Thursday, November 10, 2011

My TOP TEN Theme park podcasts PART 1: Honorable mentions and number 10

We all have those little things in life that we obsess over. Some people love food or gaming or jogging.  Whatever your obsession is, one thing is for sure; you can’t get enough of it.  We should be so lucky to have these little things that help distract us from work and other annoyances of everyday life.  Some say that obsessing over these things could be bad for you health. The foodie who becomes overweight or the gamer who abandons his wife for “Just one more minute honey!”, or the jogger who at age 40 has knees more brittle than a light bulb in a dryer.  I too have an obsession, and my craving for it grows larger every day. 
In the world of theme and amusement parks information and news flow like water down the mighty White River (look it up).  On a daily basis there is no shortage of websites, twitter accounts and fan message boards to follow.  Keeping up with and reading all of these different venues can be very time consuming and taxing on the average fan. There is however one way of gathering information that is quick, entertaining, and easy. Podcasting! Imagine any radio show on any topic being saved to a computer the same way you save a document or a picture; then imagine being able to download and listen to this radio show on your computer or iphone. This, in a nutshell is podcasting.
Like I said podcasting comes in many different forms. Different topics, different host, and even different production qualities. I eat, jog and play my xbox with at least one earphone in my ear with a podcast on. I listen to podcast on World War 2 history, current events, business management and sometimes I take half an hour a day to learn German. By far there is one topic I spend at least 15 hours a week listening to and that’s podcasts on theme parks! When I began to listen to theme park podcasts I had no idea which ones to listen to. I had no clue as to which ones had the best information or which ones were the most entertaining. It was indeed a very scary year or so of trial and error. When you go to iTunes podcast section and type in “theme park” you will get 245 results! This article is my attempt to shrink that number down to MY favorite 10 podcast.
 WARNING: I do not have my own podcast and for a damn good reason. Podcasting is extremely hard. Although I may come across a as a bit too critical of the host and these shows, please know that I admire what these people do on a weekly basis. They all have tons of talent and they are all true professionals.
Also: I live in Sarasota, FL. I visit Universal Studios and Disney World about once a month. I am a Disney pass holder. This list is VERY Disney podcast heavy. If there are other non Disney podcasts that you think should be on my list feel  free to leave a comment below or send me a line on twitter @wakefieldreport.

HONOREABLE MENTION #1: The Dis Unplugged:  The Dis Unplugged was the first theme park podcast I found and after listening to my first show I immediately went back into their archives and downloaded every episode I could. Dis Unplugged is full of information about not only the Disney theme parks but also the restaurants, special events, and the rest of the Disney World resort. Even though it was my first I do have a few hang-ups about the show. The podcast is hosted by some owners of a Disney based travel agency, Dreams Unlimited Travel. A lot of the news and stories on the show find their way of circling back to buying the host product. I don’t feel as if the podcast speaks to me as an experienced and hardcore Disney fan. Rather it might appeal to first timers or once a year families. I kind of feel like I need a shower after listening to the show (in a bad way) because of the constant ads and mentions of the travel agency being thrown at me throughout the show. However the show is hosted by some really great personalities. They could use a bit more diversity on their show when it comes to people who really enjoy roller coasters or people who focus mainly on visiting the theme parks rather than breaking down resorts, merchandise events, and cruises.                                                                                                                                             STRENGTHS:  Covers Disney cruises, adventures, and breaks down resort hotels                                                                             
 WEAKNESS:   Covers Disney cruises, adventures, and breaks down resort hotels a bit too much. The hosts come across a bit too snooty and nitpicky for my taste.                                                                             
HONORABLE MENTION #2: Inside the Magic: This show is a great way to get news about Disney World, Universal Studios, Sea World, and Busch Gardens. This podcast has a decent amount of information but for me after listening to the first 20 minutes of the show I’ve usually heard enough. The host lacks a little bit in charisma but really know his stuff. He collects lots of great audios, pictures, and video. This is a rare case where the website is much better than the podcast.                                             
 STRENGTHS: Lots of diverse information about theme parks in the Orlando area.                             WEAKNESS:  The host lacks charisma a bit and sometimes doesn’t seem to be interested in his own show.
10: In the Loop Rebooted: In the Loop goes way off the beaten path of your regular theme park podcast. I kind of feel like I need a shower after listening to the show (in a GOOD way.) With a weekly feature named “Douche of the Week” , ITL is definitely not for younger ears. Lots of foul language and adult humor is in this show. With that being said I LOVE listening to it! It is recorded live which always makes for funny unpredictable moments and the interaction and charisma between the hosts is some of the best out there. The show does tend to lack in structure and hardcore information. For the most part it’s the equivalent of watching an episode of Beavis and Butthead; Not too informative some toilet humor, but very funny with a few moments of wisdom.                                                           
STRENGTHS: Great production quality, extremely funny, and hosted by true roller coaster fans.                 WEAKNESS: Lack of structure. The show is very unpredictable which may be a turn off to some listeners.

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