To be honest, it was kind of inevitable.
I mean, in its never-ending quest to put heads-in-beds (I.E. Fill all of those empty hotel rooms that you find around the Disneyland & Walt Disney World Resort), the Mouse has begun offering specialized vacation packages over the past few years. You know? Packages that were deliberately designed to appeal to a very specific market segment?
So -- for those folks who wanted to combine a family reunion with their annual WDW vacation -- Disney created the "Magical Gathering." And for those new parents who want to visit Anaheim and/or Orlando with a toddler in tow, there is now the "Magical Beginning."
And you'd think -- what with "Disney's Fairy Tale Weddings & Honeymoons" having been in operation for over a decade now -- the Mouse would have already thought up every possible way to make money off of lovestruck Mickey fans. What with Disney's Wedding Chapel being available for intimate services for only $3,650 (Though -- if you want to ride to the service in style aboard Cinderella's coach -- you'd best be ready to cough up an additional $2,500).
Copyright 2006 Walt Disney Enterprises
But now comes word that the Walt Disney Company is looking to get even richer off of romance. What with the upcoming launch of its new "Disney Engagements" and "Disney Couture Weddings" programs.
"What exactly is 'Disney Engagements'?," you ask. Well, that's for all you romantic-if-somewhat-unambitious schlubs there. Those who dream of asking your beloved to marry you at just the right time in a picture-perfect location. According to company insiders that I've spoken with, "Disney Engagements" staffers will help you pick out just the right spot to pop the question. They'll even arrange (for a price, of course) to have your fiancee's favorite character on hand to share this special moment. Or -- better yet -- have fireworks streak across the sky when she says "Yes."
As for "Disney Couture Weddings" ... This is the Disney's Fairy Wedding folks aggressively going after the high end of the marital market. Those people who think nothing of spending $100,000 - $250,000 on a truly stylish one-of-a-kind wedding ceremony. Disney design teams will work closely with the bride-to-be to make sure that this high-priced affair will be one that her friends & family will talk about for ages. Her every wish will be Disney's command.
That's right. If you want to go "Over the Rainbow" after your DisneyCouture Wedding, you can actually hold your reception inside of "The Great Movie Ride" at Disney-MGM Studios theme parkCopyright 2006 Walt Disney Enterprises
Speaking of wishes ... I'm told that both "Disney Engagements" and "Disney Couture Weddings" will both be rolled out this Fall as part of the "Year of a Million Dreams" promotion. And that -- to help get the word out about these two programs -- one lucky couple will be selected to receive an all-expenses-paid Disney couture wedding, while one lucky guy (who's looking to really impress his would-be bride) is going to get the chance to stage a truly one-of-a-kind engagement. Right in front of Cinderella Castle with trumpets, characters & fireworks. You know? The works.
As for the rest of this year-long "Disney Parks: Where Dreams Come True" promotion ... I'm told that the folks who work in Operations at the various stateside Disney parks are basically dreading the "Year of a Million Dreams." Why For? Even though it's now less than 60 days 'til the official kick-off of this event, many key components of the program have yet to be worked out.
And as for many of the frontline cast members that I've spoken with recently, the very people that Disney management expects to make most of these "Million Dreams" come true ... Well, let's just say that the creation of exclusive perks like Golden FastPasses and/or a royal bedchamber inside Cinderella Castle are being viewing very cynically. Most of the folks that I've talked with expect that these perks will actually be left in place once the "Where Dreams Come True" promotion wraps up in September of 2007.
As for the Golden FastPass ... This will supposedly become a special add-on (available for a price, of course) for anyone willing to pay to stay on the concierge level at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge, Beach Club, BoardWalk Inn, Contemporary, Grand Floridian, Polynesian, Wilderness Lodge & Yacht Club resorts.
As for the royal bedchamber in Cinderella Castle at WDW's Magic Kingdom and/or the Mickey Mouse Penthouse at the Disneyland Hotel ... I'm told that -- after the "Year of a Million Dreams" ends -- that these specially-themed suites will actually be left in place. More importantly, that certain individuals will still be able to stay in these rooms. But only those folks that senior officials of the Walt Disney Company are especially trying to woo and/or impress (EX: A celebrity that Walt Disney Studios is trying to sign for an upcoming film, the CEO of a corporation that's considering sponsoring a new attraction for the parks, etc).
Anyway ... That's a brief peek at a few new programs that will be soon be making their debut at the stateside Disney resorts. Do any of you think that you'd ever take advantage of something like "Disney Engagements" and/or "Disney Couture Weddings"? Or are these two new niche market programs that the Mouse is now trying to get up out of the ground just too small to ever really be profitable?