Behind the Ears



You've met Deb Wills, the founder, Webmaster, publisher and Editor-in-Chief of AllEars® and AllEars.Net. But it takes more than one person to run this show. Just who are the folks behind

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A dedicated group of volunteers who spend countless hours to bring you the latest news in the most informative and entertaining Walt Disney World website and newsletter available!

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Deb Koma and Stitch 1/03

Debra Martin Koma
Editor AllEars® and AllEars.Net

"Day" Job: Freelance writer

Favorite WDW memory: The first time my son, then 4, saw SpectroMagic and shouted, "Mommy, look at the peacock! Mommy, look at the fish!" He's 21 now and won't admit it, but he still thinks that parade is cool. (And so do I!)

Favorite WDW spot to rest: Rest? Who rests when they're at Disney World? I want to see it all, do it all -- No rest for this park commando!

Insider Tip: If at all possible, avoid taking your very first trip to Walt Disney World during the crowded, hot summer months. But if you MUST go then, remember to take everything in stride -- it will be hot, there will be long lines, and you'll wonder why everyone raves about how wonderful the World is. Don't let it get to you! Just try to get an early start to take advantage of the cooler mornings, and then take a pool break in the middle of the day -- return to the parks after the temps start to go down and hopefully you'll be able to enjoy yourselves more. It really is the Most Magical Place on Earth!


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Mike Scopa

Mike Scopa
AllEars® Feature Writer
Blogger

Co-Captain, Team AllEarsĀ®

Day Job: Technical Writer/Performance Consultant/Instructional Designer/Training Professional

Favorite Disney Memory: Eating soft serve ice cream and oatmeal cookies with my son at Old Port Royale at the Caribbean Beach Resort back in 1990. Seven years later as a freshman in college he called me in the middle of the winter and said, "Dad, I'd give anything to be sitting with you and eating oatmeal cookies at the CBR." It was then that I knew he was hooked.

Favorite WDW spot to rest: Sitting on one of those swings at the Beach at the Polynesian... no crowds... no music... no lines... no stress.

Insider Tip: If you take the express monorail from the Ticket and Transportation System to the Magic Kingdom be sure to get in the back end of the next to last car. The doors will open right at the ramp and you will be among the first to get down the ramp to the park.

Favorite WDW romantic spot: Sunset Point at the Polynesian Resort.

Favorite Restaurants: Trail's End and Tusker House


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Jack Spence

Jack Spence
Blogger

Day Job: Visiting Disney theme parks

Favorite Disney Memory: Walking through Disneyland early in the morning, before the park opened. For 10 minutes every day on my way to work in New Orleans Square, Disneyland belonged to me and nobody else. I was all alone as I walked down Main Street. By the Rivers of America I would stop and watch the ducks swim on the glass-like water. There were no sounds except those of nature. No music, no voices, just my thoughts and the magic that surrounded me.

Favorite WDW spot to rest: I can't tell you. Because if I did, everyone would seek out this spot and I'd never be able to enjoy it again.

Insider Tip: Arrive at the parks when they open. Then leave after lunch and go back to your "Disney" resort and take a nap and/or take a swim. Then return to a park in the late afternoon, refreshed.

Favorite WDW romantic spot: A nighttime boat ride on the Sassagoula River from Downtown Disney to Port Orleans Riverside.

Favorite Restaurants: Victoria & Albert's, The Flying Fish and Columbia Harbour House.


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Michelle Scribner-MacLean
Blogger
Co-Captain, Team AllEarsĀ®

"Day" Job:
Science and Math Educator

Favorite WDW Memory: Any time I'm with family, but the memory of my brother's face the first time he rode Tower of Terror still makes me laugh!

Favorite WDW Spots: At Epcot on the bridge near France, watching IllumiNations and the Magic Kingdom at the beginning of Main Street looking at the castle.

Favorite Restaurant: Boma at Animal Kingdom Lodge -- so many yummy choices!

Insider Tip: Whether it's your first trip or 50th trip -- take your time and enjoy the details. You'll miss some of the best parts of the resort if you rush through too quickly.


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Laura Gilbreath with Lilo and Stitch at the 2005 Half-Marathon

 

Laura Gilbreath
Disneyland Resort Correspondent
Blogger

"Day" job:
Computer system administrator

Favorite WDW Memory: Running in the 2005 WDW Half Marathon, especially running through Cinderella Castle and around World Showcase!

Favorite WDW spot: After IlumiNations, sitting on the edge of a planter along the walkway between Future World and World Showcase watching Epcot's Lights of Winter.

Favorite WDW restaurant: Boma! Especially the dessert buffet.

Favorite spot for IllumiNations: I think the best spot is behind the UK's Fish and Chips shop, but this area is usually reserved for private parties. My favorite guest-accessible area is along the edge of the World Showcase Lagoon, straight out from the backstage gate next to Germany.

Insider tip: The WDW theme parks, especially Epcot, have LOTS of live entertainment: street shows, stage shows, acrobats, rock bands, and everything in between. Watching a show is a great opportunity to slow down and relax for a few minutes. So take a look at the daily Times Guide, and let the talented performers entertain you!

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Scott Thomas

Scott Thomas
Picture This! Photo Blogger

Scott's "Photographic Innoventions" blog focuses on intermediate to advanced photography concepts and techniques relevant for Point and Shoot and Digital SLR cameras.


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Lisa Berton

Lisa K. Berton
Picture This! Photo Blogger

"Day" Job: Career: Photographer; Job: Proofreader

Favorite WDW Memory: Showing my grandparents around Hollywood Studios and Epcot in 2004. My baubie grabbed onto my arm in Living with the Land when it got misty and said, "I would have brought a raincoat if I'd known it was going to rain."

Favorite Disneyland Location: Sitting in the square part of Main Street, U.S.A. watching characters interact with guests.

Photography Tips: Use a flash for outdoor shots of family and friends to eliminate harsh shadows and raccoon eyes.

"Must Do's" at Disneyland: Grab a mint julep, look for kitties, dorky photos, find Aladdin, and thank Walt.

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Steve Barrett

Steve Barrett
Blogger

Day Job: Doctor and Disney Nut

Favorite WDW Memory: Strolling through the Magic Kingdom with my young son on my shoulders. I remember thinking, "I wish this would last forever!"

Favorite WDW Spot: Anywhere there's a Hidden Mickey.

Insider Tip: Take some time to chat with Cast Members, especially if you're looking for Hidden Mickeys. The Cast Members are one of the main reasons WDW is such a unique and special place.

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Gloria

Gloria Konsler
Corresponding Secretary, Photo of the Week, Ears to Ears™ Moderator

"Day" Job: Finally retired! I spend my day answering AllEars.Net email and helping out with the grandkids.

Favorite WDW Memory: At the end of our very first trip to Walt Disney World, we left the Magic Kingdom via the ferry and everyone cried because we had had such a wonderful time. The sight of the castle getting smaller and smaller in the background was just too much for all of us. We were so sad and so happy all at the same time.

Favorite WDW spot to watch Wishes: Right in the middle of Main Street near Casey's Corner.

Favorite WDW romantic spot: On the beach at the Beach Club at night, sitting in one of the swings.

Insider Tip: At least once in your life, go to Walt Disney World when the holiday decorations are up.


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Cathy Bock

Cathy Bock
Rate & Review Editor, Behind the Scenes Updates

"Day" Job: Technology manager for a nonprofit agency

Favorite WDW Memory: There are so many amazing memories of trips with friends and family, especially the first trip with my sons. One of my favorite memories is completing the Coast-to-Coast Challenge (half-marathons in WDW and DL) in 2010.

Favorite WDW Location: Going under the railroad track at the Magic Kingdom and stepping onto Main Street. All the worries of the world disappear there!

Favorite WDW Romantic Spot: Slowly strolling through World Showcase after IllumiNations. It's such a relaxing and peaceful way to end the day.

Insider Tip: If you have a chance to visit when the parks are decorated for Christmas, take some time to visit the resorts as well. You'll see beautifully decorated trees, as well as impressive gingerbread and chocolate displays.


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Jack Marshall

Jack Marshall
Assistant Webmaster
Keeper of the AllEars® Archives;
Tips Database; and WDW Ticket Historian

"Day" job: Semi-retired

Favorite WDW memory: Spending an entire weekend with 40 or 50 of my best friends who come from all around the world at Walt Disney World every December.

Things from WDW's past I miss the most: Mr. Toad's Wild Ride (Magic Kingdom) and Minnie Mia's (Downtown Disney).

Things from WDW's past I miss the least: Mission to Mars (Magic Kingdom) and the second incarnation of Journey Into Imagination (Epcot).

Insider Tip: Do your homework on WDW ticket prices. Don't assume that Disney is the best one to purchase your tickets from.


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Linda Eckwerth on the Disney Cruise

Linda Eckwerth
Photographer/Administrative Assistant/Swag Queen

"Day" Job: Sales Rep for a manufacturer/distributor of industrial maintenance supplies

Favorite WDW Memory: There are so many and hopefully many more to come, but I would say my first visit to Epcot with my Dad. We tried to see and do everything the park had to offer. When we finally stopped to claim a viewing spot for the closing fireworks, we were so tired that we left without seeing them. It would be 13 years later before I would step foot in Epcot again.

Favorite WDW Spot: Being on Main Street when it is decorated for Christmas.

Insider Tip: Have a plan when you visit the "World", but don't be so rigid that you can't change and roll with the flow. Most of all, have fun!


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Erin Blackwell

Erin Blackwell
Fort Wilderness, PhotoPass and Menu Updates; Where in the World Photo Blog; Behind the Scenes Support

Day job: Website design and maintenance

Favorite WDW memory: I once met a family from Kenya in Animal Kingdom and enjoyed one of the most special moments of my life. It was everything Walt Disney pictured for his guests.

Favorite WDW spot: The castle view from Loop 300 at Fort Wilderness. Also, seeing the white herons asleep in the Animal Kingdom trees, like pieces of moonlight caught in the branches.

Favorite WDW romantic spots: Animal Kingdom and the World Showcase at night. Riding together in our electric cart at night in Fort Wilderness, enjoying the beautiful atmosphere.

Things from WDW's past I miss the most: The double decker buses in World Showcase. They were great for appreciating the architecture as well as rescuing tired feet!

Insider Tip: Research what's closed during your trip before planning to see it; same with dining reservations. It avoids disappointment. And when you meet a good Cast Member, contact Guest Services. Your thanks will help them achieve rewards and guests get more great Cast Members!

Photography Tip: Keep those pictures safe! Back them up or use multiple chips! I've twice lost photos from entire trips, and now download them as a backup.


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Additional Ears to Ears™ Moderators: Donna Brewer, Donna Staffanson and Joan Faux.

Graphics Support: John Leary