I’m just as cynical as the next gal. But let’s face it, when it comes to my kids, I’m as big a pile of manipulatable mush as you’ll ever find.
My oldest son Jacob is three and half, and Danny is seven months. So naturally, my thoughts are turning to when they’ll be ready to go to Walt Disney World.
I made my first visit to the Magic Kingdom when I was 10, and the husband didn’t even ever set foot in Florida until his late twenties, so we never had that wide eyed innocent experience at Disney. And naturally, being Ms. Mush (see above), I’d like to give that to my kids.
Of course, we need to wait until the youngest can walk and the oldest doesn’t scream in fear at the sight of a costumed character. Still, that doesn’t mean I can’t think ahead.
I logged onto Disney’s Web site and requested the ” Happiest Celebration on Earth” vacation planning kit. A few weeks later, the package arrived. If I wasn’t already hooked, this would have sealed the deal.
The kit includes a DVD offering an overview of the Orlando parks, hotels and attractions. Not surprisingly, the production values are movie quality, and it provides an engaging tour of the resort. I definitely won’t let Jacob anywhere near this disc. If he saw even a glimpse, he’d (a) make me watch is over and over and over, and (b) he’s already hyped up enough about the Disney brand, thanks to the new ” Mickey Mouse Clubhouse” cartoon.
(An aside: The Disney Channel only runs the show on weekends, but runs promos for it hourly to whip toddlers into a frenzy. Thanks Disney, she typed sarcastically.)
A planning CD-ROM also comes in the package. This takes users step by step through information about the resorts, park passes, dining packages and must-see attractions for different types of travelers. It has the successful marketing effect of making one feel like they’d be saving money by dropping a few grand on a trip.
Various brochures round out the kit. A flyer for a Disney Chase Visa is appealing, but too vague. I think cardmembers earn reward points/dollars in addition to discounts, but beyond the $40 in Disney Dollars one gets for joining, I’m not sure how one accrues the bounty. A business reply card for a friend to get the planning kit is more to the point, as is the Magical Gatherings group travel guide and the overview planning guide, which features maps of the park and sample vacation packages.
Let’s face it. Disney World may be the epitome of commercialization in American life, but they do a heck of a job making it a place families want to be.