Disney and Dreams

When I attended the Romantic Novelists’ Association conference last summer, Julie Cohen ran an excellent workshop on the skills and techniques Disney Pixar employ when writing the stories for their films. I am moved by animated films. I cry when I watch Cars, and just last week, Toy Story 3, no matter how hard I fought, turned me into a blubbering wreck, much to the amusement of my son. My daughter consoled me by advising she cried upon first viewing.Buzz Cropped

We were watching it on the Disney Channel, in Orlando. We were having a holiday of a lifetime – my first ever with my children, my last trip abroad being my honeymoon to Italy in 1996.

Since I was a child, I dreamed of visiting DisneyWorld. I still have a 1973 Disney annual – actually, my daughter is now it’s owner, but I love that book.

I remember seeing images of Epcot on Blue Peter, hearing about friends who had dined with Mickey Mouse, and falling in love with the magic and beauty of the fairy castle that opened and completed every Disney film. I’ve had such a great time watching all the old movies with my children over the years. ‘Pete Pan, Pete Pan!’ my daughter would squeal. Fifteen times in one week we watched Peter, Wendy and the Lost Boys defeat Cap’n Hook. Even my son tells me if I don’t believe in fairies, one will die. Tink’s real in this house.


The funny thing is that at the 2012 RNA Conference, after Julie’s workshop, I collected a complimentary fortune cookie. I ate the biscuit, then unfolded the thin, white strip of paper, to reveal my fate. This is what it read: ‘All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.’ Walt Disney. Coincidence that the man himself made a virtual appearance after I’d taken a workshop on story structure, with positive examples from Disney Pixar?

I’ve kept that slip of paper. It sits with my Romaniac business cards.Disney Dreams

My dream to take my family to DisneyWorld came true.

Thank you, Julie, for sharing your knowledge, and thank you, Walt Disney, for showing me the strength of belief and commitment.

Now to continue pursuing my writing dream…

Take care.

Laura x


We spent a wonderful three weeks visiting DisneyWorld, Universal Studios and Kennedy Space Centre, Julie. Not only was the holiday amazing, the warmth was healing. My daughter plans to return in her gap year (she has a few years yet), to work in the parks. I am in no doubt we will return, so my next novel may well include some research…
Looking forward to attending your workshop in May.
Thank you for stopping by, and see you soon.
Laura xx

Sue Fortin

So glad you had a lovely time and how perfect was that fortune cookie? You do, of course, know my word of the year; FEARLESS so with these inspiring words … let’s do it … pursue our dreams fearlessly!



What a lovely story! I love coincidences like this. And I loved learning that I’m not the only person alive today who hasn’t been travelling abroad for years. Like you the last time I went away was Before Children!! 🙂 My dream is to rectify that situation soon! Edith xxx


Hi Edith.
Lovely to hear from you – thank you.
1996 was the last time abroad before Florida. Life BC, eh?
Dreams can come true, as Gabrielle once sung, so I look forward to reading about your travels 🙂
Laura x

Jan Brigden

Wow! See, Laura, dreams really do come true 🙂 What a lovely post! I’d also love to visit Disneyworld some day. I’m thrilled that you all had such a fab holiday Xx

Jean Bull

I’m so glad you were able to go to DisneyWorld at last.
It is a truly magical place where dreams can come true. I think it’s fabulous that the fortune cookie, and Walt Disney himself, sent you there as well.
You can tell what a big Disney fan I am, can’t you? It all started with Disneytime shown every Christmas with Hayley Mills or some other Disney star introducing cartoon clips in black and white. That was all the Disney we got each year, unless we went to the pictures. How did we manage???


Hello Jean.
It was truly a holiday of a lifetime. Brer Rabbit was there! I don’t recall not knowing about Brer Rabbit. Many memories were recalled and made. Plenty of photographs were taken, too.
That fortune cookie may well have been the best thing I’ve ever eaten…
Thank you for commenting.
Laura 🙂

Jane Risdon

Laura, how interesting. Pixar is a company my songwriters have produced material for – Power Rangers in particular and if you have ever seen the movie Zenon 3 and heard the soundtrack then you will have heard some of their material I am sure. Also worked on the soundtracks for many movies and television series such as Baywatch, Jersey Girl, Sinbad and many many more. Disney is like a village inside the actual lot, and building complex in Burbank, California, if you have ever been near to Universal Studios in LA I am sure you will have seen the 7 Dwarfs on the building outside. Along the corridors there are the original hand drawings of all the early Disney cartoons and characters such as Micky and Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck and so on. As well as the movie and television parts there is the record company as well…..and so I have worked with Disney and the off-shoots for many years and it was so nice to hear what you’ve had to write about. Our company also pitched scripts to the major movie companies such as Touchstone, Paramount, Newline, Disney, Fox, Universal, and so on…..so know this area of the business very well. Good luck everyone and don’t forget your wish lists if pitching and raising finance for a movie of your books.


Jane – I’d love to know more about your involvement with the music scene. I know from conversations and Facebook, we share the passion for it.
I’ve not been to LA, but who knows what tomorrow holds? I’m learning many things are possible, if I set my mind to it.
Another great and interesting comment. Thank you 🙂

Jane Risdon

Most welcome Laura and do tell me to put a cork in it if I am too much. I can get carried away when something jogs my memory. Happy to chat about music, movies and television and also about pitching scripts etc. Ask away. Also forgot to say that I met Julie at Sandhurst library about a year ago, or more, and had a lovely evening when she talked about her writing, books and life. Most entertaining and interesting and such a lovely lady.


I would never suggest a cork, Jane. For anything.
I agree. Julie is a lovely lady, great writer, and wonderful tutor. I’m looking forward to reading her latest, Dear Thing, and attending her course in May 🙂

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