Sunday, November 18, 2012

2012 Top Ten Theme Park Podcasts! Numbers 9-7


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! 

9: Dis Unplugged (Rank LY Hon Mention)              Rating PG-13

DISCLAIMER: Dis Unplugged host Pete Werner is part owner of Dreams Unlimited Travel. Dreams Unlimited Travel is the main sponsor of the Wakefield Report blog. Now obviously that sponsorship had no bearing on this ranking or the comments made in this post. Pete made it very clear that he did not want any sort of favoritism in these posts or on this list. Anything short of complete honesty and criticism would be unacceptable in mine and Pete's book.   
This is a show that is hosted by a group of travel agents who bring up the latest in Orlando area theme park news, topics, and discussions. Released on a weekly basis, this is one of the best produced and professional shows out there. While many podcasters strive to get theirs shows to sound as close to an actual radio show as possible, Dis Unplugged does one of the best jobs at accomplishing that goal. The crew knows a lot about the parks and this year they saw a lot of growth, staff changes, and expansion. The last six months saw this show breaking the top 50 in the iTunes Society and Culture category.
STRENGTHS: When it comes to me making my list of favorite theme park podcasts, consistency counts. You can always count, for the most part, on a new Dis Unplugged show coming out each week. Another cool thing about this show is they just don’t cover Disney World. They branch out and talk about cruises, and other elements in themed entertainment. Their overseas trip reports about Adventures by Disney trips are podcasting gold. The crew is comprised of true friends and that chemistry comes across each week. After I told Pete that I thought this show was a bit out of touch, Pete made a little bit of a change in the way the crew approaches the parks and their coverage.

WEAKNESS: While not as out of touch, it is a bit concerning to hear the host continue to talk about and push some very expensive Adventures by Disney packages. Ii guess when you have a show that comes to you from travel agents, you have to accept that there will be some sort of level of selling, and while I don’t always feel like I'm being pitched a vacation when listening to this show, there are some times when I can tell they are covering a news story or event to book trips through their travel agency. Co host Kevin does all of the food and restaurant reviews for this show and it seems like every time Kevin goes to eat somewhere he manages to get the worst food and service possible. I think his expectations might be a little too high. Or maybe it just makes for better radio to give a bad review? I'm not sure, but it is weird how almost 90% of his reviews are negative and he walks away from the experience with an overly critical and negative review.     

8: Generation Mouse (Rank LY: --)           Rating: PG
This podcast is, “young adult perspective on all things Disney”. And that self description is fair enough. The hosts are not young, like teenagers, but they are a group of twenty somethings who try their best to bring you an objective view of the Disney Parks. With the shows being released on a weekly basis, this is yet another consistent stand by that has made its way into my weekly rotation. While the show has struggled to get past the iTunes Society and Culture rankings 150 spot, it does have a fairly large and devoted fan base. This show reminds me of a younger Mouse The hosts are smart, funny, and try their best to express themselves in a professional manner.

STRENGTHS: One of the really cool things about this show is a recent move by the crew to sort of branch out and not just talk about Disney World. With a smart and educated crew, it would be neat to hear them express themselves on other things like movies, cruises, and such. Their Once Upon a Time episode was a big eye opener for me. Not only for the content of the episode, but the way the crew communicated their opinions and view on the television show. With two of the hosts being married and the rest of the crew being friends, it really comes across to the listener; major points for chemistry and production quality.

WEAKNESS: It is almost the exact thing I listed in the strengths section. I really wish this show would spread their wings and cover other topics in the Disney and themed entertainment field. Sometimes you just get tired of hearing the same old stories and Disney news over and over again. How many times can you hear about the freaking Epcot Food and Wine festival? This crew is better than that, and I think with a renewed since of commitment and energy in the show, Generation Mouse could easily work its way up this, and other lists.

7: WDW Fanboys (Rank LY 9)                      Rating: PG 13
Before there was a WDW Kingdomcast or WDW Discussion show there was the WDW Fanboys podcast. This show was the initial trailblazer for the more edgy pixie dust free types of shows. Hosted by a trio of true WDW fan boys, this show covers any and everything Disney World. With one host who cant stand Animal Kingdom, this show has no shortage of discussions, arguments, and general fan boy talks. The arm chair imagineering shows are some of their strongest. The three hosts have plenty of chemistry and they have proved they are committed to the show and their fans by putting out a new show each and every week. This is also complimented by a monthly live podcast where the shows fans can ask the hosts questions.

STRENGTHS: Every Sunday morning or afternoon I know that there is one thing I can count on, and that is a new show from the WDW Fan Boys. The production quality of this show is top notch also. One of the coolest things about this podcasts is the diverse opinions that populate this show. With the three different hosts coming from different backgrounds and living in different areas of the country you are always going to get different opinions and sides of any story. The fact that co host Brett lives, “close” to Orlando, the show is able to keep up on the latest news and stories. With this being one of the most senior and veteran shows in the lineup they do a really great job at choosing which stories to talk about and cover.  

WEAKNESS: Where do I start? While this show is a great one, and has a lot of strengths, its flaws stand out. Co host Brett seems to fancy himself as a bit of a bad ass. One of the things you can count on each week is Brett is going to have a problem with something or someone else. This may be his attempt to come across to his audience as cool or something, but in the end it just sounds sad and immature. And when he is not busy calling people out, it seems he spends the rest of his time trying to be funny. Trying to be funny. Often times he ends up knocking the show and his co host off topic by re telling another boring story we have all heard before or just trying way too hard to be funny or ironic. I really think that if this show could be just a little more mature it would be one of the best of the best out there. Its ok to be funny, but when you are the one guy in the room running around to everyone else trying to be funny or trying to look cool, you just end up looking like an ass.  

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