Disney re-ups 'Million Dreams' promotion for another year

August 8, 2007, 6:12 AM · Disney announced yesterday that it is extending its "Year of a Million Dreams" promotion for another year. ("The Two Years of a Million Dreams?" or does this mean we get "The Two Years of Two Millions Dreams"? I don't know....)

I'm interested in hearing whether this promotion has affected your decision to go to a Disney theme park, or not. My $.02? Some of the prizes impress me greatly (the Disney World castle stay, for one), but the randomness of it all turns me off. I mean, I know that the selection of winners is random. But I could wrap my head around the selection process when they awarded prizes at the front gate, or at the prize machine on the Hub (my personal favorite from Disneyland). Picking people off the street, as Disney's doing this year, doesn't strike me as dramatic... or as much fun.


Replies (28)

August 8, 2007 at 7:46 AM · For $71 a ticket now per person, I think Disney can dream about my money, as I'll just keep it to myself and the other parks...
August 8, 2007 at 8:12 AM · I agree that the way they pick winners doesn't appeal to me. I would think that you'd have to be there with little kids, elderly parents, or on a honeymoon to be picked for a prize and I don't fall into any of those catagories. This promotion won't make me go any more than usual.
August 8, 2007 at 8:14 AM · As cool as I thought the prizes were when I heard about it last year, I am also not thrilled with the way they hand them out. Instead of walking up to random people in the park and handing them out, why not do it randomly as the tickets are scanned in at the gate? I'm going to WDW in October and I was at Disneyland in May. I can honestly say that I was kind of hoping all day that I would get picked. However, if it were handed out at the gate I would have accepted early on that I didn't win anything and I would have gone about my day. I also worry that there may be some bias on who gets the prizes since the guest are picked by cast-members. It probably isn't intentional, but it seemed like the people that got the Dream FastPasses were all families. That isn't to say that couples and singles didn't get any, I just didn't observe any. By no means do I feel entitled to win any of the prizes; I don't feel Disney "owes me." I honestly think it is a neat promotion, but it could be implemented in a different way.
August 8, 2007 at 8:32 AM · Amen, Robert - Sing it brother. From the very beginning the method of choosing turned me off. Rather than motivating me to go to Disney more, I instead chose the old "that'll never happen to me so why even bother" line. Disney could have turned this into a real business tactic that was enjoyable as well. Such as making one "secret" spot in each park that will "sign" you up for a drawing. For example, Disney could give a hint of the spot and if you find it you could be entered into the drawing. Sort of like a hidden Mickey thing. This would have encouraged more business for Disney. Then they could also just give some away to that deserving kid who saves an old lady from getting trampled by a large tour group.
August 8, 2007 at 8:59 AM · The "prize patrol" came up to my family, walked dead up to us, looked at my daughter who had a princess shirt on, my son who had a pirates hat, and stopped dead at me, looked at my Margaritaville hat, and turned and walked to someone who's whole family had stupid mickey hats on and gave them the fastpass thing, and an extra magic hour at MK. To say that I dont agree with their selection process is an understatement.
August 8, 2007 at 9:00 AM · It certainly didn't motivate me to go... but it was a welcome surprise. I had no issue with how stuff was given out... and even with the randomness of it, we wound up getting given stuff twice.
Once a starter trading-pin/ lanyard set for everyone in my party when getting off of Kali River Rapids on our first morning there.
And then a set of "Year of A Million Dreams" Mickey ears when coming off the Maelstrom.
(I figure about $100 retail in merchandise overall)
Both were more than welcome surprises and both times you could tell that the CMs were thrilled at the reactions they got from guests when they were surprised with free gifts.
August 8, 2007 at 9:20 AM · And I will point out that NO ONE in our party was decked out in WDW attire either time that we were given freebies (well, the second time, the young'n was wearing his tradinb-pin lanyard, but that was it).
Aside from the kid, we were all decked in our normal rock band t-shirts, tattoos and piercings and nary a Disney clothing article amongst us- so Erik's experience was obviously not a rule of any type about who the giveaways would go to... just a single CM's decision.
August 8, 2007 at 9:38 AM · Erik - you should have tipped him………….
Maybe you would have won!
August 8, 2007 at 9:45 AM · I really dont like the way they give out the gifts too. I, being an annual pass holder, go there a lot and i've been studying the "prize patrol" tactics and studying the families that did have a Dream Fastpass. Just like Erik said about him wearing the Margaritaville hat turned the prize patrol away, even though the kids were wearing DISNEY related clothes, that would've pushed me over the edge. Here's what I have noticed...

1. I have only seen families with 2 or more kids with DreamFastpasses...and in most cases it was a family group of over 5 members.

2. The DreamFastpasses are mostly handed out within the first 2 hours of park opening.

3. 98% of the families with DreamFastpasses had 2 or more of the members wearing Disney Paraphenelia.

I agree with getting prizes as you walk in the park when they scan tickets...it just seems more fair because a machine is never biast and does not know to whom it gives prizes too. Giving the gift-giving power to a person is not the smartest thing to do. Humans in general are fical and easily persuaded.

Now, I have recieved the Tinker Bell Year of a million dreams starter pin. But get this...my brother was walking with one of my daughters a little further in front than me, when a cast member aproached me, my sister in-law and my other daughter and neice(2 kids)and handed us 2 pins, one for each girl. Was it only coincidence that he just walked right by my first daughter and brother and went straight to someone walking with 2 children? Probably was, but i was just wondering. Am i reading too much into it? probably. Well...that was my 2 cents.

August 8, 2007 at 1:03 PM · my 2 cents...how dare they deny the Margaritaville hat??? (as I raise my boat drink)
Here's to the Parrotheads of the World...Keep livin La Vie Dansante'
See you at the next show! MSG in 6 weeks!
August 8, 2007 at 1:14 PM · It is interesting how these things play out. Because it used to be that if you bought your passports from a AAA office, you could get multiple simultaneous fastpasses by putting that AAA purchased ticket into the machines. This was a AAA member exclusive
When the "million" promotion started, the sweepstakes police(yes there is such a thing in this country), forced D to take that priveledge away since it was a "prize option".
Now that the promo is being extended, looks like the AAA member will never get that benefit back.
Too bad!
August 8, 2007 at 2:10 PM · Dream Fastpasses/Landyards/Ears.. etc, those prizes are given out in handfulls. Large crowds are given them, no one is skipped over. People aren't picked because of what they are or are not wearing. The larger prizes are picked to an exact person, thus again, doesn't matter how many in the party or what they're wearing.

And yes, Dreamfastpasses are usually given out in the morning.. Would you want to win a prize giving you fastpasses to the best attractions after you'd already riden them all and the park was closing in an hour? :)

August 8, 2007 at 2:48 PM · I don't understand the griping. The promotion is lagniappe - a little "something extra" to make your day a bit brighter. If Disney is your "laughing place" (so why ain't you laughin'?), you're there to have fun, so enjoy your time and make your own memories! As far as being an effective promotion, YoaMD didn't affect our decision to go, and not receiving any prizes didn't sour our experience. We had our fun just being there.
August 8, 2007 at 3:45 PM · i think it's ok to extend
August 8, 2007 at 3:46 PM · My brothers and I (all in our mid to late 20's) visited WDW last Dec. and received several "perks", most often being taken into backstage areas to go from the back to front of lines at some attractions. The purpose isn't to get more people to the park, it's to make the experience more enjoyable for both park goers AND cast members. If you go in expecting to receive freebies and don't, then of course you're going to be disappointed.
August 8, 2007 at 4:45 PM · I always considered it similar to lottery odds, so I never got my hopes up ... kinda like when I go to a casino.

As for making me want to visit the parks, the promotion itself doesn't, but all the amazing things they did for the celebration made it worthwhile. Some of the new attractions are the best I've seen in years. Whereas many other parks have built the same thing over and over for the last few years, Disney's new attractions were really spectacular.

As long as they keep building incredible attractions, bring on the hokey celebrations!

August 8, 2007 at 4:51 PM · I agree with Larry...I don't get all the griping. It is just an incentive to get people to go. You know the odds are that you won't get anything, so what? If you do, that is a bonus. I am going in December/January and if I get lucky, great, if not, I will still have a good time.
August 8, 2007 at 5:29 PM · If they extended the program it must be meeting its objectives. Ya gotta know Disney has monitored the program to determine its level of success.
August 8, 2007 at 5:37 PM · It's not based on what you are wearing,but by the time of day. Every prize seems to be set up by time. At 10 am at Space mountain give out free ears, etc.
August 8, 2007 at 5:41 PM · I don't really see people's comments here as "griping". Robert asked the question and then asked people to tell him what they thought. It's not like someone started a post with "don't you hate the new Disney promotion?"
August 8, 2007 at 6:08 PM · Really, not griping. I am merely telling you what happened in our case. Could it be coincedence? Yeah, but did not seem likely. I have also heard from people that work there that no its not required to be dressed in disney garb, but it helps. They also do tend to target the "typical family".....from what I've been told.
It works for them....it draws more people in, and hey it sure beats a 25th anniversary celebration for Epcot, right?
August 8, 2007 at 6:16 PM · It doesn't surprise me at all. I knew they had to do something considering they've had two years of celebrations that has driven attendance past 16 million for the Magic Kindgom. Not having a celebration after so long probably would have caused a decrease of some sort.

Disney obviously exceeded their goals by a wide margin hence an extended or repeat celebration. Kudos to them. The Year of a Million Dreams has not triggered me to visit the parks any more or less. The 50th anniversary, on the other hand, did.

August 8, 2007 at 11:50 PM · I just had dinner tonight with someone in Disney Events (Florida)...yes, it's true that attendance is as high as it's ever been. blah blah blah...let me give you my take on this whole YEAR OF A THOUSAND DREAMS (YOATD) stuff. BOOOOOOOOOORING. Yep, it's boring. When I first started hearing the marketing over a year ago for YOATD, I didn't realize it was a year-long celebration. It just sounded like some typical Disney commercials. Of all the Disney "year-long" celebrations (which are usually 15-months, from Oct. thru Dec. of the following year), YOATD is the least exciting I've ever heard. And the least enticing. It in no way enticed me into the Disney parks.

I mean, the 50-year celebration was actually celebrating something. Same with the Millenium Celebration (which I LOOOOVED!!!). And same with Disney World's 25th anniversay (hated that cake, but I LOOOOVED the theme music). On the contrary, YOATD is celebrating NOTHING. It's just a marketing-invented event. Just the same way that Secretaries Day is created by Hallmark.

So, my favorite Disney celebrations are the ones that actually celebrate something special....and my favorite celebrations are also the ones that CREATE something new. For example, the Mellenium celebration created the new Illuminations show, the Parade of Nations, the "hand" (yuk), and the Leave a Legacy...that was a HUGE capital investment. The "100 Years of Magic" created the new giant Sorceror's Hat Icon at MGM (affectionately called the Big Ass Hat by cast members), an extensive new Walt exhibition and film, and a brand new parade in each park (loved the new Animal Kingdom Parade).

What is it that the YOATD is creating? A new hotel suite in the castle for families to stay in? That's it? And after the celebration is officially over, that suite will be rented out at astronomical prices. This is truly not a very appealing celebration for me. Not at all--when I walk into the parks, I don't see ANYTHING that has a cohesive celebration theme.

And, in case any of you think that the celebration is being extended because it's so successful, think again--it's being extended because Disney doesn't have anything ready yet to take its place, and it's cheaper to "extend the celebration" than it is to create a new one. Giving out pins and fastpasses for another year is the cheapest way to go. In years past, they'd simply go a year without a themed celebration...don't expect to see very many non-themed years ahead. I could go on...

...and I will for just this last statement: those of you complaining about not getting "picked"; get over it. Free pins and fastpasses are weak incentives for happiness, right? And to the people who suggested that giving out prizes according to random ticket-taking at the gates would be more fair--GET RID OF YOUR ENTITLEMENT MENTALITY. Giving away prizes gives almost as much joy to cast members as it does to guests, so don't expect them to give that over to "machines." It's not about being FAIR. It's all about being random. The process isn't fair, it's not perfect, but most of all, it's not why anyone has come to the parks in the first place...if anyone out there is going to a Disney park just because you're hoping to be chosen for a free pin, or a free fastpass, please call me--the swampland in Florida is gone, but I can probably dig up some desert out here in California.

August 9, 2007 at 6:00 AM · I've long wondered about this possible bias. Being a male in early 30s and by myself, I'm thinking that's a demographic that's as close to being invisible and unnoticed if anyone is. Here's my concern: I just don't want to be pushed roughly aside (either literally or figuratively) if I'm inadvertantly in the way of a prize giveaway that I wasn't intended to be a part of. This would range from upsetting to devastating. The prizes aren't of any concern to me--they're not why I'm visiting. It's any attitudes or conduct issues that I'm worried about. I advocate discretion in tactics in regards to non-winners, and for all demographics to be considered as equally as practical. Guests should be entitled to that much.

I want to go to DL again in a couple weeks, hopefully earlier this time so I can be more observant. Million Dreams isn't my motive; I have other more constructive reasons for this visit. :)

August 9, 2007 at 11:10 AM · I'm not sure if this is part of the giveaway but at Mission Space a cast member walks up to us and asks if we want to go backstage. We say yes and he takes us and shows us the control room and then we got to go to the front of the line. It was my dad, my mom, my sister, and me and my brother (none wearing disney shirts).
August 9, 2007 at 11:56 AM · Hey, hold on a second! Disney not celebrating anything? What? Of course they are! They're celebrating many years of taking your money...by the boatloads...heh heh...seriously...I'm putting Mickey's kids through Harvard.

Just kidding...sort of...

August 11, 2007 at 6:52 PM · We were just at Disneyland for 8 days in June. I was never under the impression that we were going to win anything. The super fastpass would have been nice, however, we have the fastpass system down anyway so the longest we ever waited for any attraction was maybe 15 minutes, with exception to waiting for that darn Finding Nemo Sub ride (don't get me started). Frankly the 50 Year Anniversary Celebration was a lot better and there was even more "buzz" at the park during that time. Unless it's another anniversary celebration, I don't plan to attend ANY park for a made up celebration that really isn't. We don't go on vacation for freebees, we go to spend a lot of money and have a good time screaming our brains out.

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