If you were browsing Airbnb earlier this month, you may have found a few… shall we say, unusual listings — listings with images that looked uncommonly lush and possibly even illustrated, with descriptions that may have sounded oddly familiar. After spending a moment trying to place them, it might have hit you: These Airbnb listings were Disney-themed. Each one took its cues from a different Disney movie, from Golden Age titles like Mulan to classics like Robin Hood — and for just a moment, you may have experienced a tiny bit of the Disney magic you remember loving so much as a kid.
Created by New York-based art director Hanna Kregling and copywriter Mayra Nunez, the listings were inspired by a viewing of the 1996 Disney adaptation of The Hunchback of Notre Dame. “In the scenes with Quasimodo's 'Cathedral Loft,' we could help but notice that it would be an awesome place to live and experience Paris,” Kregling told Bustle in an email — which, by the way, is exactly what I think every time I watch that movie. It's gratifying to know that I'm not the only one. “From there,” Kregling contined, “we started thinking of other places in classic Disney films we wished we could visit in real life.”
The idea, Kregling said, was to find a “fun and unexpected way to bring back memories of classic Disney films to the core audience that grew up with them” — an audience which, now grown up, makes sharing economy services like Airbnb work. That's exactly why Kregling and Nunez initially put their creations up on Airbnb itself, rather than simply posting them on their respective websites and leaving it at that. Kregling told Bustle, “We have seen a lot of other forms of nostalgia, especially involving Disney characters that people have shared via social media, such as Disney princesses reimagined as anything you can possibly think of, or imagining if Disney princesses had Instagram or Facebook. We decided to make actual listings instead as a way for these characters to live in a new and unexplored environment.”
live, they do. The imaginary
listings feature images drawn from the films that inspired them,
framing them not as the stages on which specific stories unfold, but
as real locations in which people (and gods, and cats, and the
occasional space alien) exist as the go about their daily lives. The
details are ultimately what make them so wonderful: Rooms at Le
Chateau de Bonfamille (from The Aristocats)
come “equipped with a lint roller and antihistamine”; a stay at
Ohana Home (from Lilo and Stitch)
also grants you access to “all communal areas, and our record
player”; and the Legendary Chinese Farmhouse (from Mulan)
offers a military discount, “as we appreciate those who serve.”
It's not easy putting together a project with this much detail — according to Kregling, the process was “pretty extensive,” involving the creation of accounts for all of the characters listing places and the careful combing through of each film “to find the best images of the locations as well as details we could use in the descriptions” — but I think it's safe to say that it paid off, both for those enjoying it and those who created it. “We had a lot of fun doing this and the process definitely inspired the nostalgia in us that we hope to inspire with the listings,” said Kregling.
You'll notice that the movies and characters showcased here aren't the usual suspects — something which definitely isn't an accident. Said Kregling to Bustle, “We also wanted to take the focus away from just Disney princesses and princes, as we feel there are other lovable Disney characters and stories that don't receive the same amount of attention.” To which I say, hear, hear! Castles are nice and all, but I'd rather hang out in the bell tower of Notre Dame or with Lilo, Stitch, and Nani any day of the week.
Airbnb has already taken the listings down. I can understand why —
what if someone actually tried to book them? — but I still kind of
wish they had been allowed to remain. How delightful must it have
been to stumble upon them, discovering
as you read them what, precisely, they were? Sometimes you need a
little magic in your life — and the more unexpected the source of
magic, the better.