The Walt Disney Company celebrates the billion-dollar “Frozen” franchise with a new motion picture and several theme park attractions. Expanding upon the success of the newest princesses to join Disney’s Royal court, a series of carefully crafted synergistic brand extensions will spur the Maus House’s other established entertainment brands to whole new levels.
The hit song says “Let It Go,” but Disney head honcho Bob Iger is holding on for the ride of his life. From early on (thanks to audience research and test screenings) Disney expected big business for their latest Princess-focused “Frozen” (partially based on the Hans Christian Anderson Snow Queen tale). But even after a strong opening theatrically, the success of its Oscar campaign (Winner Animated Film and Song), two million plus hit soundtracks, five hour lines to meet the two Princesses at the theme parks, and a sing-along theatrical re-release that launched what many in the industry believe will be the best-selling DVD of all the Disney home video titles, no one even began to think this would be the holiday gift that would keep on giving, surpassing Disney’s previous all time topper “Toy Story 3” numbers with no end in sight.
At Iger’s behest, two new projects were initiated to grow the “Frozen” phenomenon even more, under the “Frozen Forever” companywide initiative; the first designed to expand the primarily female audience of the original film into the male market, the second to take that unified entertainment concept and use it to Imagineer bigger-than-life theme park experiences.
Disney/Pixar “Zamboni, the Musical” isn’t so much a sequel as its own proper saga; introducing Princess Zamboni (voiced by Academy-Award-winner Jennifer Lawrence, with singing by Pink) as a lost traveler, stranded in the desert town of Radiator Springs by uncharacteristically ice-cold weather. Mater the Tow Truck (Cable Ace-nominee Larry the Cable Guy) gallantly rescues the Princess, falling in love as he discovers her special talent, “Any gal that spins around and around as she fills your Big Gulp up with ice is my kind of soul mate.”
Meanwhile, dark clouds, both literally and figuratively, start to loom over Ornament Valley though as the all around not-so-nice Rambler Brothers, (Davy and Chuck – two rusty hulks voiced by more-award winners Kevin Spacey and Kevin Bacon) insist that no weather changes are happening due to overheating, which may set the stage for Princess Zamboni’s possible deportation from the new home she has come to share with distant relatives Guido and Luigi.
Directed by even more-awards winner John Lasseter, “Zamboni, the Musical” (Cars 3) spotlights six new songs from Frozen’s composers Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, as well as a new score by Randy Newman. Platinum-selling artist Demi Lovato sings “Let It Zno-Cone,” other soon to be smash hits include “Love is an Open Door Light,” and “For the First Time Around the Rink.” Look for it only in theaters this holiday season, preceded by an all new Disney Animation short: “Oscar, HipHop Rabbit Remix.”
Disney’s domestic resorts plan two attraction revamps to tie into the “Frozen Forever” companywide initiative. Parks and Resorts division topper Thomas Staggs announced that “Zamboni, the Musical” would be the inspiration behind a Disneyland Resort, Disney California Adventure rethemed Carsland attraction. Replacing Luigi’s Flying Tires (which goes on an extended hiatus) the new “Disney Zamboni Adventure: Dance Party” promises ‘spin, bump and scrape fun” for the entire family, while helping out the environment by using the ice scraped up in the nearby “Zamboni: Let It Zno-Kone” gourmet Italian ice concession.
Staggs briefly covered the backstory of the refreshed attraction: It turns out that Princess Zamboni (after she er, um, blew into town) misses the colder environment of her past home, so Luigi, Guido and an increasingly enamored Mater join forces together to turn the former Flying Tires ride area into an ice rink, which due to its rarity on the desert-like Route 66 attracts lonely Zambonis big and small from far and wide to circle around the rink. (Think along the lines of Bug Land’s “Tuck and Roll Drive ‘em Buggies, with no bumps and even slower.)
Everybody knows all the Zambonis love to party, and Princess Zamboni spins the hits as only Radio Disney/Disney Channel recording artists know to do best. “Will it Go Round in Circles,” “Spin Me Right Around,” “The Circle of Life” and many others make their debut on the attraction’s sound system, before being released as a stand-alone Walt Disney Records Attraction Soundtrack titled “Disney Zamboni Adventure: Dance Party” expanding upon the “Frozen Forever” franchise.
“Zamboni, the Musical” is also the inspiration behind Walt Disney World’s Blizzard Beach’s one rethemed attraction, in addition to the water park’s overall renaming to “Frozen Beach.” The “Cross Country Creek” lazy river will be renamed “Country Creek Cruzin’ with Mater” as its innertube inflatables get a painted ‘patched tire’ makeover and the “Disney Zamboni Adventure: Dance Party” and “Frozen Original Soundtrack” album is piped as a loop.
Elsewhere in the park work is also underway on a Frozen “wall” that would be placed on a nearby walkway to the main restroom facility. This exciting addition will get the full Frozen treatment – look for many colorful vinyl stickers of Anna, Elsa and Olaf. (Guests may even schedule Magic My Way FastPass Photo times, so they can return to the new wall and more leisurely pose for photos with their favorite stickers.)
Disney World Imagineers are very excited about this new project after the huge success of their New Fantasyland wall at the Magic Kingdom. The resort’s visitor base particularly delights in these kinds of additions to the Orlando parks Staggs notes, “we’ve found the Disney World’s East Coast visitors enjoy walls just as much, if not even more than actual new attractions. This came to light as we took surveys at the new “Little Mermaid” ride exit. This kind of invaluable insight makes sure we’re on the job here to insure they continue to feel that way well into the future.” The East Coast “Frozen Forever” east coast additions are set for an early open this September to take advantage of the “Night of Joy” events.
Unsubstantiated industry gossip indicates there may be one more Frozen makeover in one of the Orlando parks – apparently the Imagineers have been tasked with planning a fallback quickie retheming of the Avatar mini-land now under construction in the Disney Animal Kingdom park should the James Cameron sequels prove unpopular. The area’s basic blue color scheme would be retained, and plastic snowflakes would be hung all over. The Jungle Cruise-inspired attraction would be reworked into a version of the California Zamboni Adventure. Do note details are few on this particular effort at time of press.
What are your thoughts on Disney’s “Frozen Forever” company-wide initiative? Will the Zamboni finally get it’s due culturally? Are you looking forward to a “Zamboni Zno-Kone” gourmet Italian ice? Discuss this all here below on MiceAge/MiceChat…