One thing is clear when you’re listening to “Podcast: The Ride” and that is that Mike Carlson, Jason Sheridan, and Scott Gairdner are no rookies in theme park exploration and research. You’d be better off trying to down a double quarter-pounder on the world’s fastest roller coaster than trying to find something they don’t know about theme parks and pop culture.
Throughout 198 episodes, three comedians from Los Angeles delve into everything they know about theme parks, covering rides, shows, experiences, and parks as a whole. Topics range from as small as parking structures (episode 16) to as broad as entire theme parks (episode 172). On average, episodes are about 90 minutes to 2 hours, but due to the hosts’ high energy and jokes, they usually feel much shorter. With that being said, if theme parks don’t peak your interest, this is probably not the podcast for you.
“Podcast: The Ride” has presented information to me multiple times that I am positive I never would have discovered had I not been listening to them. Episode 171 introduces the Italian theme park Movieland. If you’re like me, you’ve probably never heard of the Universal Studios’ knockoff park outside Verona. However, after the two-hour episode, I could confidently give tours through the park alongside its mascot, Movie, taking guests to the dropping ride that is oddly reminiscent of Disney’s Tower of Terror and to the water show that turns into a water ride at unpredictable times. And that is how I feel after every episode.
Their experience as comedians plays a big role in the podcast. The hosts seem to find humor in the smallest things and can turn something completely normal into something hilarious, making it that much more entertaining. They can turn a dish from a restaurant into the star of a ridiculously funny story. I catch myself laughing frequently throughout their episodes. Playing on their humor, they’re not afraid to make jokes and comment on ridiculous things that theme parks have done in the past. In episode 195, the hosts discuss Disney’s California Adventure, now one of the most successful California theme parks, but focus on its opening years. They describe it as “cheaply made” and “annoying.” The park was indeed built on a budget, making it cartoon-like and inferior to the standard guests expected from Disney upon its opening. While Disney and their fans would likely want to ignore this period of the park’s history, the three comedians make sure they discuss the rather disappointing history of California Adventure. They even have an entire episode dedicated to one of the rides that opened with this park that also happens to be one of Disney’s worst creative decisions, Superstar Limo. The ride left many park goers confused and unfulfilled, only surviving inside of California Adventure for eight months.
Creating entertaining yet realistic episodes, “Podcast: The Ride” has mastered the art of podcasts. Theme park enthusiasts will find themselves right at home while listening to the three hosts tell story after story about unique experiences at theme parks around the world. Listening to their episodes is almost as much fun as spending a day exploring the Disneyland Resort.