieve the big dreams you have set out for your own children.

Here’s my story…

Thank you Disney for this incredible opportunity. Crafting, practicing and presenting this story was one of the most powerful experiences I have ever had in my life.  May this always serve as a reminder that there is always purpose after the struggle!  I’ll be sharing a bit more about my story in the next few posts so stay tuned for more!

What struggles have you had that have defined your path in life? I’d love to hear it. Share it in the comments.

When you wish upon a star

This post is sponsored by Disney. All opinions are my own.

Comments 17

  1. Pingback: Becoming Mulan as a Disney Princess Storyteller #DreamBigPrincess #WeAllGrow ★ Elayna Fernandez ~ The Positive MOM ♥

  2. Pingback: Del Bullying al Éxito #MiHistoria para #DreamBigPrincess @WeAllGrowLatina - Las Recetas de Laura

  3. Thank you for sharing your story. I know that many of us struggle to belong when being caught in between two culturals.

  4. What an incredible opportunity! Disney has found a wonderful spokesperson, you have a gift for highlighting the magic of Disney and their female heros.

  5. sounds like a truly magical experience ! A struggle I had , hard to share but here it is I always been the shy, introverted one, I’m still struggling with this but is better now

  6. I loved Disney as a child! I remember that when a was a little girl I wanted to be an engineer. My mother wanted me to be a princess, so she didn’t allow me to enter the engineering school when I was 12. There are no princesses engineering! Now I’m 37 and I’m neither a princess nor an engineer.

  7. An amazing story. Can well relate the situation when you are struck between the bilingual and cultural differences and what you have to go through. I am myself a disney fan and you really got a great opportunity for sharing your story.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.