After vacationing with my family at Walt Disney World in July 2001 it wasn’t until November 2006 that we returned to the “Holy Land.” I was already a big fan of the mouse but it wasn’t until that 2006 trip that I started to really explore my passion for all things Disney.
At this point I was still a closet Disney fan. I feared speaking about my passion with family and friends would only result in mocking and ridicule. So, I turned to the internet for answers. Although I was familiar with some sites like http://allears.net/ I wasn’t yet familiar with podcasts nor did I have any clue there was an online Disney community.
It didn’t take long for the web to become my worldwide passport to Disney. I found other amazing Disney websites and I was listening to as many Disney podcasts as time would allow. I started to e-mail some podcasts and one Sunday night I even called in to a live WDW Today Podcast http://www.wdwtoday.com/. I was so nervous but the guys, Matt, Mike, Mike, Len, & Annette were so nice.
Then shortly before my August 2008 Disney family vacation I discovered twitter through Lou Mongello’s website http://www.wdwradio.com/. It took me a long time to get acclimated to twitter because the people I now know and call my good friends were then strangers roaming the internet. I will also never forget meeting Lou and his family on the last day of our vacation.
In February 2009 I started a blog http://disneygeekdad.blogspot.com/ as a way to keep the magic alive between my trips. This is something I probably never would have attempted had it not been for twitter. It was twitter that would eventually get me to open the door and announce to the world “I am proud to be a Disney fan!”
I have always been a shy and reserved person but when I heard there was going to be a Lou Mongello meet at the Menlo Park Mall in New Jersey to say goodbye to Lou before his move to Florida I knew I had to be there. I got to meet Lou again and some incredible people that day including the marvelous Mike Newell.
Towards the end of 2009 something inside me started to change. Using my blog to keep the magic alive was no longer my goal or focus. It was then I started to think of ways I could use my blog to return the magic to the very community that opened its arms to me and everyone else walking through its gates.
In the beginning of the year I was given the opportunity to contribute to the Disney Driven Life and one I still cherish. Unfortunately, writing a blog article isn’t enough to satisfy my need to give back to the community. So after my wife and I booked Lou’s WDW Radio Show Dream Cruise for this coming February I knew I had to do something before the ship sails. So, I decided to organize an unofficial and informal cruisers meet last spring. I met some unbelievably great Disney fans including Anthony Ayacullo, Lori Burke, Lisa Battista, and a member of the illustrious Disney mom’s Panel, Marc Lorenzo who I am proud to call my friend.
This past July my family returned to Disney World where my desire to give back to the Disney community was only further strengthened by our visit. As I wrote in a previous blog contribution my family spent a day in the Magic Kingdom with JL Knopp and her lovely children. Even though it was the first time all of us met it didn’t seem that way. I also had the pleasure of meeting the Hidden Mickey Guy, Dr. Steven M. Barrett http://www.hiddenmickeysguide.com/ as well as Mike Rahlmann from the Be Our Guest Podcast http://beourguestpodcast.blogspot.com/. Meeting JL, her children, Steve, and Mike not only fueled my need to do more for the community but they made me feel more a part of it.