Welcome to the 1-Year Ride Guide Anniversary Special! Hello fellow riders. I hope you are ready to celebrate today as we look back on the first year of the WDW Ride Guide. We aren’t only looking back though, we are also looking ahead. If you have been following for a while then you know that I am a planner. I love to plan, I love to research, and I love to share what I learn. In fact, when we started the WDW Ride Guide one year ago this week, I was just a guy with a passion for Disney so big I had to find an outlet to express myself. I decided to pour that passion into podcasting and it has been one of the best decisions I have ever made! Talking to you each week provides me with so much joy, and launched several new avenues for me including blogging, podcasting, and vacation planning. So, what is the big deal with planning? Well, I like to plan so I can know what to expect. I like to plan so I don’t miss out on something incredible. I like to plan so that I don’t waste time on something that I won’t enjoy. Basically, I like to plan so I can maximize the FUN I have with my family each time we visit Walt Disney World.
Our goal is to build an audio library of every ride, show, experience, and more at Walt Disney World so that you will be able to plan your own Disney vacation. There is just so much to see and do in my favorite place, and all of it caters to a wide variety of visitors. There are certainly rides geared towards specific audiences, and what you love may be what someone else would rather skip. Hopefully the past year has added to your knowledge and understanding of what awaits your crew of Disney lovers. As we always say, your time at Disney is limited and precious, and knowing where to focus your energy is key to maximizing the magic!
Today we are going to spend a little time looking back at the most popular podcast episodes, a little time looking forward to what you expect in 2016, and a little time having fun! As always, we are going to start with our know before you go essential facts. However, rather than give you the details of a ride, today I’m going to give you the details of the podcast:
- The WDW Ride Guide is recorded in San Antonio, TX
- The podcast is an unofficial guide to rides at Walt Disney World
- The podcast is an independent production hosted by Ben Crain and edited by Pro Podcast Solutions
- You can follow the WDW Ride Guide on Facebook, Pinterest, the website wdwrideguide.com, or subscribe directly in iTunes
- Each episode runs about 15-20 minutes long
When I look back on the past year I’m pleasantly reminded of the wide array of rides found at Walt Disney World. Some date back to the opening of the Magic Kingdom in 1971, some are brand new, and even more are under construction. We started our podcast with a look at opening day rides from each of the four theme parks; It’s a Small World in Magic Kingdom, Spaceship Earth in Epcot, The Great Movie Ride in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Dinosaur at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. If you haven’t listened to those episodes yet, I encourage to go back and check out all four! Each is a fun look at the unique rides and the parks they call home. Out of these four, It’s a Small World is the most fascinating to me as it continues to entertain guests of all ages in the most upbeat way. The music and lyrics of the Sherman brothers and the artistry of Mary Blair are among the best combinations of legendary Disney talents anywhere. Having learned the rich history of this ride, dating all the way back to Walt and the 1965 World’s Fair, has made it one I look forward to on every trip. We have looked at a lot more than just It’s a Small World though so I guess we better keep moving along!
If you have listened to all 50 episodes, I want you to take a minute to try and guess the top 5 downloads. It’s okay. I’ll give you a second to think about it. What do you think? Does the top 5 include The Haunted Mansion, Expedition Everest, or maybe my favorite ride, Star Tours- The Adventure Continues? Well, it surprised me to learn the top 5 downloaded episodes from our first year were… drumroll please….
5. Spaceship Earth
4. Space Mountain
3. Rock ’n Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith
2. It’s a Small World
1. Living With the Land
These 5 rides probably wouldn’t all be voted the 5 most fun rides to experience. However, they do illustrate the point of the podcast, which is to help learn about rides you may not be very familiar with. One of the best surprises I’ve had over the past year was waking up one day to discover our Living With the Land episode had been downloaded a record number of times the day before. In a single day this ride was downloaded almost double what the total for every other episode had been. If you were one of the many downloads that day, I want you to know it gave me great joy to think about you discovering the charm of this boat ride inside Epcot’s Land Pavilion! This also gave me a lot of encouragement, knowing we needed to talk about more than just the big thrill rides inside the parks.
One thing I would love to hear is what your favorite episode has been. To be honest, I haven’t received enough feedback in our first year, and that is something I would like to change in our second year. Please understand that I love doing the podcast for your benefit, and the reason I want feedback is to know how I can better serve you. I understand it takes time to stop and type out an e-mail or comment on our website or our Facebook page. That’s the very reason I haven’t spent a lot of time asking this of our listeners. I want to put out content for you without you feeling an obligation to respond to us. However, if you have something to share, it would just make my day to hear from you. As I said, I would love to hear what your favorite podcast has been, what your favorite ride is, or what you would like us to cover in the future.
Speaking of the future, let’s talk about 2016 for just a minute. I believe this is going to be such a fun year on the podcast! Did you know we still have over 35 rides and shows we have yet to cover in the Magic Kingdom alone? Add in the other 3 parks and all the new things in store this year, and we are going to have a tough time deciding what to talk about! I know for sure we will be exploring the NEW Frozen ride in the Norway pavilion at Epcot, the newly refurbished and expanded Soarin’ Around the World at Epcot, the NEW nighttime show Rivers of Light at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and much, much more. We will also be bringing you more special episodes like Top 5, Rider Roundtable, and Podcast Showcase. One thing I’m super pumped about is a new special edition episode we will be calling the Backstage Pass. These episodes will be spread throughout the year and will feature some of the backstage tours available in the parks. Full disclosure: I’m excited about these episodes because it means I am embarking on these tours personally! In fact, I’m tackling the tough task of researching these for you this week while I’m in the parks! Which tours are we exploring? Well, you will just have to wait and see. Or, you could actually just go to the Facebook page to catch a sneak peak as we post pictures this week. You decide.
So, how does that sound? See, 2016 should be a lot of fun as we continue to explore together.
Before we go I want to share a few pictures from our day at the Magic Kingdom. We had a great time talking to several characters, eating some great food, and riding many fantastic rides. Needless to say it was a wonderful way to celebrate our 1-year anniversary.
I hope these pictures show how much fun a day at Disney can be. It is certainly a ride worth taking! We have had a terrific 1st year and I am so looking forward to the fun ahead. Now the real question is: what are we going to cover next week? With so much to choose from, it will be tough! I tell you what, you come back next week and I’ll make it worth your while. Thank you so much for joining me today to celebrate. I hope you have a wonderful week and until we meet again, make each day a ride worth taking!
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