It’s hard to believe it was three years ago today that I sat down and finally pulled the trigger on creating a Disney fan website, but it’s even harder to believe the world that surrounds myself three years after that decision was made. I had no idea or intention of creating a website, a podcast, and a brand that would be enjoyed by thousands. To be honest, I was happy to see just a few visitors trickle in every day.
WDW News Today was created to fill a niche that I wanted to see a fan site cater to: providing a little bit of Walt Disney World news and information each and every day. In 2007, this community was a very different place. The “big” sites updated their sites maybe once a week, twice a week if we were lucky. Everyday I would make the rounds, visiting the same bunch of sites, getting incredibly excited when one of them had even a minor update. It had always been obvious that Walt Disney World has enough restaurants, attractions, shops, resorts, etc. throughout its history to provide more than enough content on a daily basis. With that premise, WDW News Today was born. The initial response was trivial, most famously it was stated on a certain forum (that will remain nameless) that WDWNT “would not last more than 3 months.” I don’t think I need to tell any stories of what happened after this….
I’ll be the first to admit the site was very bad in the beginning. It was hideous, we didn’t have photo reports, and it really was just myself and a team of 4 or 5 people trying a lot of different things that mostly didn’t work. Things did get better, and I can’t deny that It has had more to do with the team that surrounded me here, rather than anything I did myself. I have been truly blessed to be connected to an incredible staff as we’ve grown over the past 3 years, a team that I not only consider to be my colleagues, but among my very best friends. This “family” that has been brought together by this crazy idea may be the greatest gift of the entire experience, a gift that is provided through your continued support of our work.
WDW News Today’s evolution into what is now the WDWNT Network has been an unpredictable miracle. The growing fan-base, as well as the growing staff of talented and devoted people, has forever changed my life for the better. The only way I can re-pay this gift is through hard work and keeping the promise I made on July 8, 2007, that “WDW News Today is a site created for you, the Disney World fan, and will be dedicated to educating and entertaining you about this magical place.”
I thought it might be fun to look back at our very first news posts that were made the morning after the site opened. It’s amazing how correct we were with some of the rumors mentioned below:
The big news this week is the removal of the Epcot wand and the refurbishment of Spaceship Earth that both begin today. Expect the entire second half of the Spaceship Earth attraction to be completely different from the current version when it reopens in mid-November.
Over at the Disney MGM Studios, Toy Story Mania’s main building is shaping up nicely and should be complete by September with the attraction opening in Spring of 2008.
At Animal Kingdom, work on the Yak and Yeti restaurant is picking up pace as the rush is on to be finished by October. Don’t be surprised if the restaurant doesn’t open until November/December of this year. Also worth noting is the newly announced refurbishment of the Astro Orbiter in August. Some major interior updates are in store for the spinning planets as the idea is to get them spinning much to the speed they originally did.
Over at the Disneyland Resort, they have added a Project Tomorrow exhibit to Innoventions in Tomorrowland. The exhibit is somewhat similar to the Project Tomorrow exhibits at the exit of Epcot’s Spaceship Earth.
Pecos Bill’s Cafe in the Magic Kingdom has added four touch screen ordering systems for guests who wish to pay by Credit Card and those who have a Disney Dining Plan. Expect to see these changes in all WDW fast food locations by year’s end.
Today, the associated press had a story about the death of longtime Disney animator Art Stevens back on May 22. Art worked on Fantasia, The Fox and The Hound, The Rescuers, Winnie the Pooh, 101 Dalmations, Robin Hood, Mary Poppins, and Bednobs and Broomsticks before his retirement in 1983. He was 92 years old.
Well, thats it for now, but everyday we will have news updates and i will be sure to update news as it happens throughout the day every day. Thanks for reading the soon to be #1 source for Walt Disney World news! See ya real soon!
We continue our celebration tonight at 9:30PM ET at www.WDWNTunes.com with our annual live anniversary show. We hope you can join us for that. Again, thank you for your support and admiration over the last 3 years, I can’t begin to explain what it means to me. As long as there is a Walt Disney World Resort, we will continue “Bridging the Gaps Between You and the World”.
Founder and CEO of the WDWNT Network