Monday, January 16, 2012

Mentoring Mondays - Natalie Henley Meet The Magic/The Disney Moms

Please welcome Natalie Henley of Meet The Magic, The Disney Moms, and Castaway Midday on Sorcerer Radio.  Obviously a very busy lady!! I met Natalie through the Magical Blogorail, she's on the Blue Line.  Did I mention she's a very busy lady??  Since she's in such high demand, you know she has a lot of great knowledge to share with us, so now I give you Natalie Henley...

Website:     Meet The Magic
                    Strategies For Paying For Disney
                    The Disney Moms
                    Sorcerer Radio
Facebook: Meet The Magic
                    The Disney Moms
Twitter:       @meetthemagic

Introduce yourself, and tell us about Meet The Magic and what inspired you to start blogging.

 Hi!  I am Natalie Henley, wife, mother, daughter, CPA, MBA, CDF (made that one up... a Crazy Disney Fan!) I have long since been a lover of theme parks, spending most summers of my childhood at our local theme park, Opryland.  That theme park has long since closed.  After becoming a mother, I wanted a theme park to enjoy with my son while also feeling safe.  Disney hit the mark perfectly! 

Soon, I found my son and I were enjoying many hours in the Disney parks.  I watched family after family request information from cast members that I already knew.  I also saw many an upset, confused or lost guest.  I wanted to help these people.  I also noticed that as the number of vacations to Disney increased, so did the number of photos I had in my computer.

After this realization, Meet the Magic was born as a place to help people learn more about Disney, Universal Studios and other magical places.  I decided to use my accounting background to bring people the articles called Strategies for Paying for Disney.  These articles help people learn ways to save money so they can get more of what they want (such as more vacations to Disney).
(Be sure to check out their website and this great contest!)

You recently started The Disney Moms with several of our Magical Blogorail friends. Describe The Disney Moms, and tell us your inspiration for starting it.

Over the year of reading the Magical Blogorail posts, I realized how many Disney bloggers existed.  I also noticed that each of the writers had a story to tell.  Some of these stories were from the perspective of a mother of a toddler, as a visitor with a child with disabilities, and on and on.  The bloggers had great ideas that would benefit people when planning a vacation.  However, unless someone was to read through the posts of that person, they could not tell about the perspective from the blog's name.  The Disney Moms was started to help people not only find articles on a variety of subjects about Disney, but also to help people find the bloggers (and actual blog) that write from the perspective in which they are most interested in learning more.

Both sites have several writers, what do you look for when choosing contributors? 

I look for writers that have something to contribute that differs from what and how I write.  While I know I can research and find information to provide to readers, having a firsthand experience with the subject matter brings about a much more enriching post.  Having a variety of bloggers allows for a variety of voices to be heard, providing their personal, firsthand experiences.

What has been the absolute best thing you have done to drive traffic to your sites?

Honestly, I believe that the best thing has been time.  Time and tags.  The more information you provide and tag, the more traffic you will receive in the long run.  It is a slow roll, but can be fun too!  Think about all of the different things people will be interested in reading, not necessarily just this week or month.  Think long term.  What will people always search out.  It is this thought process and the writing that provides the fun and eventual traffic!
Natalie with her adorable son

How much time do you spend working on your sites each week?  Any advice for keeping everything organized? 
My site is my morning, noon, afternoon.  It is a hobby.  I check it to see if the post looks as I thought it should.  I go to the site to approve comments.  I check to see if posts are ready and written for the days to come.  I tinker with the header, etc. 

As for organization, I can give advice on keeping it organized, but none that I necessarily follow!  Perhaps if I organized better, I would need to tinker less! 

If you could give a new blogger one piece of advice what would it be?

Make sure that you select a subject for the blog that is your passion.  Then sit and write.  Make it fun, enjoy yourself!  

How important is networking with the fellow Disney Bloggers?  Any advice for someone just getting to know the community?

I cannot tell you how important it has been to have a network of people in the Disney community.  I have received constant support from people who do not know me.  There have been days when I wonder why it is that I continue to write.  It is not my job.  Why continue.  Then I talk with a few of my friends that are Disney bloggers and remember why I continue.

If you are just starting out in the Disney community writing a blog and are looking for a start, jump out there.  Visit other blogs, comment on posts, email the owners and introduce yourself.  Find a blog you enjoy most and request that they accept you for a guest post.  Doing guest posts will increase the number of people who have heard of you and your work.  It will also help to increase your credibility as a writer. 
Natalie with Aljon and Kristen from Sorcerer Radio

What is your favorite Disney Song, and why?

I love that you ask this question and my mind goes blank.  I am actually a DJ for Sorcerer Radio in the Castaway Midday show, yet no song quickly comes to mind...  When I think of Disney, I think of blocks of songs such as those that are played during the EPCOT fireworks show, Illuminations, Reflections of Earth.  Those songs make me inspired, moved!

What is the single best strategy for someone saving up to pay for a Disney Vacation?

Really, the theory of Strategies for Paying for Disney is to pay attention.  Pay attention to how you spend money (do you buy a Starbucks coffee daily?), how you save money (are you getting the most out of your savings), and what you focus on as important (do you really NEED a manicure or to stay at the Contemporary).  If you are able to pay better attention to your relationship with money, you will be able to come up with your own Strategies for Paying for Disney!

Anything you would like to add?

The Disney community and readers are wonderful and are now a part of my daily life and family.  I have been in this community as a blogger for nearly a year and a half, but Disney has been in my heart since my first visit when I was 2.  I love it.  

Thank you so much Natalie! I love all of the great information you have shared with us!! Don't forget to check out Natalie's sites (enter the Dooney and Bourke contest) and catch her on the Magical Blogorail, Twitter and Facebook.

Have a Magical Day!!
Donna Kay


  1. Thanks so much for the opportunity!

  2. Thanks so much Natalie!! Your advice was fabulous, it was my honor to have you!!

  3. Awesome Post Donna Kay, I always learned a tip or 2. Natalie is great, I love her blog..

  4. Thanks Diane! Natalie is awesome!!

  5. Another Disney blogger superwoman!! Natalie covers so much area, but with such quality- I don't know how she does it!
    Thanks Donna :D

    1. I don't know how she does it all either!! Definitely a Superwoman!!


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