This past Monday the Disney community lost one of its own. For those of us who had the opportunity to meet Nolan and for those of us who knew him through Twitter or Facebook we knew what a very kind and remarkable person he was. I got to know Nolan through Twitter and found that we were both avid fans of Lou Mongello’s WDW Radio podcast. I first met Nolan at Via Napoli in Epcot’s World Showcase before Lou’s WDW Radio Dream Cruise. It was Nolan who made arrangements for a group of us to meet there for lunch. After lunch some of us, including Nolan, toured Epcot together. Due to a heart condition Nolan used an electronic convenience vehicle (“ECV”) to get around. Though Nolan was very cognoscente of his heart condition he was like a little boy in a huge playground soaking in every ounce of fun he could.
I remember that no matter where we were on the cruise whenever we saw Nolan he had a smile on his face and you could tell he was having the time of his life. This coming November, Lou Mongello is having another WDW Radio Dream Cruise that Nolan was to be part of. When Nolan would talk about Lou’s upcoming WDW Radio Dream Cruise 2.0 you could feel the excitement in his words but his enthusiasm for Lou’s cruise wasn’t just for him, it was for his sister Paige who was to accompany him on the Dream. He was so excited to have his sister experience what he experienced on the first cruise and for her to meet all 500 of his closest friends.
Nolan was and always will be a rock star of kindness! We will miss you my friend but I know wherever there’s Disney magic you won’t be too far away.
Here are words of remembrance from some of Nolan’s many friends
Darlene & Keith N. Nolan was a fun, caring & kind man. I say this with spending a few days with him, you knew he loved to be with people & he loved to try things! He loved Disney & being at Disney. I am so happy we had the sincere pleasure of joining him for a day at Epcot! Riding rides, eating food & just sharing stories! I will miss our food tweets! But I know he is in a pain free place now & happy!
“Like a bird singing in the rain, let grateful memories survive in time of sorrow. Robert Louis Stevenson”
Jamie Robbins – I never had the opportunity to meet Nolan in person, but we were friends in “The Box” through WDW Radio and on Twitter! I remember spending many hours of the WDW Radio 40 Hour Show in the box with Nolan, just chatting randomly! I think we were some of the only ones up at 4am watching Lou and crew! He was such an incredible person, and so strong, even though he had dealt with a serious medical condition his whole life. I respected him and admired him for that, always seeming to be so positive and happy when so much was rough! When I found out late Monday night that he had passed after seeing a tweet from a mutual Disney friend, I said over and over “no..not Nolan, it can’t be true” and I quickly was affirmed by many others tweeting and spreading the sad news. I cried so, so, so many tears for this man, whom I had never met, but who had touched my life, my heart, and so many others of the Disney community! Words can not even express how incredible it is that he connected our “community”! I am keeping his family and friends in my prayers! Nolan, we will miss you, but you are with Uncle Walt now, smiling down on all your friends and family! XOXO
Saundra – I first met Nolan in the Box. I remember how he was up for the full 24 hours during the 24 hour podcast. Nolan was one of the first people I met on the WDW Radio Dream Cruise. It was that first night, I arrived in Pink and was immediately invited to join the crowd. There was Colin and Chip, Shelley’s mom (yes that is how she introduced herself), Dana and Nolan. We all chatted as if we had been friends forever. We moved into skyline and checked out the light-up menus. I remember Nolan and I having fun with these. We spent a few hours here chatting about Disney, life and ourselves. Friends having drinks stuff.
Every evening on the cruise, I always ended up hanging out with Nolan. He told me he was having his first alcoholic drink when we were in skyline (it wasn’t a good one though it was a little strong), we drank lemon drops together, and then looked at each other wondering what we just drank, but still continued to drink them as we were not paying for them. We shut down the bar that evening, with our other WDW radio friends.
Flash forward a few months, to the Royal Wedding of Kate and Will. Dana set up a party and a friend feed chat room for us to watch the wedding together. So there we were Dana, Nolan, myself and a few other twitter friends up at 3am chatting online about hats, fashion, guests the wedding and answering trivia questions from the event. Who knew Nolan had an eye for fashion.
We have continued our friendship on twitter and had made plans to hang out at evolution again. Nolan had a joy for life, and it was infectious. He had dreams of finding a Disney girl and getting married at Walt Disney World. He was a true Disney fan. Already the silence is noticed on twitter,but his love of life and his spirit will never fade. I had the honour of having Nolan in my life and calling him a friend.
“True friends are always together in spirit”… ( Anne Shirley).
till we meet again.
Ron Thompson – My wife and I met Nolan on Lou’s Cruise last year. I fondly remember hanging out with him and getting to know him. I was always impressed with his spirit and sense of humor. He seemed very comfortable with everyone and you certainly couldn’t remain a stranger for long as he made you feel right at home around him. He and I communicated over facebook and twitter ever since and I will always fondly remember his passion for Disney and food. He will be missed by anyone who was fortunate enough to have known him.
Jo Scholl – I met Nolan on the Disney Dream in 2011 as part of the WDW Radio Cruise. I walked into Pink and he yelled, “Hey, come sit with us!” He was so welcoming and I immediately was drawn into the aura of happiness and contentment surrounding him. After the cruise he became one of the first people I ever followed on Twitter, and I looked forward each day to seeing what he was going to tweet about. Although life through him a curveball with his health, he never seemed to let it get him down, which I found greatly inspiring. As fans of Disney we all love the magic we feel every time we step into a park, onto a ship or watch a Disney movie. Nolan had that magic within. I was looking forward to seeing him again this fall, and I know his presence will be missed; by me and many others.
Mark Vitek – Nolan was one of the first people I came to know in the Disney Community when I first “showed up” in 2007. Of all the people I’ve known over the years, I think I can honestly say that he was the most universally loved person in the Disney Online Family. We all knew of his troubles, but never from his complaints because there were none, he was also the most positive person I’ve known. Nolan will be deeply missed and I think I speak for most by saying that the WDW Radio Box will always have an ‘empty chair’ in his memory and the Disney community will always have a piece of ‘us’ missing.
Mary Jo Collins – I will never forget him.
He was a man with a heart of gold who enjoyed all the simple details of life. I was very blessed to have called Nolan Woodall a friend.
Being that we were both fans of the WDW Radio Show, it was quite a shock the day Nolan and I discovered that we lived near each other. He immediately decided we must meet. I will never forget the day he walked into my lobby at Walgreens and introduced himself. Interestingly, we found that we both not only loved Disney, but also the Tennessee Volunteers and the Atlanta Braves. We always had plenty to talk about.
Over the years, thankfully, there were many meet-ups over dinner or coffee with other Disney friends. These small gatherings really meant a lot to Nolan. He had mentioned how having a little Disney at home was very special to him. Sadly, Nolan was suppose to come to my house just last Thursday for pizza with our friends, but had to change his plans last minute due to his unexpected trip to Vanderbilt Hospital.
One thing that was always a constant with Nolan was his phenomenal dedication to Lou Mongello. “The Box” was a place that gave Nolan an opportunity to be a part of a family and have ownership in. He was so proud of ”The Box.” He was extremely proud to be given the opportunity to moderate the discussions as well. He also loved Lou’s weekly show. I will never forget how excited he was when Lou asked him to be on the show to talk about our Disney Dream Cruise which in my opinion was one of the highlights of his life. He never quit talking about how meaningful that trip was to him.
I am going to miss Nolan so much.
I am going to miss chatting with him about Tennessee football in the fall and reading about his disgust of that last call.
I am going to miss his daily description of the gourmet breakfast he just made himself.
I am going to miss him looking forward to the next WDW Radio Show Cruise.
I am going to miss him sending me a direct message to tell me about the new chicken dish at Pei Wei.
I am going to miss him telling the Box to “stay on topic.”
I am going to miss him reminiscing about his last trip to Walt Disney World.
I am going to miss hearing about the saga with his car.
I am going to miss talking with him about how cool it was to have a birthday on Christmas.
I am going to miss seeing him bravely fight with the unfair adversity handed to him.
I am going to miss this man, Nolan Woodall.
Nolan’s family has asked in lieu of flowers to kindly make donations to Make-A-Wish Foundation of America, 510 South Willow Street, Chattanooga, TN 37404 or American Heart Association, 4708 Papermill Drive, Knoxville, TN 37909
To Learn more about Nolan please see Faces In The Queue – Meet Nolan.
Our friend Nolan was 29 years young.Share