Theme park magic, for a limited time only
Written by Robert Niles
Take a look at the theme park construction schedule, and you'll see a big gap for the Disney theme parks in the United States. Disney has no new attractions scheduled for debut in 2013. There's nothing new under construction at the Disneyland Resort in California, and the only new rides at Walt Disney World will either be open later this year, or not until 2014 and beyond.Tweet
So when you've got nothing new to promote for a whole year, what do you hype? Bring on the gimmicks!
Disney kicked off its new promotion with a photo op of massive ice sculptures in New York's Times Square.
As gimmicks go, Disney's plan for 2013 looks like a fun one. Disney will introduce "theme weeks" at its parks on both coasts, including "True Love Week" for Valentine's Day, "Pirate Week," "Independence Week" for the Fourth of July, and "Long Lost Friends Week," featuring lesser-known Disney characters not often seen in the parks. Disney also will bring the Golden Horseshoe Revue back to Disneyland for a one-month run. (Yes!) There'll be a late-night Friday the 13th party in September, featuring the Disney villains, too.
The idea is to present a slew of short-run, limited-time special entertainment promotions in the parks. Which is great, as it provides something special and unique throughout the year, giving locals reasons to visit more often and creating some "off peak" attractions for out-of-market visitors, too.
The only thing I don't like about the promotion? The name: "Limited Time Magic".
Ugh. What is this, a mattress sale? ("Come on down, these prices are only for a limited time!") Who wants to think about limitations when on vacation? Shouldn't Disney be promoting the limitless magic of its theme parks, instead of diminishing its most precious marketing hook ("magic")? I get that Disney wants people to feel an immediate urge to book a visit, but surely it doesn't want to plant the idea that Disney's running out of magic soon?
(If I'm Universal Orlando, I'm responding to this campaign with a promotion for the front-of-line passes at the Universal hotels. Show a big picture of Harry Potter with the catchphrase "More Time for Magic!" But I'm way too competitive sometimes.)
Maybe people will ignore the lamentable "Limited Time Magic" phrase and just focus on the individual offerings. But, coupled what I wrote earlier today about Fastpass+ and NextGen queues, I'm beginning to wonder if Disney's not losing a bit of its edge when crafting marketing messages. What do you think?
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