Monday, June 20, 2011

Mentoring Mondays - Chad - Days In The Park

Chad - Days In The Park
Twitter: @DaysInThePark

I am pleased to have Chad here today from Days In The Park. His blog hasn't been around as long as some of the others featured here on Mentoring Mondays but you will find that it is always interesting, and his true love of Disney really shines through. He has a fabulous sense of humor and the pictures on his blog are always great. I doubt I will ever get to see Disneyland for myself, but Chad makes me feel like I've already seen it. I know you are going to enjoy is Mentoring Mondays interview.
  1. Introduce yourself and describe your blog.
My name is Chad Elliott and I’m the co-creator/founder of a blog entitled Days In The Park.  Days In The Park is a blog all about the random fun, adventure, and “Days” we spend at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California.  We try to be a bit different than a lot of websites that deal with Disney in that we try to be more personal, or relational, than informational.  We like to write about our own personal likes and things we enjoy doing around The Parks, and we try to use that to set us apart to some extent.  It’s not to say we never report on any news items, but the ones we do report on are the ones that interest us the most and have a personal tie to us in some way.  We try to keep it fun, lighthearted, and humorous in any way that we can because we feel that’s where we’re able to do our best writing.

  1. What inspired you to start blogging?
I had been doing my own personal blog for a while when we began Days In The Park, but other than a few personal friends and family members, there wasn’t much traffic going on.  I really enjoy writing a lot, and I really only do it for myself, but at the same time it is enjoyable having others reading what you’re writing.  I had written a few articles about The Parks on my own personal blog and couldn’t help but notice that those were the ones that got the most traffic, so I figured I might be on to something there.  My friend Mark, who writes on our blog along with me, and I had been spending a lot of time in The Parks together at the time, and were having a “texting” conversation one day in which I mentioned I was considering starting a blog solely aimed at Disneyland, and he said he’d like to start one, too.  Rather than do two separate ones, and since we spent many of our “Days” there together anyways, I approached him with the idea of combining our efforts and just doing one together.  The rest is, as they say, history.

  1. What do you think is the best way to attract new readers/followers?
I think that the best way to attract new readers/followers is to do your best to constantly have new content for people to keep coming back to.  It’s easy when you’re first starting to fall off a bit, but the downside of that is if you have new readers checking you out, if you do it’s easy for them to fall off too.  I think it’s really important to continue churning something out as often as you can.  It shouldn’t be stressful but if you’re having trouble doing something substantial every day, do something lighthearted and easy so people have something to come back to.  Secondly, I think it’s important you just be yourself and who you are.  With so many websites/blogs dealing with Disney out there, a lot of the information gets repeated on a lot of different sites.  It’s important to take whatever you are writing and infuse your own voice into it.  I think that people really respond to that and love seeing it in a blogger’s writing.

  1. What attributes do you think make a good blogger?
I’m kind of piggy-backing what I just said just a little bit, but I think one of the best attributes a blogger can have is to just be themselves.  Readers are pretty smart, and they can easily tell if someone is being themselves in their writing and I think that they respond to that.  Inject as much of yourself and your personality into what you write and you’ll never go wrong with what you’re trying to convey.  I also think that bloggers need to be knowledgeable as well about their source material.  As a blogger you owe it to your readers to be as correct in what you say as you can.  Also, for me, it’s really important (and it may just be me) that you write as professionally as you can.  I go to a lot of trouble and re-read what I write several times to make sure my spelling, grammar and structure are all correct.  When I’m reading other blogs, I notice things like that right away, so I try to do the best I can to make mine what I’m looking for in others’ writing.  I think that’s really important to make your blog match up with what you want to see in other’s work.  We’re not perfect, and we don’t have to be, but it doesn’t hurt to strive for it!

  1. If you could give a new blogger one piece of advice what would it be?
I’m probably sounding like a broken record at this point, but I’ll say it again; just be yourself!  It’s okay to look other blogs and see how they’re structured and what other people are writing about, but it’s really important to make your blog yours and infuse it with as much of you as you can.  I think it’s really important too to not get discouraged, but keep at it.  When you first start blogging, you’re probably not going to have a lot of readership (that comes with time), and it’s easy to get discouraged because of it.  But if you are writing for yourself, and because you enjoy doing it, then it becomes easier to take the good days and the bad days when you’re blogging.  Pay attention to your numbers (stats) so that you can see what’s working for you in terms of your writing and what isn’t, but don’t get too caught up in the numbers.  Just write about what you enjoy writing about, and if anyone wants to come along for the ride with you, consider it a blessing and do your best for those people that are reading you.  It’s supposed to be fun, so do everything in your power to keep it just that: fun!

  1. How important is social networking (Twitter/Facebook) to blogging?  Any advice on getting followers/likes?
Social networking is crucial to your success as a blogger in my opinion.  Nothing will ever beat “word of mouth”, and if you have a presence in the social media world and people reading you, they’re almost sure to tell other people (friends) about you and you can pick up quite a following that way.  It’s probably the #1 way to increase readership of your blog.  When you write a new article, let people know on Twitter and Facebook and invite people to come read your articles.  As for getting more “likes” and followers, it’s just a matter of getting out there and interacting with people.  If you’re on Twitter, spend some time interacting with people, let them know you’re there, and always respond to them (do your best not to ignore them).  If they get to know you there, and like you there, the odds of them reading your blog are much higher.  Same goes for Facebook!  Lots of interaction is a good thing.  And don’t be afraid to advertise yourself or “fish” for new followers too.  Don’t spam the Twitter Stream to the point of annoyance, but don’t be afraid to try and gain a few new followers here and there either.  It sure can’t hurt!

  1. Do you thing being a male blogger is an advantage/disadvantage and why/why not?
That’s actually a great question and one I’ve wondered about myself from time to time, mostly on days when my numbers haven’t been very good – LOL!  I think it’d be really hard to prove one way or the other, but I like to think that we’re all just bloggers and as long as we have great content and something worth reading, it doesn’t matter one way or the other in terms of quality of what we’re able to put out.  Some of my favorite bloggers are women, and some of my favorite bloggers are men, so I think that in the end it all shakes out.   

  1. If you could be a Disney Villain for a day which would it be, and why?
Fun question!  And really hard to answer!!  I think I’d probably go with my favorite Disney Villain of all time (and one I’d love to meet one day), Prince John from “Robin Hood”.  Up until the end of the flick he’s really living the good life there – riding the countryside, pet snake, sucking his thumb and ruling England!  Oo-de-Lally, sounds like a party to me!

  1. Do you have a Disney Day Trip tip you would like to share with our readers?
My tip is pretty much always the same; take it easy, relax and just enjoy the magic.  I see so many families (and used to get caught up like this myself) that are worn out by noon (complete with kids lying in the ground throwing a tantrum), because they just run around like crazy thinking that everything has to be done ASAP so that “everything we need to do” gets done, and to me the tradeoff has never been worth it.  I honestly don’t see how you can enjoy what you are seeing if your thoughts are constantly on the next thing you need to get to, a la Clark Griswold in “National Lampoon’s Vacation”.  So I guess my tip is to focus more on the enjoyment of what you are doing and less on what you “have” to do, if that makes sense.  It has certainly helped me enjoy my time in The Parks more!

  1. Anything you would like to add?
I just want to say a personal “thank you” to Donna for asking me to interview for her.  I haven’t been blogging very long myself, so to be included alongside some of these other bloggers is mind-blowing, and I’m not entirely sure I’m worthy of that quite yet, but I hope that my answers do help in some way.  Thanks so much again for the opportunity!


  1. Great interview, Chad! I think you do a great job at being yourself and letting the joy of the magic shine through.

  2. Jodi, I totally agree!! I really enjoy his blog. His love of Disney is truly evident.

  3. Great interview and advice Chad! It's been an honor knowing you in person!

  4. Great interview!! I haven't been to DL yet and I like seeing it through your posts!

  5. Sarah, some day he's going to move back to Dothan and I'm going to have the honor of meeting him in person. I don't know how he's going to survive without a Disney Park close by though...

  6. Chad is a great blogger and his love of Disney and sense of humor always shine through in his posts and are definitely a reason I love reading his blog. I have never been to Disneyland, but if there is one person that can get me out that way, it would be Chad! I look forward to the day we can finally meet in person! :-)

  7. Chad's blog is one of my favorites. I really want to visit Disneyland now. Thanks for the great advice Chad, and thank you Donna for picking another awesome person for your series! :o)

  8. Another great interview Donna Kay! Chad's blog is a must read for me! It's always entertaining and informative:)
    Thanks Chad, for the great advice about blogging and park touring.I look forward to one day meeting you in personºoº

  9. This was another great interview DonnaKay. I love the fact that Chad writes about things he likes and has experienced. It a great way to discover things when you hear someone else talk about it.

  10. I just wanted to pop in myself and thank Donna again for having me aboard this week - it's been an honor to have been asked to have appeared alongside so many of my own favorite bloggers. Truly an honor to have participated.

    And a HUGE "Thank You" to everyone for the kind words and encouragement. It's always nice to know that there are people who are truly appreciating what you're trying to do. Means the world to me :)

  11. I love these interviews! :D They are sooo helpful! :D Thanks again Donna Kay! and Thanks Chad for the brilliant info! :D

  12. Thanks again to everyone who follows Mentoring Mondays. Chad, it is a pleasure to have you here. Your insight this week was great. Next week it's another Blogorailer, Beth Green. Beth Doda & I sure do have great taste in bloggers...


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