The Disney Parks InsidEARS site launched this week, offering select Disney aficionados the chance to share their expertise on either Walt Disney World or Disneyland with fellow Disney fans. The new online Disney community could rival the unofficial Disney sites that have commanded a loyal audience of Disney diehards over the years.
Although technical issues prevented the invited InsidEARS applicants from completing the acceptance quiz and registration process last week, the site is working now and InsidEARS (this humble Disney Examiner included) have started to explore the new, official online Disney community.
The InsidEARS program complements but does not replace the Walt Disney World Moms Panel, an online vacation planning service featuring a panel of moms (and dads) who help guests plan Disney vacations. Moms Panelists and InsidEARS volunteer their services, although unlike the Moms Panelists, InsidEARS are not compensated with a complimentary annual training trip to Disney World.
In its invitation to prospective InsidEARS, Disney Parks predicted that the site would become “a thriving social community of Disney Parks fans.” InsidEARS receive a “virtual badge” that can be posted on certain social media sites and can earn two additional “specialty pins” showing their interest in a variety of specialty subjects such as Disney dining, recreation, and traveling with children. In addition, InsidEARS receive access to the InsidEARS Online Resource Center, which the Disney Parks invitation described as “a treasure trove of information, features, tips, and news updates.”
On the InsidEARS site, visitors can join discussions on a variety of Disney topics, read Disney news updates, and receive free vacation planning advice from Disney fans with firsthand experience at the parks. The InsidEARS community represents Disney’s latest attempt to harness the powerful Disney fan base that flocks to unofficial sites such as DISboards and PassPorter.
In recent years, Disney has launched the official Disney Parks Blog, the Moms Panel, and the D23 Official Disney Fan Club and Expo, in addition to creating official Twitter and Facebook profiles, starting Disney family.com, and turning Club Penguin into what Mashable calls “what might be the biggest, most improbably successful social network for kids ever.” The addition of the InsidEARS site, which includes InsidEARS who also serve as writers on prominent unofficial Disney sites, might attract a larger segment of the online Disney community to the official Disney sites.
View the new Disney Parks InsidEARS site.