Disney’s “Big” Announcement…Not So Much.

Cue the cricket! … That was my reaction after hearing Disney’s  “big” announcement. Or I think maybe they called it a “major” announcement? At first I thought maybe I feel asleep and missed it, but nope, apparently that was Disney’s idea of a major announcement. Disney said that a “major announcement” would be made on a live webcast Thursday, September 23.  Read on to hear more…

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When the webcast was announced, speculation ran wild or maybe not so wild. The Disney fan community knows their stuff and there were some pretty reasonable guesses out there as to what the big announcement might be. Would Disney Cruise Line be sailing out of New York? Was a new Disney Vacation Club resort going to be built on the unused site of River Country? A Monster’s Inc. roller coaster for Disney’s Hollywood Studios (finally)? More detail about the Magic Kingdom’s Fantasyland expansion? I read a lot of guesses and most seemed within the realm of possibility. What we got wasn’t even close to any of them. I personally thought they were going to announce the 40th Anniversary Celebration of the Magic Kingdom. No mention of that either.

On top of hyping a major announcement that was far from major, the presentation was just bad. Disney seemed to think they needed to bring in a travel survey guy to explain to us that we like to make memories on vacation? Seriously? And Tom Bergeron? The fact that I wasn’t the only one wondering if he maybe he was a little drunk is more than enough said about him. Other than the fact that I really hope Tom Staggs was properly embarrassed to be sitting next him by the end of presentation.

There wasn’t much new announced. Aulani is being built in Hawaii? Disney Cruise Line will be cruising to Alaska? World of Color? There is a new Disney ship being built? Ummmmmm….We know all this stuff.

When we finally did get some new information it was in revealing the theme for next year. Drum roll, please …..“Let the Memories Begin.” Yawn. Mind you, I have no problem with memories. Memories are great and a staple theme for Disney, but it’s pretty similar to “Remember the Magic”, a personal favorite theme of mine, but then again and to be fair, “Remember the Magic” was more than ten years ago, so I suppose Disney must have thought it’s time to remind people they can make memories at Disney. Not as exciting or sadly, as creative, as “Year of a Million Dreams” or “Give a Day Get a Day”, but what can you do? I don’t think it’s a promotion geared towards me or serious Disney fans anyway. They are trying to bring new visitors to the parks and the memory thing always tugs the heartstrings. I can’t imagine why they thought it deserved webcast announcement status though. Maybe Disney doesn’t realize this, but the people they are targeting with this probably don’t watch mid-day Disney webcasts. Maybe they should have considered having Mickey and Minnie join Tom on Dancing with Stars to reach the demographic they are going for with this.

Along with “Let the Memories Begin” we also got the information that they are going to do projections of guest pictures on the castle at Disney World and on it’s a small world in Disneyland. The fan community is not thrilled – something expressed not only on the DISboards, but right on the Official Disney Blog. “Do not mess with the castle” seems to be the general sentiment. Some people don’t want to see strangers’ pictures on the castle. Some people are concerned about their children’s pictures being projected for everyone to see. Some think Disney is just trying to get free models for their advertising.

I saw the test video of the projections and I am reserving judgment. For now, I think the Imagineers deserve the benefit of the doubt. From the test video, I thought having Tinkerbell fly around on the castle looked pretty cool and the pictures didn’t look all that bad.  I’m not going to book a trip just to see it, but I wouldn’t cancel a trip to not see it either. Yes, I remember the horrific Pepto Bismol birthday cake, but I don’t see this as being in the same league. For the most part, the castle will be unscathed for the better part of the day and if people really hate the projections, Disney could stop projecting them “due to guest demand”. And consider the Christmas lights, they also fall into “messing with the castle” territory, but they hit it out of the park, so to speak, with those. So, even though the “big” announcement was disappointing, I’m not going to take it out on the castle projection idea. I’m going to wait and give the projections a chance before passing judgment. I want to see it for myself before I condemn them or applaud them. I might hate them, but for now, I’m going to go with possibility that I might love them and you never know, you just might be surprised to find that you do too.

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