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Coming Soon: Limited Time Magic

Friday, October 19, 2012

Let's get the unpleasant part out of the way first, shall we? I think "Limited Time Magic" is possibly the worst slogan I've ever heard. It feels like a contradiction in terms and a redundant phrase at the same time. By the very nature of magic, is it not often of limited time? And isn't the phrase "limited time" distinctly unmagical, the sort of thing one might discuss with one's laywer or oncologist? How did this slogan survive the rounds of Marketing meetings it must have been through? What else did they consider? Evanescent Magic or Ephemeral Magic sounds prettier to me, but maybe wouldn't go over big. Fleeting Magic sounds sad. How about Magic Pro Tem? Or we could just dispense with the nominative determinism altogether, and instead and just call it Strange Magic (ELO fans would be happy).

And the ice castle in Times Square? It makes for a pretty picture, and an even cuter time-lapse video. But how did that really work out for the New Yorkers? Were the sidewalks in Times Square not already crowded enough, what with all the phony Elmos, Hello Kittys, and Mickey Mouses clogging up the pathways? I gotta admit, I liked Times Square better before they cleaned it up; I felt just as sad for the people working the street, but at least the costumes were more honest.

But now that I've got my bitterness out of the way. . . Oh man, I am loving the concept of this new promotion, which I'll just refer to as LTM to contain my annoyance. As a regular Guest at Disney Parks, I like to plan my trips around special events, whether Disney-hosted (like Star Wars Weekends) or fan gatherings (like Reunion 2012 - be there or be square). I enjoy seeing special decorations, going to talks or shows that just aren't offered every day, and yes even buying special merchandise that you can only get at a certain time. As much as I hate the phrase "limited time," there is something special about things that are only available, well, for a very limited time.

Now, I can't say that every single event they've mentioned sounds appealing to me. As much as I love the Dapper Dans, I don't feel any particular desire to hear them sing anything by the Backstreet Boys (in fact, I'm a little disturbed by the concept, plus aren't the Backstreet Boys practically middle-aged by now anyway?). And I really prefer my Main Street USA to stick with its olde timey themeing, and not mix in so much of the contemporary. But the point of LTM is that there are plenty of short-term opportunities to take advantage of, and chances are that if you're a Disney fan, there will be something in the mix that's appealing to you. I for one would enjoy the Villians event in September, on Friday the 13th. I would absolutely attend a Villians dance party, hoping that the Shadow Man or Maleficent had some room on the dance card. And I have high hopes for the "Long Lost Friends Week," where they'll be holding meet-and-greets with characters that you don't see frequently, with the characters selected (at least in part) through an online poll. (C'mon people, many of us already have pix with Tweedledee and Tweedledum . . . could we cast our votes for Jimminy Cricket and Launchpad McQuack?)

And speaking of online polls: LTM might be a deeper foray into using interactive media interactively. An article on the Huffington Post says that "Disney will use twitter, blogs, and other online activity to let park visitors know what's happening," I'll be interested to see what this really means in practice. Disney must surely be aware that Guests are already self-organizing on twitter when an attraction has a soft-opening, or another construction wall is removed. Could they be planning to jump into that stream of communication and add something to the mix? Or could the upcoming replacement for the Disney Mobile Magic application truly be a new way to engage Guests, and not just another guidebook with ADR capabilities? Today's smart phones are the perfect opportunity for a digital-only, user-customizable Pal Mickey replacement.

We don't know much about LTM yet. There's a lot of potential there, but will Disney make good on it? I'll be looking forward to more details, fingers crossed.