New awards, attractions as Disney keeps 'Dreams' alive for '08

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Following the announcement last month that Disney Parks & Resorts was extending its "Year of a Million Dreams" giveaway program through 2008, Disney unveiled a list of new awards and attractions to help travel agents market the promotion.

The Dreams program started this year with giveaways such as a stay at the Cinderella castle suite and in-park shopping sprees randomly awarded to guests at the Disneyland Resort in California and the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida as well as to mail-in participants. Giveaways are not handed out on Disney Cruise Line vacations.

And while those giveaways and others will continue through 2008, starting on Jan. 1, guests will be eligible for new prizes, including a stay at Disney Cruise Line's private Bahamian island, Castaway Cay; a night in the newly constructed Walt's Suite, fashioned after original renderings Walt Disney commissioned for an in-park, family retreat that was never completed; reservations for the largest character breakfast ever, with at least 25 Disney characters in attendance; and New Year's Eve inside Cinderella's castle.

Despite the Dreams marketing effort, Walt Disney World attendance inched up just 4% for the third quarter that ended June 30.

Disneyland Resort attendance was flat compared with the same period last year. Parks and Resorts' revenue for the quarter increased 6%, to $2.9 billion.

Nevertheless, Disney remains enthusiastic about the Dreams initiative.

The company will be marketing the campaign on television (in Spanish- and French-language spots, as well), in print and online.

Additionally, agents will get marketing support, including online tools and vacation planning DVDs to help customize the Dreams experience.

To contact reporter Michelle Baran, send e-mail to [email protected].

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