Theme park magic, for a limited time only

October 17, 2012, 2:54 PM · 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.

So when you've got nothing new to promote for a whole year, what do you hype? Bring on the gimmicks!

Ice carriage
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?

Replies (12)

October 17, 2012 at 4:04 PM · I love the idea, but the name sucks. Maybe call it Weekly Magic? I'm really looking foward to Unleash the Villains as nobody will be in DHS at 11 PM ish >:) But most importantly, Long Lost Friends week sounds great! I'm hoping Darkwing Duck and Roger Rabbit can make an appearance!
October 17, 2012 at 3:11 PM · The Golden Horseshoe Revue is the ultimate gimmick. This show can seat very few people. You have to camp out all morning to see it in the afternoon towards evening. When it was running, it already had a long line. They should bring it back for the full 2013 calendar year. All these promotions should run for a few months each like at least a quarter. In this way, you'll see what interests you and you won't miss out.
October 17, 2012 at 4:05 PM · I'm interested in seeing what characters show up for Long Lost Friends week, haha!!
October 17, 2012 at 6:32 PM · Long Lost Friends Week Guest Line-Up:

Rachel Green
Phoebe Buffay
Monica Geller
Ross Geller
Joey Tribbiani
Chandler Bing

Tickets available soon!

October 17, 2012 at 6:52 PM · Hey Mike, how you doin'? Don't you know NBC Universal would sue Disney over that?
October 17, 2012 at 8:33 PM · I'd like to know where one can find the events' descriptions and dates and locations in a simple web site page, publicized and detailed months in advance so that the general public can plan well ahead of time potential visits. Or is that a Magical Fantasy Dream of mine?
October 18, 2012 at 5:37 AM · Tony, Disney will reveal more weeks in the coming weeks.
October 18, 2012 at 6:47 AM · With a strongly rumored Universal announcement for the 2013 season here coming around Nov. 1st, I'm pretty sure Universal will be leading the theme park industry (atleast here in Orlando) for quite some time. Disney is really unimpressive. *yawn
October 18, 2012 at 8:31 AM · Awful name. Probably going to me another awful campaign too with tacky decorations cluttering the parks.
October 18, 2012 at 10:04 AM · I'm really growing tired of Disney focusing more on dumb marketing approaches than actual attractions. Universal has it right and is beating Disney with new, innovative attractions. Instead of trying to match them or at least re-habbing a lot of their beat-up older rides, Disney is putting together gimmicks that don't excite me.

I agree that the name is awful, but I'm also not thrilled about the actual content either. At some point, they're going to get their act together and realize these promotions offer only short-term gains, not what most fans really want. This comes from a huge fan of the Disney parks too.

October 18, 2012 at 1:57 PM · I guess what bums me out is that Disney Parks should be that special all the time. People might want to stay longer because they will want to see all the cool stuff, rides, events, etc, and maybe not go to other parks. I feel a little cheated because I am not rich and can't just go down and see these special weeks, or want to fight the increased crowds.

Maybe these are test drives to figure out what people want and bring them back on a more regular basis. I am sure the new Fantasyland wasn't easy to do and they probably want to take a break...but I agree, keep with the updating and innovations, and lower prices...hehehe.

I just think if Disney did a lot of little things to spruce up the parks and made it more fun to explore that would go a long way, and then they could save the money to make some new E ticket rides!

Limited Time Magic = something a marketing director came up with and no one was brave enough to stand up to it. hehehehe

October 23, 2012 at 5:13 AM · No big construction plans?

How about the rest of Fantasyland? I was just there a couple of days ago and they look like they will be building into 2013.

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