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 Favor 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?
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!).
Mike: Honestly, 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)
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?
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.
Mike: I 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.
4. The one thing you love most about Walt Disney World?
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.
Mike: The 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?
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.
Mike: We 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)?
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.
Mike: Do 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?
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: I’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.
Mike: We 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.