Year of a Million Dreams Kicks Off at Disney World; Exclusive News About Future Disney Attractions

Travel Agent was on hand Tuesday morning at the Magic Kingdom as Walt Disney Corp. kicked off its "Year of a Million Dreams" media blitz with what seems like an ingenious publicity stunt. An Ohio family took possession of the Magic Kingdom for a full 90 minutes Tuesday morning before the park formally opened to other guests. TA watched as the Spangler family, walking abreast of each other with hands held, took their initial somewhat tentative steps onto Main Street, USA in the Magic Kingdom, and then proceeded deliberately on to a long red carpet, laid out specifically for them, and leading down Main Street, USA to Cinderella's Castle. About halfway down, the family of four turned and waved to the ample national media contingent assembled for the occasion, and continued waving as hordes of costumed Disney park workers, or "cast members" swarmed them from both sides of Main Street, USA. Confetti spewed from the top of buildings and "When You Wish Upon A Star" blared from unseen speakers. The Year of a Million Dreams refers to Disney's new approximately year-long marketing campaign, during which Disney park employees will give out gifts or "dreams" to visitors. In Disney parlance, a dream represents anything from having the Magic Kingdom to yourself for an entire morning, as was the case for the Spangler family, to a fast-pass that allows the recipient to skip the park's infamous and onerous lines. For more information, agents should log on to [www.DisneyTravelAgents.com].

In other news: Over dinner on Monday with Disney officials, Travel Agent got the still-unreleased low-down on a host of new Disney World Magic Kingdom attractions known as "immersive experiences" that sound, in theory, like real winners for future visitors. They include: "Captain Jack Sparrow's Pirate Tutorial," where children will learn from the Pirates of the Caribbean movie character how to act and live like a pirate—or, in other words, swing a sword, sail the seas and spot treasure. Disney officials tell TA that participating children will also take the Pirate's Oath. At "Woody's Cowboy Camp," children will learn how to live like a cowboy from the popular Toy Story character. At the "Let's Have a Ball" experience, Disney will hold a mock royal ball at what they're referring to as the "King's Royal Court." Princess Aurora and Prince Phillip from Sleeping Beauty will host the ball. Children will dance and make merry alongside the royalty. The "High School Musical Pep Rally" will allow children to take part in a pep rally based on the highly successful Disney movie High School Musical. Also, and TA thinks this might be an exclusive, since moviemaker George Lucas hasn't yet signed off on all the final details, Disney is planning an "immersive experience" for its California Disneyland property to be known as "Jedi Training Academy." You can guess for yourself what children will learn there.

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