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Once upon a time, there was a young woman named Kelsey Atwood-Knudson who dreamed of falling in love, fairy-tale style.
She posted profiles on Tinder and Match.com, unsuccessful in her search for her Prince Charming until she stumbled on a dating site for Disney fans, MouseMingle, and created a profile.
She rated her Disney nerd level, answered a variety of questions (“Where would you first spend time in the park?” and “What type of annual pass do you have?”) and listed favorite songs and movies.
Six months later, on July 12, 2016, she matched with 100% compatibility to Kevin Guy, a 26-year-old Navy petty officer 2nd class stationed off the Washington state coast.
Atwood-Knudson, a 27-year-old Washington native who manages her father’s dental practices in multiple locations, and Guy, who grew up 4 miles from Disneyland in Garden Grove, corresponded on the site for about two hours.
They traded phone numbers and talked daily before scheduling a date at Ciao Bella, an Italian restaurant that reminded them of the memorable spaghetti scene in “Lady and the Tramp.”
The two headed to a beach — sans a magic carpet ride — and watched bunnies nibble on grass while talking all things Disney. That night, Guy asked permission to hold her hand and give her a kiss.
Fast forward to April 17, 2017. The couple exchanged vows at their version of a Disney wedding in Bellingham, Wash.
They owe it all to their fairy godfather, Dave Tavres. The Anaheim resident, a self-proclaimed Disney nerd and former Disneyland Railroad engineer, launched MouseMingle in late 2015 after he had trouble finding women who shared his enthusiasm for the Happiest Place on Earth.
Since its inception, MouseMingle has attracted thousands of members worldwide who pay a $12.55 monthly subscription (Disneyland was founded in ’55). The site is responsible for two marriages and has received shout-outs on Conan O’Brien’s show, “The View” and “Saturday Night Live.”
Tavres, who scored six dates on MouseMingle, quit his full-time job as a technical program manager to work on the site. He’s close to finishing a mobile app and site redesign.
He said if members are rude they are reported and suspended. Suggestive images are deleted.
MouseMingle is not just about finding love. Subscribers can also find friends and park pals.
“It’s not just about Disneyland, and it’s not specific,” Tavres said. “Everybody is welcome. I want people just to connect.”
“I couldn’t believe it when I learned couples were getting married from this site that I started,” said Tavres, who noted that Disney contacted and applauded him but added that he stress the website was an unofficial fan site unaffiliated with the Walt Disney Co. “I’m so happy for all of them.”
Tavres learned of the Guy wedding when Atwood-Knudson sent him an email thanking him for his creation.
Their wedding bands were set in three diamonds in the shape of Mickey Mouse’s head and the character’s silhouette was featured in tabletop topiaries and as a cake topper.
The bride walked down the aisle to “Married Life” from “Up.” The new husband and wife left the ceremony to an orchestral version of “You’re Welcome” from “Moana,” shared their first dance to “Ma Belle Evangeline” from “The Princess and the Frog” and selected “Baby Mine” from “Dumbo” for the father-daughter number.
Guests sipped “Moana Mai Tais,” “Genie’s Magic Margaritas” and a “Mickey Funwheel,” a cocktail modeled after the one from the Cove Bar in Disney California Adventure Park.
“The website gives you so much common experience,” Atwood-Knudson said. “It’s fun, imaginative and it’s different. We want to help Dave build the business so people have the chance to find their match and live their Disney dream.”