Sunday, June 12, 2011

Mentoring Mondays - Beth Doda Pursuing the Magic & Magical Blogorail

Mentoring Mondays - Beth Doda Magical Blogorail & Pursuing the Magic

Blog -

Twitter: @MagBlogorail

So I worked up the nerve to ask Magical Blogorail to participate in Mentoring Mondays, I think my heart was about to jump out of my chest. As I typed out the DM on twitter my palms were seating. I had to remember my own advice, the worst that could happen is they could say no.  It didn't take long and I had my answer, "Of course, what do I need to do."  Well, she sent me her email and I about fell out of my chair - it was Beth.  How did I not know Beth had founded the Magical Blogorail??? After I got over feeling like the worlds biggest idiot, I laughed at myself.  Beth is the sweetest person, we follow each other on twitter and read each other's blogs. How did I not know this, I am still befuddled.  I know you all are familiar with the Magical Blogorail, I hop aboard all the time and she has some incredible people writing at each stop. Her blog Pursuing The Magic is just as wonderful. I almost forgot she writes for the WDW Daily News as well, Beth you're such a slacker! I am thrilled to have Beth here on Mentoring Mondays, and I am very happy to call her my friend.  Thanks Beth!!

  1. Introduce yourself and describe your blogging network.
My name is Beth, and I am a stay at home mom of three little ones.  I organize the Magical Blogorail and also write my own personal blog called Pursuing the Magic.  The Magical Blogorail is a place where Disney bloggers can come together and share their love of Disney with all Disney fans.  Once or twice a week a group of five or six bloggers comes together for a “loop” to share their perspectives on a single topic.  Whether you travel to Disney regularly or have never been, you can find a great collection of Disney information all in one place.  Pursuing the Magic is my personal blog where I share all of the ways my family brings Disney magic to our home in between trips.  It is also a place I share all the lessons I have learned traveling to Walt Disney World as a mom and traveling to Walt Disney World with a large group, since our trips are always a large family outing. 

  1. What inspired you to start The Magical Blogorail?
At the time that I started the Magical Blogorail, all three of my children were under the age of five and not in school yet.  I loved reading Disney blogs, but I just didn’t have the time to keep up with the blogs I loved and keep up with the kids.  One day as I read through a scrapbooking blog hop, I thought why couldn’t I do a Disney blog hop?  It would be a much easier way for me to get from one blog to the next.  I wasn’t sure who would want to join, so I was very hesitant about reaching out.  I finally e-mailed a few people I had connected with on Twitter, who were as excited about the idea as I was.  Once we had our first loop, I started getting a lot of people requesting to join us.  So what I thought would be a group of five or six bloggers coming together once a month, has turned into 30 bloggers coming together in small groups each week.  Not only has it been a great way to share our love of Disney with everyone, but it is also a community of people who help each other out daily, whether it be needing some advice with a technology related question, looking for a particular picture to enhance a blog post or just a spot to share personal triumphs.  The Magical Blogorail has more than exceeded my expectations. I am so thankful for everyone who is participating and sharing their blogs, and appreciative of all our readers who are interacting with us during the week with our daily recaps and weekly blogorail loops.

  1. Do you feel social networking has been beneficial in the success of the Blogorail? Explain.
Absolutely!  One of the great things about Twitter and Facebook is that you can connect with people who have the same interests as you do.  You can share with an audience that has followed you because they like the content you are offering them and have a personal connection with that, which in our case is a love of Disney, whether that is our Disney stories, pictures or information we share.

  1. How important is it for bloggers to network with each other?
I think networking with other bloggers is very important.  Bringing so many people together does a couple of things.  First, it gives readers several different perspectives on one topic.  On the Magical Blogorail, we have family blogs, mom blogs, photo blogs, food blogs, some are based in Walt Disney World, some in Disneyland and many more.  Therefore, when we discuss a topic, you will read about it from many different angles.  Not only will you get a lot of information, but also our personal stories and experiences that go along with that.  We also have created a community where we have become a resource for each other, and members feel comfortable asking each other for advice, asking for information or sharing successes they have had.

  1. What attributes to do you look for when adding a blogger to the Blogorail?
When someone requests to join the blogorail, all I look for is a blog that was created to share someone’s love of Disney.  It doesn’t matter if someone has been blogging for years or just days.  I always say that I could talk Disney all day long, I just need to find someone who can listen as long as I can talk about it.  I use my blog to get my Disney energy out between trips.  You will find that, though we may not all word it the same way, the blogorail members all have their blogs for that same reason, just wanting to share our personal Disney memories, knowledge and the Disney lessons we have learned.

  1. With so many different Blogorails each week and so many different topics, how do you keep it all organized?
Each Magical Blogorail line is assigned a color that corresponds with a color of the monorail system used by Disney.  By grouping bloggers into small groups, it is very easy to manage.  Each line has their own schedule as to when they will have their loop.  I will admit it took me some time to really get a system down that works, but I have a lot of Excel spreadsheets and a desk calendar that I cannot go without checking at least a couple times a day. Most importantly, I am very lucky to have such a great group of people on the Magical Blogorail.  They are always supportive and ready to help out whenever I need it.  

  1. Share with us why you feel it is important to give readers several perspectives on a certain subject?
There are so many experiences you can have in a Disney theme park and so many ways to plan where you are going to dine, how you are going to tour the parks, which guidebooks to read, and so on that it can be difficult for someone to decide what is best for them.  When someone reads my personal blog, they are going to read how I plan our vacations and what our favorite dinners and attractions are.  But that doesn’t represent the only way to enjoy a Disney vacation.  By offering different perspectives, someone can see pros and cons to many things. The Magical Blogorail is based on sharing personal experiences with all things Disney, so though we do offer a lot of Disney information, we are offering our personal perspectives and experiences during our loops.  By having so many different perspectives, a reader is going to find many ways to approach planning and enjoying a Disney vacation.

  1. You have so many topics each week for your bloggers, how do you come up with so many new ideas?
The topics are created by the Magical Blogorail members each week.  Normally, they are chosen by the group members, though we have also polled our readers and used the poll results to choose our topic.  With thirty people working together to create topics, we have a very diverse set of ideas to choose from. 

  1. What is your favorite Disney souvenir?
Besides our photos and memories, there is one souvenir that really is emotional for me.  There was a point that my husband and I thought we wouldn’t be able to have children, though fortunately we were able to overcome that.  As soon as I was pregnant for our first child, I was already starting to plan his first Disney vacation.  We took my son, Joey, for his first trip when he was 14 months old.  We decided that we would go to our family’s first character meal at Cape May Café.  My son fell in love with Chip and Dale and could have spent the entire day just playing with them.  As a reminder of that day, I purchased a Chip and Dale Christmas ornament for my son.  To this day, over 5 years later, it is one of my favorite ornaments to hang on our tree.  My Disney dream, which I wasn’t so sure was going to come true, was always to bring my children to Disney, and this ornament represents my dream coming true.  Even better, it reminds me of the smile he had on his face every time he saw Chip and Dale turn the corner and come toward our table.

  1. Do you have a Disney Vacation tip you would like to share with our readers?
There is so much to see and do on a Disney vacation.  I always recommend taking your time and enjoying all the little details.  Enjoy and appreciate the moments with your friends and family as you are experiencing the attractions, shows and parades.  When you reminisce about being in Disney, you aren’t going to talk about the time you made it to Splash Mountain and the wait was five minutes or the time you walked up to a show and were first in line.  You are going to remember the special moments, which for me are seeing Joey’s face the first time he “drove” a race car at Tomorrowland Speedway or met Buzz Lightyear for the first time, when Hayley played peek a boo with Donald when she was two and watching Emily dance at Hoop Dee Doo, Crystal Palace and in the middle of Adventureland when she was just 10 months.  Had we been rushing from attraction to attraction to get it all in, these are some of things we may have missed. 

  1. Anything you would like to add?
I want to say a big thank you to all the Magical Blogorail readers.  I get a lot of e-mail from people who are enjoying what we are doing, and our blogorail members are getting a lot of comments on their Magical Blogorail posts.  I would also like to say that I am so very thankful for every member of the blogorail.  They took a chance on an idea and have made it what it has become.  I feel very lucky to have made so many new Disney friends, who are so supportive and who love Disney as much as I do!  Finally, Donna Kay, I think Mentoring Mondays is a great concept.  I have learned a lot from reading about all the mentors you have featured so far and look forward to reading more.  I think we always have opportunities to learn, and you have created an amazing tool to help build community amongst bloggers.  I am very appreciative of you letting me share my experiences!   


  1. Yea Beth and Donna Kay!! This was great! I actually teared up reading about Chip and Dale!! :) Thanks guys. I'm glad to call you both my friend!!

  2. Thanks Beth! I loved her interview!! I am very lucky to have both of you as friends. Can't wait to feature you soon on Mentoring Mondays!!

  3. I loved this interview, Donna Kay. I had no idea either it was Beth behind the Magical Blogorail. I always learn something new and appreciate all the tips. and thank you both for sharing..

  4. Great interview, Beth!! Love the story about Joey & Chip-n-Dale :) Beth, thanks so much for creating the Magical Blogorail. I enjoy not only being a part of it, but also getting to know the rest of the family and seeing Disney through others' eyes.

    Donna Kay, another excellent post!

    (Magical Mouse Schoolhouse is on the MB Yellow Line!)

  5. That story about the Chip and Dale ornament is so sweet.

  6. Great interview! Beth, you've done an amazing job with the Blogorail - I'm proud to be a part of it!

  7. Another great interview Donna! And thank you Beth for making the Blogorail such an awesome experience. I am so happy to be a part of such an amazing group of bloggers! :o)

  8. Another great "Mentoring Monday" interview Donna Kay! Beth, thanks so much for creating the Magical Blogorail! I'm truly enjoying the ride on the orange loop:)
    I love the Chip & Dale story, sniff sniff:)

  9. I love "meeting" my favorite bloggers. I feel I really get to know them and the driving force behind their blogs. Thank you Beth- you inspire many!!
    Donna, I'll be back for more next Monday if I have wireless at the Disneyland Hotel :D

  10. Awesome interview! I love Beth!

  11. You have such a wonderful thing going here...I just love reading about all of the Disney bloggers. You could not be more correct...Beth is a wonderful person with some wonderful ideas.

  12. Love, love, love it! That is all ;-)

  13. What a brilliant post! Great job Donna Kay and Beth! The story about your little one and Chip&Dale and you buying your ornament is so heart warming! :D

  14. I have been trying to post a comment for days, but Blogger hasn't let me, though it may be over its little glitch! Fingers crossed this comment posts!! :-)

    I just want to say thank you to everyone who commented and everyone who reads my blog and the Magical Blogorail. I feel like I have met some amazing people who inspire me all the time to continually improve what I do. Thank you, again Donna Kay for letting me sharing my experiences!

  15. Thanks everyone for being so supportive of Mentoring Mondays. I have had the same problems with Blogger as Beth so I apologize being so late in posting this. I think the world of Beth, she is am amazing blogger and a more amazing person. It has been my pleasure having you.

  16. Fantastic post!! Loved reading more about Beth! She's done such an amazing job organizing the Blogorail and I'm so happy to be a part!

  17. Melissa, I love Beth!! She has done a fabulous job with the Magical Blogorail. I am honored to call her my friend!!


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