30 December 2007

When you share a dream

This has truly been a Year of a Million Dreams for me, and, in all honesty, I haven’t won a thing. A year ago the Main Street Gazette did not exist, and a year ago I did not know some of the amazing people I know, or know of, now. Taking a glance back, I find it fun to find how I reached this point. Please forgive an old, young, man’s reminiscing, if you aren’t interested in seeing how I found my way here, then simply slip on down past this article, or return tomorrow, and we’ll continue inside our hollowed happy grounds.

A year ago, I had no idea how deep the Disney community went. I hung out on a message board or two, but it seemed like real solid, treasured, information was hard to come by. I knew that I had more Disney love to share with everyone than most people would, frankly, ever want to know in their lifetime. Then, it happened, I received an iPod for Christmas and was off like a shot. On the same day I discovered MouseTunes (which consequently turned into WDW Radio Show and Magical Definition), Netcot, and WDW Today podcasts. There were people who had insane amounts of Disney knowledge just floating around in their brains! They did not work for Disney either, and they had found a way to share their knowledge with others! I gobbled up every podcast I could find. I finally felt like I was home, and among true friends to boot.

This went on for a few months, and I shared bits of information I could with these fellow enthusiasts, and sent along my own questions. My fiancée was happy that I found others like myself, or dismayed, I am not quite sure which, but she knew I still wanted to share my knowledge with others, and hoped I would find my own way soon. It was then that I stumbled upon Jeff Pepper’s 2719 Hyperion. Here was the key to the way I could share what I knew with others. After a little research, and a lot of hesitation, I launched the Main Street Gazette in late August.

Besides sharing the knowledge, and ideas, I had for Walt Disney World, I wanted to also create articles that were child friendly as well as provided adults with interesting tidbits. I still struggle to find the balance between the child in us all and adult guide book information, but as long as the responses continue to be positive I will continue to fight the good fight. We were small those first few months, but readers continued to come, and several stuck around, and the community grew a little larger. Along the way I met terribly interesting people, other bloggers, like George and Andrew, Ray, Christine, and Doc. All with tons of information and awareness they were willing to share.

I had a wonderful opportunity, in the latter part of this year, to be at Epcot as it celebrated its 25th anniversary. I was able to meet several people that I had talked with in the Netcot forums, I was even able to spend a moment with Jim MacPhee, the big cheese at Epcot. But what made me truly happy about this trip, was that I was able to spend this momentous occasion with my dad, the man I must give credit to, or curse for, my introduction to Walt Disney World and for continuing to further my addiction as a child. This was the first time either of us had returned to Walt Disney World since my aunt, his older sister, had been killed in a car accident on her way to work, she worked in Security for Disney, and I think it did us both a world of good to have the other there. I find it truly amazing how the human spirit can endure great hardships, and smile through the tears.

Near the end of October, I was part of an event that no Disney Magic could ever hold a flame to, though there was plenty of magic there. On the evening of 27 October 2007, I married my true love, Aileen. She accepted me whole-heartedly, my Disney compulsions and all. Really, that’s all I have to say about that.

For part of our honeymoon I was able to walk in Walt’s footsteps and explore Disneyland, I don’t know if there were ever a happier person in the Happiest Place on Earth. I was married and I was completing a pilgrimage I had not thought possible on a preschool teacher’s income. Those were truly happy days!

I returned home to find that my request for assistance in creating a logo for the Main Street Gazette had been heard, and, in the process, found another true Disney spirit in Eric. The work he did for the Gazette was truly remarkable, as you can see above, and I want to take this opportunity to thank him once again.

As the year progressed, and my new wife and I settled into our new life together. She took my birthday as the opportunity to surprise me with a visit to Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort. This was the third time I had stepped onto Disney property this year, actually in the past three months. Usually I am lucky if I make it to Walt Disney World once a year, I felt like a true Disney World-Traveler.
Reaching the end of the year, my wife and I have been moving into a bigger place. And, wouldn’t you know it, the Disney gods found a way to tie this back into the Magic as well. Though I am not going to divulge my entire address, this would be a true folly on my part, I will tell you that the number of the townhouse we are now living in is number 33. That’s right, the same number as the famous dining establishment of Disneyland, Club 33. Like Club 33, our office, the headquarters of the Main Street Gazette, is on the second floor. The minute we moved in my wife knew she was in trouble. However, the office/guest bedroom is not nearly as exclusive as Club 33 and, so far as I know, no presidents have ever dined here. But it is warm and welcoming to the weary travelers I’m sure will be passing through, and I’m sure they won’t mind the Disney décor too much (I have been given the office and half bath to decorate, so that my Disney paraphernalia cannot be found wandering about throughout the rest of the house).

Speaking of Disneyland, I found this small plaque/sign/emblem along the entrance to Mickey’s Toontown while we were on our honeymoon. The Benevolent & Protective Order of Mouse. Has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? I have run this name around my head a number of times, but I truly believe that this society is the same group of people I have had the pleasure of including in my daily life. Though I know most of them only through email, comments, or perhaps only through their voices, these are all people that have inspired me to do more, and have awed me with their knowledge. If anyone belongs to the Benevolent & Protective Order of Mouse it is people like Lou Mongello, Nathan M. Rose, Van, Mike Scopa, Mike Newell, Matt Hochberg, Len Testa, Deb Wills, Jeff, Jessica, George, Andrew, Eric, Ray, Christine, Joel, Doc, and Tim Devine. They are true keepers of the Magic. I know that there are others of you out there, and I will find you, I promise. But to those of you above, I may not know each of you personally, but I hope I get the chance one day, because you are so much a part of what I have been, and will continue doing, here, and you are all amazing people. So, thank you, one and all, for bringing me a step closer to my dreams.


Unknown said...


It's nice to read how you got to where you are now. And thanks for the kind words. It's nice to hear that someone thinks my words help keep the magic alive......

Eric Hoffman said...

Hey Ryan you have had quite a year. I for one am glad to have had the opportunity to read all the wonderful content on this site and see the many facets of Disney through another's perspective. I think you strike a great balance in your approach personally.

I am also glad to have been able to add a little to the graphic landscape of the Disney blogsphere. It was fun!

Here's to 2008 and thanks!

Greg said...


It is a joy to read your posts and I am looking forward to it being an exciting New Year for all of us. Thanks for including me as member of the order.


Unknown said...

BPOM, huh?

Well, since they won't let me in the Crate Appreciation Society, this more than makes up for it!

I'd like to hear more about your own Club 33. Maybe some shots of the decor?

Jeffrey Pepper said...


I'm incredibly flattered and humbled that I served as a kind of inspiration for the Main Street Gazette.

Thanks for the mention and very kind words. We have all collectively formed this wonderful community that I am both very excited and proud to be a part of.

Ryan P. Wilson said...

Ray ~ I'm sure I am not the only one that thinks you help keep the magic alive. As fo our wives, I'm sure that they could swap many a tale over our Disney interests.

Eric ~ Thanks for the kind words, can't wait to see what awaits you in 2008 as well!

Doc ~ The Disney blog community is a live and well, adn I do believe we have only just begun to explore the depths of that which we can accomplish.

George ~ Yeah, the BPOM has been wandering around in my head for a while, and you are definitely a founding member!

As for decor, as and ye shall receive!

Jeff ~ I am sure that I am not the only person you inspire! you have given all of us so much that a mention was the least I could do. And, as I said above, I cannot wait to see what the Disney blogging community as a whole comes up with next!

Craig Wheeler said...

Did you know that there is a BPOM pin? Here is one for sale on eBay: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=330269185385&ssPageName=ADME:B:SS:US:1123