NEW YORK -- A global marketing initiative and its related U.S. promotion involving the awarding of a million dreams was announced last week by Disney Parks Chairman Jay Rasulo.

Where Dreams Come True was chosen as the theme for parks worldwide. And beginning Oct. 1, visitors to Walt Disney World and Disneyland may find themselves the recipient of a dream prize ranging from a golden Fastpass ticket to an overnight stay inside Cinderellas Castle.

Rasulo said the Year of a Million Dreams campaign, which will roll out only in the U.S. parks, will intensify the transformational experiences that he believes occur at Disney Parks every day.

The campaigns were unveiled at an event for travel agents and the press that felt like a Night of a Million Announcements. Also revealed:

  • The Laugh Floor Comedy Club, will open at Walt Disney Worlds Tomorrowland in early 2007. During the show, audiences will interact with characters from Monsters, Inc.

  • Disneylands Space Mountain will get a new rock n roll soundtrack and high-tech lighting effects coordinated with the twists and turns of the roller coaster, to debut in the spring of 2007.

  • Photographer Annie Leibovitz has joined the creative Dream Team at Disney to shoot celebrities for a project designed to convey how Disney Parks transport guests from the ordinary to the extraordinary. She will also, for the first time, employ film production as part of her work.
  • In an exclusive interview with TravelWeekly.com, Rasulo said the process of granting dreams was a work in progress. We still have some months to get there, he said.

    Rasulo said the campaign would employ TV, mobile phones, the Internet and print media.

    Although he did not rule out the possibility that agents and tour operators might be among those empowered to distribute some of the dreams, Rasulo said he had no details on any such plans.

    We would like to include the people who distribute our products where we can, he said, adding that all the various mechanisms for awarding dreams would not roll out at once.

    Rasulo said the dream theme arose from an exploration of commonalities among guests in the countries where Disney parks exist.

    With the opening of the Hong Kong park, we were also attracting guests from throughout China, he said, and we had our first experience with a culture that didnt grow up with Disney. But we found they still envisioned the park as a place where dreams come true. That emotion, that belief, resonates all over the world, and it was clear this would become a guiding principle.

    We never knew it would be such a clear, rifle-shot response. But we realized that if we didnt jump on this, wed really be missing an opportunity to appeal to the hearts of our guests.

    To contact editor in chief Arnie Weissmann, send e-mail to[email protected].

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