BRITTANY: Hi, I’m Brittany Luse. Welcome to Sampler. Each week we bring you weird, wonderful moments from a couple different podcasts. This week we’re telling the story of just one show. It’s called A Window to the Magic. The “magic” being Disneyland. Producer Chris Neary and I found the show a year ago and have been following it ever since. This is the story of Window to the Magic — but it’s also a love story. It’s about a relationship that was 25 years in the making. A relationship that accidentally played out over the course of the show. We’re hitting as many demographics as we can here, people. Love. Podcasting. Disney. Alright Chris, let’s get started.
CHRIS: OK, the host of A Window to the Magic is Paul Barrie. And Paul Barrie's true love in life is Disney. Back in 2005 he was living in Northern California... and to get his Disney fix, every month or so he would drive six hours to Disneyland. During one drive, he was listening to a podcast about Disneyland where the host was talking with the guest outside, right in the middle of the park. And it gave him an idea.
PAUL: I was listening to what they were saying, but in the background I was like, “Wow, there’s Disneyland in the background! I really wish these guys would shut up so I could hear it!” I thought to myself, “You know, I could do this so much better.”
CHRIS: Paul wanted to make a podcast for Disney super-fans --- people like him, a show that gave them an uncut, uninterrupted window into Disney. He knew that just the sound of the park would bring these people joy. So, Paul did what podcasters do. He got a microphone. Some editing software. And…
PAUL: [in show] Hello! And welcome to Window to the Magic! My name is Paul and this show is a weekly trip through the world of the Disney theme parks and resorts, and this is the place where you get to use your ears to surround yourself with the magic… The first, probably, two years or we very rarely spoke on the show at all. If you listen to the earlier shows, I welcome everybody before we enter the park, but then I walk through the park absolutely silently.
PAUL: Basically what it is is you have to use your ears to follow along and find out where we’re going without being able to see it.
BRITTANY: I think Paul does an incredible job capturing Disney. Actually, he even goes as far as using this special microphone. To record in binaural audio. Basically, that’s a fancy way of saying that, if you listen to it with headphones, the sound feels like it’s moving around, like you’re walking with Paul. It’s so fun to hear. Listening to parts of A Window to the Magic make me feel like I’m right back at Disney World, watching the evening light show from my stroller. It makes me wanna go back. But even though I love it, I could never be a Disney fan like Paul. Waiting on lines sucks, and the crowds are really intense. But you get the sense from A Window To The Magic that Paul has no limit to his love of Disney. He loves everything about it.
[Paul sings along to “It’s A Small World”]
BRITTANY: He even seems happy just living his life there.
CHRIS: I have never been to Disneyland. I have no desire to go to Disneyland.
[Paul sings along to “It’s A Small World”]
And, you would think that for me listening to a grown man hum along to “It’s a small world after all” would not be appealing— but Paul’s sincerity kind of wins you over.
BRITTANY: The show just passed five million downloads — he’s been making it since 2005. We listened to a lot of episodes of A Window To the Magic. And as you listen across 10 years, You start to pick-up the personal details of Paul’s life. You learn he has a day job — he has worked for AT&T for almost 30 years. You hear his son, Calvin, growing up. Friends show up... Paul isn’t alone as much anymore.
And then, a couple years in, there’s a really big change. Paul gets a co-host.
PAUL: Hello! And welcome to a Window to the Magic. My name is Paul…
TAIRY: I’m Tairy!
PAUL: And we will be your guides to the wonderful world of the Disney sound experience.
PAUL AND TAIRY: And this is the place…
TAIRY: Where you use your ears…
PAUL: Where you get to use your ears…
TAIRY: To surround yourself with the magic.
PAUL: Very good!
BRITTANY: Tairy is also a Disney fan. Back then she was going to park a couple times a week. Her name isn’t actually Tairy. (It’s Teresa) She’s called “Tairy” because…
TAIRY: My grandmother used to call me Tinkerbell. So, my nickname is actually derived from “fairy” spelled with a "t." Tinkerbell is my absolute my favorite character in the whole world. I have been in love with Disney pretty much whole life. I can go into Disney, and I can walk around and go, there is absolutely nothing wrong with the world right now. That is my sanctuary.
CHRIS: Tairy starts appearing on episodes more frequently. As time goes by, we hear her and Paul getting more comfortable with each other. We hear them laugh about all the weird quirks of Disneyland. And we learn a little more about their history. They were actually high school sweethearts, way back in 1984. But it wasn’t until 2003 that fate brought them back together.
TAIRY: [interview tape] I was living in Las Vegas... he was in out there for a wedding for a friend of his... we started talking again… it’s kind of a Cinderella story.
PAUL: [interview tape] I knew that she had been married several times before, and none of the people that she had been married to ever really had a love of Disney, so we pretty much knew who we were when we started dating. That’s an advantage that a lot of people don’t have.
TAIRY: [interview tape] He has a way of inspiring Disney in people that is just… fabulous.
PAUL [show tape]: Let’s go ahead and go into the park. Whatta you say, my dear?
TAIRY: [show tape] I’m lovin’ every minute of it.
PAUL: [show tape] OK, good.
CHRIS: Paul is a kind of park celebrity. And he has a lot of friends he meets there — a guy named Clinton. And another friend called “Mouseketeer Greg.” Every Friday he hosts a meet-up — at the Enchanted Tiki Bar, in the Disneyland hotel. People start approaching Paul when they see him with his microphone, asking him if he’s the guy in the podcast. Tairy found that incredible. Just the way he would hold court in the park with other Disney fans. And how much he enjoyed it all. Tairy, on the other hand, hated attention.
TAIRY: When I first started hearing my voice on A Window To The Magic, I was terrified. I didn’t know what being in the limelight was like. He used to laugh at me, when we’d walk down main street, I’d walk behind him.
BRITTANY: A big part of their relationship early on — outside of Disney — was Paul helping Tairy grow more confident. He encouraged her to start her own Disney podcast. Which, by the way, she did. It was called “Disney Tidbits.” Tairy had dreamed of being a poet for years, but she worried about putting her voice out there. Paul thought podcasting might make her more comfortable.
CHRIS: Early on, Paul edited the episodes of her show for her. But then one day, right before her podcast was supposed to go out, he pretended he didn’t have time to help.
PAUL: And she fell for it, and did her own editing. When she was done I said: Look, you’ve done it. You’ve done it on you own. And I did everything I could to make sure she was standing on her own two feet. And I saw that happen.
TAIRY: He made me not afraid anymore. He reconnected me with a part of me that I had actually thought had been gone for a very long time. He gave me back the dream that anything is possible.
BRITTANY: When we come back after the break, our fairytale story meets real life.
BRITTANY: Welcome back. Today we’re telling the story of one podcast called A Window to the Magic. And the love story that unfolded on it. When we left Paul and Tairy, they had been dating for several years and slowly falling in love. And guess what.
PAUL: [In show] Well hello everyone and welcome to episode number two hundred and fifty-eight of A Window to the Magic: the ultimate Disney audio adventure. I have with me just the coolest little thing… this is my fiancee, Tairy. Say hi, Tairy.
TAIRY: Hi, Tairy.
PAUL: Very good… The dynamic duo of Disney podcasting has-- has finally gotten together.
CHRIS: Paul and Tairy got married in 2011. And after the wedding...
PAUL: Tairy, what are we doing?
TAIRY: Standing in the esplanade.
PAUL: More grandly, what are we doing?
TAIRY: No? Oh! We started our honeymoon!
[Paul and Tairy kiss]
TAIRY: I’m glad to be here.
PAUL: That one can go on the show.
TAIRY: Ha ha, thank you. We’re not editing out kisses today.
BRITTANY: Over all these episodes, this is the kind of thing you would hear. These little moments of two people who are so totally in love, and loving the same thing. But remember, Paul is recording everything. So you hear the kisses, but you also hear the fights.
PAUL: Well we’re gonna go into the park. Earlier today I had asked Tairy to go and get some FastPasses for some rides so that we could enjoy a good show. Well, she forgot.
TAIRY: I was busy!
PAUL: She was working all day, and I understand that, I’m forgiving her for that.
TAIRY: But you had to bring it up on the show.
PAUL: Well, I did.
TAIRY: No, you didn’t.
PAUL: Yes, I did. Yes, I did.
TAIRY: How many times do I cover for you? Really?
PAUL: I’m covering for you now.
TAIRY: No, you’re not. You just told everybody.
PAUL: Yeah, but I told them I forgive you.
TAIRY: Gee, thanks!
PAUL: You’re welcome.
BRITTANY: Paul and Tairy aren’t the first couple to get passive-aggressive at Disneyland. But there is something heartbreaking about the two of them... these two people who care so much about the magic of the place… fighting there.
PAUL: Let’s see. Where are we?
TAIRY: Totally derailed.
PAUL: Yeah, I’ll tell you. But--
TAIRY: You’re lucky I’m still talking to you.
PAUL: But for now-- actually I’m not lucky you’re still talking to me right now, ‘cause I’m trying to do the outro and you’re talking over--
TAIRY: Well you should’ve finished the outro a long time ago.
PAUL: And we’ll see you next time.
BRITTANY: It’s uncomfortable. Listening to it, I was wondering what was happening when they weren’t recording. And then suddenly, Tairy just disappears from the podcast. Paul’s listeners got worried. People tweeted and posted on Facebook, asking: Where’s Tairy? Paul didn’t respond. For nine months.
CHRIS: And then, after almost a year of not talking about Tairy, on episode 430, listeners got this…
PAUL: [from show] But I just felt the need to come onto the show here and let you know that Tairy and I have gotten a divorce and that that is why you have not heard her on the show since last year and why you will not be hearing her on the show in the future. So we thank you all for your concern and for showing us your love and friendship over the time that we were together, and we certainly appreciate all of the friends who showed up at our wedding and things like that. But, unfortunately, not all good things, uh, last, and that is the case here.
CHRIS: Tairy told us that since the divorce she’s moved a further away from the park, and that she doesn’t go quite as often as she used to. But she still listens to A Window to the Magic. And that she’s published three books of poetry since meeting Paul.
TAIRY: [interview] Um. Not all things in life turn out exactly as we had hoped. However, the one thing that will always remain a constant, is that we have a love of Disney in our hearts. And, being a part of A Window to the Magic was instrumental in bringing back my imagination. And I still care about him a great deal. And I always will.
Paul and Tairy were married for two years and nine months, to the day. The divorce went through June 2013. And through everything, the podcast kept going. At this point, he’s produced more than 500 episodes. A few years ago — actually when Tairy was still in the picture — he moved down to Southern California. So now, he’s even closer. He’s kept doing the show, week after week after week. Even during the holidays…..
PAUL: [in show] Well hello everyone and welcome to Episode 456 of A Window to the Magic: the ultimate Disney audio adventure. I’m out here at the Disneyland resort. It is Thanksgiving Day and I am out here walking around at the resort by myself to enjoy a little bit of Christmastime fun and kick of the holiday seasons with you.
CHRIS: As we were putting the finishing touches on this episode, we checked back in with Paul. Turns out, he’s lost 150 pounds since the divorce, so he can take even longer walks around the park. And a little while ago, Paul went to a website called MouseMingle.com and set up a profile.
BRITTANY: He met someone.
PAUL: You said hi. I said hi back. And we chatted for a few minutes. And it just so happened we were both headed for the park.
BRITTANY: Her name’s Laleña. We met her on episode 494. She and Paul actually shared their first kiss on the show. It was on the Pinocchio ride.
Paul: It’s an insanely dark ride.
Laleña: Have you ever made out on this ride?
Paul: I haven’t.
Laleña: That’s unfortunate…
BRITTANY: And hey, in case you’re wondering, the next stop on that ride is Pleasure Island.
CHRIS: Let me ask you this: do you think you’ll continue listening to this now that we’re done with this story?
BRITTANY: Probably not.
CHRIS: I think that’s OK. Cuz I think that’s one of the great things about podcasts. There’s so much out there and if you just listen to a bunch of stuff, you’ll find great little moments. Because people out there are kinda recording their whole lives and sometimes magic can happen.
This episode was produced by Chris Neary, Matthew Nelson, Rose Reid, Sarah Abdurrahman, Jesse Rudoy, Pat Walters and myself.
It was edited by Caitlin Kenney, Annie-Rose Strasser and Peter Clowney.
Special thanks to Eric Mennel.
Our theme music was made by Micah Vellian and our ad music was made by Mark Phillips.
Additional music in the show was composed by Cobey Bienert and produced by Matthew Boll.
The show was mixed by Matthew Boll. Sampler is a production of Gimlet Media.
Oh yes! One more thing: Have you ever heard an unexpected story unfold on any of your favorite podcasts? If so, we’d love to hear about it. Let us know… email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
BRITTANY: Hey guys! We are taking a break next week, but keep on listening to Sampler for more audio gems from the world of podcasting!