Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Celebrate Good Times, Come On!

Every year lately, all it seems Disney is dong is celebrating--from granting dreams, to celebrating 50 years of theme park magic, to magical gatherings that happen when families come together...and of course, I could go on and on. We haven't been able to turn our heads without getting hit with some sort of fanfare, year after year. (And of course, some celebrations last for way more than a we're seeing with the Year of a Million Dreams.)

Many people in the Disney community are tired of all the hoopla, they believe that Disney should be able to stand on it's own merits. That people should want to go down simply because it's Disney.

Me on the other hand...I believe the celebrations are fine. I tend to look at these celebrations as probably Disney does. To me, they are what they are, which are marketing tools to get the average guest down to Walt Disney World. That's right...Disney is targeting that average guest with these "celebrations." The one who doesn't go down every year (or multiple times a year.) These celebrations are to convince the ones that come down every two years, every 3 years, or even every 5 years to take the trek down to Florida. Now is a great time to spend their hard earned money on a trip to Disney.

Don't really believe me? The Magical Gatherings "celebration" was supposed to convince people that it really is a good idea to bring down all your extended family or your friends down to the House of Mouse. A trip like that can give you even better memories because it's probably people you wouldn't ordinarily go on vacation with.

The Magical Gathering "celebration" is actually how I got hooked on Disney. Why? Because their campaign worked. At the time, I thought it would be an absolutely wonderful idea to go down with all my girlfriends with a girls week. Did it happen? No...unfortunately not, but my love for Disney was cemented with the help of that celebration.

The Happiest Celebration on Earth was supposed to extol that Disneyland had been around for 50 years...although I think things got a little muddled here because instead of DL getting new attractions (they of course, got their massive clean up) WDW got all the new stuff. Ah, but that was their way of hooking the average guest to come during this celebration. Look! Look at all the new attractions and shows we've put in. You'd be crazy not to visit us during this time. We're making the parks even better!

And once again, I believe this celebration worked. Because when people saw ads for new attractions like Soarin and Lights, Motors, Action they were excited. They wanted to ride those too. And this time...there were new attractions coming in each of the 4 parks. Not just one attraction was on the docket. So, people decided to book their trips to see all that's new.

And right now...during the Year (or Two) of a Million Dreams. Boy if that doesn't make a person want to go down (at least those who understood what the celebration was...I know that the commercials were a tad vague) I don't know what would. I get excited thinking about the fact that I could win a night in the Castle suite. I'd love to win a dream Fastpass...I'd simply love to win anything...big or even Magical Moment sized. Of course, I haven't won and I don't go down there thinking I'm going to win...but knowing that there's that small possibility...that's cool. And if I'm excited about it as a Disneyphile...then the average guest is going to fall for it hook, line, and sinker. And I believe that with the reports that have stated that last year was one of Disney's bigger years for visitors, this "celebration" may have helped Disney succeed.

With talk of the next celebration on the horizon...I'm anxious to see what it brings. It may not be much of anything, but marketing the theme parks in this was isn't going anywhere. It gets a new crop of people who might not normally be going, excited and thinking about a possible Disney vacation. Something they might not have originally considered before. Which as I mentioned, was Disney's goal to begin with. To convince those who aren't regular visitors to the World to indeed end up becoming regular visitors to the World...getting hooked like all the rest of us have.

Me personally, I'm excited. Bring it on!

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