Disney's Seven Dwarfs Mine Train starts coasting, but who's getting taken for a ride?
Published: September 23, 2013 at 3:49 PM
Photo courtesy Disney
Disney Imagineers conducted their first "drop test" of the family coaster that will complete the Magic Kingdom's "New Fantasyland" when it opens in the spring. One of the coaster trains dropped from the ride's station and ran under its own gravity-powered momentum.
This is the latest droplet of information about the ride to trickle from Disney World's PR team over the past months. Each press release and blog post build anticipation for a new attraction. (Or, at least, its publisher hopes that it does. If not, what's the point?) But what happens when too many press releases build anticipation beyond the level a new ride or show can deliver?
That's a risk that PR professionals ought to consider when promoting a new attraction. How would the public have reacted to last summer's Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin attraction at SeaWorld Orlando had that park not promoted it with so many YouTube videos and concept illustrations? Would word-of-mouth from initial riders have been better if they'd had no expectations about the attraction? Would more positive reaction from early riders delivered more visitors to SeaWorld over the ride's first 12 months than a massive publicity burst, especially if that publicity left some visitors with unmet expectations?
Disney's decision to build New Fantasyland in phases, with its centerpiece — the Mine Train — opening last, inevitably raises the attention paid to this ride. We've been talking about it for years now, and following its construction for many months. But there's little in the specs for this ride that suggests it will be anything more than a "D"-ticket level attraction: A nice, solid addition to the park, but not a leading destination that alone convinces potential visitors to book a trip.
But what happens if the publicity convinces some visitors that this will be that sort of attraction, just as SeaWorld's publicity for Antarctica did for that ride? (For what it's worth, I'm walking you through my thought process on whether or not to post on this today. But I thought this an interesting issue worth discussing.)
What do you think? Is Disney overhyping the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train? Or are people who read these releases (either here or through Disney's social media) savvy enough to see through the hype? What are your expectations for the final piece of the New Fantasyland?