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Sunday, October 6, 2013

Looking back at the past five years

It's hard to believe that just over five years ago, I decided somewhat on a whim to start the Disney Daddy blog.  At the time, I was an avid listener to two Disney podcasts, WDWRadio and InsideThe Magic.  I also was an active participant on a couple of Disney fan forum sites.  On the evening of Sept. 23, 2008, I was reading about the launch that day of the new "What Will You Celebrate" campaign, where Disney was giving free one-day, one-park admission to anyone on their actual birthday.  At that time, I had only been to Walt Disney World twice (not counting my first visit some 25 years prior), but I caught the Disney bug - big time (rest assured, I'm not cured and I have no intention of kicking this bug). Anyway, I had some thoughts to share and decided on the spot to create a Disney blog called Disney Daddy.  A few minutes later, I had my first post up on disneydaddy.blogspot.com.  Back then, I had no idea how the blog would transform my love for Disney and all the incredible friends I would make along the way.

Alright, let's skip forward in time to today where Disney is ironing out the bugs with the new My Disney Experience program, and is transforming the way guests experience Walt Disney World and, I suspect, other Disney parks in the future.

A lot has happened in the last five years, both personally and in the Disney company.  I thought we'd have some fun and take a brief look back at some of the highlights.

2008:
  • Disney announces the What Will You Celebrate Campaign
  • New DVC at the Contemporary Resort is announced - called Bay Lake Towers
  • "Tip Tuesday" posts begin
  • The final MouseFest event is held in December
  • My first appearance on the WDW Radio Show with Lou Mongello (remember the pressed pennies episode?)
  • Toy Story Mania! opens at Hollywood Studios
  • The often-maligned "hand and wand" was removed from aside Spaceship Earth at Epcot.
  • Number of WDW trips:  2
2009:
  • Disney partners with Verizon to create mobile Disney parks site
  • Launch of Kim Possible World Showcase Adventure at Epcot
  • D23 is announced and the first D23 Expo takes place in September
  • Disney announces massive expansion of Fantasyland at Walt Disney World
  • American Idol Experience opens at Hollywood Studios
  • Online resort check-in service begins
  • Horrible late-night monorail accident results in the death of a cast member - begins massive changes in how the monorails are operated
  • I am named "Disney's Biggest Fan" by Disney and United Vacations
  • Multiple appearances on the WDW Radio Show
  • Number of WDW trips:  2
2010:
  • "Give a Day, Get a Disney Day" is announced (and subsequently ends just 10 weeks later from overwhelming demand)
  • I complete my first-ever half marathon at Walt Disney World
  • Fantasyland expansion project begins
  • Multiple appearances on the WDW Radio Show
  • Honey I Shrunk the Audience at Epcot is replaced by the return of Captain EO
  • Main Street Electrical Parade returns to the Magic Kingdom, replaces Spectromagic
  • Disney's Wide World of Sports center is renamed and branded as the ESPN Wide World of Sports
  • Number of WDW trips:  4
2011:
  • Walt Disney World turns 40... and so do I
  • Photo Friday posts begin
  • George Lucas joins Bob Iger to officially open Star Tours:  The Adventures Continue at Hollywood Studios
  • New Avatar-themed land is announced for Animal Kingdom
  • I contribute to a summer 2011 article about the 40th anniversary of Walt Disney World in Southern Living Magazine
  • Second D23 Expo takes place in California to mixed reviews
  • Many more appearances on the WDW Radio Show
  • Number of WDW trips:  2
2012:
  • I complete my first-ever full marathon at Walt Disney World
  • Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom card game begins
  • Kim Possible World Showcase Adventure is rebranded to Agent P's World Showcase Adventure
  • New double Dumbo opens in new Storybook circus area
  • Snow White's Scary Adventures closes to make room for new princess meet and greet area
  • Art of Animation Resort opens
  • Construction begins on new DVC resort at the Grand Floridian Resort
  • Several appearances on the WDW Radio Show
  • Number of WDW trips:  2
2013:
  • Most of the new Fantasyland opens (the Seven Dwarves Mine Coaster remains under construction)
  • Newly reimagined Test Track opens at Epcot
  • My Disney Experience begins testing
  • New RFID-enhanced tickets are used, eliminating the need for traditional turnstiles
  • My Magic Bands debut along with FastPass+
  • Number of WDW trips: 1
  • First ever trip to Disneyland/California Adventure

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