Wondertime

Back in 2005, I was among a small editorial team assembled by Disney Publishing to launch a magazine for parents that would be like no publication that had come before.

Even though I was a relatively new father with another baby on the way, I’d never paid attention to parenting magazines. I had no interest in being lectured to with how-to child-rearing tips from so-called experts. But the idea behind Wondertime was to aim for something different. Its tone would be akin to a casual but pointed conversation over coffee among a group of new moms (and maybe a dad or two, which is where I came in). The magazine, which catered to readers who actually liked to read, made an immediate splash, earning “hottest launch” of 2006 honors from the industry journal Min and capturing National Magazine Award nominations in two of its first three years.

I served as Senior Editor for the first two years, then switched roles to Senior Writer. Soon after the transition, an article of mine won a silver Eddy Award in Folio magazine’s national magazine writing competition.

Wondertime was picking up steam — the circulation had gone from zero to 750,000 and rising, and readers and media critics were in love with us — when the corporate office suddenly pulled the plug. It was January 2009, and with the economy in a downturn, the Disney suits didn’t see the point in weathering a slowdown in ad sales. Bye-bye Wondertime.

While the magazine lasted, I had the opportunity to write some really fun stuff: a (sort of) first-person essay about loitering in the delivery room during the birth of my son (this was the award winner); a remembrance of taking my boy to his first pro football game … when he was all of 18 months old; an exploration of our half-Jewish, half-agnostic family’s deliberation on whether to have a Christmas tree; and a profile of an astoundingly loving foster couple who have created a haven where kids with special needs can spread their wings.

That last story is especially heartrending, but good luck finding it. Wondertime‘s archive used to be online, but the bean-counters at the Happiest Place on Earth, upon folding the mag, opted to erase all traces from cyberspace. Oh well.

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5 Responses to “Wondertime”

  1. Anonymous May 23, 2017 at 1:50 am #

    My all time favorite magazine. Wish I had saved every issue, but honestly, I never imagined it would not be. Why would anyone want to rid the world of a near perfect patenting reference….?

  2. Anonymous December 5, 2016 at 1:09 am #

    This was one else of my favorite mags! Book Disney for even pulling the Web plug!

  3. Joan Scherry September 1, 2016 at 3:32 am #

    This was the best magazine on parenting and mothering I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. I am glad that I saved the handful of magazines I read back then when my kids were babies.

    • Anonymous September 1, 2016 at 4:39 pm #

      Thanks for the kind words. I wish Wondertime was still around.

  4. attheculdesac June 19, 2016 at 6:08 pm #

    I once found an issue of Wonder Time and found it spectacular. I didn’t have children at the time but knew the publication represented what I wanted parenting to be like. When I had my daughter I searched only to discover Disney pulled the plug. Thanks for your and your team’s writing!

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