The Dis Life Podcast with David Hodges

The Dis Life & GoofyAs I’ve mentioned many times before, I’m addicted to and crazy about Disney podcasts.  They’re popular with Disney fans because they serve a number of purposes – they’re entertaining, they keep the Disney magic alive between vacations, they keep people informed about Disney news, and, personally, they help me feel better about my Disney obsession…there are a LOT of Disney-loving folks out there just like me and a bunch of ’em host podcasts.

Disney podcasts come in lots of forms and even focus on sub-topics.  I’m partial to ones that focus mostly on Walt Disney World and have a couple of hosts that interact well with each other.  One of the newest shows in my weekly podcast listening lineup is The Dis Life Podcast. 

The Dis Life is hosted by David Hodges and most of the time, his daughter, Dannielle.  Dave The Dis Life Podcast Hostsalso has guests from time to time and  his low-key style of Disney-speak makes for a good listen.  I discovered The Dis Life when I wrote my first post about podcasts and a reader suggested I listen to this great new father/daughter podcast team.  I took that advice and have been a loyal listener ever since.

A while back, Dave was kind enough to answer a few interview questions so we could get to know a bit more about the man behind The Dis Life…

The Dis Life eat the kitchen sink before1.  What unexpected surprises (good and/or bad) has podcasting brought you? 

When my daughter and I started this we were doing it just for our own entertainment.  We hoped for an audience, but didn’t really believe that people would listen on a regular basis.  What we actually received was so much more in the way of friendships and real connections and many loyal listeners.  It was a very welcomed unexpected surprise.

2.  Who are the top three guests you’d be most thrilled to have on your show? 

If we’re dreaming big, I would say first off Walt Disney himself, but that may be a little too big. If I were to choose people who are still alive I would like to have on the show: 

A. Joe Rohde David Hodges of The Dis Life

B. The longest employed CM who still works in the parks, not an imagineer or office worker or head cheese, but a regular worker, like a custodial worker or someone like that

C. A cruise director from any of the 4 Disney ships 

3.  What’s your Disney lucky charm – or most favorite, treasured Disney item? 

My most treasured Disney item is actually the Walt Disney biography by Bob Thomas. I am David Hodges' Favorite Disney Treasurebeyond fascinated with the life of Walt Disney. I have a lot of Disney stuff from pins to coffee cups and snow globes, but if I could only keep one item it would be this book.

4.  The one thing you love most about Disney parks?

I have thought about this many times and I think I enjoy the detail in everything the most. I have been to Disneyland and WDW so many times in my life that I still enjoy the rides, but that is not why I go. I love exploring the new areas as well as finding things that have been there forever, but I just never saw them.

5.  Best advice about podcasting you’ve ever received?

The best advice I have received was to have fun with it and be personable and authentic. When you start thinking of it as a job, paid or unpaid, the fun ends and it becomes a chore. No one like chores.

We’ve only been doing this podcast for about 7 months and I have followed all that advice. It is continuing to be fun and I have made a lot of friends in the process. 

David Hodges6.  Best advice about vacationing at a Disney park you’ve ever received – and you think everyone should know?

Take a break! I was told this long ago and I have done it both ways with trying to go from rope drop to close and also by taking breaks. My vacations that I took a break each day were more enjoyable than the one’s that I didn’t. If you think you can do it all in one day, you are mistaken and you will miss half the magic.

I think this advice is more valuable than making budget or looking for the deals or finding shorter lines during parades and fireworks. I think it’s the key to truly enjoying your time in the parks.

7.  How did you first learn about Disney podcasts?  Was that your inspiration for starting one of your own?

I have been interested in podcasting for a long time. I didn’t really know a lot about Disney podcasts at first. I listened to a lot of self-help and business podcasts starting off. I also listened to a lot of how to podcast podcasts. 

I eventually decided that it was time to start my own podcast, but I had a few ideas on what I D Hodgeswanted to talk about. My first thought was to do a family podcast since I have a degree in psychology, I’m not a psychiatrist by any means, but I was going to talk about life and things that most people go through. More of a support podcast. That is still on my radar as well as a few other things. I eventually said I wanted to do something I was passionate about and also something I could do with my 16-year-old daughter (now 17). We spend a lot of time every year at WDW so it was a no-brainer to do a Disney podcast. This is when I started researching other Disney podcasts. This is also when I realized that there were a lot of them ranging from news to travel info to adults only. I was surprised to see how many Disney podcasts were rated “explicit”. Even though I was going to be presenting info that was already being talked about we were going to be the only father/daughter Disney podcast out there. At least I didn’t see any and still have not seen it. My thought was that people would like to hear about Disney from different age groups. I guess, to answer the question, my inspiration to start the podcast was my daughter and having an opportunity for us to do something different together.

The Dis Life Podcast is available on iTunes and Stitcher.

Follow David Hodges and The Dis Life:


Instagram: thedizlife

Twitter: @thedislife


Walt Disney World – Six Days, Seven Snacks

Caramel Apples in EpcotI’ve got a small dilemma and I need your help.  My ODPS (Obsessive Disney Planning Syndrome – it’s not a rare condition, I’m told) has kicked into overdrive now that we’re under the 30 day mark.  I’ve been listening to you here in the blog’s comments and out there on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other Disney blogs – everyone has a favorite Disney food…I’ve been meticulously planning my vacation snacks based on all this info-gathering.  I’ve also got an item on my Disney New Years Resolution list I need to cross off.  I’ve allowed myself a $50 snack budget – here’s my problem…I’ve planned out 7 snacks over 6 days and still have a little money left over!  I KNOW, right?  Who would have thought it possible?  Oh, not to worry, I’m planning on splitting these snacks with The Fam so there aren’t any unanticipated consequences which might result in my vacation wardrobe becoming…shall we say ill-fitting.DSCN2519

So, I’m going to list the snacks in my plan, their price, and where they can be purchased.  Your mission, should you choose to accept it, will be to recommend additional snacks I can add to the list with the $13.29 I have left over.

Here we go:

1. Mickey Premium Ice Cream Bar $3.75 – can be purchased at any park.  I know, why waste a snack on an ice cream bar – plain old vanilla dipped in chocolate…it’s my favorite snack and I have to have one, that’s why.

2. Sweet and Spicy Chicken Waffle Sandwich $7.19 – Sleepy Hollow in Magic Kingdom’s Liberty Square.  Sure, if I count it as a meal (and don’t share!), I can save the 7 bucks for other options…and that might happen, but as of now, we’re all planning on taking a taste and group voting on this highly praised food item.

Dole Whip courtesy of the Disney Dream Girls

Photo Credit: The Disney Dream Girls

3. Dole Whip $3.79 – Aloha Isle in Magic Kingdom’s Adventureland.  Going with the traditional version of this incredibly popular snack food that I have never tasted…shocking, I know.

4. and 5. Side by side, head on comparison of the new and allegedly amazing Cronut (officially called Croissant Doughnut) $4.49 and my beloved Chocolate Croissant $2.99 – both at Epcot.  The Cronut is available at the Refreshment Port and the Croissant at Sunshine Seasons.  Will the new snack on the block be able to hold its own against the tried and true perennial favorite?  We shall see.

6. Churros $3.75 – Magic Kingdom, Frontierland Churro Cart.  Nah, I’ve never had these either – Sunshine Season's Chocolate Croissantgo ahead and set that shocked gasp free!  It’s the missing sweet tooth…but I’m going to give them a try and see if I will join the legions of churro lovers everywhere.

7. Empanadas de Queso $10.75 – La Cantina de San Angel, Epcot’s World Showcase, Mexico Pavilion.  Another meal disguising as a snack, but we can all have a taste and do that group voting thing again.  The Mexico Pavilion will just not get the family’s vote for a meal, but in the interest of research, I’m sure I’ll have no shortage of taste volunteers.  I like Mexican food – the others would rather dine elsewhere.  My friend Heather from over at one of my favorite Disney blogs, Disney for Five+, swears these empanadas are a not-to-be-missed culinary masterpiece and I believe her!

So, here I sit…$36.71 down, $13.29 to spare.  What should I add?  If you’re thinking adult beverage, that’s an entirely different list with a separate budget!

Shout it out, now…don’t leave me hanging.   Tweet me if you have to…. @life_of_green.

Embracing the Rainy Day at Walt Disney World

Rainy Day in Disney's Animal KingdomI’m going to be a little bossy here for a second (imagine that!):  Do NOT go home from your Walt Disney World vacation whining about the weather.  Do. Not. Complain.  In the summer, it rains in Florida.  A lot.  If you don’t realize that going into the trip, you’re going to be surprised and disappointed!  Plan for rain – during certain times of the year, you’ll need to plan for daily rain.  That’s right – it rains every afternoon sometimes – a quick shower that comes and goes, but may be a torrential downpour for a while.  The average monthly rainfall is over 7 inches for June, July and August.  It’s HOT in Florida, too – but I’ll save being bossy on that topic for another day.

Back to the rain. You have two choices when it rains.  Tough it out or pack it in.  Here are my suggestions for IMG_3351embracing the rain – no matter which choice you go with.

1. Make like a good Boy Scout and bring a rain poncho to the parks during the rainy season.  Shoes that are water resistant or will dry quickly are helpful, too.  Flip-flops can become hazardous, near deadly instruments of torture in a downpour as they become very slippery on both the bottom and the foot bed….beware! Walt Disney World in the Rain

2. Hang in there.  Try to stay as dry as possible and wait it out.  Go for an indoor attraction like Mickey’s PhilharMagic or Hall of President’s in the Magic Kingdom, a movie in Epcot’s World Showcase (in Canada, China, or France), wait in the LONG (but dry) line for Soarin’ in Epcot’s Future World, check out the Great Movie Ride or MuppetVision 3D in Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  In Animal Kingdom, you can see It’s Tough to be a Bug.  If it’s not raining hard, grab a snack and a seat and people-watch for a few minutes.  Wait and see if the clouds clear up.

3. Shop.  There is no shortage of shops in Walt Disney World!  Take the time to browse – if you’reIMG_1194 usually rushing from thrill ride to thrill ride, you’ll find an undiscovered treasure trove of unbelievable Disney items for wearing, decorating, eating, and collecting.  Find souvenirs and gifts for everyone including your dog.  Just the number of different hats is staggering.

4. Head on over to Downtown Disney for bowling or a movie or both.  We wouldn’t normally spare the time for an activity we can experience at home, but rainy days may call for some adjustments and accommodation. Splitsville, the new bowling hotspot in Downtown Disney and an AMC Theater (complete with dine-in options) are side by side in the Westside district. Walt Disney World Resort Pizza Delivery

5. When the going gets wet, the wet get going.  Pack it in, people – sometimes the rain just won’t let up – everybody’s wet, cold and cranky.  This is the time to head on back the resort and order a pizza, watch some TV and rest up for better weather…which should come around unless you happen to be in Orlando during a hurricane.  Then you have my permission – encouragement even – to dismiss my bossy directive at the beginning of this post and complain away.  Whine til the cows come home.  If your entire vacation has been wiped out by a hurricane (it’d probably have an oddly mild name like Dudley), you deserve sympathy and a do-over.  I hope this hasn’t ever happened to any of you and hope it never does.

What are your Walt Disney World rainy day tips? 

Voices of Disney – Remembering Eartha Kitt

Yzma from Disney's The Emperor's New GrooveMost of the “Voices of Disney” I feature here are individuals I became acquainted with because of their association with Disney films or attractions.  Eartha Kitt (1927 – 2008) is a different story.  Remember…I’ve been around a while and Eartha Kitt’s contribution to music and 1960’s television were well-know to me long before Ms. Kitt voiced one of my all time favorite Disney villains – Yzma in The Emperor’s New Groove and it’s sequel, Kronk’s New Groove.

First – what I knew before I met Yzma:  Eartha Kitt sang two songs that I particularly love:  “Where is My Man” (1983) and “Santa Baby” (1953) – both songs are alike in that they’re about a woman desiring the finer things in live and believing a man is the only way to get them!  Very typical of the times they were originally recorded (30 years apart!), the songs are fun and clever, not to mention catchy – if currently a tad politically incorrect.  Okay, do you remember Batman the TV series?  Julie Newmar was Catwoman (13 episodes, 1966/67) first – she totally freaked me out!  Very strange – I suppose in a villain, that’s good.  She was sexy and twisted and played well opposite Adam West’s Batman.  Then Eartha Kitt stepped in (1967/68) and gave Catwoman a whole new look The Secret Lab - Disney's The Emperor's New Grooveand attitude!  She had this way of moving her hands that was particularly cat-like.  And her voice!  Purrrrrfect!!!  If you’re reading this and you remember Eartha’s Catwoman, please leave me a comment! (Which Catwoman was your favorite?)

“Tell us where the talking llama is and we’ll burn your house to the ground” – Yzma

Now, what do I love about Yzma?  To begin with, I find it hilarious how much she actually resembles Eartha Kitt!  I adore Kronk and love Yzma for teaming up with him.  The two of them Kronk - Disney's The Emperor's New Grooveare so hysterical!  She’s loaded with the baggage of jealousy and unfulfilled dreams while Kronk is just an extremely dense super-nice guy who’s loyal to Yzma while managing to see the silver lining on every cloud.  He’s there to tote her baggage (literally and figuratively) while she tries in vain to triumph through a variety of ill-conceived schemes.  I don’t know about you, but I think she’s a pretty likable villain and I find myself rooting for her at times.  Her hair-brained ideas are kind of endearing to me.

Before I go, I feel the need to add that The Emperor’s New Groove is completely underrated and underappreciated.  There.  I feel better now.  To the SECRET LAB!

Your turn – Have you even seen The Emperor’s New Groove?  Are you a fan of Yzma and Kronk?