Disney is expanding its vacation outreach in Europe--both by land and by sea. We got an update on location at Walt Disney World.
In March, the company announced that Disney Cruise Line would be going to Northern Europe and sailing to Norway and Iceland for the first time next year. Departing from Copenhagen, the tours--which will run from seven to 11 nights--are expected to include elements from the recent film Frozen and will bring guests to city centers and small villages where they can learn about Viking history. The longer cruises will include visits to Scotland. At a recent media event at Walt Disney World, Carrie Matson, director of marketing and sales strategy for Disney Cruise Line, said that while the company had been planning these new itineraries for years, the success of Frozen “cemented the need.” There has, she added, been a “huge demand” from fans for visits to the land that inspired the movie. Bookings have been available for a little more than a month, and while no cruises are sold out just yet, “some are getting close,” she said.
Karl Holz, president, new vacation operations and Disney Cruise Line, noted that ships will sail to the Baltic from both Copenhagen and Dover, England. Ports of call are slated to include Helsinki, Stockholm and St. Petersburg.
Beyond Northern Europe, Disney Cruise Lines will also return to the Mediterranean, with visits to Santorini and Corfu scheduled for this coming summer.
Also inspired by Frozen, Adventures by Disney (which was just nominated as North America’s leading tour operator by the World Travel Awards) is launching a new trip to Norway that will include river rafting, trout fishing, folk dancing and interactions with locals. Bergen, the city that inspired the movie’s fictional Arendelle, will serve as the start-off point for the tour.
“Europe is our primary driver for Adventures by Disney,” Ken Potrock, senior vice president for Disney Vacation Club and Adventures by Disney, said, noting the company’s established tours in Paris and London, Germany, Italy and now Norway. “All of those trips are incredibly popular,” he said. “We are maniacally focused on more. I think there are really neat opportunities for us to think about how [we can] continue to expand.” Following a Scotland tour inspired by the movie Brave, a visit to Norway was obligatory.
“The most popular locations for us continue to be locations like Italy,” he noted. “We're looking at ways to think about where would be go in the future from an Italian perspective.”
Looking ahead, he added, the team has to consider the demands of travelers as they choose new destinations and create new itineraries. “Is it historical or is it culinary?” he asked rhetorically. “Is it wine-making or is it more relaxation and elegance? There are a lot of different ways for us to begin to think about [travel to] Europe.”