Nine years ago I came up with an idea to start a blog. At the time there were a couple of community-driven websites, a few podcasts, and a handful of dedicated bloggers. They were, and continue to be, an amazing lot. I have learned so much from them and I am always humbled to be mentioned in any Venn diagram that includes them. To think about those early days and then to look around and see what the community has blossomed into over the past nine years is truly remarkable.
As a person I am relatively shy and like to keep to myself. I like being behind the camera, not in front of it. I may never entirely understand what actually drove me to step out into the great big internet and start the Main Street Gazette, but I’m so happy I did. In those early years I thought of it as a platform for creative (read: fiction) writing and assistance in trip planning. It would evolve into a daily beast that touched upon my opinions, history, food, photographs, answering the burning question of why things were hiding in plain sight, and a roundup of the best articles I read across the community and gave readers something new each and every day. It was a pace that I couldn’t keep up forever, even when I had the incredible talents of individuals like Tony, Zanna, Eric, Estelle, Melissa(s), Elizabeth, Andrew, Alan, George, Blake, and so many others who joined me to write an article or roundtable contribution. Eventually, I had to slow down to the now mild pace of two to four articles a week, depending on what I can do.
Along the way I’ve made some incredible friends. I learned that slowing down doesn’t mean that I’ve let anyone down, just that I’m creating anticipation for the next article. I’ve also learned that the sky is the limit, and each day the Gazette find new readers who are excited by what they find and dedicate insane amounts of time to going back and reading over the last nine years’ worth of writing. I am, if you haven’t heard it before and even if you have, overwhelmed and exceedingly gratefully for each and every one of you. The support you have shown me when I have faced challenges, to my health or just in terms of generating content and ideas, has been astounding. And the only way I know how to repay you is to keep moving forward and writing new articles.
I know I’m not a traditional blogger. The Gazette has never featured ads, and only very rarely do I accept anything for review. That isn’t to say that won’t change one day, but that’s where I’ve kept things, trying to remain focused on what matters. And that is you, the readers. I tend to write in a style that bounds haplessly between an excited adolescent and a haughty know-it-all who abbreviates rather than expounds upon bits of history or his theories, which has turned readers off from time to time. It is that introverted side of me that accepts that the Gazette is not going to be everyone’s cup of tea, but to be thankful for those of you that have come along on these crazy journey.
I started the Gazette at a time in my life where a deep connection I had to Walt Disney World was taken away and I was mere months away from getting married. I had always had a thirst for knowledge and wanting to know all the stories and history I could about the Vacation Kingdom, but nine years ago I didn’t know where to take that knowledge. Clearly the missus, who once threatened bodily harm if I didn’t find an outlet that wasn’t presenting her with a lecture and wonder if she was taking notes, knew what I didn’t. She knew that I was an educator at heart and that sharing all of the stories I found and the interesting tidbits I uncovered with the world and watching their sense of wonder rise was what I needed to do.
So the Gazette was born on a Thursday evening in August, after days of crafting a clever opening article and tirelessly trying out historical Disney names that I felt would get the idea of what this site would be across to the readers. We’ve stuck close to some of our founding ideas, such as utilizing titles that can be found in signage, songs, or narrations throughout the parks and resorts. We changed the things that needed to change, such as when we went from publishing articles whenever I finished them to 9:00am, the standard time that the parks of Walt Disney World open. And we’ll continue to toe the line between evolving and holding firm to our roots for as long as you’ll have us.
Once again you have spent another year with my blatherings, but I hope they’ve given you something new to consider. Maybe you learned a story you didn’t know about a detail you’ve always loved in the park, maybe you found a new favorite dish or recipe, or maybe you just found someone who shared your opinion on a particular topic or interest. Whatever it was that brought you to the Main Street Gazette, or kept you here for another year, thank you. You are what keep me going, and I couldn’t ask for a greater set of people to write for! I don’t know what the next year holds for the Gazette, but I do know that there will be new articles to share, so long as you keep on reader.