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An Auntie’s Guide to Supporting Kids’ Content Creation Dreams at Disney World

June 1, 2024

June 1, 2024

by Leslie D. Rose

For the past couple of years, my great nieces, Myla, age 7, and Menzi, age 6, have been the faces of their own family YouTube channel. As they’ve grown more interested in kids’ content creation and doing things for their internet friends to watch, it’s become apparent that crafting materials for their channel is something they love. And as people I love, I want to do all I can to support their dreams, even if their dreams don’t become lifelong aspirations.

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Character Lunch at Animal Kingdom’s Tusker House. L to R: Leslie, Menzi, Safari Mickey, and Myla
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The girls excitedly hug Princess Tiana. L to R: Menzi, Princess Tiana, Myla 

Enter a chance for me to bring them on a press trip to Disney World. As a journalist, I was assigned to visit all four parks and learn about what Disney World has for young families and first-timers. I hadn’t been to Disney World since 2001 for my senior class trip, so I was over-the-moon thrilled, but the most exciting part was that I was given this sponsored trip for my entire family. My husband and I are a childless couple, so we knew immediately that we’d be bringing Myla and Menzi, not just as the children we needed to experience the purpose of the media event but as little media reps themselves.

“Exposing young children to different careers promotes self-discovery, allowing them to learn about their interests and strengths.”

It was super important for me to present the opportunity to them this way. I even jumped on Canva to design press passes, complete with their channel name and the title “content creator,” and placed them in ID lanyards in their favorite colors. The next thing was for us to set up a Zoom call to inform the girls of their assignment.

Jaws dropped as they excitedly learned that they’d be going to Disney World and treated to the journalist experience – things that included entering the park from backstage, exclusive photo opportunities, private meal experiences, and even the chance to meet the “real Princess Tiana,” aka the same Tiana I met in New Orleans who recorded a video for them.

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Exclusive Cinderella Castle photo – Top Mickey and Minnie; Bottom: Menzell, Myla, Menzi, Leslie, Donney

The magic of Disney, coupled with the girls’ imagination and my whimsical approach to investing in their craft, created one of the most memorable trips of our lives. The icing on the cake was that the girls got to bring their dad, my nephew, who served as their cameraman and producer throughout the visit.

I watched Myla and Menzi light up with every surprise the experience brought their way and the ideas for video content and imagery. They chose rides, meticulously decided which section they’d sit in, planned their poses for the Disney Photo Pass pictures captured on thrill rides, and braved some of the more adventurous rollercoasters for fun content.

They wore their brand shirts and hilariously found ways to engage with potential new viewers. A favorite of mine is Menzi asking me to read the word on her shirt. “Subscribe,” I read. “That’s right – subscribe!” Menzi responded, pointing at the QR code on her tee.

More than quality time and kids’ content creation, the girls were on a trip with three trusted adults who were ultimately showing them how much their interests matter.

Workforce development consultant Tinicia Turner said exploration promotes self-discovery, which is essential to development.

“Career awareness and exploration are crucial for young children even though they might not be thinking about jobs yet,” Turner said. “The National Career Development Association recommends introducing young children to different careers from a young age. Exposing young children to different careers promotes self-discovery, allowing them to learn about their interests and strengths.

Children can discover what they enjoy and are good at by engaging in activities that reflect various professions. This self-awareness is a valuable foundation for future academic and career choices. Additionally, career awareness helps children develop valuable skills. For instance, children can learn communication and teamwork when exploring careers through play or age-appropriate activities.”

L to r: menzi and myla show off their media credentials and auntie-created press badge as the hit up disney for kids' content creation.

Overall, it’s not just about a job or seeking to create money-making opportunities; it’s testing the waters of what could be. And the girls are such different people from each other. Myla is a little comedian who has no issue being silly to get laughs. She’s relatively quiet but will speak up for herself; she is quite adventurous, curious, and eager to try new things.

Menzi is into make-up, dressing up, and girl time. She’s a bubbly personality who loves to talk and has the sass and wit of a teenager. Both girls are incredibly inquisitive, interested in the world around them, and love taking the lead. These qualities seem to only grow with them.

Yet, as excited as I was to offer the chance to go on their first real sponsored “work” trip, my duty as a trusted adult in their lives is not to take the way they may shift interests personally. My job is to invest in those interests, even if they change minute-by-minute.

Melissa Antoine, M.D., a double board-certified child/adolescent and adult psychiatrist and mom of three, said that a huge part of investing in your kids’ dreams and aspirations is allowing them to change their minds. This, she said, builds resilience.

“I believe professionally and personally that allowing your kids to dream has to be your willingness as a parent to be flexible and fluid… because what we really want is to raise kids who become resilient adults. And part of resiliency is being able to pivot,” Antoine said.

Moreover, it’s encouraging them to dream.

“The dreaming part starts in your house,” Antoine said. “I think for a long time, we as Black parents have had a lot of focus on conduct and behavior and making sure that our kids who become adults don’t misbehave. Sometimes, with that focus, we’ve not allowed our kids to dream and to dream big. And so, the investment in your child’s interest doesn’t always have to look like money; sometimes it’s just speaking with your kids and allowing them to talk.”

we had an amazing experience, and I can’t wait to see the videos the girls create, but I left Disney with more than fun memories. I left with the charge that as long as I am a trusted adult in Myla and Menzi’s lives, I commit to listening to their dreams and, as much as possible, presenting them with a chance to wish upon a star.

Guest Contributor

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Leslie D. Rose is a Jersey-born, Xavier-educated journalist, communications strategist, and poet. She is also a lipstick aficionado, Babyface superfan, dope auntie, loving cat mother, and her whole Blatina self at all times. Leslie has been everything from a city newspaper aide to a digital media showrunner with bylines across local magazines and newspapers to legacy media outlets. As a culture and advocacy journalist, she focuses on social and criminal justice issues, music, celebrity, family, and health and wellness.

A few of her notable interviews include Mariah Carey, Rep. Maxine Waters, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Allyson Felix, and Erika Alexander. Her other publications include four essays in The St. James Encyclopedia of Hip Hop Culture, 1st Edition (2018, Gale/St. James Press), a short story in midnight & indigo, and several poems. Leslie has been featured on All Def Poetry, served as the main voice journalist on an episode of VH1’s Celebrity True Crime Story, and moderated a panel highlighted on ABC’s Rap Trap: Hip Hop on Trial. 

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