Thursday, September 23, 2010

Let The Memories Begin!

So today Disney announced their new campaign for 2011.  Known as "Let The Memories Begin" is all about celebrating the moments that people have while on vacation...especially those caught in photographic form!  

In a nutshell, this new "celebration" will allow guests to share their vacation memories with Disney and have them be the star of the "show".  A new show is expected to take place on select nights where vacation photos taken by Disney's Photopass Photographers will be projected on Cinderella Castle. In addition guests who share their memories with Disney on their website may possibly be able to be the star in new Disney commercials, along with other avenues as well.  

Here is the press release about the whole concept...which, I'm sure, at this point many of you have seen.

NEW YORK (Sept. 23, 2010) – In 2011, Disney guests will become the stars of a nightly spectacular when photos taken in the park during the day become larger-than-life projections on Cinderella Castle at Walt Disney World Resort or “it’s a small world” at Disneyland Resort. This groundbreaking new experience will celebrate the family vacation memories created in Disney theme parks every day.

And this week, Disney guests will begin starring on television, too, as part of the new “Let the Memories Begin” campaign. For the first time, Disney Parks is featuring the home videos and snapshots of real guests in television ads and other marketing that will allow an audience of millions to share in true-life, heartfelt moments.

“A Disney vacation is the perfect way to create family memories that will last a lifetime,” said Tom Staggs, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, at a media announcement Thursday in New York. “We’ll spotlight those ‘only-at-Disney’ moments with family and friends during our ‘Let the Memories Begin’ campaign.” 

A just-released survey of U.S. and Canadian families conducted for Disney Parks by Ypartnership, a noted research firm that tracks consumer insights and trends in travel, showed that vacation memories hold a special place in family history. 
Nine out of 10 parents said they planned their vacations with the express hope that they would result in a lasting family memory, the survey showed. And those memories stuck with them – nearly three-quarters said they think back “often” or “very often” on their favorite vacation experiences.

‘Memories in the Making’ to be Shared on Disney Park Icons

Beginning in January 2011, some Disney parks guests will find that the memory they just made has become a larger-than-life image during a “Let the Memories Begin” nighttime experience.

At Walt Disney World Resort, the guest photos will be projected on the soaring spires of Cinderella Castle in Magic Kingdom. At Disneyland Resort, the iconic fa├žade of “it’s a small world” will be the canvas for the show.

In both locations, Disney PhotoPass photographers will capture guests caught up in the Disney experience – a memory in the making – and as many as 500 photos will be used in each location every day, producers estimate.

The nighttime show will use the latest in high-intensity projection technology to create vivid visuals that seem to defy the architecture of the building. A new song commissioned for the show will provide an emotional context for these images of the Disney guest experience.

For TV Ads and More, Disney Parks Issues a ‘Call for Memories’

Beyond seeing their own projected photos in lights, guests also could become the stars of Disney Parks television commercials, online campaigns and social media opportunities that will showcase to the world the power of memories.
The campaign kicks off this week with a TV commercial created from videos posted online in social media forums.
For future TV commercials and other advertising and marketing programs, Disney Parks is asking guests to share their memories by uploading photos and videos at a special “Let the Memories Begin” online hub at From a first meeting with a princess to a laugh-filled watery touchdown on Splash Mountain, Disney Parks is looking for videos and photos that capture those never-to-be-forgotten experiences.
Some memories will be shared online, while others may be selected to share in print ads, brochures and other marketing – including television ads to air across the United States and Canada.
With real visitor images on iconic attractions and home video featured in commercials, the storytellers at Disney Parks are letting guests tell their own stories in 2011, Staggs said.
“We wanted to give our guests a powerful way to share the memories they create every day in our parks,” Staggs said. “Essentially, this becomes our first user-generated show and our first user-generated marketing campaign.
“A day at a Disney park is filled with magical experiences that become cherished and unforgettable memories – and now we’re helping our guests share those memories with the world.

A lot of people were disappointed today.  I think they thought that more would be announced...meaning new attractions or resorts or other things.  I have learned by being in the Disney community for so long that most of the time, these presentations never live up to our expectations.  So, this time, I went into this announcement knowing that more than likely, nothing really exciting would be announced.  I had a general idea that this campaign was probably going to be it.  

That being said, because I didn't have such high expectations, it was the first time ever that I wasn't disappointed in an announcement.  Which was nice...although, I would have loved it if they had surprised me with something I wasn't expecting...

I hearken this celebration to be more like the smaller Grand Gatherings campaign which focused on getting the whole large family together they had a few years ago, rather then being as big as The Happiest Celebration on Earth or the Year of a Million Dreams.  It will be a nice theme for the year...I know the commercial was something that touched a cord for me.  (And I know if it did for me, it will for the average park guest who sees it and our last trip to Disney...those were good times...maybe we should plan another trip for this year.)  The one thing about this campaign versus campaigns of previous years is that I don't think this one will have a lot of pizazz with it. 

The only thing I don't necessarily love about this campaign is it is focused heavily around families.  Not everyone who has great vacation memories of Disney has them with their traditional family.  Many have great vacation memories as just a couple or with friends or even singles.  And with a campaign like this, Disney should try to encompass everyone, not just that family with 2 kids.  While I know that Disney always does try to appeal to that family with 2 kids demographic, I think they should try to remember that others love the parks too.

The one thing I am concerned about is this new "Castle Show".  They say that they are going to do something at night using the new song.  If this is going to be something in place of Wishes...then I think this is a bad idea.  However, if it's something that will be done before or after Wishes has been performed for the night, then I think it will be a decent enhancement to the show.  I would have no problem if this new show is handled like that.

So, what do you think of this new "Celebration"?  Were you let down by it?  Is it something that you think will be good?  Make sure to let me know in the comments!   


Jessica @ Wanting Adventure said...

I'm with you - concerned about the PhotoPass pictures leaning heavily towards traditional families. That's why "What are you celebrating?" was so great - it wasn't confined to families or any one particular thing. It might be fun to see everyone's pictures, but I don't know.

Given that I don't particularly like Wishes, it might be nice to see a different ending show.

Unknown said...

I agree...the past few campaigns haven't been centered around families...they've been able to incorporate everyone nicely. I hope this campaign changes in that direction a bit.

And interesting take on Wishes. :) To each their own, right?

Anonymous said...

We are a family of 5 and although we live close enough to WDW to travel often we just can't afford it. The prices go up and we hope for promotions, like last years give a day get a day! We participated (cooking and serving food to a homeless shelter with our children) which was a great experience all around and allowed us to take our 1st disney trip! Unfortunately it will probably be our last unless Disney comes up with another fantastic way to get us there. This new promotion just doesn't excite us at all:(