Spoonful.com was a family-focused website established by Disney Interactive shortly after Disney sold the print edition of its Family Fun magazine. Spoonful's tagline was “Make. Every Day.” It focused on providing inspiring recipes, crafts, activities, and party ideas for families, aiming to help them be more creative.
If you try to find Spoonful.com today, you will be met by the message: “This site can’t be reached.” What could have happened to a publication that once promised “to provide guests a daily dose of inspiration, helping you add a little magic to the everyday”?
In this article, we find out what happened to Spoonful.com. We follow the history of the publication, its services, partnerships it entered, and the challenges that led to its closure.
The History of Spoonful.com
Spoonful.com was created in 2012. The site had previously operated as Family Fun.
In an article that provides details about the launch of Spoonful.com, blogger Amanda Formaro says, “Spoonful was created after Disney sold the print magazine, Family Fun, to Meredith Corporation.” Rebranding the online magazine that remained in the hands of Disney to Spoonful.com aimed to alleviate confusion.
Built on Four Pillars
When the Family Fun print magazine was sold to Meredith, Disney entered into an arrangement with the new owner to feature Family Fun Magazine content created before January 2012. The website informed readers that its content combined “the best of FamilyFun.com with fresh and creative ideas.”
The creators of Spoonful.com said that the site was “built on four pillars … [offering] guests the tools they need to create memorable experiences for the whole family.” The four pillars were:
- Cook: Provided a collection of both Disney-themed and evergreen recipes. This section contained breakfast, lunch, and dinner recipes.
- Create: Delivered resources for crafts, ideas for kids’ rooms, decorations, art projects, and a library of Disney-themed activities.
- Play: Included “rainy-day ideas, toys, games, travel ideas, [and] Disney movie-night ideas.”
- Celebrate: Assisted readers in planning parties by providing ideas for invitations, recipes, activities, and creative crafts.
It looks like the developers of Spoonful.com were serious when they promised to help readers “add a little magic to the everyday.” The website partnered with a few services aligned to its promises.
Don’t Invite but Evite
In 2013, Disney Interactive named Evite “the exclusive online party invitation partner for Disney Interactive’s Spoonful.com.” The aim was to offer “a new collection of Disney-themed online party invitations.”
The Evite Disney collection featured several designs, including Disney Fairies, Disney Princess, Jake and the Never Land Pirates, and Doc McStuffins.
In a comment about the partnership between Spoonful and Evite, Hans Woolley, then president of Evite, is quoted saying, “When celebrating life’s more important events, our users want design that reflects the personal interest of the guest of honor.”
Woolley adds, “Spoonful.com is committed to providing the tools and content that will enrich family experiences, which is a perfect match for Evite’s ongoing mission of helping people get together and celebrate life’s most special moments.”
Accelerating the End of Paper Cards
Spoonful.com seemed to be clear that mobile devices’ growing popularity was a signal of the beginning of the end as far as the era of paper cards was concerned. This can be seen in the website's appetite for working with providers of digital invitations.
The party planning website, Punchbowl, was also a provider of digital invitation cards for Spoonful.com. In an article published by the Boston Business Journal, Kyle Alspach reports that “Punchbowl will provide digital invitations featuring Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Disney Princess characters, Disney Fairies characters, Disney Pixar's Cars, Toy Story and The Muppets.”
In an article providing details about the partnership between Punchbowl and Spoonful published by TechCrunch.com, Sarah Perez reports that Punchbowl’s digital cards are “designed to give an appearance of the paper cards they’re meant to replace, with envelopes that virtually ‘open up’ and even optional gift card inserts which resemble their offline counterparts capable of holding plastic cards.”
Helping Families Raise Children With Type 1 Diabetes
In 2013, Disney Interactive partnered with Lilly Diabetes to launch a lifestyle website dedicated to families affected by Type 1 diabetes. It was domiciled at http://spoonful.com/type1. The website focused on children living with diabetes.
According to Disney Interactive, it had partnered with Lilly Diabetes because “For both the child and family, the challenges of living with diabetes can be daunting.” Consequently, the site contained videos, articles, general advice from those involved in caring for children living with Type 1 diabetes.
Spoonful’s Type 1 diabetes dedicated website also featured “topics such as how to plan for vacations, sleepovers and extracurricular activities as well as tips on how to talk to friends, teachers, and coaches about Type 1 diabetes.”
What Then Happened to Spoonful.com?
Signs that things were not moving according to plan at Disney Interactive were becoming clear by 2012 when reports indicated that the company was laying off employees due to a restructuring exercise. Another 200 employees had already been laid off 18 months earlier.
Disney Interactive would continue to lose money, forcing its executives to take drastic decisions. For instance, in a 2014 article, The New York Times reported that the company was once more laying off around 700 employees.
In an article published by The New York Times, Brooks Barnes reports that as part of the restructuring that saw hundreds of employees lose their jobs at Disney Interactive, the division would also “close some of its smaller web businesses, including … Spoonful.com.”
In September 2014, Disney sent out a message confirming that Spoonful.com would be closing down. The message read, “We are writing to inform you of upcoming changes to Spoonful.com.” It continues, “Spoonful will be closing its doors on September 29, 2014.”
A fan of Spoonful.com laments the closure of the website. The fan says, “While it was announced a while back that this day was coming, it is still a very sad loss for the Disney D.I.Y. community. Spoonful was my ‘go-to’ craft site for any kind of Disney project.”