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"High School Musical 5 & 6" ?! "Beauty & the Beast" headed back to Broadway ?!

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"High School Musical 5 & 6" ?! "Beauty & the Beast" headed back to Broadway ?!

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So -- in the weeks & months ahead -- we've got "My School Musical" on the Disney Channel, "High School Musical: Get in the Picture" on ABC as well as the theatrical release of "High School Musical 3." But how far exactly is the Walt Disney Company planning on stretching the "High School Musical" franchise?

Would you believe ...


Yep, back in April, the Mouse actually registered these domain names. Why For? Well, Disney Channel execs seriously want to stay in the "HSM" business long after Troy, Gabriella & the gang have graduated. Which is why they'll be using "High School Musical 3" to introduce three brand-new Wildcats to the world: Matt Prokop, Justin Martin and Jemma McKenzie-Brown. These three young performers will be playing underclassmen at "HSM3."

Copyright 2008 Disney. All Rights Reserved

And should that theatrical release prove to be a success, Matt, Justin & Jemma would then go on to star in "High School Musical 4." Which would NOT be a theatrical release. But -- rather -- a TV movie that would air on the Disney Channel sometime in early 2010.

Mind you, just because the Walt Disney Company registered a domain name doesn't automatically mean that this particular project is actually a "Go." Take -- for example --


Disney officials actually registered both of these domain names over the past five months. Long after the original Broadway productions of "Aida" and "Beauty & the Beast" had closed.

The 2007 production of "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas - The
Musical" at the St. James Theatre. Photo by Paul Kolnik

Though that said ... There reportedly has been some talk at Disney Theatrical about possibly bringing "Beauty" back to the Big Apple as a holiday treat. You know? For a short seasonal run like the 2006 revival of "Annie" or the Old Globe Theatre's version of "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" ? This musical version of Dr Seuss' holiday classic played at the Hilton in 2006, the St. James in 2007 and is now slated to tour nationally later this year.

And speaking of 2008 ... Many Disneyana fans have been wondering what Mickey has up his sleeve for 2009. What's the Mouse going to use to lure tourists back to Anaheim & Orlando once the super-extended version of "Year of a Million Dreams" finally wraps up in December?

Well, I hope you really liked Disney Parks & Resorts' promotion for 2003 (i.e. "Magical Gatherings," which celebrated the magic that happened when friends and family reconnected over a Disney vacation). Because here comes ...


Copyright 2003 Disney / Pixar. All Rights Reserved

The current plan calls for a national promotional campaign which will then try & lure tourists to the Disneyland & Walt Disney World Resort with the promise of extra-special birthday & anniversary celebrations ...


... once they arrive on property.

Copyright 2006 Disney. All Rights Reserved

The only problem with the "Disney's Magical Celebrations" plan is that ... Well, when Jay Rasulo and his DP&R crew originally dreamed this year-long promotion for 2009 up, the price of gasoline was still under $3.00 a gallon. And now that consumers nationally are paying well over $4.00 for a gallon of Regular Unleaded ... Mouse House insiders are wondering if the promise of free balloons & birthday buttons is really going to be enough to put heads in bed over the coming year. Convince hundreds of thousands of people to make plane reservations, book hotel rooms, buy theme park tickets and make yet another trip to Anaheim & Orlando next year. Where -- in order for Disney's business plan to come true -- they then have to buy lots of t-shirts, pins & plush.

What about you folks? What's it going to take to get you to return to Disneyland and/or Disney World in 2009? Is "Toy Story Mania" really going to be enough to get you & your family to go back there again?

Your thoughts?

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  • "Magical Celebrations" is the best they could come up with? Sounds like WDW needs to hire a new marketing staff.  

  • Agreed.  The most magical celebration I can think of would be a fired Rasulo.  Not that gas is a problem when you live next door but I honestly don't think YoaMD has made a whiff of a difference in attendance this year.  Nobody buys the crappy merchandise and the guests complain about the ugly and omnipresent banners.  How about we take a year off from vapid celebrations and try building up the merits of the parks and taking advantage of the slow economy to add a little TLC?  If we're gonna take a hit anyway then why not close Space Mountain for the refurb?

    Also, HSM6?  I feel a protein spill coming on...

  • It seems to me that the only reason there are celebrations like Year of a Million Dreams or Magical Gatherings are just to put in promotional material and tv spots to make it look like Disney is having a special celebration.  Then people feel that it is a good time to visit the parks. Eventually, though, aren't peope going to notice that they are always advertising some new event?  When that happens the celebrations aren't going to amount to much.

    Anyway, who really cares if Disney is putting up banners that say "Year of 100 Magical Dreams," or whatever.  Once the guests get there, its about the parks, not whether or not you can buy some pins that say "Magical Gatherings" on it or if you are the one in a couple thousand who might get to stay a night in the castle.

    I always find it funny when you see them promoting new attractions as "part" of the new celebration.  Come on, they make attractions.  That's what Disney does.  Toy Story Mania would have opened if Disney had a celebration or not.  They should advertise the added attractions and the parks themselves, not some contrived celebration.

  • I can't imagine those promotions bring too many people to the parks.  I still don't think anybody figured out the Year of a Million Dreams.

    Personally, my family was planning to go to WDW for a week during the summer of 2009, but the value just isn't there lately, with the high price of Disney hotels, the reduced value of the meal plan, and the fact that too many of the rides haven't changed in ages (Star Tours and Muppets, anyone?).

    Instead, we are going to do an "Out West" trip and end it with 1 or 2 days at Disneyland.

  • Considering I haven't been to WDW since 2004, and then only for three days, it's not going to take a special event to get me to go again soon.  =)

    jvmickey, I'll admit Star Tours is looking a little dated -- wonder if Lucas would like to have another go at that with better special effects -- but MuppetVision is still the best attraction in the Studios, as far as I'm concerned.

  • I don't much care about special promotions - unless it's promoting a new attraction.

    I agree about Star Tours - that thing is LAME now. And Muppets? Needs to be gotten rid of - talk about dated. I've read that the Muppet attraction is getting ripped out of DCA and a Narnia ride is taking its place. Good deal, wish it would happen at the World.

  • Not the Muppets!  NOOOOOOOOOOO!

  • My family plans trips to WDW when WE want to go... It never has anything to do with whatever marketing promotion is going on. I think that's just a way for Disney to keep it's commercials fresh, but I just don't see these making any kind of difference in park attendance.

    The only campaign that I have seen that I feel helps people is the commercials about the affordability of a WDW vacation. These at least work to get in people's minds that a WDW vacation is actually affordable, which can lead them to the thought, that "maybe we CAN take our family." But the whole "Year of A Million Dreams" or some other big campaign.. really is worthless. Like a previous poster said, I'd rather just see a marketing campaign pushing a new attraction rather than all this blue sky stuff.

  • I agree that the marketing won't affect when I go to to a Disney park next, but from a marketing point of view, this Celebrations sounds a bit lame. The Year of a Million Dreams was reportedly successful, and I think the reason for that is it was inclusive of everyone. Anyone could win one of these bonus prizes. With the Celebrations, surely it's targeting a very small group of potential guests?

  • Perhaps instead of giving out free pins, Disney might give out free jugs of gas.

  • All these promotions are busy work for the marketing department. They feel the need to keep busy in order to justify their jobs.

    The BIG reason for the problems are Rasulo's insistence to marketing DL and WDW as one entity. DL and WDW are two TOTALLY different places with two TOTALLY different markets.

    In the past DL used to have special events that were ONLY found in CA. Like Blast to the Past and State Fair and Circus Fantasy. These worked in CA because they have a local market of almost 20 million people within an hours drive to draw from.

    These stupid marketing ideas will go away when Rasulo is gone or he cuts the "apron strings" and allows the parks to do what they do best (and had done for decades before him).

    This happened in Hong Kong. When they allowed Hong Kong to do their own thing, they started creating special events specific to the HK and Chinese market (like Chinese New Year and Year of the Mouse, etc) and they increased their attendance.

    I am VERY suprised that Rasulo is still there. His management style is so much more like Eisners (micro-manager) than Iger's style (hands off). And this is an example of Rasulo's management style.

  • (Wow, haven't posted here in forever...)

    I agree with all the above posts, and speaking of events at the foreign parks, I think DL and WDW would do better to start imitating HK and Tokyo Disneyland in regards to having more events that last for a limited time (instead of spanning for god-knows-how-many-years), and events that carry new shows, parades, and more extensive theming instead of just dying all the merch and banners blue and gold and calling it a re-theming.

    While I don't think that WDW would make much of a profit changing their event with all the trimmings for practically every season as Tokyo Disneyland does (because over there, it doesn't take much to earn repeat business and new-founded interest in the parks), it'd be nice if the events were shorter (like a year or two, maybe skip a few years in between), put in as much effort, and were more specific and interesting instead of the generalizing "Year of a Million Dreams" or "Magical Gatherings" (dreams and/or magic = Disney! It's genius, I say) that ALREADY pertain to the contents of the park, which provides a really handy excuse to keep everything exactly the same. Taking such efforts won't draw in the numbers that a new ride would, but I think it'd generate a whole lot more interest than the same lousy "magical celebration" repeated year after year.  

    It's things like a Decade, er, Year of a Million Dreams that's going to ensure that it'll take another twenty years to replace Fantasmic.

    And as for HSM 3...I'm not looking forward to when that hits the theater I work at.

  • Elera> Try having it come out on your birthday. My little's sister a huge fan and I just know she's going to drag the whole family the day it comes out.

  • Haha! Oh, that's rough, Tomoyo...I get enough of HSM as it blasts through the walls of my little sister's bedroom, or as she performs "Bop to the Top" at her talent show (and forced us to watch many a practice). But I haven't had to sit through the whole movie yet - so my deepest sympathies to you! ;)

  • Elera, I couldn't agree more. Why not have the celebrations MEAN something? I'd like to see more to each promotion, rather than maybe 1 or 2 rides that open. Like an above poster said--it doesn't matter if a promotion is involved, the rides were going to open regardless. I'd like to see new parades and just a new breath of air for each celebration. Take a year or two off!

    And as far as this HSM nonsense, I'm not seeing quite as many HSM shirts and merch on younger guests lately as I once did a few short months ago. Is this trend faster waning than we thought? Don't get me wrong, I know this installment will more than likely be successful, but I am noticing kids are starting to stray away from these bubblegum movies.

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