Several years ago the Between family was planning for a Walt Disney World vacation, one in which we were planning for a toddler and trying to find some new experiences that we had not had in our trip a few years before. I had heard of Celebrations magazine through Lou Mongello’s WDW Radio podcast. My wife suggested I order a copy online since it would likely have information about future events, recent park changes and maybe some planning tips that we had not considered. I love to read, so the suggestion sounded good and I ordered the latest copy of the magazine. About a week later I got the copy and I was hooked.
What I found was all that we expected and more. I have a history background and I found articles providing historical information about Walt Disney World. It also contained behind the scenes information about the attractions and hotels. There was even information relevant for traveling with kids. Before I finished reading the issue, I had ordered the other available back issues and ordered a subscription. I’m happy to say that today I have a full collection of Celebrations due to some timely reprints and beginning my subscription in the first year. Yeah, I was hooked and to be honest it really helped me past my future vacation because it delivered me regular Walt Disney World information straight to my mailbox.
Around a year later I saw publishers Tim Foster and Lou Mongello ask listeners for ideas for future stories. Now I had ideas, but they were ideas tied to another future vacation and I really would have loved to get one of the magazine’s contributors to chime in on my questions. I got a response from Tim thanking me for my ideas, explaining kindly why my questions currently did not fit in their plans, and letting me know if I had any additional ideas of what I wanted to write on to send them to him. Then it hit me. Living out in Between Disney I was actually seen as someone who might not only provide a suggestion but maybe write an article on Walt Disney World.
Several months later I had just finished a book. A book that left me with a pretty fun question that I wanted more of an excuse to explore. So, I sent the idea to Tim, and was quickly told that would be a fabulous idea for an article. I have to be honest; I had so much fun as I researched my new little project. I loved every minute of this project and was a little sad when I had given the final submission to Tim. But, luckily that project led to another idea which Tim also liked so I pretty quickly was able to start again and again, it was so fun writing this new Disney project. I admit it I was addicted, which is part of the reason I even started this blog. I really helped to lower my stress level and make me a more fun person to be around.
Later I asked my wife for ideas, after all she was where this little adventure again. She suggested Dole Whip, as this tasty treat is something that the Between family enjoys together. As she says, a day in the Magic Kingdom or Disneyland Park without a Dole Whip is a wasted day. I submitted this idea to Tim. His reaction was it would be great if possible but was it doable? Now when I was in high school I was told by an English teacher that a creative writing paper I was writing about a purple cow was a sponge in the ocean, which led me to make it work. So with this determination again, I found all I could about Dole Whip trying to figure out how to get content on paper. In the end, I pulled it off. It is not the longest article, but it did present everything I could find about Dole Whip and its history. And it was so so fun. I was thrilled when it arrived in my mailbox as my first published Disney article.
So what did I learn about all this experience?
First, your geography does not matter. If I am lucky I get to the parks once every 12 to 14 months, if I am lucky. So it’s not like I can access the parks whenever I want. That does have certain disadvantages. For the Dole Whip article I was not able to provide any of the photos. Instead the editors sent someone who had access to get pictures to support the text. Sadly for me, they probably got to eat those Dole Whips too. In fact it was kind of fun with my limitations. At one point on New Year’s Eve I had friends searching the windows on Main Street U.S.A trying to uncover one small piece of information. If you have a Disney dream, you can probably find a channel for it out here Between Disney.
Second, you can become the expert. I’m pretty sure that I found pieces of information about Dole Whip that were not widely available. In fact Precision Foods staff reviewed my article and said they did not realize the fuller background on Dole Foods Inc. Even if you feel like you are not the expert, which you can feel living away from the parks, you can through research and hard work smarten yourself up. So you should never feel like you cannot do something because you do not have the expertise, instead go get the expertise.
Third, following a dream is fun. Writing about Dole Whip was never ever a chore. On another future project I spent my lunches in a local library with a book not available for circulation. That was never a hardship; in fact it became the highlight of my workday.
In the end I have to thank Tim and Lou for giving the opportunity for me to contribute to the Disney community on a topic that I love, Dole Whip. Lou often encourages listeners of his podcast to follow their dream as he has his own. In the end my Celebration experience was highly satisfying because it is true, following a dream feels great. Now the question is what’s next?