Limited Time Magic Vinylmation Easter Egg Hunt

Written by Kevin Yee. Posted in Features

Tagged: ,

Published on March 26, 2013 at 3:04 am with 14 Comments

For a while there, I completely forgot about Limited Time Magic. This was mostly due to Disney not offering much at Disney World in recent weeks. Not to mention that the program was never particularly impressive even at its best. My curiosity was piqued, however, by the Vinylmation Easter egg hunt, which began on March 18. The idea had merit — had this limp promotion finally turned a corner?

Mexico had no egg.

A good chunk of my interest probably derived from the fact that this Limited Time Magic event was not merely a relabeling of something they already do. Many events in recent weeks have been called Limited Time Magic, but are really things they do every year, such as highlight the Super Bowl MVP. It felt particularly disingenuous and even crass to me every time they labeled something Limited Time Magic when they do it anyway. I was half surprised that they did not attempt to call Flower & Garden part of Limited Time Magic.

As an aside, they probably should have called some attention to Flower and Garden in national marketing, even if it took form as part of Limited Time Magic. This year’s festival really does have new stuff in the form of those food booths. Without national marketing, those booths haven’t been drawing the kinds of crowds as Food and Wine, and I suspect the executives have been underwhelmed by the performance. But what did they expect? Without marketing, no one would know there are new booths to sample. Lines have stayed a lot smaller than Food and Wine from what I can see. I would venture to guess that they did not want to call these booths Limited Time Magic because they last many weeks, and their method until now has been to restrict Limited Time Magic offerings to a single week. Such single-minded adherence to a fixed belief has probably cost them a lot of money.

It wobbles but it doesn’t fall down?

The other type of Limited Time Magic event that we have seen so far is a brief return of something nostalgic, such as the long-lost characters. There isn’t much of a downside to such events, except maybe that they point out how much has been lost in today’s park experience. Some of those events had the feeling of “stuff we should be doing anyway.”

Voici un oeuf!

There hasn’t been an awful lot of the third category of Limited Time Magic events: stuff that is literally brand-new. I suppose you could put the Dapper Dans in this category when they sang boy band songs, but that was very much a gimmick rather than an actual event, and it only appealed to a narrow band of visitors. The Vinylmation Easter egg hunt, however, looked to be a true entry in the third category of new stuff. Because it was spread out over the entire World Showcase, this event was big enough and could satisfy enough visitors. It also sounded like the sort of thing that might appeal to frequent visitors and less frequent tourists at the same time. It even seemed to be potentially interesting for adults as well as children, at least on paper.

Oh, there you are, Perry.

Alas, it was not meant to be. As always, the execution is what matters, and the execution this time was substandard. To begin with, they underestimated demand. Perhaps they didn’t recognize that the population would be hungry for this event, which is arguably the first truly Limited Time Magic event. The large demand translated to a shortage of the maps used for the game, and they ran out apparently by Saturday. Think about that for a second. The game began on Monday and was scheduled to run until Sunday for a period of seven days. It’s a separate question of stupid choices why this program did not run until Easter. Basically, they wanted to stick with the one week schedule and call the Easter week full of limited time events such as meeting the Easter Bunny and seeing afloat before the parade — back to stuff they do every year.

Goofy sat on a wall… Goofy had a great fall?

But we were talking about the remarkable sellout of maps. Most of the maps were sold before the weekend, implying they were purchased by people other than the locals, who tend to come out and heavier numbers on the weekends. This begs the question of who the target audience is. Over the past few months, it has seemed pretty obvious that regular visitors are meant to be the primary audience of Limited Time Magic. The events are too small and too esoteric to be aimed at the visiting hordes of tourists. And they are not marketed nationally (or even announced until just before they occur).

Peek-a-boo!

So when they ran out of Vinylmation Easter egg maps, it seems clear that this event had crossover appeal. They should have seen that coming, and ordered enough maps. After all, the maps brought in money. They were sold for five dollars each, and even though there was a prize for finishing, it was still a net profit for Disney. The prize of two Vinylmation keychains could be found by direct sale at the character warehouse outlet store for four dollars, so the event at Epcot involved a profit no matter what.

The wind turned it sideways.

On top of all of that, there was a certain lameness to the way the Easter eggs were deployed and hidden in all the pavilions. Put simply, the hunt was too easy. Fully 100% of the eggs could be seen from the main path — you never had to enter the pavilions. They chose a level of difficulty calibrated for very young children, which was unfortunate and wholly unnecessary. They may also have been targeting out-of-town visitors by making it so easy, which again suggests that this time locals were not the audience.

Mickey Mouse… Clubhouse?

If locals are not the audience and they are not marketing nationally to out-of-town visitors, then the only explanation left is that they are imagining something designed for tourists that surprises them once they arrive. I can kind of get behind that idea as expressed here, because it sounds right to want to deliver an experience that exceeds expectations. But boy band songs and quarterbacks don’t really fit that pattern and display a lack of imagination. If the point of the promotion is to roll out delightful surprises each week, there are a million better ways to do it. The small museum of artifacts at the Odyssey restaurant in Epcot created for the ticket conversion process is way more awesome than any of the Limited Time Magic offerings so far.

More wind damage.

The promotion has mostly been limp and lifeless, and they were caught by surprise when this week’s event finally struck a chord. The quality has been uneven, and I’m not entirely convinced they have internally decided who the target audience is.

Don’t fall, Pluto!

I usually prefer to give them the benefit of the doubt, and even to seek out the “flip side” argument to suss out why they might be acting in a way that seems counter-intuitive. Usually there’s a good reason for it; we just need to hunt until we find it. This time, though, I’m less certain there’s a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. It could really be they are making this up as they go.

Did you do the Easter Egg hunt at Epcot? Did you find the event “Magic” or “Limited”?

About Kevin Yee

Kevin Yee is an author and blogger writing about travel, tourism, and theme parks in Central Florida. He is a founding member of MiceAge and has written numerous books about Disney parks (see http://bit.ly/kevinyee).

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  • Trumpet

    Great Article Kevin

    Having only read the reviews here on Micechat, it looked fun and people enjoyed it. However, the Limited Time Magic was not that well executed. There is poor planning and it i a shame that is only lasted a week, proberly due to people showing the locations on the internwet. I think it is very poor of Disney to make it easy, but then again, not everone could play the game if it was too hard. But, the parents are with them in the park, as children under 14 can’t enter without an adult?

    Still, from pictures and reviews, I think DCA’s egg hunt was better executed. I did not visit either, due to living in the UK, but the comments have ben more positive with the west Coast version of this than the East Coast

  • Trumpet

    Great Article Kevin

    Having only read the reviews here on Micechat, it looked fun and people enjoyed it. However, the Limited Time Magic was not that well executed. There is poor planning and it i a shame that is only lasted a week, proberly due to people showing the locations on the internwet. I think it is very poor of Disney to make it easy, but then again, not everone could play the game if it was too hard. But, the parents are with them in the park, as children under 14 can’t enter without an adult?

    Still, from pictures and reviews, I think DCA’s egg hunt was better executed. I did not visit either, due to living in the UK, but the comments have ben more positive with the west Coast version of this than the East Coast

    Thanks Again Kevin

    Trumpet

  • PatMcDuck

    I am embarrassed to admit that I could not find those eggs, I was looking on the ground for some reason. Then we ran out of time once we figured it out.

    I got a WDW survey a few days after I got back. I complained about the Limited Time Magic events, when they asked me about them. I pointed out most of them were things they did every year anyway, and also that selling weird hats or new makeup lines are not magical. I even said that they could at least expand on the long lost friends, and cycle out new ones every 2 weeks. Last, I pointed out the Disneyland Paris St Patrick’s Day events, and even just having a Leprachaun Mickey character would have been welcome.

  • To run an Easter event and then not have it available on Easter itself is just foolish.
    I’ve yet to see a Limited Time Magic event at WDW which actually lived up to the “Magic” in its title.

  • DisneyanaFan

    Kevin, the target audience for this was not 40+ year old professional theme park journalists, but kids. My 5 year old did the DCA version over the weekend, and was about as happy as I have seen her in the parks. This was a terrific promotion – one of he best in years.

    • Kevin knows this isn’t for 40 year olds specifically. However, until recently, most Disney activities were fun for the whole family sort of things. And Kevin has two young boys. If they were able to spot everything casually from the main path, what sort of a “hunt” was this?

      • Aviator621

        As even Kevin said “They chose a level of difficulty calibrated for very young children”, which I think is entirely appropriate given this is a Easter Egg Hunt, traditionally a small children’s game. It is much better to be designed around 3 to 5 year olds and have it be easy for parents to assist, then to be challenging for adults, and leave the kids in tears with frustration. As for the timing, I would suspect attempting something new like this during massive Spring Break crowds at Easter itself would have given them pause. Hopefully, this successful first run will give them reason to redo and refine next year.

      • DisneyanaFan

        Perhaps the DCA version was more challenging than EPCOTm, but a couple of the eggs within the DCA version were challenging to find as they required searching fairly large areas – the Pacific Wharf egg and the Hollywood Backlot eggs in particular.

        But again from a “kids” perspective one of the best things about this hunt was the stickers- little kids LOVE stickers. One of my daughter’s favorite things with this event was peelling off the character stickers and putting them in the right spot. She is learning how to read, and carefully checked to make sure each sticker was in the correct part of the map.

        I generally look forward to Kevin’s articles about Orlando and think he is a terrific writer. I just think his comments in this article, e.g. that the event was “lame”, are misguided and point to an inability to view the event from the perspective of its intended audience – little kids and their families.

      • Kevin Yee

        To DisneyanaFan,

        I do have little kids (well, the youngest is now 6 years old). I think he enjoyed it. He would have liked it better if they had not run out of maps before Sunday, though 🙂

  • QuiGonJ

    Keep in mind the word Easter does not appear in the advertising or the maps for the “Eggs-perience”. I was told at DCA that might offend the same imaginary group that thinks “Merry Christmas” is the height of rudeness.

    • I don’t know who at DCA would have told you that. This was absolutely an Easter event, as Easter egg hunts always are.

      If you are going to do an Easter Egg Hunt (regardless of what name you put on it), at least offer it on Easter. Am I right?

  • ZRocker

    I like the idea, but when it comes to execution I think the eggs themselves were somewhat lacking. I was able to travel to Tokyo Disneyland last spring during their Easter Wonderland celebration. There were themed egg versions of tons of different Disney characters. I think this event would have looked even more well thought out if they had drawn from those amazingly themed eggs. If you have never seen them before you can see some great examples online just Google search Tokyo Disneyland Easter Wonderland Eggs. It’s great that they include props with them too like spaghetti for Lady and the Tramp and a tail for the Cheshire Cat or cowboy hats for Woody and Jessie.

    • Timekeeper

      That was my first thought about the egg hunts in DCA and now Epcot, that Disney was looking at how the popular the eggs were in TDR and brought them over to the US. I agree that it should have been themed, but the hunts themselves looked fun.
      I think if this event was ever to come back, that it should have three levels of difficultly: A beginner’s level (like what was done in Epcot); A medium level (which sounds like what DCA did); and a hard level which would require looking in some obscure places, (I would probably do this level in the Disneyland/Magic Kingdom Parks as there’s a bunch of hidden nooks and crannies in the various lands throughout.)

      Timekeeper

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