Celebrating 15 years of Theme Park Insider
Published: May 5, 2014 at 12:26 PM
We started the site 15 years ago this month, too, with reader ratings of the attractions and restaurants at the Walt Disney World theme parks. Later that year, we expanded the listings to include Disneyland, Universal Studios Florida, Islands of Adventure, and Universal Studios Hollywood. In the years since, we've added 30 more theme parks in the United States and 22 parks in other countries to our theme park ratings and reviews listings.
In July 2000, we renamed the clunky "Interactive Guide to Disney and Universal Attractions" as ThemeParkInsider.com, and the site's been growing ever since. (Here is the earliest screen capture of ThemeParkInsider.com from Archive.org.) We started the discussion board in 2001, started awarding our annual Theme Park Insider Awards in 2002, and in 2004 we launched the front page posts that today have become our Blog Flume.
Today, we're reaching more than 400,000 unique readers a month and getting attraction reviews and news reports from all over the world. So thank you, so, so much, to everyone who has been part of our community over the past 15 years!
Update: I should mention another important milestone in our history: In 2001, we won the Online Journalism Award from the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism for our coverage of theme park safety. Columbia is the same school that awards the Pulitzer Prizes and, back then, websites were not eligible for the Pulitzers, so the Online Journalism Awards were established as an alternative for online media. We won the award in the Service Journalism category for our Accident Watch feature, where we asked readers to help us collect a list of injury accidents at parks worldwide. It was the first "crowdsourced" reporting effort by any publication to win a major news industry award. So we're part of journalism history for that, and it couldn't have happened without you, the community.
In 2005, we were named one of five finalists for the Webby Award for best Guide/Ratings/Review site, and were named a Webby Awards honoree in the same category a year later. Along the way, we've also been named the "best theme park site on the Internet" by Forbes and Travel + Leisure magazines. Again, thank you to everyone who's been part of our community for these many years, and we hope that you will continue to be part of our community for many more years to come!