Cosplay at its subtlest: Fan and creator discuss Disney Bounding

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From time to time, the OTW hosts guest posts on our OTW News accounts. These guests will be providing an outside perspective on the OTW or aspects of fandom where our projects may have a presence. The posts express each author’s personal views and do not necessarily reflect the views of the OTW or constitute OTW policy. We welcome suggestions from fans for future guest posts, which can be left as a comment here or by contacting us directly.

In today’s post, self-proclaimed Disney fan Jennifer Reck talks to Leslie Kay, creator of the DisneyBound website, “where Disney nerds and fashion geeks collide.”

Jennifer writes: I still remember the most exciting day of my life. (Note to my family: I didn’t say it was the happiest day so there’s no need to remind me of my wedding day, the birth of my kids, etc.) I spent months obsessively planning a trip to Walt Disney World, spending an (arguably) unhealthy amount of time on WDW forums, when I was struck by the concept of DisneyBounding.

Any self-respecting nerd appreciates the fine art of cosplay and drools over the amazing creations on full display at Comic Con variations throughout the world. I typically have my Halloween costume planned out at least three months in advance. Costumes are my refuge.

Sadly, I don’t get to wear costumes every day and this is how DisneyBounding comes to my rescue. To DisneyBound, one simply wears clothes that are inspired by a particular Disney character. This isn’t cosplay, so a person can “Bound” at work, while exercising, on a first date…you get the idea.

For example, I’ve got a white shirt with black polkadots. Whenever I wear it (even to work!), I add red shoes, a red headband, and a bicycle necklace. Presto! I’m Perdita from One Hundred and One Dalmatians. When I need to feel brave, I wear forest green along with my bow and arrow necklace so I can channel Merida.

Most folks can Bound quite cheaply, although if you’re like me and get a bit compulsive about it you might end up spending a surprising amount of money at Goodwill and Forever 21 as you stock up on costume jewelry. I recently found some awesome frog earrings–Tiana!

Back to my most exciting day…I still haven’t told you about the best part. Shortly getting psyched up about a Belle Bound, I remembered that Disney bought the rights to Star Wars. Ladies and gentlemen, that means Princess Leia is now a Disney princess. I swear I could hear angels singing as I realized my two biggest passions would come together in this way.

Leslie Kay is the genius who brought DisneyBound to the Disney Nerd community, and for that I am forever in her debt. I follow Leslie on Tumblr and Instagram, but I’m just one of her many fans. Luckily, she generously agreed to answer a few of my questions when I sent her an email.

Jenn: Any time I love a show now, even if it’s not Disney, I find myself planning ways to Bound it. A few weeks ago I watched Firefly for the first time. Halfway through the first episode I was mentally planning what I could use to bound as Kaylee. Has Bounding stretched beyond Disney for you?

Leslie: Absolutely! It’s fun to be at a mall and spot a coat that would be perfect for Paddington Bear, or a sweater which Hermione might wear.

Jenn: Have you ever thought someone was Bounding when they really weren’t?

Leslie: We have a game that we play at Disneyland where we spot DisneyBounds and try to decide if they are an intentional Bound or not.

Jenn: What’s it like to have the Disney company take an interest in your DisneyBound ideas?

Leslie: It’s very surreal! Something I never dreamed of having happened when I started DisneyBound. It’s so cool to have happen!

My last question references the fact that Disney has truly embraced Leslie and Bounding. It’s interesting to read about Bounding on some of the Disney travel forums, because it’s pretty well known that adults are not allowed to enter the parks in “costume” unless it’s a Halloween party. However, Bounding is very subtle and all the cast members (Disney-speak for employees) at the parks seem to love it. A quick Google search of DisneyBounding instantly brings up countless pictures of people posing in their Bounding outfits, right next to the real characters.

I would love to meet Leslie in person so I could chat her up for hours and hours. As I put the last touches on this post, I’m thinking about her Paddington Bear idea. Paddington leads to Peter Rabbit in my mind and I just happen to have a great pair of bunny earrings. This is a familiar train of thought for me. Tonight I’ll be up late again, rummaging through all my clothes. Do I have anything at all that would work for Wonder Woman? Let’s see…red, yellow, blue… Maybe star earrings? I think I need to go shopping again.

Jennifer Reck is a lifelong Disney fan who also wants you to know that she sorted into Hufflepuff. She runs jennspirationts.com, where she spends a lot of time creating new art for various fandoms. (She sells geeky t-shirt designs on www.jennspirationts.com. Every once in awhile she writes poetry or vents on www.Jennstwosteps.blogspot.com.)