Mickey Visit

Gavin Doyle, Founder

San Francisco, CA
Disney World Magic Kingdom. Gavin's book about Disney.
Swept up in Disney magic

Like many children, Gavin Doyle was enchanted by the magical world of Disney. After yearly visits to Disneyland during his childhood, Gavin had a lofty goal: to become a Disney Imagineer and help the company make dreams come true at their parks.

"I was fascinated with the details and stories behind the theme park," explains Gavin. "So at just 13 years old I started a blog and a podcast soon followed where I spoke with Disney Imagineers, who were eager to talk to a young person who was so interested in how they brought the magic of Disney to life."

"I used the information I learned from the podcast to write a book that I launched to be a best-seller," he says. "My book 'Disneyland Secrets: A Grand Tour of Disneyland's Hidden Details' topped the Amazon Travel category when it debuted."

Gavin soon realized he wanted to do more than just teach people about the history of Disney ‒ he also wanted to help them plan unforgettable trips to the parks and build a real business while doing it.

Gavin at the Disney Food and Wine Festival.
Helping families plan memorable trips

"Google played a key role in my pivot from talking about the history of Disneyland to talking about how to save money and experience more at the parks," says Gavin. "I put up MickeyVisit.com as a five-page site talking about the most important aspects of planning a trip to Disneyland. The pages delivered real value and pretty quickly began to rank in Google and receive real traffic."

Today Gavin's two websites, MickeyVisit.com and DisneyDose.com cover Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Universal, Legoland, and more, and, combined, reach over half a million readers each month. "The approach of the site is always positive yet honest," says Gavin. "Readers turn to Mickey Visit for essential tips, discounts, and news for their vacations. We keep the reader and their desire for a memorable, magical, family vacation at the center of everything we do."

Initially the site focused solely on broad planning articles like ones discussing the cost of trip to Disney World or when to visit Disneyland. It wasn't until Gavin discovered Google AdSense that he realized he might have a business on his hands. "I'll never forget my first $75 check from AdSense when I realized the future possibilities of publishing on the internet," he says.

Gavin at a Disney exhibit.
For Disney fans, by Disney fans

As the business grew, Gavin initially pivoted to affiliate revenue and then returned to using ads with Raptive, a Google Certified Publishing Partner. That added revenue has allowed Gavin to grow his team and compensate them better.

"We have over 10 people working on the site in various capacities," says Gavin. "Most are former readers who live and breathe Disney. And we now have the resources to get reporters in the park frequently, which allows us to create more in-depth long-form content."

Reinvesting in the business to keep creating the best content possible while giving opportunities for his writers to grow is core to Gavin's approach. And he wants to make sure that any reader, regardless of income level can access their information and advice.

"We chose an ad-supported business model because it allows us to help as many people as possible," says Gavin. "Ads have allowed me to reach a wide range of people. Our revenue has dramatically increased since we introduced display advertising on MickeyVisit.com. The change allowed us to invest even more in our content and in building out our offerings."

Ads also allow Gavin to write about non-affiliate revenue driving but helpful topics. "With affiliate revenue, you often have to connect a piece of content directly to a sale," he says. "But with ad revenue, you can post really helpful content that has no commercial value and still grow your business."

“Our revenue has dramatically increased since we introduced display advertising on MickeyVisit.com. The change allowed us to invest even more in our content and in building out our offerings.”
Turning dreams into reality

His reinvestment and helpful content has paid off with a passionate and loyal audience. "I get a lot of emails thanking us for our detailed long-form content that gives exact instructions and tips to have the best trip possible," says Gavin. "Our content type is extremely detailed and requires frequent travel to get everything right. This level of detail and focus would not be possible without the advertising revenue."

From running into Mickey Visit superfans at parks to heartfelt emails from families who used his site to plan their trips, Gavin feels the impact of his site. And it doesn't hurt that he occasionally gets to tour new Disney attractions before they open and spend time with the very Disney Imagineers he read about in his youth. Disney has recognized Gavin's contributions. Last year they invited him to tell his story to over 400 Disney communications executives and employees on both coasts. He's also used his platform to raise money for food banks during COVID and contribute to charities that assist the formerly incarcerated.

These interactions with fellow fans are the highlights of Gavin's work. "It makes me tear up a little bit just thinking about these experiences that our site has made possible."' Gavin is just getting started with his business and is planning an expansion that will bring in new tools to make Mickey Visit and Disney Dose even more central to the planning process.

About the Publisher

Gavin Doyle is the founder of MickeyVisit.com and the best-selling author of "Disneyland Secrets: A Grand Tour of Disneyland's Hidden Details". Mickey Visit and Gavin have been featured by Travel+Leisure, ABC, the LA Times, Weather Channel, Forbes, and more and reach millions of readers planning Disney vacations. Over 100K subscribers receive their free email planning newsletter.
Gavin posed with Mickey Mouse.