|Tammy, and Dan finally meet John "Panda" Saccheri in person!|
Any true Walt Disney World fan knows about Bigfatpanda.com but in case you are not that deep into the WDW scene, John Saccheri is the producer and host of the Big Fat Panda Show on YouTube.
Check it out!
His videos are like medicine for the souls of us who can't be at our favorite park(s) and bring comfort to us when we just have to be there, even if it is not physically possible at the time. His show introduces us to people that bring even more great content to the Disney fan community. Podcasters, Bloggers, Voice Actors, Authors, Artists, and so many others. John was also one of the featured subjects in the documentary The Dreamfinders (DreamFindersMovie.com) along with Lou Mongello, JeniLynn Knopp, Ricky Brigante, Corinne Andersson, and the original "Dreamfinder" Ron Schneider. All names that hard core Disney parks fans will recognize instantly!
John is one of the 10 judges in my new book: Disney Tale of the Tape - Theme Park Boxing, and we were very excited to meet the one and only "Big Fat Panda"!
|Panda is one of the 10 "Celebrity Judges" in the book|
He came in towards the end of the book project, but he is one of the 3 judges for two bouts. He knows his stuff, and added SO MUCH to the book! He was assigned to Impressions de France vs Reflections of China, and the final bout of the book Prince Charming Regal Carrousel vs Stitch's Great Escape.
When John heard that we would be spending 4 nights at WDW's Animal Kingdom Lodge, he invited me to be a guest on an upcoming episode of The Big Fat Panda Show. I was honored, and excited to do it!
He came to the Jambo House and picked us up. We had a great time meeting him and talking all kinds of "Disney talk" as he drove us to "The Panda Cave" - his beautiful home not too far from Walt Disney World.
We sat and drank coffee as we chatted, and were introduced to a few of John's 5 cats. It was a great time getting to know such a warm hearted and friendly man. He's a New York native, and could easily lay some NY Attitude on you if he wanted to, but I think the years in Florida have softened him up a bit, I could hardly make out any accent in his voice.
|There's no turning back NOW!|
His home is like a mini-Disney Museum. I guess you might call it "One Panda's Dream".
Every time we turned around, there was something that made us say "OH WOW, LOOK AT THIS!" Just amazing! We were having so much fun, but I was there to be a guest on his show, so we eventually had to put down the coffee and head up to the studio for the taping.
The studio room was small, but a little bit intimidating. As I sat down, I was thinking "Wow, Tony Caselnova (author of Disney by the Numbers), Jim Hill, Bob Jackson (Yee-Haw Bob), Jim Korkis, Ron Schneider, Mark Silverman (the voice of Tower of Terror) and so many other stars of the Disney fan community have sat in that very chair!" But, with the green screen behinds us, and Panda's soothing voice, we were able to sit down and have a nice visit for an upcoming episode.
|John "Big Fat Panda" Saccheri introduces Dan and the book|
When the taping session was over, we toured around his home a little more, and just had such a fun time with him. He told us stories of things that happened to him during his visits to the WDW parks, and all of the amazing people he has had the fortune to meet along the way. His love for Disney is unstoppable, he is really one of the Champions in that arena!
|"Kung Fu John"! (an artist friend made it for John)|
It was finally time to head back to our room at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. John gave us a special tour of the "other side" of the Magic Kingdom, driving us through the side streets around the park. Monorail parking structure, Cast member parking, warehouses, and other areas we had not previously seen. We felt so honored that John Saccheri would take so much time to treat us so special.
The book has been an amazing journey, but what is even more amazing, is the new friends that I've made along the way. Great people, who love the Disney parks every bit as much as I do! John Saccheri is at the top of that list.
|Remember, he is not "A Big Fat Panda" , he is "THE Big Fat Panda"!|
We were a bit sad to say "goodbye" to John as he gave us a hug and dropped us off at the hotel lobby, but we now have a very special friend in the Orlando area, and look forward to seeing our new friend on a future WDW trip. Our Granddaughters can't believe that we "know" Big Fat Panda!
Click here to see: BigFatPanda on YouTube!
Click here to order a copy of: DISNEY TALE OF THE TAPE - Theme Park Boxing
Watch "The Dreamfinders" Documentary:
Contact me at: Disney Fountain of Youth