Sunday, March 27, 2011

A Disney Blogger Finds His Voice

For those of you keeping score, there is no Sunday Shorts news recap today. After establishing a tradition that's lasted, wow, a whole three weeks now, I'm putting an end to it.


Because, I've come to the conclusion that I'm not really interested in it.

Not the news itself, mind you. I'm still just as intrigued as you are about the status of Tokyo Disneyland, the upcoming release of Pirates 4 and the ongoing expansion of Disney California Adventure.

I just don't see the need to keep repeating on my blog what's already being said on hundreds of other websites. There's a lot of regurgitated Disney news out there, some presented very well, some not. I figure if I can't bring something original to the table, why bother? That's a principle very much consistent with Walt Disney himself, so I've made peace with it.

My experience with covering/documenting/blogging the world of Disney started over seven years ago when I began scanning magazine covers from my collection of Disney News and Disney Magazine issues. Tim's Disney News Archive was an ambitious, and as yet, unfinished chronicle of the Disney I grew up with.

It's the nature of my ADD personality that this historical enterprise would be sidetracked by a series of "ooooh, shiny" moments, the biggest of which was my long-term affiliation with the Disney fan site MiceChat. Becoming a MiceChatter, writing for them, and especially getting to know their amazing members is one of the most fortuitous and gratifying experiences I've ever had. MiceChat opened the door for me to cover Disney in a way I'd never considered before. Over the years, I posted movie and DVD reviews, interviewed authors and historians, chatted with Disney animatorsdrank wine with Imagineers and shook hands with two Disneyland presidents. Most importantly, I made dear friends who are now part of my chosen family.

Not bad coming from a lifetime obsession with Mickey Mouse.

In more recent years, I've struck out on my own, creating what's now become The Mouse Castle. This is my personal corner of the Disney universe. And, while I'm not as prolific a writer as some, I'd like to think I stamp my own personal experiences and insights on every story I post. At the beginning of the year, I made a resolution to increase the output on my blog, so for the last few months I've thrown a lot of material against the wall to see what sticks. I've posted more everyday news items and product reviews. I've even dabbled in some video editing and voice work.

All this has made me realize that what I really enjoy most about the Disney oeuvre is what I posted online to begin with.


The Walt Disney Company is the hugely successful enterprise it is today because of the vision of its founder and the sometimes turbulent events that shaped the organization. Although, some critics may deride modern-day Disney for no longer being "Walt's company" (he's been dead over 40 years now--can we move on?), there's still nothing that exists at Disney today that can't draw a line to the past. There are vivid connections between Robert Iger and Walt Disney, John Lasseter and Ub Iwerks, Andreas Deja and the Nine Old Men, Alan Menken and Frank Churchill, Miley Cyrus and Annette Funicello. The list goes on...

These relationships fascinate me. I want to take more time to explore them.

Neal Gabler was the first person I ever interviewed for MiceChat and I have a signed copy of his biography of Walt Disney. In his inscription to me, Gabler paid me one of the nicest compliments I ever received, referring to me as a "fellow Disney scholar." That was heady praise coming from a man who spent seven years researching the life of Walt Disney. I found it both humbling and inspiring. But, nearly five years later, I need to start living up to it.

So, on the Mouse Castle, the everyday news will get put on the back burner for now. That doesn't mean I won't ever review a new Disney movie or spout my opinion on a new theme park attraction or stir the pot on the latest Demi Lovato gossip (I'll always have Facebook and Twitter for that). It just means I'm shifting focus back to what I first got into this game for: Disney's legendary past. From now on, I'll blog about what's really interesting me at the moment and won't be chaining myself to movie release dates or the 24-hour news stream.

In my e-mail inbox right now, I've got messages from Kaye Malins, who runs the Walt Disney Hometown Museum in Marceline, and Bob Baldwin, who ran the Magic Kingdom Club and was the editor of Disney News for many years. I need to shoot them both a reply. I have a business card for Bill Farmer, the Disney Legend who's voiced Goofy for over 20 years. I need to give him a call. I have recorded interviews with Margaret Kerry, the original live-action model for Tinker Bell, and Phil Sears, the well-known Disney collectibles dealer. These conversations have never seen the light of day. They need to.

I have a Disney News Archive website that really needs to be finished.

Be patient with me. The best is yet to come.

--Tim, Disney Historian

1 comment:

  1. I feel the same as you regarding regurgitated Disney "news". There's definitely enough of it out there. I've decided my blog has to be for me first...and if anyone else likes it too...BONUS.

    Congratulations on finding your voice!