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 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 K with Mary Popppins

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 nearly 23 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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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 my first Disney race, the 2005 WDW Half Marathon. I've run many Disney races since then, but that first experience of running around World Showcase, and later running down Main Street and through Cinderella Castle, was very special.

Favorite Disney Resort: The Disney Magic. It's a floating resort, right?

Things from WDW's past I miss the most: Epcot's Lights of Winter. That used to be my favorite WDW spot. Also the Beaver Tails kiosk in the Canada pavilion.

Insider Tip: At Animal Kingdom's Discovery Island, keep an eye out for the animal keepers, especially in the late morning. They can tell you lots about the animals, and sometimes you can watch an animal training session.


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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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Kristin Ford with Mickey Mouse

Kristin Ford
"A Mom and the Magic" Blogger, Feature Writer
, Copy Editor

Day Job: Currently, I'm a freelance writer and editor, but I previously worked at newspapers for 20 years.

Favorite WDW Memory: When my son was about 2, he met Mickey Mouse and was old enough to remember the visit. For weeks afterward, we would hear, "More Mickey!" When my daughter was about the same age, she loved Winnie the Pooh and would enthusiastically wave to him in the parks, calling, "Hi, Pooh!" But when we stood in line to actually meet Pooh, the tears started. Now, they both enjoy meeting the Disney characters, especially the rare appearances at the all-nighters in the Magic Kingdom.

Favorite WDW Resort: The Contemporary. As a child, I stayed there for three consecutive years in the late '70s and early '80s. Riding the monorail through the hotel still reminds me of my wonderful childhood vacations.

Favorite Nighttime Show: "Wishes" at the Magic Kingdom, hands down. Seeing the fireworks over Cinderella Castle cannot be topped.

Favorite Disney spot: Castaway Cay, Disney Cruise Line's private island in the Bahamas.

Insider Tip #1: Plan ahead, especially with dining reservations and FastPasses. You can always cancel the day before if you have to, but not scheduling some of the most popular attractions and restaurants may mean that you won't be able to experience them.

Insider Tip #2: If you are planning marathon days without going back to your hotel, bring a battery pack for your cell phone. With so many of us relying on our phones not only to communicate with each other but to take photos and videos, the battery can wear down quickly.


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Gary Cruise AllEars.Net Blogger

Gary Cruise
Blogger

Day Job: Retired Banker, currently a Recreation Professional

Favorite WDW Memory: The joy in the eyes of my children when we took our first trip to Walt Disney World in 1977.

Favorite Disney Park: Disneyland! I grew up watching the original Mickey Mouse Club and The Wonderful World of Disney; when I watched Walt describe Disneyland so many years ago it always seemed so distant. My wife Carol and I made our first trip there in 2005 and have been back eight more times since then. That original theme park has been often imitated but never duplicated!

Favorite Disney Character: Gawrsh! It's Goofy!

Favorite WDW Resort: Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground is an oasis of calm surrounded by all the excitement of Walt Disney World. When you enter Fort Wilderness it seems like you've travelled back in time to a quieter, friendlier era. It's serene. What a wonderful place to call home!

Favorite WDW Snack: The Pineapple Float from Aloha Isle in Adventureland. Sorry, all you Dole Whip fans, but I prefer the float! It's made with pineapple soft-serve ice cream and real pineapple juice. I stir, and stir, and stir until it's like a smoothie! Yum!

Insider Tip: Slow down and enjoy your surroundings! Those who rush from one thrill ride to the next miss so much of what WDW offers. Stop and smell the roses, listen to the music, notice how the architecture changes as you move from one land to another.  Do some people-watching! There's a lot more to enjoy than thrill rides.

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Jason Dz AllEars.Net Guest Photographer

Jason Dz
Guest Photographer/Blogger
and Programmer

"Day" Job: disneygeek.com - webmaster, blogger, photographer, programmer, manager...

Real Job: Digital Communications & Information Services Manager

Favorite Disney Memory: Having the opportunity to visit the Walt Disney Archives Library on the Disney lot in Burbank and listen to Richard Sherman play a couple songs on the piano that was in Walt's Office. (See a short VIDEO here.)

Insider tip #1:
For all you WDW fans be sure to consider a trip to Walt's park sometime. Many seem to dismiss Disneyland because of its size and keep going back to Orlando time after time, but now with the Disney California Adventure reboot there is quite a bit to see and many will be surprised at what they find in Anaheim. Size can be a benefit (both because of how big it is, as well as how small it is).

Insider tip #2: When visiting the parks, any of them, be sure to force yourself to slow down, take in the sights, enjoy the live entertainment. Do not just rush from attraction to attraction and reservation to reservation. Be anti-My Disney Experience and do not plan every second, wander around and see where the sights/sounds/smellsl take you.

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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 Editor

"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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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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Alice McNutt Miller

Alice McNutt Miller
Feature Writer

Day job: CFO for an international development nonprofit

Favorite Disney Memory: Watching Daughter #2 play and get soaked through in the now-defunct Little Mermaid water play area in the Magic Kingdom on our first trip to the World when she was 2 years old. It was chilly and no other kids were there, but she was just running around in circles chasing the water, getting soaked, and laughing with abandon. I will never forget it.

Favorite WDW Attraction: The Mad Tea Party. It is a classic, the lines are usually manageable, and who doesn't love spinning until you are dizzy?

Favorite WDW Resort: The Wilderness Lodge. It is the reason we came back to Disney World a second time. I just had to stay there.

Insider Tip: I know it can be hard when you are on vacation, but save sleeping in for a different kind of trip. Arrive at the park entrance 15 to 30 minutes before the official opening time in order to get the most out of your day. By the time you have done four or five rides, and the sleepyheads are wandering in, you will be ready for your first nap!


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Erin Blackwell

Erin Blackwell
Fort Wilderness; 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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ALSO:
Jeanine Y. - Blogger
Lee Zimmerman - Videographer

Jim Korkis - Feature Writer