Disney Details 2008 "Dreams" Promotion

On Monday, Disney Parks released details of the extension of its successful "Year of a Million Dreams" campaign, kicking off the 2008 continuation of giveaways by awarding an overnight stay at Disney's private Bahamian island, Castaway Cay, on "Good Morning America." The same prize, which consists of gourmet dining, recreation, beachfront cabana massages and overnight accommodations on a private yacht, also will be awarded to one randomly chosen and extremely lucky park guest, once 2008's Year of a Million Dreams promotion kicks off on January 1, 2008.

A host of 2007 favorites make an appearance again in 2008, including FastPass badges, in-park shopping sprees and Cinderella Castle Suite stays at DisneyWorld. Stays at Disneyland's Mickey Mouse Penthouse will be replaced with a night inside Walt Disney's Dream Suite in the resort-a suite with a similar history to that in the Cinderella Castle: originally intended for use by Walt and his family, but never completed. Throughout most nights of the year, a different winner will be chosen to bring up to five guests to spend a night in the suite, which overlooks New Orleans Square.

Park guests also have the chance to be the sole guest of honor at the largest character breakfast ever held on Main Street, Disney said. One winner and three guests will be treated to breakfast with at least 25 Disney characters in tow, including, of course, Mickey and Minnie. Other prizes include three passes to attend Disneyland's "High School Musical 3" premiere and taking a rare backstage tour of Disney Imagineering in Disneyland. A full catalog of the Year of the Million Dreams giveaways can be found online at [www.2008disenydreamcatalog.com].

Much like this year, Disney plans to launch an aggressive consumer advertising campaign in print, online and on TV to promote the Year of a Million Dreams extension. Disney executives said they are aware of what a critical link travel agents are to the success of the campaign, and so agents can find various marketing materials, vacation planning DVDs and other support online at [www.disneytravelagents.com].

This past year, one agent was randomly selected to spend a night in Disneyland's Mickey Mouse Penthouse and another at Disney World's Cinderella Castle Suite (read about her experience in the October 15 issue of Travel Agent). Will similar bookings-based prizes be available to agents in 2008? "We'll absolutely be doing several scenarios where agents will have an opportunity stay in each suite," a Disney executive said. "We're still looking at dates, but it will be in the near future."

Disney executives acknowledged that agents are a key force driving the success of the campaign, largely by embracing the idea behind the Year of a Million Dreams promotion and making it their own. For example, some agents have given away discounts and nights on the town, while another gave away airfare, on Disney vacations.

Another key to success is to be well informed about not just the dream giveaways, Disney said, but also to know about the coming attractions in 2008, which include the interactive, ride-through video game, Toy Story Mania! and the interactive Black Party Bash parade, debuting at both Florida and California parks next year. (JM)