Ten years ago today we started what would become DAPs Magic. As I sit here at Starbucks ten years later it is hard to wrap my mind about how much has happened during the decade of DAPs. A lot has changed, but some has stayed the same. Today I’m just going to share some thoughts and memories about this journey.
DAPs Magic wasn’t originally DAPs Magic. In fact, it wasn’t originally even a website. It came out of a search for more information on Pirates of the Caribbean (the movie) that led me to friends that would become an online group. My little brother felt this wasn’t enough and very soon after, DAPs for Disney Magic was born. Back then, DAPs for Disney Magic was pretty much a splash page with horrible clipart and way too much black. We didn’t know what we were doing and had no aspirations for anything greater than a fun group to hang out at Disneyland with. And boy did we have fun. Adventures at the park always began with coffee at the Market House and often ended with… coffee at the Market House. At the time I lived up in Ventura County so coffee was a necessity for the drive home…and a good way to start the day when arriving. We soon discovered other people wanted to hang out with us and meets soon started happening. This lead to group games in the park. There was a trivia game, a get on as many attractions as possible in six hours game, and others as well.
Let’s Build A Website
Throughout this period of initial growth, the website began to grow as well. My little brother and I decided the website should be more than just a splash page. He soon began learning how to code websites and I started thinking of ideas for the website. We soon began sharing Disney news on the site. Some of the games I mentioned before were coded into the website to create an interactive element to the games. I would like to think that the design improved but looking back at things… it was pretty ghastly. It really didn’t matter though because we were all having fun creating something fun that celebrated Walt Disney’s dream.
Disneyland’s 50th Anniversary was a huge deal. Everyone was excited for a new parade, new fireworks, an explosion of gold everywhere, and more magic. Disneyland was getting polished up so it was time for DAPs to get polished as well. This also led to a new URL for the website. We shortened things and got a new logo (basically what we use today). It was a group project and even my dad hopped in to help create the logo. As the site began to look more like an actual website, people began hopping on board to contribute to content. The coding also got more complex as my brother built from scratch the new DAPs Magic which basically functioned as a forerunner to what WordPress is today.
The people we met during that time were absolutely fantastic. They still are today. The foundation of awesome people just seemed to grow as people hopped aboard on this fun journey. This was a magical time as we spent hours waiting for parades and fireworks. Friendships were made during these waits, with guests and cast members alike. The sweeper train was discovered which led to many nights of laughter an adventure as we steamed around the park on the last train ride of the night.
The thing that was most important to me during this time was the culture that developed and solidified. It was positive. It was supportive. It was exciting. I really think it set the table for where we have gone today.
I often get asked: “Where’d Mr. DAPs come from?” The answer is quite simple: a guy named Jimmy who used to work on Main Street. He couldn’t remember my name but could remember the website. He went to introduce me once and Mr. DAPs is what came out of his mind. The name stuck and I guess history has been made. At first, I will admit that I really didn’t like it. As time has gone by though, it is a badge I wear with pride and I’ll always be thankful to him for creating not only a new name, but also my brand. The hat and bow tie were equally random. The hat was bought at the Sacramento Jazz Festival when the tops of my ears were sunburning. My friend Robby and I both thought it’d be fun to get hats and the trilby is what I walked away with. Another adventure with Robby led to my first of many bow ties.
This is Real
I grew up in a very small town in northern Minnesota. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine I would do anything that would take me to California and get to meet people that I have seen on the small and big screen. Through the years, DAPs Magic has grown and gained stature. This has all been due to people who have had ideas that we have run with.
I cannot claim credit for any of it. The people who contribute to DAPs all come together to make something greater than any one of us could do alone. This has led to event opportunities, interview opportunities, and friendship opportunities. One day I had just met Richard Sherman and had to pinch myself because a little hick from Minnesota had met a man behind some of the most iconic music in the Disney catalog.
I’ve also gotten to partner with some of the greatest people anywhere. A few years ago Johnny 5 and I started this little YouTube show called Geeks Corner. Another day I got an email from a guy I had met ONCE who said he had just seen Mickey talking in Toon Town and wondered if I want video. During Long Lost Friends I met a fellow AP who wanted to be a journalist someday and now is. She offers fantastic content almost daily for our readers. Others I have met through social media or various events and I’m equally thankful for each person on the team.
We now publish daily on the news page and also on the Geeks Corner blog. The people who help with these posts are some of my favorite people (and best people) in the world. I’m thankful for each and every one of them. We really are a family and that is awesome. This family stretches around the globe as various people contribute from their respective countries. I’m really honored to be a part of this fantastic team and get to work with each of them. They are the best team a guy could ask for!
I have also gotten to meet some of the most amazing journalists, bloggers, PR Reps, photographers, and others. They have become friends as well and I am incredibly honored to know them and work with them. We have gotten to share some of the most wonderful experiences together (World of Color World Premiere, trips to the Walt Disney Studios, Disneyland Window Dedications, the opening of Carsland and Star Tours!) and create friendships that I know will last. And if you are interested in hearing some of these memories, let me know in the comments section and perhaps it is something we could explore.
Ten years have passed and now it is time to look forward. We have a lot of exciting things in the works. As technology continues to improve, we are able to get even more creative and there are some things that are a lot of fun. We are always looking for new ideas and new people. DAPs Magic isn’t just about Mr. DAPs but instead about the philosophy of having fun sharing what we are passionate about. Our news section will always continue with the guidelines set by our core values and journalistic standards. We will continue to be creative and innovative on Geeks Corner as we geek out weekly and daily on the youtube show and blog. We also hope to expand this team. We would love to be a global website with people from around the world joining in the fun as both part of the DAPs Magic family of contributors and also as readers.
We will continue to daily strive to better ourselves as a website and team while never forgetting where we have come from or who we are. It’s been a fun adventure and I look forward to seeing where DAPs Magic takes us next!