Ed Note: I’ve broken this up into two parts. Part one will post tonight, part two will be up tomorrow.
At 12:40pm today, just about every Disney fan site and blog, including the official Disney Parks blog, slowed to a crawl as fans of Disney’s theme parks logged on to find out what they could about the ‘exciting plans’ Disney had called a press conference in NYC to discuss. By 12:45 the cat was out of the bag as the press release, some images and videos, had already hit the streets. Add to that technical problems with the website handling the crushing load of visitors and the limits of Ustream (which did handle at least 10,000 simultaneous viewers of the press conference) and things could definitely have gone better.
The big announcement, as we now know, was a new marketing campaign for Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World. The “Let the Memories Begin” campaign will invite guests to post their Disney memories online and Disney will project photos and videos of guests on Cinderella Castle in Orlando and the Small World facade in Anaheim. They also mentioned a bunch of stuff we already knew was coming in 2011. Important information to communicate to the general public.
Initial reactions from Disney fans was a collective ‘is that all?’ But I don’t know what they expected. Every couple of years, Disneyland and Walt Disney World, now collectively known as Disney Parks, does the same thing. It’s going to be HUGE they say. Exciting changes are coming to the parks. Don’t miss out on the big news. But it is always the same. A new marketing campaign that attempts to encompass the two very diverse experiences of Disneyland and Walt Disney World in a single theme. It can be done, but it comes with some serious limitations.
The whole idea of the ‘Disney Parks’ brand is to help Disney save money on just this sort of marketing. No one thinks I’m going to Disney Parks, they go to Disneyland or Walt Disney World. (note they also do not plan a trip to Disneyland Resort or Walt Disney World Resort, unless they’re a trained travel agent.) Those brands are just that brands. They’re not the place, the magic, the pixie dust. That stuff is still there, for the most part, Disney is just making guests working a little harder to find it. That’s all.
Prior to the Disney Parks label being forced on the destinations as a money saving gesture, each park was allowed to shine with its own promotion. Those were the days. Or were they? Did The Lion King Celebration really bring people into Disneyland? How about 40 Years of Adventure? or Pooh for President? What about the big pink cake that adorned Cinderella Castle at the Magic Kingdom?
This is the world we must live with now. So I’d rather the parks make the most of it.
End Part One… Part Two tomorrow….