The WDW Today Podcast is comprised of four guys and one gal who together make up an unbelievably talented cast of characters. The show is incredibly hilarious and always very informative. The funny man of the crew and a mathematical genius is Len Testa of touringplans.com and co-author of The Unofficial Guide To Walt Disney World.
Playing the straight man to Len is the shows moderator and one of the top experts on Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Matt Hochberg of studioscentral.com. Then there is the brains of the outfit. The man who is rumored to have a higher IQ than Albert Einstein and quite possibly the best Disney writer on the internet, Dr. Mike Scopa, Senior Feature Writer and blogger for AllEars.net. The lone female in the cast brings to the table her southern charm and indisputable wealth of Disney travel knowledge and that is the Fabulous Annette Owens of MEI & Mouse Fan Travel. The final member of the crew is the glue that keeps it all together, the technical engineer, and unsung hero of the show, Mike Newell of mouseworldradio.com.
So who is Mike Newell?
To find out this information I had to put my research skills to the ultimate test. I even had to go undercover on a secret mission to ‘Journey Into Imagination’ and some of what you’re about to read has never been made public, until now.
As legend has it, Mike Newell was born on Veterans Day, November 11, in the Bronx, New York. He was a normal little boy totally unaware of his super power capabilities until one day while on vacation with his family in Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom. It was an unusually warm day even for Florida. The temperature was well over 100 degrees and the humidity was unbearable. The Newell family was navigating their way through a very hot and crowded Main Street, USA. A young Mike Newell was his usually happy go lucky self and enjoying one of those giant sized lollipops that his parents just bought him. All of a sudden a big kid, perhaps a teenager with very long hair wearing a tie dye T-shirt as described by eyewitness recounting of the event, accidentally barreled into young Mike knocking the lollipop from his hands to the ground. The lollipop was in pieces and this big kid disappeared into the crowd never realizing what he had just done.
As a crowd gathered, young Mike was just standing there gazing at the broken lollipop. He didn’t look upset and he wasn’t crying. He was determined to put the lollipop back together. Then all of a sudden, in the blink of an eye, faster than a speeding bullet, and quicker than a camera flash, young Mike did put the lollipop back together again. The crowd roared with excitement!
Standing nearby was a young boy named Len who witnessed the event and Len said, “What young Mike just did was statistically impossible.” Then yet another boy named little Lou approached Mike and offered to represent him should he seek compensation for his misfortune. Young Mike turned toward little Lou and said “No thanks, I’m good!”
This was the day young Mike started to realize he had a special gift. As Mike grew older he needed to figure out how to best utilize his super powers and at the same time live as normal a life as could be expected. In the meantime, Mike decided to become a school bus driver. Then one day he got a brilliant idea to work for a major telecommunications company where he could blend in and also make use of his super powers for the good of mankind.
With Mike now working for a major telecommunications company he has found peace knowing he is in a position to help the masses solve their telecommunications problems and needs. He is able to perform extraordinary feats that appear ordinary to all but those around him. One would think this would be enough for Mike’s need for an outlet to use his super powers but it was not. Something was still missing. There was a void Mike needed to fill but what was it?
As it so happens, one day Mike got a telephone call asking if he would be interested in joining forces with Matt Hochberg, Mike Scopa, and Len Testa to form a group of modern day Mouseketeers on a show broadcast through the Iinternet direct to your iPods and mp3 players. The show is referred to as a podcast and its name is WDW Today. Well, Mike liked the idea of being a telecommunications super hero by day and a technical marvel by night. For those who listen to the show you have seen Mike perform miraculous magic saving the show numerous times from the dreaded ‘Dead Air.’
Still not satisfied that he was doing enough good with his super powers Mike founded Mouse World Radio and brings joy and delight to thousands of Disney fans by broadcasting Disney music over the Iinternet 24/7. This technological genius’ work has been duplicated by many, which is the nicest form of flattery anyone can receive.
Mike doesn’t always receive thanks for his efforts and like many other super heroes he is modest by nature and uncomfortable with accolades of grandeur. Although he is the WDW Today Podcast’s unsung hero to many, Mike Newell exemplifies magnificence.
Contributed by: Stuart S. (NDD #47). Stuart is a contributor to the Disney Driven Life and is the author of the Disney Geek Dad blog.