Character Connections: A Leslie Kay Book Review

by - April 01, 2021

From being raised on Winnie the Pooh to the first family trip to Walt Disney World, Leslie Kay knew her adoration for Disney would easily transfer over into her adulthood. What she didn’t know was that one day she would be sharing that adoration with an entire community of fans.

She created a Tumblr account in 2011 to share her upcoming trip to Walt Disney World, her first visit since childhood. She was able to connect with other Disney fans and interact with them online as they shared their memories of the parks. One weekend, she decided to design outfits that resembled her favorite characters. She shared them on her blog, and suddenly her follower count skyrocketed. 300 followers turned into 30,000. Her direct messages were filled with requests to create more outfits. It started with Rapunzel, made its way to the other princesses, Mickey Mouse and more. The name she gave her blog promptly became a verb: Disney-bounding.

As DisneyBound grew in popularity, especially once Instagram became the trending social media platform, Disney itself was behind the scenes researching content for an upcoming fashion book. They came across Kay’s blog and reached out to her to see if she would be interested in being the author.

“It was crazy, the pressure was really on,” she said. “You want it to represent the blog, you want it to represent the community, but the community is so big and you can’t have a book that is a million pages long. I put a lot of pressure on myself but it was still really fun to work on and figure out the highlight reel of characters.”

DisneyBound: Dress Disney and Make It Fashion shares every step of the Disney-bounding process, from choosing items that complete an outfit to just how massive this community has become. As shared in the foreword by Disney Legacy Authority Jeff Kurtti, “Disney-bounding is a similar craft to costuming, but it’s a translation to another storytelling medium. It relies not on the making of a literal replica of a well-known wardrobe, but in the creation of nuanced visual cues in color, shape, texture, and materials; and the relationships of these to one another, in order to evoke a visual reminder or stimulate an emotional memory - even before any literal character connection is seen.”

It takes real time and effort to create each Disney-bound experience, and that time and effort is reflected throughout each page. Although Kay admits the hardest part of creating the book was the dread of someone feeling left out, she realized this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity was actually happening, and her dream was now a reality. Holding a physical copy of a book, a book with her name on the cover, was an indescribable feeling.

For the last decade, Disney fans from around the world have used Leslie Kay’s blog to explore the parks, resemble a beloved character and turn their love for Disney into fashion. Creating a book based on her blog was a bucket list item she didn’t know she had, but thanks to this ever-growing community, she has been able to share this dream with a whole new audience.

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