Weekend Update – New Posts? Beyond Disney? Gratuitous Question Marks???

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It’s been way too long since I dropped in with a random ‘housekeeping’ style of post, and I figured I’m long overdue. One of the things that I’ve always enjoyed about blogging is getting a chance to personally “connect” with readers (well, besides the ones who just lurk), and I’ve always tried to write with some personality to be conducive to that. Sometimes that gets me in a bit of trouble, as I’ve discovered with my divisive opinions on the Sorcerer’s Hat at Disney’s Hollywood Studios (I still cannot believe some of you liked that thing 😉 ), but what are ya gonna do?

Anyway, the purpose of this post is to do a few things: ramble aimlessly for 1,000 words to waste a few minutes of your Saturday, solicit feedback on what you’d like to see on the blog, give you an idea of what’s to come, and share some links to some exemplary Disney blog post that others in the community have written recently. The first aim will accomplish itself, so let’s skip to the second goal…

I’ve tried a variety of different styles of posts on the blog, from trip reports to photography tips to vacation planning. I have a pretty good idea of what “works” in terms of what is read, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. I’m more curious as to what regular readers might want to see more of, particularly if those are the types of posts that I enjoy writing. For instance, I recently started a series of posts called “Scenes From Disney Parks” as a place to share some of my new photos, and although these posts aren’t all that popular, I really enjoy doing them (even though I haven’t done one in 2014 yet, I do plan on doing more…I just need to get back to editing some photos!) and regular readers seem to enjoy them, at least based on the comments, so it’s win-win.

To cut to the chase, are there are particular types of posts that you’d like to see more of? Specific topics about which you’d like me to write? Should I purchase a selfie stick and turn this blog into nothing but photos of Sarah and me wearing crazy hats with our favorite Disneyland goats?

Okay, moving on…

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One thing I do plan on trying out is “themed weeks” here and there, during which time I write a bunch of posts on the same topic. For instance, this coming week, I’m going to do “Disney Dining Week” this coming week, which will be a series of restaurant reviews from different parks. After that, I might do a week with nothing but posts about “hidden gems” or posts about a specific park or “The Many Masterpieces of Michael Graves.” Who knows…it seems like a fun idea right now, but we will see how it works out.

I also want to try more of these ‘Weekend Update’ style posts. In the past, I used these to share some random thoughts that didn’t fit elsewhere, point out links to great blog posts I’ve read, and run giveaways. They were a nice change-of-pace post, and I’m not sure why I stopped doing them (perhaps I have a short attention span). We also have another project on which we’ve been working that we’re not quite ready to share. (Cue foreboding music…)

Anyway, hopefully that gives you some of an idea of what’s to come and an opportunity to have your; here’s what else has been on my plate of late…

Beyond Disney

If any of you are crazy enough to have been tolerating me following this blog from the beginning, or even before the beginning, you probably know that the blog grew out of my passion for photographing the Disney theme parks and us sharing reports from our trips. It’s sort of grown and morphed beyond my original intent, but today I wanted to share another way my passion for photography and travel has sort of grown beyond Disney…

Growing up, my family always took two annual vacations: Walt Disney World in the spring and camping road trips, usually to National Parks, in the summer. Our college visit to Walt Disney World rekindled my passion for the parks, and the rest is pretty much history, as documented in excruciating detail almost daily on this blog! My desire to grow as a photographer (and a freak airfare price mistake!) led us to take a trip to Rocky Mountain National Park a few years ago, and that sort of had the same effect on me with those parks, and really opened my eyes to other places I might want to go outside of the Disney parks. I don’t really know where I’m going with this, so I’ll just skip ahead with the “story”…

Since then, that passion for the National Parks coupled with my wanderlust has led me to spend a lot more time in the National Parks, among other places. I’ve jumped in the car at pretty much every feasible opportunity for new experiences and new photos, even if that meant driving 14 hours in a day or sleeping overnight in a car in a parking lot. I’ve really kicked that into high gear as of late (the photo above is a “selfie” of me in Joshua Tree National Park shot this week) and started taking photography more seriously, and I have a long list of places within an 8 hour drive that I really want to visit and photograph.

The point of this all (yes, there is a point!) is that as I’ve been branching out, I’ve been sharing a lot of these experiences over on my other blog, TravelCaffeine.com. I’ve actually had this other blog for a couple of years now, but had only posted sporadically as life, work, etc. (darned responsibilities) kept getting in the way. I’m placing a renewed emphasis on it now, as I’m really having a great time getting out, seeing, and shooting different places.

I’ll be honest with you–a lot of this renewed focus on TravelCaffeine is for purely selfish reasons: it’s a great way to showcase new photos from my photography portfolio for licensing and other purposes (and by other purposes, I basically mean “a place where companies can go to steal my photos” 😉 ). To be fair, it’s not entirely selfish. I do love to blog, share my experiences, rant about various insignificant things, unleash my terrible sense of humor on my unsuspecting victims readers, help others plan, etc., and it’s really rewarding to have others read, view, and take interest in what I have to say. So, I guess in a way that’s also selfish, but as the great philosopher Joey once postulated, there’s no such thing as selflessness. Sorry, already off on a tangent…

I’ll be posting a lot about random places I visit, photography tips, and location reviews & tips over on TravelCaffeine, so if any of that interests you, please check it out. If you’re into Florida, there’s already some content on Universal Orlando Resort (including my Universal Orlando Trip Report), with much more to come. If you’re planning a trip to Disneyland, there will be a lot covering potential Southern California excursions. If Disney is your primary travel focus, no worries. I’m not abandoning Disney to grow a ZZ Top style beard and live in the woods, and I’ll still be posting near-daily here.

Anyway, that’s probably enough random rambling here. The basic point is that I would love if you’d take a moment to visit TravelCaffeine.com, peruse the site, and see if there’s anything you might find worthwhile. If so, maybe share it with your friends…or tell your 34 cats about it if you don’t have any friends. (I’m not judging–the more cats that know about this blog, the better!) You’d be doing me a favor, and that’s basically selfless community service.

Cool Linkage

There are some amazing Disney bloggers on the internet, many of whom deserve far more attention than they receive. One such blogger who puts is Foxxy over at Passport 2 Dreams. Do yourself a favor and check that site out if you’re a fan of Disney history and appreciate scholarly research. I haven’t had a chance to read the latest series there on Western River Expedition yet, but I’m sure it’s great. Oh, and do yourself a favor by downloading Another Musical Souvenir of Walt Disney World.

Here’s some interesting insight on the intersection of business and creativity (or lack thereof?) at The Walt Disney Company.

This post covers the possibilities for the future of Disneyland Paris.

Here’s a great review of New Fantasyland from a different perspective.

Yesterland recently expanded its look at an intriguing extinct attraction, Mine Train Thru Nature’s Wonderland.

If you can’t get enough Frozen, here’s a look at what Tokyo Disneyland is doing for its “Frozen Fantasy.”

Can’t get enough of Tokyo Disney Resort? Here’s the only (as far as I know) TDR Podcast in English.

I know there are a lot of other great posts I’ve read in the last couple of months that I’m forgetting, but I hadn’t planned on writing this post, so I haven’t been bookmarking posts to share. I’ll do a better job next time. If you have read/written something good, please feel free to share it in the comments.

I think that about wraps it up for this Weekend Update. If you’re new to the blog and this is the first post of this nature you’ve read here, hopefully learning a bit about ‘how the sausage is made’, so to speak, didn’t bore you too much. If you’re a longtime reader…well, you’re used to being bored here! Regardless, I hope you can provide some feedback in the comments below.

If you’re not following along via social media, here are the relevant links: Pinterest | Facebook | Twitter/Blog | Twitter/Tom.

Your Thoughts…

Have any post suggestions or more of a particular type of post you’d like to see? Any other feedback on any of the above? Share your thoughts in the comments!

114 Responses to “Weekend Update – New Posts? Beyond Disney? Gratuitous Question Marks???”
  1. hawaii-car-shipping February 11, 2016
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