There is something intrinsically special about staying with something and seeing it through: being committed to it, watching it grow, and experiencing its influence as it becomes not just something that fulfills personal pleasure, but that begins to play an important role in the lives of others. Walt Disney certainly must have had a sense of pride as his storied career expanded and the fruits of his labor began to take shape. His characters were not just his anymore. The places he created in his imagination no longer remained there. Theater audiences, park guests, television viewers, and everyone in between made the ideas of Walt’s mind part of the fabric of their lives because he believed in his dreams and ensured they would be fulfilled.
This commitment to excellence is not unlike WDW Radio. This week, Lou will air his 400th show. 400th! Something with that long of a track record is worthy of congratulations. Not only that, but to maintain a level of quality (one that has been recognized eight consecutive years by The People’s Choice Podcast Awards) through each of the 400 shows is something we’re all appreciative of. Way back since Show #1, which debuted February 11, 2007, one could see traces of exciting things to come. That episode is primarily a brief introduction of what the Show hoped to evolve into (which it has, and then some). Even while clocking in at a mere seven minutes, that first Show has hints of what makes WDW Radio special, including (this is not a joke) a mention of food. Of course!
Today we’re going to take a look back at what makes listening to the WDW Radio podcast such an inviting, encouraging, informative, and fun part of listeners’ weekly routine.
Example—#376: “History and Celebration of 40 Years at the Hoop Dee Do,” 9/8/14
Part of the joy of experiencing Walt Disney World is appreciating its history. Behind every fictional story we are transported into is a very real story of how the project came to be. Lou does an excellent job at sending us back in time and behind the scenes, sometimes with the aid of special guests, to delve into the history behind our favorite Disney attractions.
Example—#279: “Cars Land and Buena Vista Street Complete Live Review,” 6/17/12
Planning a Disney vacation is admittedly overwhelming. In addition to providing helpful information pertinent to enjoying our trips, Lou is a wellspring of knowledge concerning how to best enjoy it. Whether it’s devoting a whole Show to discuss traveling with specific groups of people (teens, toddlers, etc.), a certain time of the year (Halloween, Christmas), or after a new attraction has just opened its gates, a podcast listen is time well spent and, ultimately, time well saved on vacation because of the tips we glean.
Top Ten Example—#90: “Top Ten Things We Love About the Haunted Mansion,” 10/26/08
DSI: Disney Scene Investigation Example—#136: “Carousel of Progress DSI,” 9/13/09
So we know the history behind a WDW experience, we know the best way to tour it, and now it’s time to learn how to maximize the magic out of it. There are many details relevant to the backstory of an attraction
that are easy to miss. With the help of Tim Foster, Lou’s top ten lists always bring to light aspects of Disney property I never even knew existed. In the Disney Scene Investigation series, Lou examines a specific entity and points out everything of value about it, much of which is often overlooked.
Interview Example—#127: “Julie Andrews Interview,” 7/12/09
It’s one thing to be told the history of a project through facts and another to hear an authentic perspective from a primary source. There have been an impressive roster of guests on The Show, from the voice of Mickey Mouse to legendary Imagineers. Each interview, guided by unique questions crafted to evoke insightful responses, gives us fascinating depth through personality.
Perhaps the best quality of The Show is that is exists beyond the confines of an audio file. In addition to simply making families’ vacations the best they can be, this podcast creates, in a sense, its own style of magic. That’s a word that is perhaps overused in the context of the Disney realm, but applies here in its truest sense. With The Show as an anchor, a community thrives. The Box is home to a group of passionate people sharing lively, encouraging conversation with one another on a weekly basis. Charity events send deserving families to Walt Disney World who would otherwise never visit. The blog provides further vacation assistance through a different medium. Books offer detailed help with a specific focus. Social media gives inspiration and updates. Meet-ups allow a network of people to make connections outside of cyberspace.
WDW Radio is more than an information station; it adds value in ways that exceed the expectations of what a travel podcast can be, and for that we are all grateful.
Join me in congratulating Lou in the comments! Which of the 400 WDW Radio Show episodes have YOU gotten the most out of?
(Photos © Disney.)
Blake studies Electronic Media and Film at Appalachian State University. He enjoys making his family of six watch the parade in Frontierland and then sprint to Main Street in time to see it again. You can find him on Twitter @olddirtyblake or at BlakeOnline.com.