Welcome y’all! I’m so glad that by some stroke of luck you’ve found your way to my blog. Whether you’re here because you have low vision, you love Disney, or you enjoy my pop culture references, I’m happy to have you! Now that you’re here, why don’t you get to know a little bit about me!
My name is Theresa Mabe, but if you’re around my friends and family you’ll most likely hear people call me Tree (or Gertie, but you’ll have to read the rest of page for the story behind that). Central Maryland has always been home; currently, I am a 15-minute drive outside Baltimore (Go Os!). I’ve spent the past 15 years working in non-profit and higher education, with an emphasis on prospect research, fundraising, and donor stewardship. I have a degree in digital media and web technology from University of Maryland, with much of my learning focused on web accessibility – a topic that has become increasingly important for me, both personally and professionally.
Myopic Macular Degeneration
In February 2014, I was diagnosed with myopic macular degeneration, caused by pathological myopia. A lot of words that essentially mean I severely near-sighted and the strain on my retina is resulting in deterioration of my central vision. Although this has prompted me to make a lot of adjustments in my life, it’s also made me recognize how few resources exist for those with myopic macular degeneration. One of my primary goals with starting this website is to provide guidance and encouragement for anyone else who has ever felt overwhelmed or isolated after receiving a similar diagnosis, and sharing what I’ve learned about myself and this condition from my own personal experiences.
Despite only visiting Walt Disney World once as a child, it has become a huge part of my life as an adult. I even listen to background music from the parks while I’m working – shout out to the Grand Californian Lobby track. I’m also a sucker for Disney-themed outfits. Planning what I’m wearing during my trips is almost as much fun as choosing my FastPass+ and dining reservations! I’ve been fortunate enough to make several trips to Walt Disney World, Disneyland, and attend D23 Expo, but it’s a bucket list item to experience all of the international parks!
Although Disney Parks are my most frequent vacation spot, I’m always mentally planning my next excursion to a new location. Day trips to week-long adventures; solo, girls’ trips or family travel; all I need is a destination and I’m ready to start exploring. I have a particular fondness for the Outer Banks in North Carolina, as that’s where my family vacationed every summer growing up. But San Juan, Puerto Rico stole my heart when I first visited on a cruise a few years ago. Hiking, animal excursions(especially if sloths are involved!), theme parks, MLB stadiums, national parks, quirky museums. I want to see, do and eat it all!
Growing up, my dad always had Turner Classic Movies on in our house (usually on more than one tv at a time). So it’s no surprise that the majority of my top 10 favorite films were made in the 1960s or earlier. But that doesn’t mean I’m stuck in the past! I love a variety of entertainment genres and exploring what goes into making the content we all enjoy. I also apologize in advance if you ever watch something with me because I cannot help myself from pointing out “Oh, you know what else that actor was in?” It does make me a huge asset at trivia nights though, so give me a call.
I feel like this is also the place to brag that Jessie Maltin has listed me as one of her favorite “film/movie buff/cinephile nerd accounts” to follow on Twitter. So if that’s your jam you probably be following me too at GertieTheDino.
I have few vivid memories of my first trip to Walt Disney World in 1990: The rainbow tunnel above the Journey into Imagination attraction in Epcot. Being utterly terrified of the Haunted Mansion and Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride in Magic Kingdom. And a glorious, blue, ice-cream serving dinosaur in MGM Studios named Gertie. When I was finally able to revisit Walt Disney World on my second trip 18 years later, I was most excited about seeing that dinosaur again. While everyone else rushed to Toy Story Midway Mania to get Fast Passes, I bolted to Echo Lake. The moment I saw Gertie, tears came to my eyes and I was transported back to my childhood, reliving the emotions associated with my first trip to Disney. To me, she is the physical representation of how the joy and wonder and amazement of Disney imprints itself on your heart.
These days, I have a miniature Gertie the Dinosaur who travels with me when I go to Disney. You can even follow her adventures on Instagram. As a result of my unabashed love of Gertie on social media, I know that’s what people associate with me. So yes – if you see me and yell out “GERTIE!!!!” I’ll probably turn around, with a giant grin on my face and dinosaur in my purse.