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Approximately 37% of families say that vacations make them happy, and there's arguably no better place to take a trip with your loved ones than the Happiest Place on Earth. Some people love Disney parks so much that they wish they could live there. And in a certain way, some Disney fans have managed to do just that. They may not live in Cinderella's castle or on Main Street, USA, but they visit so often that the Magic Kingdom is like their second home. In many cases, these fans document their magical experiences on social media for all to see. A select few have even managed to create a massive following and foray their love for Mickey Mouse into full-fledged careers -- without ever working as a formal Disney employee.
AJ Wolfe doesn't even live in the Sunshine State. She resides in Texas, where she's been writing her Disney Food Blog for the past decade. But you'd never know she wasn't a season pass-holder, considering how frequently she posts and how in-depth her features can be. Her mouthwatering photos delight her social media followers, who engage regularly with her account to stay on top of all of the latest Disney park food trends. With 438,000 Instagram followers (and counting) and millions of monthly website readers, Wolfe was able to turn her passion for magical eats into a lucrative career.
Although Wolfe still resides in Dallas, she now employs staff members who do live in Florida. She also makes a trip to the parks approximately once per month to check out what's new. When she travels, she does so alone -- and she schedules four to five meals per day so she's able to try as many items as she can. Although her Disney days can last from 6 am to 2 am (far beyond the "rope drop to fireworks" mantra that many diehard Disney fans adopt), she told People that every experience is still as magical as it always was.
Wolfe explained, "I started the blog because I love the parks. They just carry a real enchantment for me. I always like to build in time for myself to hang out in the parks and ride some rides. That's part of the benefit of doing this as a job."
Not only does Wolfe live solely off her blog earnings (thanks to the in-depth Disney food guides she has available for purchase on her site), but she's also had a hand in making a number of new food offerings go viral. And unlike many influencers, she's been able to maintain a certain degree of anonymity; she purposefully tries to keep a low profile so that Disney cast members and others don't know who she is when she shows up to conduct her research. Although she says she's had managers offer to comp her meals, she always pays her way for the sake of transparency.
"I’ll go up to them and say, ‘I’m sorry, but this is something that we have to pay for in order to remain unbiased for our readers,'" she explained to People. "And frankly, it's better for them as well because if I have to write a review that says you paid for it and it's a good review, nobody's going to trust that."
And trust her, they do. Wolfe is seen as a food authority in all things Disney, due to her continued presence on various social networking and content creation platforms. You can scarcely conduct a search about eating at Disney World without stumbling upon one of her posts -- and many fans wouldn't dare plan a trip without consulting her blog or Instagram first.
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But Wolfe isn't the only one whose devotion to all things Disney has transformed into a professional path. Bloggers like The Disney Chef and influencers like Styled By Magic have found a bit of fame and fortune, thanks to Disney-related content. Disney has also made moves to embrace social media influencers, hosting events for content creators and forging partnerships to promote new offerings.
Of course, if you want to get in on the magical action, you can't simply email Disney's PR representative and request tickets -- not without having something to back it up, at least. You'll need to work on growing your audience and creating stellar content that will appeal to fellow Disney lovers. Not only will you likely need to outsource SEO services to ensure fans can easily find your blog, but you'll also want to focus on a specific niche of the Disney lifestyle to cover. Instead of food, that might be fashion (like new clothing lines sold in the parks or the Disneybounding trend) or hidden secrets of Disney history. While there are already successful bloggers and influencers doing both, carving out your little corner -- and doing it better than anyone else -- is one of the best ways to get noticed.
That's all easier said than done, especially given that these platforms are becoming more saturated by the day. What's more, it will take a lot of hard work to make your Disney dream a reality. But as Walt Disney would probably tell you, "it's kind of fun to do the impossible."
I've written so many articles in the past year and a half where I've referenced things that I saw at the D23 Expo in Anaheim back in the summer of 2017 that I've lost count. But the BIG one - the one that everyone was talking about - was the "circle of life" teaser that filmmaker Jon Favreau presented from his reimagining of THE LION KING. In one sense it's the latest in the string of live-action updates to the classic Disney animated film catalog, but how do you call something "live-action" when everything on screen is a digital creation? It's astonishing how far we've come, and if you thought The Jungle Book was spectacular, just wait until you see what's embedded below... the very first teaser for Disney's THE LION KING.
Dumbo is a bit of a divisive figure in our house. The 1941 animated film falls into that "sad movie" category that my wife generally tends to avoid, so I'm the one that's introduced it to The Rock Daughters™ and got pretty excited when I first heard that the Batman Returns team of Michael Keaton (Batman), Danny DeVito (The Penguin) and filmmaker Tim Burton had come together to reimagine the tale for the big-screen. This coming March, Walt Disney Studios brings DUMBO into theaters, and now comes a new trailer and poster for the live-action adventure that picks-up where the animated version ended. Check it out...
I do not care for "reaction videos." That's something that I've made clear many times in the past, because despite being extraordinarily popular (and I know some folks who do quite well with them), they're just not my bag. They're fake, exaggerated and make the subjects appear to be human cartoons. In fact, I even did one that pretty much sums-up how I view every trailer, and I titled it "The World's Most Boring Reaction Video." Today, however - a slight exception in that Disney•Pixar went totally-meta and released a reaction video for their own Toy Story 4 teaser, but it's not a traditional reaction video. No, it's snarky carnival toys taking shots at Cabbage Patch Kids and Care Bears before riffing on the famous catch-phrases of Woody & Buzz Lightyear. Check it out below, and be on the lookout... I do believe we've just seen our first Easter Egg. Are those Cordoba COCO guitars on the wall?
When Ralph Breaks the Internet hits theaters on November 21, audiences will get their first big-screen look at Disney•Pixar's Toy Story 4. But today that teaser is available early, hitting the web to give fans their long-awaited first-look at what adventures lie ahead as the toys head to a new location... Bonnie’s room. “Like most people, I assumed that ‘Toy Story 3’ was the end of the story,” said director Josh Cooley. “And it was the end of Woody’s story with Andy. But just like in life, every ending is a new beginning. Woody now being in a new room, with new toys, and a new kid, was something we have never seen before. The questions of what that would be like became the beginning of an entertaining story worth exploring.” Check out the teaser below!
This Incredibles 2 Special Feature is presented in collaboration between The Rock Father™ and Disney•Pixar. Incredibles 2 is now available Blu-ray 4K Ultra HD,™ Blu-ray™, DVD and On-Demand - a Holiday Wish Guide Pick as a perfect gift!
A year before Disney•Pixar's Incredibles 2 hit theaters, I noticed a familiar family dynamic at play. I'd been invited to attend the D23 Expo in Anaheim, and it was inside the famed "Hall D23" that members of the audience got their first-look at some footage from the long-awaited sequel. By the time the film hit theaters this summer, it had been 14 years since the original - with enough time having passed that the world had become a very different place. One big change: I'd become an at-home dad, and so did Bob Parr (Mr. Incredible). To put it lightly, there were adjustments to be made, and the experience has been a rollercoaster. For our family, I became the at-home parent for financial reasons - my wife, my own "Mrs. Incredible," makes more money than I do and has the stability of a great job (21 years and counting!) with essential benefits like health insurance that are often unaffordable for hired gun contract guys like myself. For the Incredibles, the reasons were a bit more complicated, yet entirely similar. Helen Parr (Elastigirl) was offered a gig outside of the home that would support her family, yet even she was conflicted in a way very similar to my wife, stating "in order to help my family, I have to leave it." Bob thought that staying home with the kids would be "easy." If you've ever been responsible for a small human being, I think we can agree that it's never easy. Still, in the years that I've had the good fortune to do what I do, part of which includes running this very website, some (a very select few) have deemed me a "parenting expert," and that is a falsehood. Being "The Rock Father™," I do have some tips, but they're more like reminders... for myself. How to be an Incredible dad...