One of the things I enjoy about working on Rope Drop [dot] Net is finding out about new and upcoming resources for Disney information. Though I’m woefully behind on updating the Disney Podcast directory with all of the most recent submissions, one recent recommendation by friend of the site Dutch Lombrowski piqued my interest: Backside of Magic. With the recent departure of the original cast from WDW Today, I have been looking for a replacement Disney podcast that fills that same informative, analytical slot in my playlist, and Dutch’s recommendation was all I needed to give Backside of Magic a shot.
Summary of the Show So Far
To date, there have been 3 actual episodes of the show (and 2 mini / placeholder-type ones.) So far the format of the show seems to be:
- A summary of important Disney World news;
- “Preposterous Ponderance”, in which one host gives the other host a “preposterous” scenario and asks for his opinion on it (James Rosemergy would be proud); and
- The weekly topic.
The first episode’s weekly topic covered resources the hosts, Ryan and Jeremy, use to gather their information. Though probably not earth-shattering information to seasoned Disney travelers, knowing where they get their information helps validate their authority. (Yes, they did mention reading this site. I thank them for that, but it was really Dutch’s recommendation that got me to listen, not any kind of quid pro quo as a result of a site mention.) The second episode was a discussion about certain challenges that might arise when planning a Disney vacation (e.g., how to get Fastpass+ selection for a large group with different check-in days). Again, not particularly Earth-shattering information, but it does hint at the level of detail that hosts Ryan and Jeremy may be able to reach as their show continues to develop.
It was Episode 3, however, when the guys really hit their stride. First, in the news discussion, the hosts extrapolated how Disney’s new dining reservation policy may allow guests to avoid the current “$10 per person” fee one receives when cancelling an ADR within 24 hours of a reservation by applying the same technique that people use to avoid hotel cancellation fees (i.e., extending the reservation into the future, and then cancelling that new reservation). I followed up with the guys on Twitter to get their reasoning on that strategy. Not only did they provide me with a fuller explanation, but also informed me that they tested out the strategy during a previous trip (yes, they offered the disclaimer that maybe Bongos is less strict about its cancellation policy, but seeing that they actually tested out their theory before sharing it left me a very positive impression of the care they put into the show).
The weekly topic, saving money on Disney gift card purchases, was equally enlightening. The hosts provided 4 levels of “difficulty” in getting increasing amounts of discounts on Disney gift cards, and then explained how to apply those gift cards to your upcoming vacation. Even as someone who has previously written about managing Disney gift cards, I still learned a lot from this segment. (That said, I’m still firmly in the “you can’t pay your rent with a gift card” camp, and I encourage everyone to be smart about your gift card purchases when you have other expenses, limited funds, etc…) The segment also made me excited about the tips for saving on airfare that were teased for next week’s show. If that discussion is half as a good as the gift card one, I think it will be a real winner.
Looking to the Future
After listening to 3 episodes, I’m optimistic that Backside of Magic can be a strong entry in the Disney podcast space. Ryan and Jeremy seem to have a knack for making analytical connections related to certain news items, and I’m interested to see how they continue to apply that skill as the show continues to grow. With such a young show, there is plenty of fresh ground they have not previously covered that is ripe for their analysis.
Of course, as Tony Kornheiser tells aspiring radio hosts: “Anyone can do a Monday show. What’s your Thursday show going to be?” In other words, what are you going to do when all the major topics have been talked about. It’s too early in the life of Backside of Magic to know what they’ll do on their “Thursday” show, but if these first 3 episodes are any indication, I think they’re going to be fine.