Saturday, November 10, 2012

2012 Top Ten Theme Park Podcasts! Honorable Mentions and Number 10

Thanks for keeping the Wakefield Report going strong for 1 year! 
These reviews are my personal opinions of each podcast. Your Top Ten list may be something completely different than mine. Agree or disagree, feel free to comment, tweet, or email me your thoughts and opinions! 

Honorable Mention # 1: Animation Addicts (Rank LY --)     Rating: PG  

The Animation Addicts starring the Rotoscopers is a show that is “A podcast for animation addicts. Disney, DreamWorks, Pixar, Don Bluth & everything in between.” And that pretty much sums it up. The show is dedicated to talking about everything animation. The hosts are comprised of an animation student, an actress, and a singer. Their youth and enthusiasm for animation really shines through in each and every episode! In July of this year they saw some of their highest downloads rates breaking the top 40 mark in iTunes rankings. In what appears to be an attempt to improve the branding of the podcast the name of this show has changed from, “The Rotoscopers” to “Animation Addicts Podcast. And while this may not be a podcast about theme parks,  I still think it deserves a spot on the list because is you are a fan of Disney theme parks, you will instantly love to hear stories about the history of animation.   

STRENGTHS: This show may very well be a contender for Rookie of the Year.The strong production quality is backed by one of a kind, original content that is greatly appreciated in a world full of fluff and repetition. The hosts are experimenting with a few new segments. Some of them work, and some don’t, but the important thing is they are making a conscious effort to keep the show fresh. I really do not think this show would work with any other group of hosts. Because this hosting crew and so enthusiastic and work so well together, this show has define staying power and should find its way into your regular podcast rotation.  

WEAKNESS: The hosts have not bee shy in the past about their unabashed love for animation and this really shows in their interviews, but there has been a problem with the hosts giggling and almost screeching their way through interviews with some big names in the animation industry. While this has improved lately, it can still be distracting and often prevents the listeners ability to focus on what the guest is talking about. Now I don’t want to come across as saying they crew needs to, “grow up” because as someone in their age group I can really relate to their enthusiasm about animation. Sometimes the crew seems more concerned with letting their listeners know how informed they are than sharing information and stories. If you can see past this, then you will be in for a great listen.  

Rotoscopers is a 1 time Show of the Week winner!

Honorable Mention #2: WDW Today (Rank LY #8)        Rating: PG  
WDW Today is one of the longest running theme park podcast on the air today. This spring they celebrated their 1,000th episode and their consistent and continued drive to put out 3 shows each week has been an obvious contributor to that high number. With a once a month live show, WDW Today has built loyal fan base of dedicated and active listeners. Host Matt Hochberg is joined by a few hosts each week and they discuss recent happenings, trip planning, and more each week. With the show consistently hovering around the top 50 in the iTunes Places and Travel rankings, it has stood the test of time and has been there as a lot of others Disney podcasts have come and gone.

STRENGTHS: A new WDW Today is issued every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Come hell or Hurricane Sandy, this crew is 100% committed to bringing its listeners three shows a week, every week. That type of routine is something a morning commuter like myself can get used to. Three times a week, I climb into my truck at 6am and head to work with Hochberg and crew in my ears. While every show may not be a 5 star quality show, that type of sameness is comforting and relaxing for me first thing in the morning. I know I am not going to hear something earth shattering or life changing on the show, and that’s what I need every morning; easy listening. Co host and author Len Testa is a main stay on this show and brings a wealth of knowledge to the crew that you can not find on any other theme park podcast. The crew is never hesitant to criticize Disney or share some of their not so favorite things about the park and that kind of objectivity and honesty is always appreciated.   

WEAKNESS: Since this show is put out three times a week and there is only so much you can discuss about 4 theme parks in Central Florida, this show can become kind of repetitive really fast. Their weekly listener question shows consist of almost the same questions week in and week out. Things like, “ we are coming to WDW with three kids and grandma. Where should we stay?” or, “Im thinking about going to the Magic Kingdom on July 4th, do you think it will be busy?” And while the hosts do their best to stay chipper and interested, you can tell they grow a bit tired of answering the same questions each and every week. Other than that, I think the hosts are smart, funny, and very well informed.   

10: MouseChat (Rank LY --)          RATING: PG
Mouse Chat is a show that talks about the Disney Parks. the show is hosted by a gaggle of Disney travel agents, but, for the most part, they don’t let that get in the way of their opinions of the park. This show is what I call a, “general discussion” show.  Which means the show does not solely focus on trip planning, of Disney history, etc.. It is just a group of folks chatting about the latest happenings in and around the Disney theme parks. I found this show early last year and it is growing on me slowly, but surely. With each host carving out their own niche or identity, it is easy for the listener to pick and chose their favorite or not so favorite host on the show. The highest ranking for the podcast this year was recently on November 2nd when it reach #85 in the iTunes places and travel category.

STRENGTHS: The chemistry between the hosts is almost unmatched and amazing. With co host Bob often on the receiving end of a lot of jokes and ribbing, you can easily tell that this is not just a group of random people talking Disney, rather it is a group of friends sharing opinions, thoughts, and stories. The willingness to step outside of WDW has made this show more versatile and flexible. From week to week , the listener is sure to get fresh, new content; and that is something we can all look forward to.

WEAKNESS: While not a young show, this podcast still seems to be suffering from somewhat of an identity crisis. Ok, well, maybe that is a bit of an exaggeration, but you can definitely tell some weeks that the crew had a hard time coming up with content for their show. While they are not mailing it in, I can tell on some shows that maybe the entire crew is not too enthusiastic about the topic that week. There are also times where I think the ribbing and joking with Bob is forced, and unneeded. That sometimes is the “go to thing” when they are low on opinions or thoughts that week. While it does not get too out of hand or happen too much, this kind of thing can be a big turn off for the listener. All together this is a really great show, with lots of interesting hosts, topics, and more.

Mouse Chat is a 1 time Show of the Week winner!

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