A wealth of attractions and promotions are being unveiled by U.S.
theme parks, many of which are bolstering international sales and
Topping the list are ambitious expansions at Disney's two parks.
By autumn, Walt Disney World in Florida will have debuted 10
entertainment adventures, another themed hotel and Disney Wonder,
the second Disney Cruise Line ship.
Included are Asia,
a section at Disney's Animal Kingdom devoted to the rain forests
and wildlife of southern Asia; Rock 'n Roller Coaster, featuring a
high-speed launch and multiple inversions; a revamped Main Street
Electrical Parade, and Disney's All-Star Movies Resort, themed
around Disney films.
In 2000, Disneyland in California will open the Grand
Californian Hotel, which will be part of Disney's California
Adventure opening in 2001.
Additionally, Disneyland is revamping its Autopia attraction,
set to reopen in 2000.
Promotional efforts are on the rise for both parks under Disney
Attractions, which has begun pushing its three brands under one
umbrella through its 13 international offices. "One of the things a
lot of people forget is that Walt Disney Attractions is Disney
World, Disneyland and Disney Cruise Line," said Craig Parsons, vice
president of international travel industry sales and marketing for
Walt Disney Attractions.
Disney Attractions is training the trade abroad through the
College of Disney Knowledge and participation in road shows and
agency presentations. New offices were opened in Sydney, Australia,
and in Mexico City.
On the product front, Disney Attractions is developing tickets
for each international market. For example, it is augmenting the
five-day ticket promoted in the U.K. to seven and nine days.
Universal Studios Escape in Florida will have its largest
showing to date at Pow Wow to spotlight its transformation into a
destination resort. The project encompasses Universal Studios
Florida movie studio and theme park and new offerings such as
Islands of Adventure, a 110-acre theme park set to open in July;
CityWalk, a 30-acre entertainment complex that opened last year,
and five hotels, two of which are the 750-room Portofino Bay Hotel,
opening this summer, and the 650-room Hard Rock Hotel, opening in
Abroad, the park is boosting sales staff in the U.K., and it
opened an office in Sao Paolo, Brazil, this year. "We're really
working the industry and educating agents and tour operators about
Universal Studios Escape," said Bruce Ream, vice president of
international sales for Universal Studios Escape. "We're more than
just a one-day park now. We're a total destination resort."
The heaviest focus internationally is on the U.K., Brazil,
Germany, Japan and Canada. Product seminars and training programs
are being developed in these markets, Ream said.
Products to debut at Pow Wow include multiday passes at
Universal Studios Escape and the addition of Islands of Adventure
to the Orlando FlexTicket, providing admission to four or five
parks in central Florida.
In California, Universal Studios Hollywood is doubling the size
of its CityWalk dining, shopping and entertainment promenade, which
is expected to be finished in 2000. This month, the park will
launch Terminator 2: 3D, a virtual adventure ride. "Terminator 2:
3D is the No. 1 rated theme park ride in central Florida, so we're
very excited about having the same attraction here," said Nan
Marchand, vice president of sales at Universal Studios
Abroad, Universal Studios Hollywood expanded its office in Japan
and is poised to open an office in Mexico.
At Busch Entertainment, a number of new offerings are debuting
at the three parks in its portfolio that lure the largest
international audience: Busch Gardens Tampa Bay and the Sea World
adventure parks in Orlando and San Diego.
Included are a complex for groups, a sea lion and otter show at
Sea World Orlando and a Ship Wreck Rapids water ride at Sea World
Premier Parks is expanding its Six Flags brand, which it
acquired last year. Attracting the healthiest international crowd
are Six Flags Fiesta Texas in San Antonio, Six Flags Great
Adventure in Jackson, N.J., and Six Flags Magic Mountain near Los