BURBANK, Calif., (Dec. 30, 2004) – Disney theme parks and resorts around the world are poised to embark on an unprecedented global celebration in 2005 to mark the 50th Anniversary of Disneyland, and to launch an innovative new portfolio marketing campaign. The historic celebration comes on the heels of a fiscal year highlighted by strong increases in revenue and operating income and expanded entertainment offerings at all Disney destinations worldwide.
Millions of people will learn about the Happiest Celebration on Earth during the nationally televised Tournament of Roses Parade on January 1, 2005, when the most creatively elaborate television spot ever produced by Walt Disney Parks and Resorts is launched. The spot, titled ‘Coming Home,’ also marks the beginning of a new way to market the full portfolio of Disney Parks and Resorts assets.
“The ‘Coming Home’ spot draws on our rich heritage and the strong character franchises we’ve built over time to rekindle the lifelong emotional connection we have with our Guests,” said Jay Rasulo, president of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. “It serves as a call to action to anyone who has ever made a memory at Disney parks around the world to come back home and celebrate this historic milestone with us. This is just the start of an innovative campaign of powerful messages that will touch audiences in non-traditional ways to give them a special incentive to visit a Disney destination this year.”
In addition to the 50th Anniversary, 2005 will mark the opening of Disney’s first theme park in China, Hong Kong Disneyland, on September 12, 2005. Once Hong Kong Disneyland opens, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts will have a powerhouse lineup of 11 theme parks around the world in five resort destinations, along with a world class cruise line, nearly 35,000 Disney-branded hotel rooms, seven Disney Vacation Club resorts with approximately 95,000 members, world class dining and retail, sports entertainment venues and the world’s most popular water parks.
“Disneyland is not just a wonderful physical space but also a state-of-mind,” added Rasulo. “With the opening of Hong Kong Disneyland in China, we will have the Disneyland concept all over the world, creating a great opportunity for us to produce a truly global celebration and convey the international appeal and emotional equity of the Disneyland concept to connect with our guests.”
Connecting to Consumers through Innovative Marketing
The transition to a global marketing campaign for the Happiest Celebration on Earth represents a significant departure from the traditional marketing model employed by Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. It is the first time that Disney destinations have embraced a portfolio approach focused on the global appeal of the Disney theme park experience. The campaign is designed to convey that the Happiest Celebration on Earth will provide a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to join in the magic – at any Disney resort around the world.
The marketing campaign kicks off with a breakthrough 60-second ‘Coming Home’ teaser spot that will air on ABC, CBS and NBC during the first break of the Rose Parade broadcast. When the ad airs on television, it will appear simultaneously in streaming video on seven of the most popular sites on the Internet, including Yahoo!, MSN, About.com, Excite.com, Google.com, Weather.com and Disney.com. The call to action will be reinforced as Mickey Mouse serves as the Grand Marshal of the parade, with the theme, “Celebrate Family,” which echoes the spirit of the Happiest Celebration on Earth.
A Global Celebrationg
The Happiest Celebration on Earth marks the 50th Anniversary of Disneyland, the landmark destination that changed the way the world thinks about family vacations. When the 18-month celebration officially begins May 5, 2005, every Disney destination around the world, along with Disney Cruise Line, will join in the festivities with new attractions, shows and other offerings.
The Disneyland Resort will treat Guests to dazzling spectacles – from the new look of Sleeping Beauty Castle to a “golden” sheen on classic ride vehicles – along with exciting new attractions like Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters! and a “re-Imagineered” Space Mountain. Walt Disney World Resort in Florida will debut exciting new attractions imported from Disney parks worldwide, such as the breathtaking Soarin’ from Disney’s California Adventure; Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show from Disneyland Resort Paris; and Cinderellabration from Tokyo Disney Resort.
Tokyo Disneyland Park honors its namesake in California with a very special tribute in the summer of 2005 called Rock Around the Mouse, as well as a thrilling new attraction at Tokyo DisneySea called Raging Spirits. This new attraction, which debuts in summer 2005, will have the first 360-degree vertical loop at the Tokyo Disney Resort. Disneyland Resort Paris will commemorate the 50th Anniversary with a brand new fireworks spectacular and whole new look and feel as it launches Space Mountain: Mission 2.
For the first time ever, Disney Cruise Line will give West Coast families a new way to vacation with Disney right in their own backyard, when the Disney Magic sails through the Panama Canal to visit the Port of Los Angeles during the summer of 2005. For 12 weeks, the Disney Magic will make stops along the Mexican Riviera.
Creating Spectacular New Entertainment in 2004
While Disney destinations have evolved over the past 50 years, one thing will never change: dedication to providing Guests the best in family entertainment. In 2004, continuing investment at each Disney theme park worldwide has resulted in innovative and creative new attractions from Walt Disney Imagineering, inspiring rave Guest reviews.
Twilight Zone Tower of TerrorTM: In 2004, the Disneyland Resort in Southern California opened the Twilight Zone Tower of TerrorTM — the latest in a series of entertainment additions that continue to broaden the appeal of Disney’s California Adventure.
Live Shows: Several new live shows also debuted this past year that retell timeless Disney classics with music, dance and a little splash. These included Snow White – An Enchanting Musical at the Disneyland Resort in February 2004, and the Legend of the Lion King, which opened in summer 2004, at Disneyland Resort Paris.
Turtle Talk with Crush and Stitch’s Great Escape: Turtle Talk with Crush, which debuted in November 2004 at Walt Disney World Resort, is another innovative experience that gives Guests the chance to engage in live, unrehearsed conversations with the animated sea turtle from the Disney presentation of Pixar’s “Finding Nemo.”
Stitch’s Great Escape!, which also opened in November 2004 at Walt Disney World Resort, is the latest innovation at the Magic Kingdom, where the popular animated character from the Disney film, Lilo and Stitch, comes to life with a breathtaking degree of realism.
Tapping into Emerging Lifestyles
“As lifestyles continue to evolve, we spend a lot of time thinking about how to capitalize on emerging trends and desires,” said Rasulo. “If I had to sum up the expectations of today’s marketplace in two words, they would be flexibility and customization.”
In order to help Guests plan the vacation they desire, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts’ Web sites have been improved so booking online for any Disney destination is easier and hassle free. In addition, Walt Disney World Resort recently unveiled several innovative programs for their Guests to enhance their stays.
Magic Your Way: “Magic Your Way” is the newest ticket plan allowing Walt Disney World Guests to create their own tickets for a customized vacation. Starting January, 2, 2005, Guests at Walt Disney World Resort will be able to purchase tickets to the various theme parks and other entertainment offerings that are tailored to the length of their vacation and the interests of their group – and allow them to save more per day based on their length of stay.
Magical Express: Walt Disney World’s new service called “Disney’s Magical Express” offers complimentary airport shuttle, luggage delivery and airline check in for Disney hotel* guests. Beginning May 5, 2005, Guests of Disney hotels using Disney’s Magical Express service can check their bags at their hometown airport, bypass baggage claim at Orlando International Airport and board state-of-the-art motor coaches to the Walt Disney World Resort – as their bags “magically” appear in their room upon check in.
Magical Gatherings: Walt Disney World Resort also offers Magical Gatherings, a program that debuted last year, and uses technology to make it easier for groups of all types to customize their Walt Disney World vacations. Friends and family members can draft itineraries, exchange e-mails, chat, and even vote on activity choices – all online.
Expanding to New Geographic Markets
Hong Kong Disneyland, which opens on September 12, 2005, will serve as an important gateway to bring the magic of Disney to families across Asia. Hong Kong Disneyland will be modeled after the park in Anaheim, California, with the same special experience and rich mix of entertainment attractions that make Disney parks so popular.
Hong Kong Disneyland is just the beginning of what is to come, as new regions of the world open up and present a myriad of growth opportunities in the family vacation destination business.
“From our perspective, Hong Kong Disneyland will kick off the next 50 years of Disney vacations,” added Rasulo, “while establishing a beachhead for the Disney brand in the largest and fastest growing market in world. And we are proud and excited to be a part of that region’s bright future.”
*Disney’s Magical Express service will not be available to guests of the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin hotels, the Shades of Green and the seven hotels near Hotel Plaza Boulevard.
For More Information: Media Web Sites for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts
Disneyland Resort in Southern California, www.dlrnews.com.
Walt Disney World Resort, Disney Vacation Club and Disney Cruise Line, www.wdwnews.com, user name: disney; password; magic.
Tokyo Disney Resort: www.tokyodisneyresort.com
Disneyland Resort Paris: www.disneylandparis.com
Hong Kong Disneyland: www.hongkongdisneyland.com
Certain statements in this press release may constitute “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements are made on the basis of our views and assumptions regarding future events and business performance as of the time the statements are made and we do not undertake any obligation to update these statements. Actual results may differ materially from those expressed or implied. Such differences may result from actions taken by the Company, including restructuring or strategic initiatives and information technology improvements, as well as from developments beyond the Company’s control, including international, political, health concern, weather and military developments that may affect travel and leisure businesses generally and changes in domestic and global economic conditions that may, among other things expenses of providing medical and pension benefits and demand for our entertainment offerings. Changes in domestic competitive conditions and technological developments may also affect performance of our businesses. Additional factors are set forth in the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended September 30, 2004 under the heading “Factors that may affect forward-looking statements.”