Corinne Andersson is a senior majoring in hospitality management at UCF’s Rosen College. When she’s not in class, she’s managing her website, DisneyLifestylers.com and interacting with her more than 30,000 fans on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. With her social media savvy and steadfast dedication, Andersson has quickly built a substantial online presence as a subject matter expert. Find out how it all began and what it takes to be the unofficial authority on Disney merchandise.
Describe your site, when you started it and why?
DisneyLifestylers.com started about two years ago as a way for me and my husband to document some of the fun things we did in the parks, but I quickly started covering mostly Disney merchandise news and updates, which is my great passion. I still cover new events and happenings in the parks, but my goal is to be the #1 Disney Merchandise website. I have always had a great interest in Disney merchandise and loved taking pictures of it long before we had the website, so it came quite natural.
Are you the only one managing the site or do you have any help?
I manage the website together with my husband, Daniel, who is also a Rosen College student, but manage all the social media myself, which can sometimes be very time consuming. You constantly have to be online, but luckily I also have lots of help from my followers who send me pictures and information about Disney merchandise.
How did you grow your readership and social media following?
When I first started the blog, I put a lot of time and energy into creating posts and content for the website, but I quickly realized it wasn’t something I really enjoyed. I much rather enjoyed creating content for my social media channels like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. I felt like blogs and websites, at least for people in my age group, were on the way out. Nobody has time to read blogs and people want quick and instant information, which they get from their social media channels. So I decided to put all my energy into building my social media following instead, which has worked out great.
I now use the website to link to all my social media accounts. Social media also gives you much more interaction with your followers compared to a blog and interaction is something I take very seriously. I always try to make sure to answer every question I get and help people in any way I can. I love the feeling of community that it creates and I have met many of my followers in real life, which is incredibly fun.
How would you describe the response to your site? Are people enjoying it and engaging with it often?
I’m still in slight shock over the response I have received. I get so many nice compliments and lots of people send me pictures wanting to help out. I also really enjoy when I get feedback from some of the companies that I post about. It’s nice to see that companies today understand the importance of social media and how bloggers can help them reach out to their customers.
Why did you decide to attend Rosen College?
I have always been a Disney fan and wanted to work in hospitality, so Rosen College felt like the obvious choice. I also loved the location and the great teachers we have access to.
Have your classes and experiences at Rosen College helped you with your site?
Absolutely, especially my marketing classes where we really focused on creating your own brand and building your online presence. Also having great speakers like the merchandise manager from Disney’s Hollywood Studios in my theme park classes has been an incredible inspiration.
What are your career goals?
I would love to work in marketing, preferably in something that has to do with Disney. Social media is another passion of mine and I think there are still a lot of companies that don’t understand the importance of it and I would love to help them figure it out.
What do you love most about Disney?
The magic of Disney. It’s such a hard thing to explain, but I would say it’s the feeling of pure happiness I always get when I’m in the parks. For me, Disney doesn’t really stand for The Walt Disney Company, but the feeling and emotions it inspires in those of us who are fans.
Do you have any ideas or suggestions for new Disney merchandise?
My two suggestions for Disney merchandise would be:
1. Disney should expand the styles and types of products they make for adults. For example, why are there only Disney Princess shoes for kids at the Disney Store? I, personally, and a lot of others would love to buy a pair in each color.
2. The Tokyo Disney Resort/Disney Store Japan creates incredibly amazing merchandise and it’s completely different from what they sell in the U.S. I have spent a fortune on merchandise from Japan and I think it would sell very well here.
What’s your favorite place to shop for Disney gear?
Definitely Hot Topic—it’s the best place to go for adult Disney merchandise. Some even refer to it as the new Disney Store.
What’s the most unique Disney item you’ve come across?
Probably something from Japan where they have Disney-themed toilet paper holders and hygiene masks.
What are the top three holiday gifts for Disney fans?
- Any Disney Tsum Tsum plush from the Disney Store
- Disney clothing from Hot Topic
- Frozen Olaf Pillow Pet
For more information about hospitality management education at Rosen College, please visit hospitality.ucf.edu.