WDWThemeParks.com has been online since 2013 and has gone through a few iterations.
Version 3: The current version of the site was relaunched by Rob Larouche in January 2023, with a new format and layout. The site’s format now is more similar to the website Rob built and ran from 2007 to 2014… WDWLive.
Version 2: Built by Tim Grassey and Jonathan Heigl, with the help of web developer Linda Nel. This version kept the spirit of the first version, being a repository of Walt Disney World information and data, headlined by rumors and news. The site was maintained by Tim with the help of Jonathan for several more years. This version of the site closed in October 2022.
Version 1: Created by Tim Grassey and Rob Larouche, the site was a custom build. Tim was the heart and soul of the site. It was a repository of Walt Disney World data, where rumors and news were the pillars of the site. Several years after the launch, Jonathan Heigl joined and Rob moved on.
You can still find Tim Grassey on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/InfernoBarge
Message posted by Tim on September 14, 2022, when version 2 of the site was closed down.
WDWThemeParks.com will be shutting down in October.
I started this project in 2010 with Rob Larouche. Rob created a full custom build for the back end of the site, and when I tell you it was robust, I really mean it. The site launched in 2013 which is still a quicker build time than TRON. Rob did an incredible job in absence of better tools that are available now, like increased Word Press functionality. Everything was interconnected on the front end and back end and admittedly we didn’t take full advantage of that functionality.
For the last several years, Jonathan Heigl has been instrumental in keeping things running, especially when I screw something up. He also assisted greatly in the site redesign that we did years ago, which was led by web developer Linda Nel.
The logo for the site was designed by Jules Hall and she did a great job. Honestly, it might be my favorite part of the site.
The idea of the site was to be a repository for information. I didn’t want opinion on the site and I’d like to think I held true to that. I also wanted a means of tracking the source of rumors and more so than anything, I believe that’s the thing the site did best. It was very important to me that things were properly sourced.
The reality of life with two little girls, combined with decreased satisfaction over parks decisions led to my wanting to shut the site down. I also don’t think the site fills a sufficient role anymore. Does anyone really care about the 500th person to report the same information?
The site hosting expires in late October and the site will shut down at some point prior to that hosting go away.
For those wondering about the future of the Marty Called podcast, I view these two things as independent. WDWThemeParks was primarily a solo project, especially from the content side of things. Marty Called is far more of a creative outlet for Josh, Ben and I. It’s something I’m collaborating on with friends and we all still draw enjoyment from it. Also, other than editing, it’s lighter lifting.
I had been thinking about this for a bit, and the D23 Expo was the linchpin. I had prepped a few people ahead of time, and I wanted to thank everyone that supported the site by viewing it or helping with content in anyway. My wife especially, has put up with my disappearing on family vacations to take “research photos” and she never once batted an eye at the time commitment.
I will continue to be a voice in the community and continue to push for Disney to hold their parks to a higher standard.
Thank you all,