Behind the Scenes of Creating a Disneyland Magazine

by | Aug 3, 2022 | Disneyland Parks, DLR News

Black Friday Deal- FREE SHIPPING on orders of $75 or more in the USA!

Our team is busy every day working to bring our fans content, whether it’s on our social media channels, on our blog, or in our magazines. One question we get asked a lot is, “how do you create a Disney magazine?”

So today I’m going to take you behind the scenes to show you a little of our process, which takes over a year to bring each issue of DLR Magazine to life. 

behind-the-scenes-dlr-mag-steph-and-danny_disneyland-magazine

Steph and Danny pose during Disneyland’s 60th Anniversary.

Is This a Good Idea?

Way back in 2015, I was reporting from D23 Expo with my colleagues from Dad’s Guide to WDW, Get Down to Disness, and Destinations to Travel. After enjoying the festivities, Danny and I stayed for a few days to enjoy Disneyland Resort, where I spent all my family vacations as a West Coast kid.

We had created 23 digital issues of WDW Magazine at that point, and I started to dream about one day being able to share the magic of Disneyland with our readers.

We tested out some Disneyland content with occasional features in WDW Magazine and on our blog, including an ongoing series comparing WDW attractions to those at Disneyland. Our audience’s interest was piqued, but we had a few other projects on the go (like our hardcover coffee table book, The Best of WDW Volume 2, and bringing our magazine to print) which delayed our Disneyland plans for a few years.

In 2019 we started talking seriously about what starting a second magazine would mean for our company: more job opportunities, more research trips, and tighter turnaround times for our products. Through 2020 and 2021, we tested more content about DLR (that’s Disneyland Resort, ICYMI!) on our blog and social channels, and even started @DLRMagazine Instagram and Facebook accounts. 

Our waitlist grew by thousands, with fans asking every week when we were going to put the magic of Disneyland in their hands. We polled them and conducted market research on what types of content were more important to them when talking about Disney’s California parks and hotels. We were onto something!

behind-the-scenes-dlr-mag-instagram_disneyland-magazine

Daily content on our social platforms brings Disneyland magic to life for our followers.

Plans on Paper

Rolling up our sleeves, it was time for all the nitty gritty preliminary planning to happen. Budgeting, post office permits, printing quotes—all that fun stuff the accounting team loves! 

And the part I love too—content planning! What would we feature in DLR Magazine? How would it differ from the blog? How would we show people everything they want to see, but still leave something for future issues? What columns are fan favorites we’d need to keep from WDW Magazine? What could we do that was new? What would be in issue one? The first year? How many issues a year? 

We roughed out a plan for 2022-2024 so we’d have a roadmap to creating the best Disneyland content out there. It might surprise you, but each of our issues takes 12-18 months to plan—after all, we need to secure hotel rooms, park reservations, and ADRs just like anyone else! 

behind-the-scenes-dlr-mag-sleeping-beauty-castle_disneyland-magazine

Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland sparkles at night. Photo by Brian Shih.

Things are Getting Real

Content plan in hand, the next step was to build up our team to capture stunning photos, write original articles, conduct interviews and do on-the-ground research at Disneyland, Disney California Adventure, Downtown Disney, Disneyland Hotel, Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel, all the Good Neighbor Hotels, and other spots in Anaheim and the Golden State that interest Disney fans.

Our team of WDW Magazine writers and photographers included a few who wanted to be part of the Disneyland fun too, so we started there, and then began recruiting lots of fresh faces to join our team—some of the most talented Disney creators out there! 

We hired our DLR Associate Editor, Megan, and she started working on assignments, submissions, and revisions with the writing team while Creative Director Danny and Graphic Designer, Abby, coordinated all the photography, illustrations, and the overall look and feel of the design to ensure we were creating something that coordinated with WDW Magazine but had a unique tone influenced by California colors and mid-century design elements.

behind-the-scenes-dlr-mag-mockup_disneyland-magazine

A look inside our layout process for DLR Magazine.

Producing the magazine

After years of development, this is the stage we’re finally in! Articles and photos are gathered, and the layout of our first issue is underway.

Our early purchasers and followers who signed up for the waitlist have been getting special sneak peeks of layouts over the last few months (pssst: if you want the same special treatment for our upcoming DCL Magazine, get on the list here!).

We’ve worked with our printers to secure time on the presses and have ordered the paper we need for our first few issues—yes, it’s exactly the same size and page count as WDW Magazine, on that glossy photo-quality paper our subscribers love.

We’re working with the post office and our international shipping partners to secure special shipping rates which allows us to offer free shipping on U.S. subscriptions and international shipping at only a few dollars per issue.

behind-the-scenes-dlr-mag-print-digital_disneyland-magazine

Disneyland fans like YOU made DLR Magazine a reality! Our new Disneyland magazine will arrive in November 2022.

Delivering the Magic

Early in October, we’ll send the Winter 2022 Issue #1 files to our printer, where they’ll be pressed, trimmed, folded, stitched, and prepared for mailing. On Oct. 15, 2022, we’ll take the final orders for subscriptions that start with our first issue, and the magazine will ship at the end of the month, arriving to subscribers in early November.

And, because that production schedule never stops, we’re already working with our writers and photographers on their assignments for our 2023—we’re planning features on everything from Howard Johnson Anaheim’s new House of the Retro Future Suite and Pym Test Kitchen to its a small world holiday and Oogie Boogie Bash to Indiana Jones Adventure and World of Color. 2023 will be here before you know it!

We can’t wait to put the magic of Disneyland in your hands with DLR Magazinethanks for your support if you’ve already put in your order! And if not, hurry and subscribe so you can start from the beginning with Issue #1!

“Nothing Can Stop Us Now”: How WDW Magazine Got Its Start

The New Disneyland Magazine Subscription – DLR Magazine

Written by Stephanie Shuster

epcot-clothing_creations-shop_chiu
A lifelong Disney fan with a passion for globetrotting, I’m driven by a desire to build a community where people like me can let their Disney flag fly with pride. As CEO and Owner of WDW Magazine, I lead a team that connects thousands of Disney fans to the Most Magical Place on Earth from wherever they are.
Stephanie Shuster

Written by Stephanie Shuster

A lifelong Disney fan with a passion for globetrotting, I’m driven by a desire to build a community where people like me can let their Disney flag fly with pride. As CEO and Owner of WDW Magazine, I lead a team that connects thousands of Disney fans to the Most Magical Place on Earth from wherever they are.