The couple who met at Disneyland

(CNN) — Renata Bastos at all times questioned if she may discover romance at Disneyland.

“On one hand, it feels nearly not possible and surreal. Alternatively, it makes excellent sense. The place else was I going to fulfill the love of my life, if not at Disney?” Renata tells CNN Journey at this time.

For Renata, Disneyland California is a home-away-from-home. She grew up some 20 minutes from the Anaheim resort. As a child, she loved many sunny household weekends absorbing the magic. As a youngster, she spent lengthy Saturdays wandering the park together with her faculty pals.

By 2012, 20-year-old Renata was at a crossroads. She’d simply obtained again to the US after an prolonged trip to her start nation of Brazil. Reconnecting together with her Brazilian tradition and household was therapeutic and revealing. Renata determined concentrating on herself, her household and her friendships was key to this stage of her life — romantic relationships have been firmly off the desk.

With that in thoughts, Renata organized a giant journey to Disneyland together with her prolonged group of pals — a possibility for a catch up after her time away.

On the morning of Friday, January 13, 2012, Renata and her pals streamed by the Disney gates. They spent a lot of the morning folks watching on Principal Avenue U.S.A, and laughing and screeching as they rode the park’s curler coasters.

By mid-afternoon, Renata and her pals broke off into smaller teams to accommodate everybody’s pursuits, however deliberate to reunite at Jungle Cruise, the water-based experience in Adventureland. The chums figured there was sufficient of them to take over a complete boat, to maximise the enjoyable.

When the group ultimately reunited within the Jungle Cruise line, they’d grown in quantity. One in all Renata’s pals had obtained chatting to some guys she vaguely knew whereas ready for the Pirates of the Caribbean experience, and she or he’d invited them to hitch within the day’s enjoyable.

Amongst these newcomers was Brian Mehl.

Brian grew up in a Disney-loving household, and, like Renata, spent a lot of his free time as a child and teenager at Disneyland.

Renata and Brian truly grew up in the identical city. However as Brian was a bit older, and so they’d attended totally different excessive faculties, the 2 had by no means crossed paths,

Like Renata, Brian was at a crossroads in his life in January 2012. He’d simply left his job, and was questioning what got here subsequent.

Brian and Renata met in 2012 at Disneyland California.


Ready in line for the experience, the 2 teams of pals began chatting with a 3rd group, the forged of a neighborhood manufacturing of “The Rocky Horror Image Present.” Ultimately, the three teams boarded the boat in tandem.

“So we did succeed at having our personal personal little cruise on the Jungle Cruise with simply our now terribly massive group of pals,” recollects Renata.

Swept up within the enjoyable of the experience, and the thrill of assembly a bunch of recent, like-minded folks abruptly, Renata solely zeroed in on Brian when the group disembarked the boat.

“I used to be like, ‘Oh, wait a minute, I made a decision I wasn’t gonna date anybody, however he is sort of cute. I’ll speak to him,'” she says.

However there have been so many individuals within the group, and a lot occurring, that her efforts weren’t very profitable.

“He could not care much less about me. He was fully oblivious. It didn’t work in any respect,” says Renata, laughing.

Brian insists this is not true. He remembers assembly Renata that day. He thought she was “a bubbly enjoyable individual,” he says.

Because the day drew to an in depth, plans began to kind for the group to observe their new pals in “Rocky Horror” the next night.

Renata jumped on the likelihood to host a pre-show social gathering at her home, hoping Brian may come alongside.

However the next day, as she obtained prepared for the night, prepping her costume — a silver corset, denims and cat ears — Renata started to have doubts.

“He is not simply going to point out up to a whole stranger’s home,” she recollects considering.

However he did.

‘Rocky Horror’ romance

“I made a decision to go as a result of it appeared like a enjoyable time,” says Brian. “Assembly new folks is at all times a enjoyable factor to do.”

Renata was thrilled.

“I used to be shocked to see him. I did not truly imagine him when he mentioned he was going till he confirmed up,” she says. “It wasn’t till then that I assumed that possibly I had an opportunity with this man.”

“So we went to ‘Rocky,’ and once more, I orchestrated so I might find yourself sitting subsequent to him.”

Amid the raucous viewers interplay at “Rocky,” Renata and Brian flirted. Because the night time went on, it was clear the curiosity wasn’t simply on Renata’s finish.

“There was positively a bodily connection,” she recollects.

“If I’ll be sincere right here, there was not numerous chatting. There was some dancing and a few kissing. However he had my quantity and began texting me the subsequent day.”

It was over textual content that the 2 realized how a lot that they had in frequent. The messages began, and did not cease.

“I feel that is what began our huge connection, that we began speaking continuously proper after ‘Rocky,'” says Brian. “I do not suppose I ever had anybody really talk with me a lot everyday.”

In addition to a mutual ardour for Disney, each Brian and Renata shared a love of winter sports activities. Over textual content, Brian instructed Renata he was making an attempt to get a gaggle collectively to exit to the mountains for a day journey the next weekend. He invited Renata to come back alongside.

When nobody else dedicated and it ended up simply being Renata and Brian, alone, they have been each secretly happy.

“We did numerous the standard first date stuff, the attending to know you stuff, however as a substitute of getting these conversations throughout a desk from one another we did it on a chairlift,” recollects Renata.

“It was a extremely enjoyable first date. I keep in mind simply speaking,” says Brian.

After the day of snow sports activities, Renata and Brian made plans to go see “Rocky Horror” once more. This time, it might simply be the 2 of them. Afterwards, they frolicked all night.

“For me that was the second,” says Renata. “We stayed up all night time speaking, and that was after we actually related, and we realized that we each have the identical objectives in life, the identical pursuits.”

“That was that,” says Brian, who says that assembly Renata gave him a sense of certainty and readability he’d by no means felt earlier than.

Renata says she felt the identical means. And this was solely cemented once they launched their mother and father at, after all, Disneyland.

“It simply felt comfy and pure,” says Brian. “It wasn’t work.”

A Disney proposal

Renata and Brian spent a day enjoying snow sports on their first date.

Renata and Brian spent a day having fun with snow sports activities on their first date.


The primary check of Brian and Renata’s relationship got here two years in, when Renata accepted her dream function with the Disney Faculty Program. The job concerned her relocating to Florida, to work at Walt Disney World, for six months.

“These six months aside are going to be the final word check,” Renata recollects considering. “If it does not work, then it isn’t purported to work, and it is nice, and we’ll break it off — and good factor we discovered now, as a substitute of investing, you realize, one other three extra years.”

Brian helped her transfer, and the couple turned the drive throughout the nation right into a two week highway journey, stopping off at landmarks and profiting from the time collectively.

“But when it does work, if after six months aside, we come to the conclusion that we nonetheless wish to be collectively, then that is sort of it, that we discovered the individual and from there on, our relationship goes to shift into a way more critical tone,” Renata remembers considering.

Throughout their six month separation, the 2 busied themselves with work.

“Life simply occurred and we simply rolled by,” says Brian.

When Renata got here again, the connection did shift. The couple determined to maneuver in collectively, and Brian began cooking up plans for a memorable marriage ceremony proposal.

Brian proposed to Renata in a creative, Disney-themed way.

Brian proposed to Renata in a inventive, Disney-themed means.


The situation was a no brainer: Disneyland, after all. The Californian park was the place the 2 met, and it had a particular resonance for his or her households, too.

Renata had instructed Brian she appreciated the concept of a giant proposal, with all her family members in attendance. So when Renata’s prolonged household have been on the town from Brazil, it was the right alternative.

The group made reservations at Disney’s Grand Californian Resort for a “character breakfast,” the place diners brunch accompanied by actors dressed as beloved Disney characters.

Brian obtained Renata’s sister concerned, and the 2 did some analysis. They realized that if folks suggest at Disneyland, the characters are instructed to maneuver out of any images.

Brian knew Renata higher than anybody, and he knew Renata would love her favourite characters to be a part of the second. So Brian and Renata’s sister cooked up an thought: Brian would make a “marry me” signal and whereas Renata took a photograph together with her favourite Disney characters, cartoon chipmunks Chip and Dale, Brian would maintain up the signal within the background.

Within the second, these logistics proved somewhat sophisticated. Renata missed the signal altogether, and solely realized what was taking place when Brian obtained down on one knee with the ring.

Nonetheless, when she put two and two, she was delighted.

“It was actually cute,” says Renata now. “After which all of us went to Disneyland.”

Renata and Brian enjoyed a Disney-themed wedding at Disney's Grand Californian Hotel.

Renata and Brian loved a Disney-themed marriage ceremony at Disney’s Grand Californian Resort.


Quick ahead two years, and Renata and Brian returned to the Disneyland Grand Californian Resort to get married.

It was a dream come true for Renata.

“Since I used to be little, I used to say that I used to be going to get married at Disney,” she says.

Her dad used to level out that she’d must marry somebody who beloved Disney as a lot as she did.

“If they do not wish to get married at Disney, they don’t seem to be the best individual,” Renata would reply.

Now, right here she was. She’d discovered the “proper individual.” She was marrying somebody who beloved Disneyland as a lot as she did. And Disneyland was the place their romance had begun.

“Every thing was excellent,” says Renata, who took Brian’s identify, changing into Renata Mehl.

“It was superior,” agrees Brian.

On the marriage ceremony, the 2 had a number of Disney characters in attendance, Mickey and Minnie Mouse, in addition to Renata’s favorites Chip and Dale.

Afterwards, the couple took benefit of Renata’s Disney worker low cost to fly to Walt Disney World Florida and honeymoon on the park’s Grand Floridian Resort.

They loved a morning prepare tour earlier than the park opened, a firework cruise and dinner inside Cinderella’s Citadel.

10 years later

Renata and Brian on a recent trip to Brazil together.

Renata and Brian on a latest journey to Brazil collectively.


This yr sees Renata and Brian rejoice 10 years since they first met at Disneyland. They’ve grown up collectively in that point, supporting each other as they’ve discovered their means.

They nonetheless take pleasure in going to the theater collectively, and getting out in nature. They lately took up paddleboarding, and loved a climbing journey to the Grand Canyon.

They usually nonetheless love Disney. The couple nonetheless dwell near Disneyland California and say they by no means get sick of going there.

Renata chronicles their Disney adventures on her Instagram account, @MagicallyRenata. Their purpose is to go to all of the Disney parks internationally, with Disney Tokyo and Disneyland Paris topping the record.

Renata and Brian hope to have youngsters collectively at some point, and they want Disneyland to be as a lot part of their future youngsters’s lives as it’s theirs.

“I feel for me, there’s a lot nostalgia, in the case of Disney,” displays Renata. “I grew up on it. I used to be very fortunate to get to go to Disneyland from a really younger age. And so each time I am there, there are simply all these little callbacks to my childhood. But in addition, I’ve fashioned a brand new respect for it as an grownup.”

Brian agrees, suggesting the magic of Disneyland is it is a spot the place adults can indulge their internal child.

That mentioned, the 2 admit they could be a bit biased. Positive, Disneyland was particular for them earlier than 2012. However then it grew to become the place the place their romance started, and took on a brand new resonance.

Whereas Renata suggests “proper place and the best time” performed an element of their assembly, she’s additionally a Disney lover, so fairytale endings are her factor. She likes to suppose there was extra at play than simply coincidence.

“I feel we nonetheless would have met. I feel there’s somewhat little bit of future there,” she says. “It was meant to be. Someway we have been going to run into one another.”

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