Tim (a.k.a. "Dark Helmet")
(February 8, 1979 - September 9, 2010)
This page is a tribute to my brother, Tim, a fellow lover of Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando, and anything else that involved theme parks, central Florida, the tropics, and animals.
For the past thirty years, Tim and I have been dedicated fans and experts on anything involving the Disney theme parks. We made over 50 trips from Atlanta to Orlando, toured every square inch of the parks and resorts, ridden pretty much every bus, boat and monorail, and together, we've taken over fifty thousand digital photos.
Naturally, we both had our favorite reasons for continuing to make central Florida our top vacation destination. We were always anxious to make the long drive down I-75, and we were always sad to head for home at the end of the trip, even if that was a fourth visit within a year. The theme parks and resorts were always appealing to our family.
Back in the late 1990s, Tim took his passion for the theme parks and knowledge in computers to the next level by creating the website, Digital Disney. Digital Universal followed hot on its heels. Fans around the world loved his work, but for some unknown reason, Tim just stopped working on the websites, and they slowly drifted away to their previous, non-existent forms.
But that spark was there and he made his impact on the Internet. His jaw dropping, long-exposure night photos were amongst the first to be published online by an amateur photographer. His other photos showing unique angles and alternate perspectives set some pretty high standards for the rest of us. It's safe to say that Tim loved to show his artistic side through the lens of a digital camera.
This website is roughly a continuation of Digital Disney and its sequel, Digital Universal. It wouldn't be here today without my brother's original ideas many years ago. A lot of his photos and videos will ultimately become a part of this website as it continues to grow.
Tim's fascination with Disney and Universal never peaked. He visited other Disney websites and was an active member in some of the online forums, often posting under his "DarkHelmet79" nickname (yes, he's been a huge fan of Spaceballs and that main character since the movie premiered) in one version or another. He also continued to shoot thousands of digital pictures each trip, and he updated his digital camera every few years. It was never a surprise to later discover that whatever camera he purchased often ended up as #1 in Consumer Reports. He had good taste, knew how to do research into what features were the most important, and he just had a knack for picking out good electronics.
That was just his style.
Things never bothered him, and negative events usually worked out for the best in one way or another.
Coming back to this website and continuing with the work has been one of the hardest things to do since his funeral.
Tim has been there with me for the vast majority of our visits. I can still picture him standing by me as we're both taking pictures, often waiting for a person to move out of the way or for a ride vehicle to hit the right spot. For my tens of thousands of pictures, he was there with me for 95% of them.
A recent entertaining part of Tim's life was his steady girlfriend, Kristen. Unlike Tim, Kristen didn't appear to be a huge fan of theme parks in general. A visit once every couple of years was okay, but our marathon two-week trips in the summer were definitely out of the question. We laughed and joked about how Tim was going to figure out a way to get her to like Disney and Universal to his level. We knew that he was still going to visit the parks. Him not going any longer was just not an option.
Tim suddenly passed away on the morning of September 9, 2010 from what was most likely a previously undiagnosed cardiac problem. The true cause of death will never be known.
It's hard to put down the right words when you lose not only your best friend and right-hand man, but somebody who was also your older brother and only sibling. The sadness and loneliness one feels is just incredible.
Tim was loved by many and is missed by all of us.