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Mourning the Loss of Two Icons
Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds’ passing last month broke my heart, along with most hearts around the world. I loved them both, but I first became a huge fan of Debbie’s. In high school, I fell in love with the classic films of the 1950s and 1960s; I just couldn’t get enough of them! Singin in the Rain, Susan Slept Here, The Mating Game and others are all classic Debbie Reynolds films that I still love today.
The Unsinkable Debbie Reynolds
Aside from the wonderful actress that she was, I learned to admire Debbie for her unsinkable, forgiving spirit. After I learned about the infamous love triangle between Debbie, her ex-husband Eddie Fisher, and Elizabeth Taylor, I had a new respect for Debbie. And I can’t say I share that same sentiment for all my favorite stars. The fact that Debbie found it in her heart to forgive Elizabeth Taylor for helping break up her marriage was amazing in itself, but that the two became friends years later was truly remarkable. Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds even attended Liz’s 75th birthday party together a few years ago.
I learned that Debbie’s all-time favorite role she every played was Titanic survivor and American heroine Molly Brown, in The Unsinkable Molly Brown. I can’t think of a more fitting role for such a woman.
The Resistance Against Mental Illness
I had seen Star Wars, as a kid, but to be honest, I didn’t really start to love it until last year when I watched all of the movies again with my boyfriend (and to make up for lost time, I’ve watched all of the movies about 5 times since then). I was always drawn to Princess Leia. After I saw all of the movies (including the Force Awakens) I gained an even deeper appreciation and respect for her character (and if you haven’t seen all of the movies yet, don’t read this next part because there will be spoilers).
After Leia’s home planet Alderaan was destroyed by Darth Vader (along with her family and friends) she remained determined to fight the dark side. In The Force Awakens, we learn that Leia’s son, husband, and brother have abandoned her in her time of need. I love that after all of that, Leia remains the strong princess (now general) we’ve always known. At the end of the movie when her husband is killed, Leia is still never once tempted by the dark side.
Talk about a strong woman!
The Princess Leia Spirit
In real life, Carrie Fisher battled with mental illness, particularly bipolar disorder. But like Debbie, she wasn’t going to let anything beat her down. Instead, she remained an outspoken advocate for those struggling with mental illness, and served as an inspiration to many. I believe Carrie truly embodied the spirit of Princess Leia, because she never gave up. She never stopped fighting for the resistance – both on screen and in her own life.
A Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds Tribute
When I heard of Carrie’s passing, I felt so sad for Debbie. To lose a child must be such an awful thing. I couldn’t imagine the pain that Debbie must have felt. When I heard that Debbie passed away the next day, I grieved so much for her family. It’s always painful to lose someone you love, and they lost two family members in just a few days. My heart goes out to them. So many of us all around the world have felt their grief too, and we mourn with them.
If you know me, you know I love frequenting the Disney parks all dressed up. In those first sad days, I set up a Facebook event, Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds Tribute at Hollywood Studios. I thought it would be fun to get a few friends together and wear styles inspired by the two ladies. I didn’t expect more than a few people to be interested in going, but a bunch of people were. They kept joining the event and inviting friends, until suddenly over 4,000 people said they were interested in coming. I couldn’t believe it!
A Day in Hollywood
The day of the event was an exciting one for sure. I, along with some attending, planned a day full of fun Carrie and Debbie related things to do in the parks. We all met by the Great Movie Ride to say hello in the morning. Then, we blasted off to a galaxy far far away at Star Tours. Our group had about 100 people for Star Tours, and Disney even let us all ride at the same time.
A Fashion Medley of Galactic and Dapper
In the afternoon, we met again in the courtyard. But this time it was for our mass group picture!
It was so much fun to see so many dapper and galactic ladies and gents. Even little kids came to the parks dressed up as Han and Leia, and it was the cutest thing ever! I loved this picture of most of our Han Solos.
In the early evening, we all gathered again by the Great Movie Ride. This time, we were there to ride and pay tribute to Debbie Reynolds. It was such a cool experience to ride with so many other Singin in the Rain fans! I’ll always treasure that memory.
Disneybounds of the Day & Featured Friends
I attended this event with my two good friends Kirsten and Paola of The Hepburn Movement. Kirsten and I embraced our inner Princess Leia with lots of white and really big hair buns. Paola donned a gorgeous vintage yellow dress inspired by Singin’ in the Rain.
Since Singin’ in the Rain was set in the 1920s, I thought it would be fun to do a look inspired by both Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds, and be a flapper Princess Leia for the day.
My flapper dress and gloves are authentic vintage, and my grey heels are are from Brinley Co. If you’re looking for cute t-strap heels, I highly recommend them! To check them out on Amazon, click here.
Throughout the day, we met so many other fashionable fans in the park and got pictures together.
Beckie Heck Everyday Disney’s Lizzie Tesch Stephanie Scott Kamagate
To end our tribute day, we met by the center stage for a special light saber and umbrella vigil. When Disney heard that our group was planning for this, they were kind enough to reach out to me about how they could improve it. Kenny, one of the cast members in charge of the studios started the vigil by thanking all of us for coming out to pay tribute to Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds. He spoke briefly about each of them. How they made such a great impact on the world not only through their stunning careers, but by being the strong, wonderful women that they were.
Then, Kenny invited us all to lift our lightsabers or umbrellas, and a beautiful medley of Star Wars and Singin in the Rain began to play. It was such a beautiful, emotional moment, and I found myself tearing up. It was a powerful experience to be surrounded so many different types of people, who like me, all came to honor the lives and legacies of some of our favorite ladies. If you’d like to see the clip of the vigil, Inside the Magic uploaded a wonderful video on Youtube.
I’ll always remember this day. As sad as it was to lose two Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds in such a short time span, it was beautiful to see so many different people coming together to honor their lives. It was a true testament to who Carrie and Debbie were as people – women who refused to let the trials of life bring them down. Women who fought back with determination, humor, and forgiveness. Women who genuinely cared about others, and who were never so important that they forgot kindness and humanity. I’ll always remember them for that.
I’m so thankful for all the cast members in Hollywood Studios who helped make this event amazing. Thank you to all who came. Thanks to those who gave me great ideas for the fun things we did that day. To those of you I got to meet, it was such a pleasure to talk to you all, and for those I didn’t, I wish that I could have had the chance to talk to everyone! This event wouldn’t have been nearly as great if you all hadn’t shown up to make it possible.
Thank you all for coming, and hope to see you guys in the parks soon. 🙂