Soon Disney aficionados will have a new voice to offer advice to other theme park fans and vacationers as part of the new Disney Parks InsidEARS web site, made public today. Described as “a whole new world for people who love Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort,” the InsidEARS will aid in answering travel planning questions from their own experiences visiting Disney’s parks.
But doesn’t Disney already have a group doing just that, called the Walt Disney World Moms Panel? Yes, but just a few days ago, Disney announced the Moms Panel had “outgrown” its name, promising a name change on the horizon. After all, the panel has included more than just moms in its five years in existence and even recently expanded beyond just Walt Disney World to also offer advice about Disneyland, Adventures by Disney, Disney Vacation Club, Disney Cruise Line, and runDisney as well.
It seems pretty clear the Disney Parks InsidEARS will be a new variation of the Walt Disney World Moms Panel, though not necessarily a replacement. The Moms Panel will not actually become the InsidEARS, but the two are somewhat related in content.
UPDATE (1/20/12): Disney has begun rolling out the new InsidEARS web site and Facebook page, though it’s not officially launched yet. 1,000 invitations to join went out to select Disney “enthusiasts” across the country, with an attempt to split that group between 500 fans knowledgable about the Walt Disney World Resort and 500 who know about the Disneyland Resort. Each person received a unique invitation code to register for the site, set up a profile, and answer a pair of quizzes to ensure they do know about the parks. However, so far, the InsidEARS web site has been troubled by bugs preventing most from fully registering, including myself, but Disney is working on fixing it as quickly as possible.
In the meantime, Disney has also uploaded an introductory video about InsidEARS, hosted by its two “Community Managers”:
UPDATE (1/19/12): Disney Parks has posted two InsidEARS videos featuring “Community Manager” Marissa (better known as Marissa May from ABC’s “The Bachelor”), visiting Little MissMatched at Downtown Disney and Sammy Duvall’s Watersports Centre:
So who will the InsidEARS be? As of now, there are two “community managers” listed on the site, and both seem to be Disney employees. There are also what appear to be two temporary (and fake) profiles as the site is being tested. But ultimately, the InsidEARS will be people like you and me: Disney fans. The site describes them as “enthusiasts (like you!) who are passionate about Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort. They are a diverse group, some of whom have traveled to Disney Parks many times, and may offer their own opinions and stories from their very own experiences in our Parks.”
Moreover, like the Moms Panelists, InsidEARS will not be Disney employees, but explicitly fans who are helping out. As the site states, “Please be advised that the comments of the Disney Parks InsidEARS reflect their own opinions, and we do not endorse, recommend or sponsor the Disney Parks InsidEARS’ comments.”
Disney promises opportunities for future inductees once the InsidEARS program is officially launched soon. For now, an invitation code is required to advance through the qualification process, which includes successfully completing a “park quiz” and a “specialty quiz,” also designating each InsidEAR as specifically available to answer questions about Walt Disney World or Disneyland, not both.
Keep your EARS open for more information about how you could join in the future.
(Hat tip to Stitch Kingdom for noticing the new site.)