One needs only to read that press release about how "wildly successful" the first year of the promotion was to realize how out of touch the current Disney marketing department has become. The 2nd year of this promotion was nothing more than "We don't have any new ideas - hey, let's just keep doing the same thing we're doing now!" It was a lame promotion in its first year, and even more lame in the 2nd. And the person who approved the technicolor yawn of artwork that graced the WDW monorails and the DL main gates should be sent back to art school. Very bad art, and very poorly used. Glad it's all gone!
My biggest complaint with regard to the YOAMD was not that its signage was ugly or that it went on too long. It was that we were continually beat over the head with it. The purpose of a marketing campaign is to get guests into the parks. Once they're there, stop force-feeding those that responded to your campaign with more of it, and start showing them why they should come back in the future.
I worked at Walt Disney World as a member of the Disney College Program in Spring 2008 and Summer 2010. Now, I build software, design live events, and frequently make the short trek from Costa Mesa to Disneyland with my Annual Passport in hand.
I didn't mind the year of a million dreams. I won the a few things and they made me feel (haha) special. I can't wait to see what NEW and overwhelming decorations this Celebrations spectacle brings. We may want the YOAMD to return...
I just hope this "Year of a Million Dreams" is actually (and finally) over. What was with all that "What's Your Dream?" stuff anywho; can we spend a little less time sleeping, and a little more time at the Parks?
Great article Werner.
Last edited by surffnutt3000; 01-02-2009 at 07:38 PM.
My biggest gripe at how inadequate the promotion was centered on the apparent stinginess of the resort. Ok, so there were some very nice "dreams" to be given away, but then there were some "dreams" taht just did not make too much sense. Sitting for the Billy Hill show on more than one occasion, there were front row, center, seats for dream winners given away outside just before the show. Not a bad prize considering the show's quality and how fast the best seats get taken. But then. you can order from the menu, the dream team host/hostess will take your order, bring it to your table, and then ask you how you want to pay for it!? Wait, but doesn't that sound a bit cheap? On the same day, my daughter ordered chili fries with no cheese, but got cheese anyway. Took them back to ask for what was ordered, they simply tossed them in the trash and filled the order properly. Now my point, however long winded, is this, how much would it really cost the resort to give away two or three free "meals" with each show? I'm sure it would be immaterial to the cost of doing business, and make the dream more of a dream.
The promotion I feel had good intentions, but that was all it was, intentions. They wanted to fulfill a "Dream", but only succeded in proving just how cheap and bottom dollar worried they truly are.
And maybe I'm just jealous that I never won a dream fast-pass!
You know, until I read your article, it did not occur to me to be annoyed at all the advertising hitting me over the head at the parks. And yet, that is just what they were doing.
Maybe someone thought it might be fun & festive to dress up the monorail for the YOMD, but after a while it did start to look like the wrapper ads on buses. How cheap is that?
I'm not a local, but I was fortunate to have been able to have visited the DLR parks many times in 2007 & 2008. I never "got" the swans & was glad to see them go. I actually liked the YOAMD promotion (and won some Dream Fast Passes) because I appreciate Disney's attention to details. The Dream Team folks were cool to talk with. I also really like Annie Leibovitz, but while I loved seeing her pics in some of the ad campaigns, I thought it was making a beautiful mountain out of a sweet little molehill.
What really made me mad was the cheap "one castle fits all" design and loss of land and park-specific merchandise. And as far as that year lasting 15 months ... well didn't they do the same thing for the 50th aniversary? Milk, milk, milk. Fine -- just don't call it a "year" because we all can count!
What really made me mad was the cheap "one castle fits all" design and loss of land and park-specific merchandise.
I thought of discussing the "Disney Parks" marketing concept in the article, but I'm afraid the Parks & Resorts executives still see this as a valid concept. So it hasn't "gone to Yesterland."
The new "What Will You Celebrate?" campaign for 2009 is again an effort to sell the parks on both coasts with the same advertising effort. And the "What Will You Celebrate?" logo includes a generic Disney castle.
The only reason that the stores in the parks are no longer full of racks of generic "Disney Parks" tee shirts is that they didn't sell well enough, and many of the tee shirts wound up at Disney's outlet stores. Disney's guests appreciate the unique nature of each park, even if the executives do not.
Curator of Yesterland, featuring discontinued Disneyland attractions
It was an advertising campaign, and, for the life of me, I have never figured out why it would possibly bother anyone. They come and go; no big deal. If you look at feedback on other sites, you will see that it was very popular with many people. And I'll say this. When I was at a micechat meet, and word came in that ears were being distributed, the micechatters stampeded to get them, so I would go as far as to say that the YOAMD was popular here, too.
PS> Did I mention that it's just an advertising campaign?
I feel the "Year of a Million Dreams" was an overall failure in public relations. When a majority of your visitors are not having anything special happen to them while in the park, then how can it be a success? I have been to WDW and Disneyland many times, and have had some great experiences. But to be completely ignored at "The Year of a Million Dreams" was crazy! The advertising certainly seemed to suggest that almost everyone would have something magical happen to them. It didn't happen, and I know I am not the only one whose family was disapointed.
I watched many families and individuals get rewarded for no apparent reason, and while some of them knew what was going on, and were excited with their prizes, others were indifferent, as if it were a bother to have a special gift bestowed upon them.
I remember going to Disneyland for their 35th anniversary. And everyone got something. I think the lowest prize was a ticket that printed out (after you presented your ticket at the turnstyle) with a nice picture on it, and a thank you for visiting during the 35th anniversary. That little paper ticket wasn't much, but it was something I could bring home as a souvenir to say I was there on the anniversary. The "Year of a Million Dreams" was a joke.