|Everyone who visits a Walt Disney
World Resort or Disneyland Resort theme park on their birthday in
2009 can get in free, as Disney Parks embraces a newly identified
family travel trend called “celebration vacations.”
In this new national trend, American families are hitting the road to mark life’s special occasions – birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, reunions and more – with a “celebration vacation.” In 2009, Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts lead this growing trend with new entertainment and services that allow guests to turn their personal milestones into magical Disney experiences.
And to kick it all off – a first-ever opportunity for guests to receive a free ticket to one of the Walt Disney World or Disneyland theme parks on their birthday in 2009.
“Birthdays are the one occasion that we all share every year,” said Jay Rasulo, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. “We thought a free birthday ticket would be the icing on the cake as we extend this new ‘celebration vacation’ trend to Disney Parks.”
Disney parks provide the perfect setting for this new style of vacation that celebrates the special occasions in life, Rasulo added.
Whether a guest is celebrating a birthday, an anniversary, Quinceañera or any special occasion, Disney parks already are filled with favorite characters, world-class attractions and entertainment, and legendary guest service – exactly the “something for everyone” that trend-watchers say families look for in a “celebration vacation.”
“The special moments in your life become truly magical when you celebrate at a Disney park,” Rasulo said. “Sharing a milestone at Disney connects families, friends and generations.”
|A nationwide survey of nearly 4,600
adults conducted by Ypartnership – co-author of the influential
National Travel Monitor – showed that 70 percent of U.S. leisure
travelers have taken a vacation with the primary purpose of marking
a special occasion in their lives – a “celebration vacation,” as Ypartnership President and CEO Peter Yesawich termed it.
Respondents mentioned a broad range of events worth celebrating with a special vacation – not just birthdays and anniversaries but a first vacation with children, a job promotion or recovery from an illness.
Whenever something positive happens in their lives, people seek out ways to make them more special, Yesawich said, and vacations are clearly perceived as both an appropriate and desirable way to do so.
Time does pass quickly and there is a growing trend to slow down our frenetic lifestyles and stop to rejoice around the things that matter,” he said. “Families on ‘celebration vacations’ are looking to truly commemorate moments in their lives – in special places everyone can enjoy.”
Research showed that when they take that “celebration vacation,” families are looking for destinations that provide activities for children and – better yet – activities adults and children can enjoy together.
Given these findings, it’s not surprising that Disney Parks topped the list of destinations where families would most like to celebrate these special occasions,” Yesawich said.
|“We see our parks as the ideal
setting for a personal celebration,” Rasulo said. “Guests can
immerse themselves in their favorite stories and their favorite
characters, creating a visit they’ll never forget.
“And when our cast members get involved, it feels as if the entire park is celebrating along with you.”
At Walt Disney World Resort, guests can add on to the fun, choosing from more than 200 experiences ranging from breathtaking (magical fireworks cruises, sunrise safaris, diving the depths with undersea creatures) to mirth-making (Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, character dining, kids’ pirate adventures). At Disneyland Resort, celebrants can enjoy more than 50 magical experiences, including “My Disneyland Birthday Party” and unique Disneyland guided tours.
With all there is to do in Disney parks, guests can tailor their celebration with favorite attractions, favorite characters and special experiences. Maybe they have a “princess” day with themed meals, shows, attractions and perfectly princess merchandise at Disneyland. Or they turn Walt Disney World “wild” with trail riding, bass fishing and water skiing.
Even before the Ypartnership findings, Disney noticed the celebration trend happening in its parks, Rasulo noted. For instance, guests have visited the parks to propose marriage, celebrate a child’s passage into high school, or pull the whole family together for the golden anniversary of their parents. “But Walt Disney World and Disneyland are now poised to champion milestone vacations for families and friends in a breakthrough way,” he said. “We’re asking our guests, ‘What will YOU celebrate?’
“Part of the celebration is all the firsts that magically happen at Disney Parks,” Rasulo said. “Guests become the star of their own celebration. It could be a first trip to Disney or a first family vacation without the stroller. We want to make a first visit – and every visit – even more memorable.”
Even if they’re not celebrating, Rasulo said, guests will be immersed in a “Celebrate Today!” spirit, making every day a party.
|Planning any event can be a
challenge. With Academy Travel's new
celebration planning tools, it’s easier than ever for guests to plan
celebrations large and small, customizing and personalizing each
experience and tending to all the details, from a special cake to an
elaborate one-of-a-kind celebration that only Disney could create.
Thanks to new Web tools, guests can discover magical experiences, unique events, dining enhancements and more.
Academy Travel’s planning services allow guests to stay focused on what really matters – the people closest to them. And vacation packages make celebrating at Disney right for any budget.
Depending on the Disney
park they are headed to, guests can order everything from special
dining to princess tea parties, from yacht cruises to treasure
hunting on a pirate sailing adventure, from a quiet trail ride to
parasailing thrills. Or they can opt for magical experiences for
their group – from dessert parties to a Magic Kingdom fireworks
cruise to special entertainment.
|Disney is unwrapping all-new
entertainmentwith memory-makers in mind, allowing guests to focus
their celebration on favorite characters, favorite attractions and
favorite stories to create a custom celebration in the park. New
park experiences in 2009 for all park guests to enjoy:
Street Parties: Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Park come to life with daily interactive street parties. The call to “Celebrate Today!” goes out to guests, music floods the streets, dancing kicks into high gear and the parks become “the happiest party on Earth.” The fun is nonstop during "Move It! Shake It! Celebrate It! at Walt Disney World Resort and "Celebrate! A Street Party" at Disneyland Park (March 2009).
Tomorrowland Party: A high-energy, retro-futuristic music video dance party, "Stitch's SuperSonic Celebration" features Stitch, an interactive dance troupe, and a DJ celebration host who’s inviting all Walt Disney World guests to come party, dance and celebrate. (Spring 2009)
Park Décor: The parks will be decorated with colorful banners, balloons and festive party
hats – as if awaiting your celebration.
Buttons: New complimentary celebration buttons will help Disney cast members and fellow guests recognize you and your celebration.
|Disney parks are the ultimate
setting for any celebration, turning a special occasion into a
magical Disney experience. And with the opportunity of free
admission to a Walt Disney World or Disneyland Resort theme park on
your birthday in 2009, it’s even more special. All it takes is a
valid ID including proof of birth date. Guests can get more details
and start the process by registering their birthdays at
“We believe Disney parks are uniquely positioned for any celebration and offer the ultimate setting for marking a cherished milestone,” Rasulo said. “People trust Disney to make an occasion truly magical. And now more than ever, Disney will help guests seize those special moments and turn them into memories that will live forever in their hearts.”
For more information or to book a Disney “celebration vacation,” call Academy Travel at 609/978-0740.
Travel is an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner