For those who doubted last week's piece on those Tim Burton
Weekends that are supposedly being considered as Disney's Hollywood Studios'
seasonal alternative to Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party at the Magic
Kingdom, did you catch this morning's announcement of Disney Parks &
Resorts' "Limited Time Magic" program?
Using a three story-tall, 45,000 pound fairytale castle made
of ice that they'd built overnight in Times Square as a visual metaphor for this new entertainment initiative (i.e.
sometimes really beautiful & fun things only last for a very short while),
Disney used "Good Morning America" to help spread the news about
"Limited Time Magic." With some week and month-long programs that I'm
sure Disney history buffs will love (EX:
That Frontierland favorite, the fabled Golden Horseshoe Revue will be
returning to Disneyland Park for one month only next year) while others are
complete head scratchers (The Dapper Dans are going to perform Boy Band
numbers? Seriously? Is there actually
a person on this planet who's been sitting around thinking, "Oh, my life
would be complete if I could just hear a close harmony version of 'I Want It
That Way.' I mean, if you want to hear middle-aged men perform Backstreet Boys
songs, just go to one of this group's reunion concerts. Anyway ... ).
Photo by David Roark. Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved
And just so you know: Not all of the weekend and/or
month-long events that are in the works for 2013 have officially been announced
yet. And given that back on September 26th, the Company snagged the domain name
There may be some genuinely sizable things in the works for
this year-long event that have yet to be revealed.
But -- for now -- let's just grab the calendar & circle
the dates of the "Limited Time Magic" events that Walt Disney Parks
& Resorts did officially announce today. Like "Unleash the
Villains," which will be held at Disney California Adventure &
Disneyland Park on September 13, 2013. Where virtually every Disney Villain
character costume will be pulled out of storage so that the walk-around
versions of these characters will then have free reign in Disney's two Californian
theme parks right up until the 13th hour (i.e. 1 a.m. on September 14th).
And if they can put together that sort of special limited-time-only
celebration for the Disney Villains, just imagine what sort of event the
Entertainment department at Walt Disney Parks & Resorts could build around
with the Disney-produced films of Tim Burton?
Seriously, folks. This is kind of a daring new thing that
Walt Disney Parks & Resorts is doing here. And it will be interesting to
see what impact the "Limited Time Magic" program will have on occupancy
rates at both of the Company's Florida and California Resorts. Whether people
will actually be willing to buy plane tickets and then book hotel rooms just so
that they can then be on hand for "Long Lost Friends Week" (which is
supposed to built around walk-around character costumes that just aren't seen
in the parks anymore).
Sure, there'll be some hit-and-miss stuff here. And given
that Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure theme park draw most of
their annual visitors from less than 100 miles away from Anaheim ... Well, I
can't help but think that this "Limited Time Magic" program will be far
more successful out west / have a more dramatic impact out there than it will
have down in Florida. But that said, I'll still like it if Disney theme park
fans could come out and support this short-time-only entertainment concept.
Because you never know what a year-long event like this,
where all sorts of show concepts and possible entertainment ideas (EX: How would Disneyland Guests react
if they suddenly found walk-around versions of the Marvel characters wandering
around Tomorrowland?) are quickly trotted out & tested might lead to.
Oh. Almost forgot. The nice people at Disney Parks and
Resorts are suggesting that -- if you want to learn more about what's in the
works for "Limited Time Magic" (more importantly, hear about all of
the other events that are planned for 2013 in real time as they're officially
being announced) -- that you might want to follow @DisneyParks and then start
using the hashtag #LimitedTimeMagic.
My idea of limited time magic: Re-open The Adventurer's Club. I know it won't happen. Probably can't happen.
EDITOR'S NOTE: But the Adventurer's Club has re-opened. Sort of.
To explain: Remember how sometimes you'd go to Pleasure Island and -- upon arriving at the Adventurer's Club -- you'd told that the Club was now closed for a private function but would re-open later that same evening at 9 p.m. or thereabouts. That was because some corporate group -- as part of their onsite convention at Walt Disney World -- had bought out the club for a few hours as an exclusive event for certain convention attendees.
Well, what's been happening a lot lately is that many of these very same corporations have been circling back on Walt Disney World as a convention site. And as that company's representatives have been meeting with Disney's event planners, they invariably say "And -- of course -- we want to book the Adventurer's Club for the night for another private function." Only to then be told that this Pleasure Island venue no longer exists.
At this point, this issue has come up enough times (More importantly, Disney has lost out on enough revenue from convention groups) that WDW's event planning office had to do something about. Which is why they then "invented" the World Explorers.
This group of improvisational performers (many of whom are Adventurer's Club veterans) are now available for hire. That said, because there is obviously no physical Adventurer's Club left (i.e. I mean, the building is still there on what's left of Pleasure Island. But virtually all of the props & the furniture have been removed at this point), the World Explorers club members have to come to you.
So -- say -- as part of your company's convention at Walt Disney World, you're having a banquet in the Fantasia Ballroom at the Contemporary Resort Hotel, the World Explorers would suddenly show up and insist that there'd been some mistake made on Disney's part. That they too had booked this room for their annual meeting. And since there was no other venue available, the World Explorers would hold their annual meeting as this corporate group's convention dinner was going on. And ...
Well, you get the idea, right? The World Explorers club meeting then becomes the entertainment for that corporate group's convention banquet. With the Club Members then roaming the banquet floor, sitting down at various tables and interacting with conventioneers. I'm told that -- the two or three times that Disney's event planning office has done this so far -- it's been quite successful. The people who attended these convention banquets really enjoyed the various skits as well as interacting with all of the improvisational performers.
The only problem is ... Hiring the World Explorers for the night is pricey. Not to mention difficult to schedule. It's not something that can be done on the fly. It takes weeks and months now to make sure that you can get that many improvisational performers together (especially those who have worked at the Adventurers Club previously and still know how to do the various skits) for just one night for a particular convention group.
But it does happen, DocEagle. And as long as the World Explorers are out there (more importantly, the more that convention groups ask for them as event entertainment) ... Well, there's still some albeit faint hope that the Adventurers Club -- in some sort of mutated form, not in its former Pleasure Island glory -- will live to see another day.
It will be interesting to see how it plays out. I like the idea of the variety of shorter "special events" as opposed to a once a year theme. I think it brings a nice variety to the parks and I love the idea that they can test some of these things out like bringing old characters back and particularly releasing all the villains-I think that will be a huge hit. I would love to see Marvel characters in Tomorrowland. Matter of fact, just rip out Innoventions and put in the Stark Expo while they're at it!
Sorry to be a Debbie Downer (a lot of this stuff sounds pretty cool actually)... but that September 13th Villain Day seems to be another February 29 in the making... ( in my opinion, a complete disaster)...
Jim, when you say the World Explorers are pricey, just how pricey are we talking? Good article - keep up the good work.
You kinda touched on my thoughts in your article. This will be much more successful in California than in Florida. In fact, this and many other promotions they've done the last few years seem that way to me. I myself am a Florida resident and WDW passholder, but I have many many friends out on the west coast so I get a unique glimpse of the culture of both resorts. There are cool limited time promotions that arise where I see the DL crowd get very excited and go all out to be a part of the excitement. However the same promotion doesn't have the same impact here. It just can't. I don't have anything against the basic ideas of the promotions being done, but they definitely seem to be conceived from the California perspective. WDW and DL are uniquely different and the things that work on one coast won't on the other. I'd love to see more thought given to promotions from the Florida perspective. I'm sure that they can come up with unique versions of a similar theme where the theme itself is promoted company wide, but with details that cater to the distinct differences of each property. I don't have any suggestions for what those ideas would be, but as a fan and a WDW frequenter I'd just like to see the occasional promotion or special event that actually excites me and others on this side of the country.