Meet Gary and Mike from the Por Favor Podcast

Por Favor Hosts Mike and Gary

Mike and (baby) Gary, friends from the start!

Disney Podcasts are a big part of my everyday life.  I know on which days of the week my favorite ones release new episodes, I listen to certain shows on my commute to and from work and certain ones while I run, I listen to some for news and updated Walt Disney World information.  A few, I listen to because they’re just plain fun!  Those are the ones where the hosts talk about their love for Disney, their favorite Disney resorts, foods, rides, attractions, and memories.  Honestly?  Those are my most favorite type of podcasts to listen to – you feel as if you’re right there with the show’s hosts, hanging out with friends.

Today I’d like to introduce you to one of those super fun podcasts and its hosts.  The Por Por Favor Podcast Hosts Mike and Gary as childrenFavor Podcast, just a few months old, has captured listeners’ hearts and gathered quite a sizable fan base – all because of two guys, cousins, Gary Arruda and Mike Hurley.  They’re two best friends just talking about Disney.  And sometimes sports and beer.  The fact that Gary’s in Rhode Island and Mike’s in Minnesota doesn’t make a difference – they’re a great podcasting team!  They may give each other a hard time, but their unmistakable friendship is what makes this podcast a hit.

I was fortunate enough to score an invitation to be a guest on a couple of episodes of the Por Favor Podcast (19 & 20), so I can tell you first hand – Gary and Mike are as charming, witty, fun and funny in real life as they seem to be on their show.  After we recorded the podcast, they were kind enough to grant me an interview.  Now you can get to know Gary and Mike better as well.

Meet Gary and Mike from the Por Favor Podcast

1.  What unexpected surprises (good and/or bad) has podcasting brought you?

Por Favor Podcast / Gary Snacking

Gary snacking on a Disney vacation

Gary:   Podcasting has been a lot of fun for me. I’ve always been full of hot air, so being able to share my thoughts and opinions on something I’m so passionate about is great. It’s been a huge surprise at how many people have become fans so soon. I assumed you had to establish yourself for a year before people would listen. We’ve been lucky that other great Disney podcasts have listened and mentioned us to their listeners. I know the guys at Resort Loop, Enchanted Tiki Talk and Drunk on Disney have all given us shout-outs on their shows, and it sends new people our way. I think the best thing to come out of doing the Por Favor Podcast thus far is some of the great friends we’ve made (like Lisa!).

Por Favor Podcast Host Mike sporting his Mickey Mouse Tee

Mike has been a Disney fan forever!


MikeHonestly, what was unexpected was that people would listen.  Gary and I started this, because we simply wanted to talk weekly about Disney and just throw it up on iTunes and Stitcher.  I had no clue people would listen and enjoy it and want to actively engage with it on Twitter and/or being on the show.

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

Por Favor Gary with Belle

Gary and Belle!

Gary:  If we could get any three guests on the Por Favor Podcast, I’d have to choose people who would be willing to be silly and play along with Mike’s and my foolishness. I’m not saying I wouldn’t want great and informative guests on the show, but our style doesn’t mesh well with “hard-hitting” interviews. If we could get living legend Richard Sherman on the show, my life would be complete, but I feel like that episode wouldn’t be as fun as most of our others because I wouldn’t want to waste his time with our inside jokes and the constant grief Mike and I hurl at one another. There are certainly Disney celebrities who would get our “humor” so I’ll make my list with that in mind. 1. Dick Van Dyke 2. Patrick Warburton and 3. Neil Patrick Harris.

Mike:  1. Michael Eisner – I love, love, love Disney resorts and he was the one who transformed Walt Disney World into a major resort.  2.  Richard Sherman – I really enjoy Disney music, especially the Carousel of Progress theme song.  I would love to learn about Walt through him.  3.  George Brett – The Hall of Fame 3rd baseman of the Kansas City Royals and 1985 World Series Champion.  He was my favorite player growing up.  As a young nerd, I would wear my ‘Brett’ jersey to Fenway Park.  Hey, they all didn’t have to be Disney related, did they?

Book of Disney Parks Posters3.  What’s your Disney lucky charm – or most favorite, treasured Disney item?

Gary:  I wouldn’t say I have a specific Disney lucky charm, but I have lots of Disney items that I love having around because they remind me of what I love so much about the parks. If my house was on fire and all my truly important things were safe (wife, future child, photos, golf clubs, podcasting equipment, beer fridge) and I could run back in and grab one Disney item, I’d probably grab my “Just Married” Disney Christmas ornament. It has sentimental value because my wife and I got it on our honeymoon in Walt Disney World. If not that, then I really love my “Poster Art of the Disney Parks” book.Disney Ornament / Por Favor Gary

Mike's Donald 2MikeI couldn’t decide my favorite, so I will give you two.  First would have to be my Donald Duck 50th birthday stuffed animal.  I got it back in the 80’s when they were celebrating his 50th.  I kept the original tag on it.  Secondly, my wooden carved Donald Duck that I keep in my Disney figurine case.  Donald is my favorite character and when my dad was in Orlando on a business trip, he picked it up for me.  It was a great surprise when he came home.

Mike's Donald 1

4.  The one thing you love most about Walt Disney World?

Por Favor Gary with Donald Duck

Gary and Frontierland Donald

Gary:  One thing?! How dare you try and limit me to one thing to love about Walt Disney World? Ok, I’m sorry, it is your blog after all. I’ll play nice. I guess the thing I love most if I had to narrow it down is the shared feeling of wonderment. I guess that’s hard to quantify, but where else can you go where almost everyone you come across is having a good day. Little children, grandparents, grown men, families, and adults without kids all have that look in their eye. You can tell, even the most jaded and cynical of people can find something that blows their mind in Walt Disney World. I guess that’s what I love most.

MikeThe resorts.  I am not a morning person, but when I’m at Disney I wake up early.  I don’t think there is anything better than grabbing a cup of coffee, walking the resort and watching the sunrise.

5.  Best advice about podcasting you’ve ever received?  Or – What have you learned about life from podcasting?

Por Favor Gary and Gaston

My, what a guy, that Gary!

Gary:  I’m not sure if anyone has given me any specific advice about podcasting. I wish someone had told me before I started not to work with my cousin. Have you heard that guy? He’s a clown. (Just kidding Mike, you know I love ya!) The one thing I will say I learned about podcasting early on, is you can tell when someone doesn’t want to be there or doesn’t have the passion for it. If you are going to do it, give it your full effort. Mike and I decided early on that if we were going to record a podcast, we had to try and have decent audio quality and to release a show every week. Just because we were just starting out wasn’t an excuse for poor quality or an erratic schedule.

Por Favor Mike and Wife, Kristen

Mike and his better half, Kristen



MikeWe got such a nice email early on and here is a piece of it…….  ‘The “newness” of the show is what makes it great…try to hang onto that as long as possible.  Sometimes, as a show goes on, the hosts think they’re getting “better” (less mistakes, more “professional” sounding delivery, etc.), but what they think is “better” actually makes the show lose some of its charm’  The original format was/is of two friends who sit around in ‘Everything Pop’ with a cup of coffee who discuss Disney.  We wanted it to be simple and fun.

6.  Best advice about vacationing at a Disney park (you think everyone should know)?

Por Favor Gary and Donald

Gary and Donald showing off

Gary:  I’m trying to think of something unique or original for this answer, but I think the best thing to do while at a Disney park is to be willing to come out of your comfort zone. Don’t be “that guy” who thinks he’s too cool to try on the Mickey ears and take a picture with them on. Go on the “kiddie” rides and be a giant goofball. No one is going to think twice about a grown man enjoying the tea-cups or Dumbo at a Disney park. Take advantage of the fact that you can be as silly as you want and you’ll fit right in with most people.

MikeDo what you enjoy most.  If I were a Disney Vacation Planner, I would be more of a consultant and listen to what interests people.  Some people like to hit ‘rope drop’ and go all day.  My wife and I like to take it slow.  We enjoy a quick breakfast at one of the monorail resorts and then hit the parks.  We also like to go back to our resort in the afternoon and swim, have lunch, relax and read a bit.

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

Por Favor Gary Stylin' at WDW

Por Favor Gary showing his style

Gary:  I first sought out Disney podcasts when I was researching my honeymoon trip to Walt Disney World. I was doing tons of research in my free time; reading message boards, blogs and basically trying to consume as much info about Disney as possible. I was already a fan of podcasts, I listened to several comedy podcasts at the time and I figured I’d Google Disney podcasts. I figured there was probably one or two that existed. Much to my surprise I found many to choose from. I tried out a few and settled on my rotation of favorites that were a mix of information, humor and fun discussions. I was working in the radio industry at the time, so I gravitated towards the audio medium and I really appreciated the amount of work that goes into quality audio and good production values.

If you want a sappy answer as to why I wanted to start the Por Favor Podcast here goes. It gave me a reason to talk to my cousin on a weekly basis. I’ve always been really close to Mike despite the 10 year age difference. Over time we had drifted apart slightly. We just didn’t communicate as much as in the past. As it worked out, we started planning our big family trip in February of this year and Mike and I were talking almost daily about Disney and of course other nonsense. Mike brought up the idea of recording a podcast, and I figured it would be a great way to ensure we’d be talking at least once a week. It’s been really great reconnecting to Mike. I feel like we’re closer than ever now. By the way, Mike is going to give me a hard time for saying all this. He’ll bust my chops on an upcoming episode.

Mike's Pal Fenway (with Donald)

Mike’s buddy, Fenway, likes Donald too!

Fenway Stealing Donald

Fenway and Donald

MikeI’m a Dog-Walker/Pet-Sitter and I listen to podcasts all day.  Last summer, when I was working around the clock, I found Lou Mongello’s WDW Radio and fell in love with it.  I found a few similar podcasts, and I was hooked after that.  That was not my inspiration for doing a podcast.  I never thought about starting one.  Last year on Christmas Eve, I was talking with my uncle and he mentioned that he was taking the family to Walt Disney World in February and said that he would also like to take my wife and me.  Gary, his two sisters and I were like giddy teenagers getting ready for a dance.  We texted almost nightly and talked on Facebook to do our planning.  One night, Gary and I Skyped and we kind of talked about the idea of doing a podcast.  A few weeks later episode 000 was live on iTunes.  The age difference between us when I was living in Rhode Island was where I was chasing girls and Gary was watching cartoons.  When I moved to Minneapolis, the gap began to shrink.  We became very close and he would come out every few years and we’d play golf and go to Minnesota Twins baseball games.  This podcast isn’t about fame or money.  If it was supposed to be, we’re failing miserably.  It’s simply about having a chance to talk regularly with my best friend about our love of Disney.

8.  What Disney adventure (WDW visit, Disney Cruise Line, DVC membership, runDisney event, etc.) would you most like to see in your future?

Gary: The Disney adventure I’d most like to be a part of in the future is being able to go whenever I want. I don’t think I’d ever really get sick of the Disney parks, but I’d like to find out! I don’t want to live in Orlando or Anaheim, but if I could become a DVC member, it would “force” me to go to the parks at least once or twice a year. I’d be okay with that! If I’m picking a home DVC resort it would have to be either Beach Club or Wilderness Lodge. I could get used to either of those places I’m sure.

MikeWe are planning on relocating the Minneapolis D. Fauntleroy Studio to sunny Florida in the near future.  It’s a major sacrifice, but something I am willing to do to better the podcast.  No official press conference has been scheduled.  Anyway, here is the answer…My aunt, uncle and Por Favor Podcast contributor Mary are planning on being at Walt Disney World this December.  My wife and I plan on spending the weekend there and staying at the Grand Floridian.  I’ve always wanted to check that place out at Christmas.

Ready to listen to the Por Favor Podcast?  Visit the Por Favor website or download episodes from iTunes or Stitcher (if you like them, please give them a review!).

Follow the guys on Twitter: @PorFavorPodcast, @PorFavorGary, @PorFavorMike

WDW Top 10 Attractions for the Whole Family

Cinderella Castle in Magic KingdomTop 10 lists are fun!  This one in particular, for me, was cool to build – I’ve been going to Walt Disney World now for 24+ years.  The first time, married just five months, I was already in the family way, the next dozen visits were made with children from age 13 months on up to adulthood (I should say adult-ish).  I’ve been through the rider swap phase, the am-I-tall-enough stage, the oh-I’m-too-scared times, and finally to the (well-deserved, I might add) – everyone can and will ride everything!  There is absolutely nothing our family will not ride at Walt Disney World (okay, well, except Mission: Space, but I explained all that here).

I thought it would be fun to put together a few of our favorite rides (and attractions) that are suitable for just about every age.  I’m talking about the ones with no height requirements that aren’t too scary – the kinds of rides and activities Walt Disney was talking about when he said, “We believed in our idea – a family park where parents and children could have fun- together.”  These are some of our must-do’s, our favorite things we’ve enjoyed as a family from the very beginning and still love today.  No rush or anything, but someday (when I’m older), these are the first rides I’ll take my grandchildren on.

Walt Disney World Top 10 Attractions for the Whole Family:

Magic Kingdom

Dumbo (Storybook Circus / Fantasyland) – I KNOW, it’s just riding around in a circle – but you’re on a flying elephant!  The quintessential Disney experience and, unlike the Mad Tea Party’s tea cups, there’s little chance of motion sickness.  It’s okay for you to have fun on Sailing on WDW Jungle CruiseDumbo…even if you’re old.

Jungle Cruise (Adventureland) – There’s a lot to see, most of it of the cute and funny variety.  Even if the little ones can’t yet appreciate the Jungle Cruise skipper’s comedic genius, it’s not dark and more thrilling than actually scary.  C’mon – The BACKSIDE of water!  Never gets old.

Peter Pan’s Flight (Fantasyland) – Who doesn’t love a lost boy?  I’m always surprised by how much I love boarding my little pirate ship and flying over amazing scenes from Peter Pan.  From London to Never Land and back – all our favorite characters are there!

Mickey's PhilharMagic / Fantasyland / Magic KingdomMickey’s PhilharMagic (Fantasyland) – So much fun and happiness in one place.  The music, the special effects, the smell of pies and cakes floating by…yes!  This holds a very special place in our hearts.  So special, in fact, that our Megan’s been able to talk us into seeing this 3D movie experience 3 times in the same vacation.  Compared to It’s Tough to be a Bug over in Animal Kingdom, this one’s much less likely to induce a meltdown.

Prince Charming Regal Carrousel (Fantasyland) – Yes, I’m aware that there’s a carrousel in every mall in America.  There’s a reason for that – they are fun!  Prince Charming’s version is no exception.  You get to look out and see what’s happening in Fantasyland all around you or just watch the other guests enjoying their ride upon a fancy horse.  Good, old fashioned family fun.  Don’t miss it.Sign in The Seas With Nemo & Friends


The Seas with Nemo & Friends (Future World) – Board a clam-mobile and watch your favorite characters from Finding Nemo as you drift along with the ocean current.  It’s bright and fun and a little silly, so everyone finds something to like about it.  Plus, it’s a great place to cool off on a hot day.  I love Bruce and Mr. Ray the best!

Malestrom (World Showcase) – Might be the scariest thing on this list, but the ride’s fun, the Malestrom / Norway Pavilion / World Showcasebig troll is cool, and, if we hurry, we can enjoy it as an educational tribute to the country of Norway.  ‘Cause that’s what the World Showcase is supposed to be all about – teaching us about other cultures around the world.  If the rumors are true and the Norway Pavilion changes to be completely overtaken with the Frozen theme, characters, and fictitious land of Arendelle…well, I’ll save that rant for later.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

MuppetVision 3D – We love everything about this show.  The waiting area with all it’s puns and sight gags, the pre-show, the fancy theater, Statler and Waldorf doing their thing.  Sweetums at the end – it’s all great!  Everyone’s favorite frog can never disappoint.  Fun for all ages.  And species.

Animal Kingdom Kilimanjaro Safari / Animal Kingdom

Kilimanjaro Safari  – If you’ve been here before, you know how much I love the Safari!  Well, it’s perfect for our family because there’s so much to see!  Animals out on the savannah, in the wild (sort of) – doing their thing.  It’s always changing – so no two trips around are exactly the same.  We love mornings the best – the animals seem to be much more active than they are later in the day.

Festival of the Lion King – Audience interaction, aerial stunts, dancing, singing, OH! and don’t forget the Tumble Monkeys – This live tribute to all the best things about The Lion King is an absolute must do!  Seriously, it’s a lot of fun.  This show highlights some of the most talented performers at Walt Disney World.

Under the Sea - Journey of the Little MermaidHonorable Mention – this ride is brand new, but totally kid and adult friendly in the Fantasyland (Magic Kingdom)…I’m talking about Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid.  It’s colorful, cute, non-scary (even the parts with Ursula are mild).  Everyone will like something about it.  Especially Little Mermaid fans.

What are your favorite rides and attractions for all ages?  What would you add (or subtract) from this list?

Disney Cruise Line With Teens

Disney Cruise Line / Classic ShipTeens!  Can’t live with ’em,….pass the beer nuts. (super enormous bonus points if anyone besides Raymond can get the 80’s TV reference there).  They were such adorable little kids once.  They looked up to you.  They liked spending time with you because you were smart and funny.  One day you wake up and everything has changed!  Suddenly you’re stupid and embarrassing.  The eye roll becomes a primary mode of communication.  You literally find yourself succumbing to bribery to get a couple of confrontation-free hours in your child’s company.  What the heck just happened?

You’re not alone!  The teen years can be such a challenge, but can also be pretty rewarding. Disney Cruise Line with Teen Boys The hard part is that one minute, your offspring want to be treated (and act) like little kids – two seconds later, they’ll insist they’re old enough to make their own decisions, go it alone, need space, yadda, yadda…..oy!  Every moment seems fraught with potential hostility – yours and theirs.  This is a difficult time – I considered every day we made it through alive and unscathed a blessing – finding a way to vacation harmoniously is pretty darned tricky.

Disney Cruise Line in Alaska with TeensIf you’ve ever considered taking a vacation aboard Disney Cruise Line and you have teens, you’ve reached the perfect time!  A Disney cruise is not just for families with small children.  The teen programs, spaces, and activities on Disney cruise ships are outstanding.  Plan in advance how much family time you want to spend together…and also allow plenty of time for your teen to stretch their independence muscles.  There are plenty of adults-only things onboard for you to enjoy on your own, too!  If you’re traveling with teen boys, all the food they can eat is included in the price of the cruise – that alone makes a Disney Cruise an excellent vacation choice!

I’ve survived enjoyed five Disney cruises with teens (my own and sometimes more!) and we – all of us, individually and as a family, had an absolutely wonderful time on each and every Dancing with Goofy on a Disney Cruiseadventure.  I tried to involve everyone in the planning phase – so limits would be clear on when we would be together as a family and when we could do our own thing (adults go one way and teens another).  This worked well for us – expectations outlined ahead of time seemed to minimize the possibility of disagreements while traveling.  While our teens were off in the teen club participating in fun activities, we were in the spa getting a couple’s massage or enjoying brunch in Palo (one of Disney Cruise Line’s adults-only restaurants).

Every Disney Cruise Line ship has a designated area just for teens (ages 13-17) with Formal Night on Disney Cruise Linecounselors trained to deal with all kinds of teens from all over the world.  There are teen-only excursions in many ports of call and if your ship stops at Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay, there’s even a dedicated teen beach.  You know your child better than anyone and how much independence they can handle, so my advice?  Just plan accordingly and plan to have a great time – together and apart!

What’s been your favorite vacation during the teen years? 


Disney Rain Ponchos – More Than Just a Fashion Statement

Enjoying a Rainy Day / Disneys Hollywood StudiosNothing says Walt Disney World vacation like a rain poncho with Mickey Mouse on it.  The fact that we’re willing to pay $8 (technically $7.51) for a big piece of plastic and some snaps says a lot about how important it is for us to sport such stylish rainwear.  We all know it would save a big bunch of cash for a family of four to buy generic ponchos at the local dollar store.  Okay, okay – maybe we sometimes buy those pricey Disney ponchos out of necessity…I mean those unexpected afternoon “showers” can be extreme torrential downpours and maybe we left our cheapo ponchos back at the resort.  However I come by it, I wear my Disney poncho with pride – it adds a certain panache to my vacation wardrobe that cannot be underappreciated.  It also has other practical uses.  You didn’t know?  Well….I’ll be glad to enlighten you!  We need to get our $8-worth out of those puppies!!!Waiting for the bus to Downtown Disney

The Many Uses of a Disney Rain Poncho:

Protection from the elements – Using the poncho for its intended purpose.  When last we were at WDW, it didn’t just rain, it didn’t just pour – it HAILED!  We were huddled inside our ponchos in a tiny alcove outside the entrance to Tower of Terror waiting for our FastPasses to “mature” with about five minutes to go when a storm of biblical proportions struck.  Catch the video here.  Check out the poor guy who let his little one use his poncho (by the strollers) – he was soaked!

As a means to stay dry on water rides – No way would I ride Kali River Rapids without a poncho.  Getting soaked from head to toe would completely ruin Kali River Rapids / Disney's Animal Kingdommy day.  I’m not a fan of shoes that squish when I walk.  But I want to ride Kali, so I don my trusty poncho and let the river take me where it will.

As a seat cushion – a. k. a. Posterior Preserver – Have you ever decided to sit on the curb, in a sunny spot, in Magic Kingdom to stake out a favored parade viewing area?  That concrete can be scorching hot!  Like sitting-on-the-surface-of-the-sun hot.  Just slide that folded-up poncho under your buns and you are golden!  See?  Rain or shine, the poncho ROCKS!

Protect your gear – Say you want to go on Splash Mountain or even Pirates of the Caribbean and there’s a chance your camera, cell phone, or bag will get wet.  Wrap your poncho around your gear to make sure everything comes out safe and sound…oh, and dry, too.Disney Parks Poncho as a Salon Smock

Salon smock – You think I’m kidding?  Oh, I assure you I am not.  Tuck in the hood, add a towel around the neckline, secure the poncho tight with a clothes pin – and snip away.  Home or away, you can keep hair trimmings well away from a body with a Walt Disney World poncho!

Do you buy Disney rain ponchos?  Are there any uses that I’ve missed?