The Year of a Million Dreams launched in early October of this year and as a Studios obsessed nerd I can’t help but notice there’s simply not enough “stuff” being done at the Studios. Free Disney Vacation Club Membership? Honestly, who wants that? Flown around the world to the various Disney theme parks? Overrated. We need more Studios giveaways because let’s face it, there’s just not enough Studios love going around. There is a real opportunity here to create some buzz with the Year of a Million Dreams celebration and the Studios could spread a lot of “Hey, did you hear what they’re doing at the Studios?” comments.
Let’s start with the little things that they can give away en masse. Golden FASTPASS’s, free pins and ice cream bars are swell but there is so much better things to give away to the masses to make them feel better about not winning something really cool.
- Movie cell giveaways – Cells of animated films are always a fun giveaway (they usually are free when you buy a DVD from Disney) so when the dream squad sees a little boy wearing a Dash costume, hand him a cell from the Incredibles of Dash in action.
- Attraction themed giveaways – If you’re at the Tower of Terror, have a bellhop walk up to a guest and say “Oh, here are those towels you requested” or in Rock ‘n Roller Coaster have a CM hand a guest a bag of CD’s to “review” or at Fantasmic! give a kid a light up Sorcerer’s Hat and tell them it’s just in case Mickey can’t make it.
Now let’s move onto the good stuff. Here are some ideas for wishes to grant
- Ultimate Tower of Terror drop sequence – Picture this, if you will, a devoted Tower of Terror fan that clearly has the pre-show memorized and adores the attraction. Let Junior ride Tower with his group but instead of the usual 30 second drop sequence (if it’s even that long) create one uber drop sequence that is comprised of lesser drop sequences for a drop sequence lasting minutes instead of seconds.
- Come alive at the Movies – In the Great Movie Ride, get some great celebrity impersonators to make the depicted characters come alive (Clint Eastwood, Sigourney Weaver, Gene Kelly, etc) appear to come right out of the scene and interact with the guests.
- Anything in the ABC Theater – If they put anything in that old theater and make use of perfectly good real estate that would be a dream for me.
- Animate yourself – I’m no animator so I don’t know how long it takes, but with the Studios being about being a working movie studio, why not take a random guest and put them in a quick 30 second animated clip of them interacting with classic Disney characters?
- Real celebs – This can be for any attraction that depicts celebrities (Great Movie Ride, Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular, etc). Have the real life celebrity that is depicted show up for a show/ride and make a personal appearance. Can you imagine watching Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular with the boulder scene only to realize it’s actually Harrison Ford?
- Televised shows – Have as many television shows film at the Studios unannounced. Make it seem like if you’re going to the Disney World for a week, odds are there’ll be something filming at the Studios. This relates to a greater need for the Studios to bring the production back to the Studios.
- The Too Young Pack – A gripe of the Great Movie Ride is the movies depicted are too old for today’s generation. When a kid comes out of the attraction, hand him/her a pack of DVD’s of all the movies shown.
- Ultimate Driving Experience – Between shows at Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show, let some dads live out their dream of racing the stunt cars around the lot and let them go over a jump or at least be in the car with the certified stunt driver.
So what should be the grand prize? There’s no doubt that the Studios needs something to compete with the night in Cinderella’s Castle and here are a few ideas
- Attend a movie premiere – Before the Year of a Million Dreams celebration is over, there will likely be a Disney/Pixar film released and instead of premiering it in LA, have the premier at the Studios and have it a star studded event with celebs, TV coverage, the works and you the guest gets to be front row, center.
- A night in the Hollywood Tower Hotel – Fairy tale castle stays are cute if that’s your thing but what about something for the rest of us? Sure everyone’s 8 year old would love it but why not have a great alternative. Create a hotel room in the attraction that follows the initial idea of having a working hotel alongside the attraction and create a Twilight zone inspired hotel experience. There are so many possibilities here for theming; an initial idea for the Tower of Terror was to have a real hotel on one side of the building, and the attraction on the other side of the building with hints throughout the real hotel to the attraction part.
By distinguishing wishes from park to park, there can be some real interest in not just going to Walt Disney World, but going to each park at least once so you can have a shot at getting something unique to that park.