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Love of Disney leads to fairy-tale ending for some

For many couples, Valentine’s Day brings not only expressions of love but also the first step toward living happily ever after.
Love of Disney leads to fairy-tale ending for some
Posted at 2:55 PM, Feb 15, 2024

Disney nerd, Disney adult, Disneyphile: No matter what you call them, Caitlin McHugh Stamos checks the boxes.

“Call me whatever you want. It’s fine,” McHugh Stamos said.

It’s a tale as old as time. Her love of the mouse started at a young age, when her dad worked for Disney.

“It's just joy. For me, Disney is just pure joy,” McHugh Stamos said.

And like many other Disney adults, it became part of her fairy tale when she met her now-husband and fellow Disney nerd, actor John Stamos.

“That was something that we connected on. The level of, of nerdiness,” She said as she pointed in the direction of a Dumbo ride carriage in their entryway. “I don't know if I knew in the beginning.”

The Stamos home could be a museum of Disney artifacts, with delights like Pirates of the Caribbean heads, dolls from It’s a Small World and even a candlestick telephone that once belonged to Walt Disney himself. They also have a giant “D” that was from the Disneyland sign.

John proposed to Caitlin at Disney California Adventure with a customized animation of meet cutes in Disney film history that ended with an image of Sebastian the crab holding a sign that said, “Ask the girl.”

“It was mind-blowing,” McHugh Stamos said. “The entire thing was just absolutely nuts and a memory that I'm going to treasure forever.”

SEE MORE: Disney hikes the prices for their theme park passes ... again

That fairy tale extends beyond Hollywood. Love is an open door for Disney adults to weave their fandom into their big day.

Enter Jen and Justin Rodgers, who met online in 2006.

“I was like, if you don’t like Disney then this isn't gonna work out,” Jen said. She grew up loving Disney movies, but her first trip to Disneyland was with Justin on their first in-person date.

Justin eventually proposed at the Blue Bayou restaurant overlooking the Pirates of the Caribbean ride.

“I didn't want to open the ring box on Splash Mountain for the photo. I thought that could just go very poorly very quick,” Justin said.

What kind of romance would it be without the fairytale wedding at the Grand Californian Hotel in Disneyland with photos at the couple’s favorite park spots?

“It is magical,” Jen said. “That's the best way to describe it. It's a dream come true. “

Disney isn’t just the destination. They have an entire division devoted to love, to help plan not only weddings, but engagements and honeymoons. There’s even a boutique where you can buy a gown inspired by the princesses — or your favorite villain.

Not everyone understands the Disney adult thing. There are many websites and articles dedicated to making fun of that level of fandom.

“When people don't get it, it’s like you're not my people,” McHugh Stamos said. “And that's okay. But it’s an easy way to find my people. “

Both the Stamos and Rodgers families see their love of Disney carry on now through their kids.

“Just seeing their little smiles and other kids here, not even your own, when you see that, it’s magic ,” Jen Rodgers said.

Magic that can be felt even when the outside world feels scary.

“I feel like no matter what's going on in the world — and there's a lot going on in the world — it's a place where I walk through that little turnstile and I can just feel all of the stress from every day I live just go 'Whoosh!', and I get to be a kid again,” McHugh Stamos said.

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