Admittedly, I don’t read many theme park websites. There are a few that post original content, however, those are few and far between. I can go to literally dozens of sites to look at pictures of construction walls and if I am so inclined, watch a video of construction equipment moving around behind said walls. In addition, message boards drive me batty with cliques, politics and endless threads on why the Yeti isn’t fixed on Expedition Everest. It can be mind numbing to read, so for the most part I just steer clear from most of it.
Podcasts? Even worse. I really don’t need someone to read to me what you saw on the Disney Parks Blog or tell me about what you liked about your first visit to Ohana at the Polynesian Resort. However, amongst all the endless chatter out there about theme parks there is one shining star that needs to be recognized and that’s the Season Pass Podcast run by Doug Barnes.
As a theme park fan, if you had the chance, who would you interview? I can almost guarantee you, no matter who comes to mind off the top of your head, has been on the Season Pass Podcast. His guest list reads like a rolodex for the best in the industry: Tony Baxter, Marty Sklar, Garner Holt, Gary Goddard, Jon Binkowski, Matt Ouimet, Bob Gurr, even celebrities like Neil Patrick Harris.
Most importantly, Doug and his team don’t make the fatal mistake that many other podcasts make: they shut the hell up. When you get industry titans on the show, let them do the talking. Every single episode of the Season Pass Podcast, I learn something, which for me is saying something. I literally have a small library of books on theme parks and themed entertainment. I have attended countless seminars on the subject and hell, I have even talked to some of the people on his shows personally over the years and yet, I still learn something new every single time.
If you have any interest at all in how the themed entertainment industry works, the Season Pass Podcast provides literally hours of fascinating insight and stories from the people who have built it from the ground up. There isn’t a book, magazine or even website on the planet that comes close to the oral history of this industry that is available absolutely for free to download. Seriously, it’s amazing.
If you’ve never been in the web business, especially in the space of themed entertainment and you have these illusions of making a decent living or even any money at all from the venture, let me burst that bubble now. There is little to no money in this unfortunately and at best, you’ll be lucky to break even. The same can be said for the Season Pass Podcast. Doug Barnes and his crew do it out of the sheer love for the industry. The time it takes to set up the interview, getting the audio equipment ready (also just having that equipment and paying for it) and then the editing all take time and frankly, Doug is currently at his breaking point.
Barnes has had to start a second job to make ends meet because times are tough for him and his family. One of his sons has autism and frankly, it’s hard to pull yourself away for a podcast that doesn’t help pay the bills when you’ve got people depending on you. Now it’s at this point you must realize. I have never once spoken with Doug Barnes or anyone else on the Season Pass. I have exchanged maybe two emails ago some months ago, but that’s it. They are not asking for my support, I have never been a guest on their show (but I would love to!), nor do they even know I am writing this.
Here’s what I am asking you. If you are a fan of the Season Pass, consider becoming a Season Passholder like I just did. It helps support what is undoubtedly the greatest collection of stories ever told about theme parks and themed entertainment. Never heard of them or have never listened to an episode? Either find them on iTunes or check out their website. Scroll through the list of guests and pick one, two or twenty episodes that might tickle your fancy. After going through a few episodes, as a lover of this industry, you’ll understand why this needs to keep going and why the Season Pass is so important to the industry. Thanks for your consideration and best of luck to the Season Pass crew!