Theme parks are, at their core, highly social experiences. Sure, they are filled with scream-inducing thrill rides, eye-popping dark rides, and a host of other wild attractions designed to stir the senses and deliver fun.
But at least half the fun is in sharing the screams, thrills, and fried dough with friends and family. The shared experiences at a theme park can become treasured memories that endure long after the park's twinkling lights fade into the distance.
Disney understands this. That's why it is focusing on memories as the theme for its 2011 and 2012 promotions at Disney World and Disneyland. Called "Let the Memories Begin," the US parks are giving visitors an opportunity to share their Disney memories--in a big way.
Throughout the event, Disney will collect videos, photos, and stories from guests, both at the park and online. Chosen submissions will be posted to the Let the Memories Begin website. Selected photos -- and here's where it gets interesting -- also make their way into a nighttime show that is presented at both Disneyland park and Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom.
Up to 500 photos a day are projected onto Cinderella Castle at the Magic Kingdom and the whimsical structure that houses the it's a small world [sic] attraction at Disneyland.
The images are featured in the show along with a new song. A new batch of images are used each day. The show also includes some of Disney's traditional pixie-dust production value along with some heart-tugging moments.
In addition to the online and in-park exhibitionism, visitors can have their memories broadcast as part of a series of television ads.
Disney is using the guest-generated content for its campaign to drum up business for the parks.
In the early weeks of 2012, the resorts will also be presenting One More Disney Day. Learn how Disney will be celebrating leap year by keeping its parks open for a 24-hour marathon. Plus it will be giving away vacation packages and offering a buy-three-nights, get-one-free hotel deal.
In addition to all the great things going on at the Disney parks, you can find out about other exciting developments in what's new at California theme parks for 2012 and what's new at Florida theme parks for 2012.
How Do I Share My Disney Memories?There are two ways to insert yourself into Disney's nighttime shows, onto its website, or into a TV commercial:
- While at the Magic Kingdom or Disneyland, allow the ubiquitous Disney PhotoPass photographers to snap your picture. The folks putting together the nightly Memories show choose some of that day's PhotoPass images for the presentation. (This is probably boosting interest and sales for the PhotoPass program, which allows guests to view and purchase their in-park snapshots online.)
- Guests can also submit their images, videos, and stories online at the Let the Memories Begin website for consideration.
What Else is New at the Disney ParksNew for 2012:
Disney California Adventure
Cars Land, Goofy's Sky School, and Completion of Park Makeover
Read about the new Pixar land and other park upgrades.
New for 2012:
Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World
The Little Mermaid Ride, The Great Goofini, and Dumbo The Flying Elephant
Read about the ongoing Fantasyland expansion.
New for 2011:
Star Tours- The Adventures Continue
Read my review of the revamped attractions at Disney's Hollywood Studios in Florida and Disneyland Park in California.
New for 2011:
The Little Mermaid Ride
Read my review of the new ride at Disney California Adventure (and coming to the Magic Kingdom in Florida).