I know it all ends tomorrow, so it has to be today…

I think it’s safe to say that October was definitely the highlight of my adventures into the Cosplay and DisneyBound world. I’m sad that this will be my last and final post on my virtual community findings. But I’m certain that my involvement will continue after my research has been concluded

Going into this practicum project, I was unsure if I agreed with the definitions of “virtual community” being an actual supportive community. But these past few months have assured me that this group of people are just as much my community as my physical community, if not more due to our shared interests. Of course, I have realized the hierarchy of the virtual community and that some members certainly have more influence than others. Even though everyone is given equal opportunity to participate. Which has also caused my to realize the resources necessary to become highly recognized in the community. Cosplay is not only time consuming, and to “dress for success” it requires a lot of resources to acquire clothing and costume pieces.

If anything, I have realized the cost of fandom. I myself, spent over $600 on items for my last Disney meet up. Which doesn’t include everything spent on other clothing articles. So one might consider this fandom to be wasteful, and it’s true – it might be. But for the fans that are willing to spend this much money to participate, you can tell that they are very dedicated to disney media texts

For Halloween I attended Mickey’s Halloween Party at Disneyland. During my time there, I was able to converse and meet up with several other members of the cosplay community. I even got to reconnect with some individuals that I had met earlier in September at the Disneyland Dapper Day meet up.

Here are a few shots taken before the meet up on Halloween. I decided to dress as Anna from Frozen (and surprisingly, I was the only Anna – yay!!!)

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Because the Disney Cosplay/Disneybound community has interactions online as well as in person, it is a lot different from any other online community I have been involved in. But it’s also more interactive because of this. I get to deal with real people, all of which use the own identities when participating online which makes our meet up activities to be special events where we able to share and network in a non-virtual platform.

During my time involved in Disneybound, I have observed the Disney company’s recent support of our group by facilitating our meets up by closing off the castle area of the park for group pictures. Disney also recently released a special “Disneystyle” DVD that explains tricks and tips for Disneybound as a means of expressing fandom. This acknowledgement from Disney has been a very important to the Disneybound movement as well as a feeling of pride within our community.

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Blog Post #3

With midterms, the past 2 weeks have been slow in my interactions with the Disney Cosplay community. But there has been much excitement and exchanging of photos within on my Facebook Disneybound group as well as on Instagram and Tumblr. Halloween definitely marks an exciting time for the community, everyone is sharing their ideas and potential cosplay ideas. It has also been a time when we receive a lot of new members as many people are dressing in cosplay or disneybound for the first time, they then are able to “break into” the group with their photo contributions.

I’ve been contemplating much of what we have been describing “community” as, and I think that the cosplay community has a very unique way of connection individuals since even if we meet online there is a 75% you will eventually meet these people in person since the majority of them attend meet ups at the Disney parks or attend various cons/expos. And since Halloween is the major holiday to gather in costume what a better way to connect with fellow disney cosplayers than at October events.

I actually will be flying down to LA tonight to prepare for a Halloween meet up at the Disneyland park. Special event tickets are offered to the Disneyland “Halloween Party” where adults are actually able to dress in full costume and enter the parks. This typically is prohibited by Disney’s “kid’s only” costume rules. Which makes it a great opportunity to finally meet some of the instagram, tumblr and Facebook users that I’ve been interacting with for the past 7 weeks.

I attended this gathering last year but merely for fun with my friends, but I did not go to scheduled meet up (since I didn’t know anyone). However, I did end up taking a random picture with a huge group of other princess cosplayers, some of which I’ve actually connected with SINCE starting this practicum research project.

(I’m Cinderella in the middle w/Prince Charming)

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By attending the meet up this Friday I hope to take pictures with a lot of other cosplay individuals so it will be easy to connect and associate with them online after the event. Tagging people in pictures helps so much to connect through folksonomy and association. Quiet honestly I think the most important aspect of getting involved in the disney costume community is through having eye-catching, quality photos. Hopefully by having new event photos I will be able to resurrect the attention and activity on my Tumblr and Instagram.

Blog Post #2 – Dapper Day!!!

As the past few weeks have gone by and I have continued to learn more about the Disney Costume fan community. My Tumblr has gained another 20 new followers since my last post, and my Instagram has received 13 new followers.

I had the opportunity to do some “field work” by attending the Dapper Day event at the Disneyland parks. Although this is non-Disney sponsored event, the Dapper Day organization plans this meet up event 2 times a year (In March and September) and if first began in 2009. The purpose is to dress high fashion from any era, though some believe the purpose is to dress in apparel from the early stages of Disneyland in attempt to restore it to it’s original glory of being a fun and more upscale date spot. Some people dressed in vintage-esque disneybounds, others in vintage-type cosplay. This was a VERY exciting event for the Cosplay and Disneybound communities. But it most importantly gave me the opportunity to meet a lot of the people I follow on both Tumblr and Instagram and to meet new ones.

Some of the people I met were the celebrities of the cosplay community. Baym described these fandom celebrities in her article about Online Communities. She says that “Individuals create self concepts and self presentations within fan groups. Some become well known to other fans through fandom” (Baym 1). This became very clear as I was meeting people who said they had seen me before at other events! I even had someone comment on Tumblr that they had seen me and my Disney costume friend’s group at the San Diego Comic Con this past July. Which were a great reminder of how small (yet large and still growing) the Disney costume community is.

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Also received 229 re-posts on my Dapper Day Posting on Tumblr. Reposting these on Tumblr is probably the most efficient way of finding and connecting with other Disney fans.

Here’s also some more photos from my Dapper Day adventure…

View More: http://katherinerose.pass.us/dapperday

View More: http://katherinerose.pass.us/dapperday

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We decided to dress in classic 1950’s attire, which matches most of the park. It also helped that I have a photographer friend who lives 5 minutes from Disneyland who was willing to come and photograph us. The quality of the pictures has made us a good representation of the event – one of the photos even got on the Dapper Day website. And the high quality photos have helped to attract more attention on Tumblr as well.

And with over 10,000 other individuals dressed up – I will definitely will be going back to the next dapper day in March!!!

Disney Cosplay VS. Disneybound — One Community, Two Activities

For my fandom community research I have decided to partake in the Disney Cosplay/Clothing community. I myself have been involved with this community for sometime, but I have only passively used the internet to connect with others who share my love of Disney. I typically attend cosplay events with a large group of preexisting friends, so I never really have reached out to other contributors within this community.

First, let me explain the differences between the Disney Cosplay and Disneybound. (Cause these two get confused A LOT) Feel free to click the picture below for a link to a video made by one of our Disneybound community members.

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Cosplay is considered to be fully dressed and role-playing or playing a character from any media text (i.e. wig, shoes, accessories). Now, Disneybound is a movement started by the “Disneybound” blog, it was in response to the Disney Park’s rule that “Adult costumes or clothing that can be viewed as representative of an actual Disney character will not be allowed in the parks”. Disneybound is considered to be outfits that have a inspiration from a certain Disney character which creates a basic resemblance of that character BUT while still wearing everyday-street-clothing. So as many cosplay fans wanted to express their love of Disney characters through the attire (as the Disneyland guests who are under age 9 are allowed to do in their costumes) Disneybound was then born.

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It has been accustomed to only “Disneybound” to the Disney parks but after requesting to join the official “Disneybounders Unite” Group on Facebook I realized that many individuals were bounding to work, school, parties, bridal showers, weddings, church, you name it. People everywhere are slowly beginning to resemble modern day Disney characters…

In order to participate in these Disney-tastic communities, I first needed to establish myself on new social media platforms. I typically have only used Facebook for my media needs. But I have began the process of converting my instagram over as a way to connect with other Disney Cosplay individuals, I have began posting some of personal cosplay and Disneybound photos on Instagram to attract and find more Disney peeps and received about 25 new followers in the past week. Here’s some of my posts…

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I also started a Tumblr account as well and oh my goodness, what an interesting creature Tumblr is… I’ve been trying to use it to connect with other Disneybounders and cosplayers, but many of the users who reblog posts aren’t necessarily involved in the Disney community but just enjoy the pictures enough to repost them on their tumblr. I have managed to acquire 16 new followers in the past week, all of which are Disney costumers – yay! I also received 65 repost on my post from Disneybounding as Russell from “Up” a few weeks ago. Ah the perks of having a Disneyland annual pass.

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