TRT Writing Team
Creator, Owner, and Head Author of “The Relocated Tourist”
Joe Diebold… Born and raised in Buffalo, NY, but looking to relocate to Florida. I am married to a wonderful wife (Chrissy) and we both share a huge love for all things Disney. We have been going to Disney as our annual trip since 2001 and since 2005 we have gone for every Wedding Anniversary week in Oct. Recently I have found a passion for photography starting with landscapes and nature and then moving into my love for Disney. When at Disney you will almost always find me with my camera around my neck looking for something to photograph. Eventually my goal is to move to Florida and hopefully get a job with Disney (maybe even in their photography department…at least I can Dream!!).
Heather Araskiewicz…Travel Addict! But unlike most travel addicts I didn’t start to travel the world until 2007. Until then my trips all ended up at Walt Disney World. I feel in love with Disney on our first family and since then its one of my favorite places to vacation. I live in Massachusetts and have traveled as far away as Thailand but Disney is where I land when I just want to escape life for a while. Over the past few years my travels have expanded beyond Walt Disney World and have included places like Costa Rica, New Orleans, and San Francisco to name a few. I document my travel stories on my blog: http://goofnaround.blog.com/.
Cheryl Maahs…A self proclaimed “Jill of all trades”, Cheryl knows how to do just about everything. She is a traveler, sweets connoisseur, Disney enthusiast and an aspiring relocated tourist. As wife and mother, she enjoys spending time with her family and entertaining her children. Cheryl lived in the Orlando, Florida area for a little over 2 years while working as an Intern with Epcot, a Space Camp instructor at Cape Canaveral and in a mix of uncommon temporary jobs. She currently resides in the Northwest but is apt to head South on a whim.
Garrett Dunnewold…My first trip to WDW came in 1984 at the age of 8. I didn’t make it back until 2003 as an adult, when I got bitten by the magic “bug”– hard! Since then I have been fortunate to return to WDW at least once a year every year. I was born in Indiana and currently live in Memphis, TN (although my ultimate goal is to move to Orlando some day.) By day I’m a sales manager, and I’m married to my beautiful wife Nikkie, who teaches elementary school music. We are both part-time musicians and play with our church’s music ministry and a local community band– which gives us a special interest in the fantastic performers and musicians throughout WDW. When at the parks, you’ll probably find me at the Studios watching Mulch, Sweat, and Shears, at the Magic Kingdom watching Mickey’s Philharmagic, or at Epcot between Germany and Italy, waiting for Illuminations.
Laura D… Being Disney fans, my parents always took us to Disney for summer vacations. I didn’t really become a huge Disney fan until I met my husband. He was in the Navy based in FL & our very 1st trip as a couple was to Disney World. After we got married and had our son, we reminisced about that 1st trip together to WDW where we fell in love. When our son was 18 months old, we took him to WDW for the 1st time and my husband & I both bawled like babies watching him discover Disney for the first time. It was then that we decided we had to move to Florida. Aside from the fact that my hubby lived in FL most of his life, was homesick for his Sunshine State, and I have always wanted to live in FL, we knew we wanted to make it happen. In 2011, we both unexpectedly received job opportunities in Central FL. Because we were a young family and nervous about such a big move, we turned the opportunities down. As they say, hindsight is 20/20. We soon realized we wanted to relocate more than anything. Friends and colleagues always say, “Laura, you guys belong there! Florida is your home!” Being a preeclampsia and 2 time cancer survivor, we realized life is too short so we are leaving the door open to the possibility of making FL our future home and if it’s God’s plan for us, we’ll take that leap the next time around. For the time being, we go down almost every year and love to visit for Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, Wine & Dine, Flower & Garden, and our favorite is running in Disney Marathon Weekend. Every day I try to live by Walt Disney’s motto, “If you can dream it… you can do it!”
Cheryl has a few obsessions, Disney travel, great food, and great wine. She is also very fond of fireworks. You can see why Disney is her favorite destination. Where else are you going to get a concentration of some the best chefs in the US, more sommeliers than any other property, fireworks every single night and the chance to bump into Mickey Mouse?
She began her love affair with Disney when Space Mountain was brand new, and you carefully saved your E-tickets to ride (remember those?), and Space Mountain was the coolest thing ever! She was super pleased to discover during her ‘one and only trip to Disney’ back in 2005, that Space Mountain still ROCKS! And now she was plenty old enough to appreciate an Ostrich Steak Dinner and a glass of Malbec at California Grill after.
Cheryl currently resides in South Carolina and among other things she has opened a micro bakery/candy company specializing in new twists on old favorites, and is contemplating writing a cookbook.
Thadine Mauricio…My name is Thadine and I am from the island of Curacao, located in the Caribbean. I am married and a mom of two boys (18 and 10).I am also the owner of a pre-school for kids between the ages 2 and 4.Disney is my biggest passion; since I went for the first time in 2001, I was hooked. So much so that after doing a lot of research and going many times on vacation I have opened my own touring company. I help people going to Disney by giving tips on how to tour and about all the attractions in the Orlando area. Each vacation for us has been wonderful so far and I would love to tell you about them through Amy’s blog 🙂
Patricia Zemp… I live in a small rural part of South Georgia about 90 minutes from the Florida line. I am a mother of 2 grown sons and grandmother to 3 wonderful grandchildren..2 grandsons and 1 granddaughter.
Rachel Purcell…Hi! I am Rachel Purcell. I live in Hooper, Nebraska. I have been married to my best friend, Ron, for 13 years. We have a 12 year old son, Hunter. I am a stay-at-home mom. I enjoy baking, reading, helping out our school when needed and of course planning Disney vacations! Our first Disney vacation was in October 2004. We had never had a family vacation before and decided that Disney seemed like the ultimate place to go for families. We envisioned that it would be our one trip there……boy were we wrong. We all fell in love with Disney. Ron and I enjoy that we can escape “the real world” and just be kids at heart. I enjoy this site and all the writers and friends that I have met here.
Heather Clemmer…At the age of four the Disney Magic took hold of my heart and never let go! I have always been child at heart, working at toy store through high school, becoming a CP at Disney, and then continuing to work there until I had my first child. For the past 8 years I have been teaching preschool and enjoy every moment! Currently I reside in the St. Louis area , but hope to return to Florida~sooner than later! God has blessed my husband (who I met in Fantasyland) and I with three wonderful boys 14, 11, and 4! Each of whom share in our Disney enthusiasm. We enjoy every theme park, but Epcot holds a special place in our hearts! Biergarten is a must, and we have a tradition of ending our vacations with dinner at Garden Grill. I have ridden Tower of Terror 73 times. It started on my college program when some friends and I had a “competition” to see who could brave it the most….I fully expect a celebration on my 100th trip 😉
Zach Nace… Hi everyone my name is Zach Nace. I am a former Cast Member at the Walt Disney World Resort (Space Mountain, ESPN Wide World of Sports and EPCOT Food and Beverage) and Alumni of the Disney College Program. My first trip to Walt Disney World was in 2001 and ever since then I have always been a fan of Disney. However my true obsession did not kick in until I was 19 and I was on my First Disney College Program. I am truly blessed that I have obtained so many friendships along with my love for Disney and beyond happy to be writing for The Relocated Tourist. I can’t wait to share some cool Cast Member stories with you along with some non-Cast Member ones. Have A Magical Day!
Anonymous aka Curious George…Hi! My name is Curious George. I used to live at the FAO Schwartz toy store in Las Vegas, and that was pretty boring, but in 2003 I was adopted by this nice Canadian couple and that’s when my life started to get really interesting! The man and the lady don’t have children, but they take me with them on all their travels around the world. They are in their early 40’s and love to scuba dive. The lady loves photography, and recently the man started taking video. They really enjoy cruising and have been to WDW more than 12 times and DL twice (so far). They like to eat good food (while I am happy with bananas) and are working their way through all the behind the scenes tours. Since they own Disney Vacation Club, I know we will always get to go back to Disney. That’s wonderful because I love going there. I even have my own Mouse ears! If you see me around the parks, be sure to stop and say Hi!
Jamie Robbins- Chicago Correspondant..I was born in Miami but moved to Chicago when I was 3 and have grown up here! I have a goal to move back down to Florida within the next 10 years and fullfill my dream job of working at Walt Disney World! I would love to either work as a Photopass Photographer or as a Character Handler!
Christine Williams…Born and raised in Savannah, Georgia, Disney has been a part of my life since I was just a wee tot. Being only 4 1/2 hours from Walt Disney World, my parents would take my brother and I there every few years on vacation. I’ve been told that before EPCOT opened, we were riding the monorail on a preview tour of the future park and I woke up screaming in the middle of it. I know everyone must have been thrilled to listen to a screaming toddler. In 2001, my now husband Jeff and I were a part of the Spring Advantage Disney College Program where we worked at MGM now Hollywood Studios. I was honored to have worked at MuppetVision3D. Ever since that year, we have been numerous times. In 2007, I was proposed to in front of Spaceship Earth. The following year, we spent our honeymoon on the Disney Magic with a side day in the Disney parks. I’m excited to be a part of The Relocated Tourist and hopefully one day I will live up to the name by working at Walt Disney World.
Heather McClay- East Orlando Correspondant…I relocated to Orlando in 2009 to follow my dream of working at Disney. I live with my boyfriend and two kitties. I decided that though I loved working for the Mouse, I enjoyed playing there more! Dreams change and new ones emerge and have Amy’s blog to thank! I enjoy traveling with my family and would love to go to the Disney international parks and have those on my bucket list. Favorite Disney Characters are Belle and Tinkerbell.
Beth Thompson…Relocating to Florida is my hearts true desire and wish as I would love to permanently escape the cold Winters of Michigan. I not only love to share experiences about Disney and other theme parks but I also have some insights about the coastal areas of Florida due to having close family and friends who I love to spend time with.
My love of Disney started like many other baby boomers listening to Disney records, watching television, The Mickey Mouse Club, The Wonderful World of Disney, and The Muppets (I know, I know not an original part of Disney). It continued on those wonderful days when my mom took me to the movies to watch the newest Disney release. My first trip to WDW was on Spring Break from college with friends and I did not return again until my honeymoon many years later. Since then we have become DVC members and have returned to the magical world of Walt Disney World at least once a year. I love and soak in everything I can about Disney just for the love of learning and keeping dreams alive.
Rebecca Kyler…she was four years old when she visited Walt Disney World for the first time, on a trip that included a stay at the iconic Contemporary Resort. Twenty-five years later she took her children to Tokyo Disneyland for their first Disney parks experience. A Walt Disney World annual passholder, Rebecca ran her first runDisney half marathon in 2013 and plans to complete a Coast-to-Coast Challenge at the Disneyland half marathon this summer. In addition to planning Disney vacations, Rebecca’s favorite things include fitness, distance running and reading.
Barb Huddleson…My name is Barb Huddleson and I live in Southwest Ohio about 20 mins from Cincinnati. I am married with 2 grown sons, 2 daughter in laws and 3 grandsons, all also Disney World lovers. We have our second family trip planned for Nov. 2013.
Maryann Viola…I am from Staten Island NY . I have always loved Disney and Disney World . After the first visit with my own children I realized that Disney has a magical effect on everyone . I work as a teachers assistant and am currently back in college . I am hopeful that for my 25th wedding anniversary that I will be able to have a magical Disney vow-renewal in 4 years !! I love to hand paint items and to scrap book especially my Disney Vacations
Jennifer Romano… Hi! My name is Jennifer Romano. I live near New Orleans, Louisiana, and I have visited the Walt Disney World Resort well over forty times. My husband and I went on our honeymoon in Disney World in 2005, and we have been visiting many times each year since then. We are premier annual passholders, and we make trips to WDW and to Disneyland whenever we can. Obviously, we love Disney, and we even have a scale model of the monorail with all of the hotels that runs through our living room. In my non-Disney life, I am a high school English teacher, but one day, I would love to work for Disney! In addition to writing for the Relocated Tourist, I also have my own blog:www.stepouttoyourleftplease.blogspot.com. I like to post Disney related photographs and general musings about the Mouse. Thank you for reading!
Lisa Settle…is a Travel Specialist with Magical Mouse Plans Travel, and an experienced traveller having been on over twenty cruises and several countries around the globe. Lisa joined Magical Mouse Plans as a Travel Specialist in June of 2013, and is has trained at The College of Disney Knowledge and is a Disney Destination Genius, The CLIA Academy, The Travel Agent Academy, and has received training in resorts such as Sea World Parks, Busch Gardens, Legoland, Universal Studios, Carnival Cruise Lines, Norwegian Cruise Lines, Royal Caribbean and Princess Cruise Lines. Lisa works out of Newport Beach, California and is well-versed in California Travel. Lisa Settle’s goal is to help you through the maze that is planning a memorable vacation, and will help you do just that. Lisa Settle can be contacted by email at LisaSettle@MagicalMousePlans.com or by phone at 800-272-7739, ext 706.
Mary King….Disney Fashionista Correspondant…I am a self proclaimed fashionista…although others have called me that also. Fashion is a way of life for me, as I view it as one’s personal artistic expression of themselves. I am a fashion merchandising major and love helping others find the right style for them. Combining fashion with Disney is a fun creative outlet for me to show others that being a tourist doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your fashion statement. Aside from every day life’s priorities, I also run my own fashion blog, and love to read (a lot), paint, run, and sit back with a hot cup of tea.
Beth Elliott…I’m a Midwest girl, born and raised. These days, I make my home in St. Louis, along with my own Mr. Incredible (Ryan, my husband of 15 years) and our three sons (ages 13, 10, and 4). By day, I work as a university staffer, and by night I’m usually planning our next Disney vacation. So far, I’ve checked Disneyland, Disney World, a Disney Cruise, and two runDisney events off my personal bucket list…and I can’t wait to see what’s next! When I’m at Disney World, you can probably find me eating at the great restaurants, screaming my way through a thrill ride, enjoying a cocktail, or crying at Wishes. Oh, and you can find me on Instagram and Twitter as “BibbidiBeth”.
Shari Matz…There’s not much to know about me, other than I am a Disney freak; more than some, not as much as others. I was born in Nashville, spent most of my life in Pa, and now live in West Virginia. I’ve got the BEST daughters in the world; Tawny is almost 20, and Emilee is almost 16. It is my goal to one day move to Florida, and perhaps work for Disney, in Admin. I try to get to Disney at least once a year. Last year, I was lucky enough to get there 4 times, and in a few weeks, I’ll be on my 2nd trip of this year. In between visits to Disney World, I make trips to my local Disney Store, so I can get some of the Disney feel.
John Knell… While I was born, raised, and still reside, in the heartland of America I have also spent a large chunk of my youth, adolescence and adult life in the great state of Florida spending quality time with my family in the house of mouse. It’s a passion that was cultivated at a very young age with my first trip to WDW occuring at the ripe old age of 8 (still remember being on Main Street U.S.A and my first castle reveal) and has stayed with me ever since. Thankfully it is also a passion that is shared by my wife and has been passed down to our 2 kids as we spend as much time in WDW as our work/hectic life will allow. Being DVC is an added bonus as it allows us to experience the parks in a very special way and enjoy all the benefits that our membership allows.
Kris Banas…is a native of the mid-west near Chicago. She has 2 grown sons, and is now married to the love of her life, Paul. She is a lover of all things Disney and has been since she was a little girl seeing Mary Poppins in the theater. She recently took her 15th trip to Walt Disney World, and has also been to Disneyland, and on a cruise aboard the Disney Dream. On her bucket list, is an Adventures by Disney trip to Ireland, and a trip to Aulani. Her main focus on writing will be about Disney travel as a mature adult/couple, as she feels there is way more to do at Walt Disney World for adults than there really is for kids.
Betty Mercier… I am an artist currently living in Maine, with a passion for travelling, and I feel blessed to share a birthday with Walt Disney himself. I began travelling to Walt Disney World in 1973, when I was eleven, as part of a yearly summer vacation to Florida. We would spend a number of days on St Augustine beach, and then head out to a variety of Florida attractions popular in the 70’s, which always included a trip to the Magic Kingdom. Most of the time, we stayed in an RV at Fort Wilderness, and would spend a day at River Country, which I miss dearly. Now, my fiancée and I go to WDW as often as possible. We’ve also sailed on the Disney Dream, and plan to sail on the Fantasy at the end of this year. We are D23 Members, and Annual Passholders, a tactic which helps encourage us to make frequent Disney trips. But our biggest adventure is yet to come, as we keep moving forward towards our dream of relocating to Florida, close enough to Orlando, so we can go as often as we like, meet up with friends in the parks, join in all the many group fan activities, and enjoy the many seasonal and special events happening all the time. We are very passionate about Disney history and the Disney experience, and you can often find us simply looking around, looking up, looking down, paying attention to all of the millions of details, and taking lots and lots of pictures. I hope to share some of these experiences here with you!