by Brian Vasil
Been awhile… but it’s back! Our interview series with spouses of the Disney obsessed (a survival guide)! This month, I interview Aileen Sheehan-Wilson… wife of frequent WDW Radio guest Ryan Wilson (of Main Street Gazette fame).
I would say an 11. Ok, maybe not that high, but Ryan is basically a walking, talking encyclopedia of Disney history. So when it comes to his obsession, I would say he is obviously pretty up there on the scale. However, we don’t spend that much time talking about Walt Disney World or the Walt Disney Company in our day to day lives…unless he is working on a post for the site, around his side of the family or with other people in the Disney community.
2) Was he a Disney fanatic before you met him? When did the obsession start?
Yes, Ryan was definitely a Disney fanatic before I met him. Actually, he mentioned how much he enjoyed going to Walt Disney World in one of our first conversations. His obsession began before he was even born. He is originally from Florida and his family began going as soon as it opened in 1971. He also had an Aunt that worked in security at Walt Disney World, so it is as if a love of all things Disney was bred into him from the beginning.
3) What would you say is the reason for his Disney obsession?
I think Ryan has 2 reasons for his Disney obsession:
1. Family. Everything about the parks reminds him of his family and the strong bond we all share. For him, visiting these parks represents all of the wonderful times he has had with the people he loves.
2. Ryan loves to learn and to collect. Disney provides both of those things. When Ryan decides he is interested in something, he wants to learn everything he can about it and that is a never ending pursuit when it comes to the Disney Company.
4) How much of your house is dedicated to Disney? Do you have places in your home that are off limits to Disney?
Basically our guest room and the half bath are Disney approved areas in our house. There are a few things that have made it to our living room (a framed drawing of the Hilton Head Island DVC Resort and a giraffe mask from Disney’s Animal Kingdom) but everything else is framed on the wall, organized into containers or binders, or on a book shelf in the guest room.
5) Do you share your husband’s enthusiasm for Disney? If so, is it at the same level?
I do share his enthusiasm for Disney but definitely not on the same level. I love going to the parks, but my interest is mostly in the food and in seeing people we know. Also, I love running races at Walt Disney World. I have a large amount of knowledge about Walt Disney World and its history at this point, but it was gained mostly by accident. When you live with someone who is writing articles every day, you learn a lot without even meaning to!
Ha ha. This is hysterical since Ryan has tried to convince me to let him buy a Horizons ride vehicle a number of times. However, if he were to actually do it, killing him may be high on the list. I am all for buying Disney memorabilia but that would be way too much. Also, we live in NC and I would have no idea how we would get it to our house!
7) Are your children (if applicable) into Disney as much as your husband? Any stories of your kids and Disney-obsession?
We don’t have children yet but Ryan has a sister who did not inherit the love of Disney he obviously has. Because of this, I often joke that if we only have one child, it will be like her. If we have 2 children, he should be safe.
8) What do you tell your friends/family about the Disney influence in your home/life?
Well, our family understands. Even if they aren’t as interested in it as Ryan is, they know a lot about Walt Disney World and actually totally respect the work he does on the Main Street Gazette.
As for our friends, I think they get it now, but in the beginning they were very confused as to why he would be so interested in a place they had maybe been once in their life. But, once they saw his site and listened to him explain how interested he was in the many different aspects of the parks, they got it. You see, Ryan has this amazing ability to make his love of Disney rub off on you, so by the end of a conversation with him you are so excited you are ready to plan a trip as soon as possible.
9) What techniques have you developed through the years to help you better understand (tolerate?) your husband’s love of Disney?
Well, I often discuss his articles with him. Because I am not always familiar with the subject matter, I can be a good person to bounce ideas off of. I also help when planning our trips and make an effort to have conversations with him about Disney since it is something that is so important to him. He does that for me when it comes to my interests and hobbies so I feel happy to do the same.
10) What advice would you give to spouses living with Disney-fanatics?
Please have fun with it! Find what you may love about Disney and go with it. I obviously don’t care about every minute detail that Ryan does but I found things to truly enjoy when I am there.
Thanks so much to Aileen for being a part of the series! We look forward to hearing more about the Main Street Gazette (and where you are going to display that Horizons vehicle) in the coming podcasts!
Stay tuned to the blog for more chats with spouses of the Disney-obsessed. Have a favorite guest on the show that you’d like to hear from their other half? Let me know in the comment section below. Until next time… Excelsior!
Want to read more about other spouses of the Disney addicted? Check out these prior posts:
Brian Vasil has been Disney-obsessed since his first visit to WDW in 1971 (he was only 3 months old…and has visited 100+ times since then). He’s been known for leaving hidden Mickeys in the place settings at his wedding, always choosing the “Desert” ending at Horizons, and weeping at the end of “Wishes” (it gets dusty…). He lives in Ft. Lauderdale with his wife Mindy and daughter Brianna.