We have to hand it to Disney, they definitely know how to get our attention!
As a company, Disney does a lot of things exceptionally well. And one thing at which they seem to consistently excel is capturing our attention (and imagination)! Here are seven times that Disney’s marketing efforts had us totally captivated!
That Cryptic Leadup to the Launch of D23
In 2009, Disney launched D23: The Official Disney Fan Club and held the first biennial D23 Expo in Anaheim. D23 was officially announced by then-CEO Bob Iger in March of 2009, but the company had been dropping hints about the launch of something for months leading up to the reveal!
Disney conspicuously dropped the number “23” seemingly everywhere before the big unveiling, and fans tirelessly debated the significance. Just when the anticipation was reaching its peak, Iger dropped the news — and it was confirmed that while the “D” stands for Disney, of course, the “23” is in reference to 1923, the year in which the company was founded. So after months of anticipation and speculation, Disney fans were rewarded with their own club!
Build Up to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge first opened in Disneyland on May 31, 2019, and in Disney World on August 29, 2019. But this was an event that had been hyped up way before the Disneyland Galaxy’s Edge welcomed its first travelers!
Disney had long touted the next-level immersion that guests would experience on Batuu. With experiences like Oga’s Cantina, Droid Depot, and Savi’s Workshop, guests could create their own custom Star Wars fantasy, right within the middle of a Disney park!
And it’s no surprise that Disney had to plan for serious crowd control at the openings. In Disneyland, reservations were needed to enter Galaxy’s Edge for the first few weeks the land was open, and Disneyland Resort hotel guests were given priority access into a virtual queue for a “boarding pass.”
And since the land’s headlining attraction, Rise of the Resistance, is now open on both coasts, the Galaxy’s Edge hype has continued to soar. Even many guests who aren’t the biggest Star Wars fans can’t wait to experience the immersive new land!
One More Disney Day
If you were given an “extra” day of the year, would you prefer to spend it in a Disney park? Well, that’s the thinking on which Disney capitalized for the “One More Disney Day” promotion in 2012! Advertised as an “extra day of magic,” both Disneyland and Magic Kingdom were open for 24 hours straight, from 6AM on February 29 to 6AM on March 1st.
This was the first time that both Magic Kingdom and Disneyland park were open for 24-hours straight, plus it was an incredibly rare opportunity for guests to be in the parks overnight.
And as if the unique experience wasn’t enough, in the One More Disney Day Sweepstakes, Disney chose one winner a day from January 1st through February 29th to receive a vacation for four in either Disneyland or Disney World — so 60 families also received a free trip during this promotion!
Between the chance to experience the parks at night AND the potential for a free vacation, One More Disney Day definitely had our full attention!
Monstrous Summer at Disney World
In 2013, Disney World capitalized on several major openings AND an anticipated new Pixar film to bring us the “Monstrous Summer” promotion. The headlining new offering was New Fantasyland, the largest expansion in the history of Magic Kingdom park. This brought additions such as Under the Sea — Journey of The Little Mermaid, the enhanced Dumbo the Flying Elephant, Be Our Guest Restaurant, and more!
Plus, with the film premiere of Monsters University, Disney also threw in some scary surprises! The monorail became the “Monsterail” with an MU-inspired design. And we even got to see Mike Wazowski and Sulley projected onto Spaceship Earth!
Between some awesome permanent additions and some limited time monster magic, “Monstrous Summer” was, shall we say, a real scream!
Year of a Million Dreams
The “Year of a Million Dreams” promotion took place at both Disneyland Resort and Disney World Resort from October 1st, 2006 to December 31st, 2008. Yep, it was so popular that it extended well past its original “year” mark!
The main focus of this campaign was the Disney Dreams Giveaway, in which theme park guests were randomly selected to win one of many prizes. While many of the prizes were small, like an extra FastPass, the luckiest of guests could win an entire trip, or a stay in the Cinderella Castle Suite!
The Cinderella Castle Suite is so exclusive that guests actually can’t purchase a stay there — they either have to be invited by Disney or win a contest! That made the potential of winning this prize even more exciting!
Here’s the SUPER EXPENSIVE way you can take a peek inside the Cinderella Castle Suite during your park day!
“Frozen 2” Teaser Trailer
We remember watching the Frozen 2 teaser trailer for the first time back in 2019. It starts with Elsa staring out at a dark and choppy sea, before she sprints directly towards the waves. The music builds as she uses her ice powers to batter her way through the water — and then a powerful wave pushes her below the surface. Cut to scenes of a concerned Anna leaping into the unknown and Kristoff and Sven galloping with a pack of reindeer. In the final scene, the gang faces a misty forest and suddenly Anna grabs a sword and swings it towards…cut to black. UM, WHAT??
The teaser trailer was purposefully vague and action-packed to get us (and countless other Disney fans!) buzzing about what happens to these beloved characters in the sequel to the one of the most popular Disney films of all time. Disney did release additional trailers with more backstory closer to the film premiere date. But their marketing campaign clearly worked — as of January 2020 Frozen 2 became the highest-grossing animated movie of all time!
The Disney Vault
Before the days of Disney+, The Walt Disney Company had another ingenious method for keeping its movies relevant — the Disney Vault. With this system, Disney would only sell its movies on home video for a limited period of time, before the movie was put “back in the vault” and consumers would have to wait years for it to be released again.
This allowed Disney to create a sense of scarcity for their films, and generate hype over the re-release of movies that were decades old. Yup, the Disney marketing team definitely knows what they’re doing!
What can we say, Disney sure has a flair for capturing our attention and sparking our imagination! These promotions, campaigns, and creative releases make it exciting to be a Disney fan. And we can’t wait to see what they come up with next!
What has Disney done that’s totally captured your attention? Share your story in the comments!