We have a special weekend update for you today on something we just found out about. Since the item involves an iconic Disneyland attraction, and it may grow beyond that first installation into several others, it'll be sure to provoke a lot of discussion among park aficionados. We'll go ahead and post about it today, then follow through later this week with the rest of our regular report.
So rather than just pouring another cup of coffee and heating up your toaster strudel this morning, what you might want to do instead is get prepared to mix up a batch of that trusty old hangover remedy, and then find out the location of the nearest tattoo removal clinic. (Inquire about a volume discount while you're at it.) Let’s get going shall we? - Al
I guess the question was not "if" this was going to happen, but "when." The lure was the continued success of the Glow (then ElecTRONica) party event at California Adventure (DCA), first dreamed up as a time-killer for visitors who were biding their time until a later World of Color show, then ending up making visitors so happy, that they were rating it higher than the show they were waiting for. The huge pay-off in cocktail sales was so rich in fact, that the one-time only plans for the event became permanent, and of course immediate work begun on expanding the concept into the rest of the resort.
Among the first ideas thrown around was to create a second cocktail/dance event in DCA, but the lawyers were aghast at the suggestion that it might take over the one other area that could easily host it, the new Cars Land. "Drinking and Driving?" one of the Burbank legal suits e-mailed back, "I suppose we'll also be selling 'Designated Driver' sweatshirts, baseball caps and trading pins?" It didn't take long after that to shift gears, but now the very profitable concept is being worked on for Disneyland across the way, not only as an added entertainment offering, but in what appears to be the mining of an entirely new market/demographic area the company is now going after.
Disneyland Entertainment concept art. A neon alternative is also being looked at.
In doing all the legal and logistical research involving staging such a event in Disneyland on a regular basis, one comment that popped up in a memo was about the sale of alcohol. "If only we could get the same profit WITHOUT the drinks!" In the ensuing rounds of e-mail exchanges that the higher ups take occasional glances at, parks head Tom Staggs chimed in with "After seeing the huge line for Dole Whips, I have to wonder myself." Then financial head Jay Rasulo dug up a P&L (profit & loss) on the Tiki Room stand offerings he had from when he was in charge of the parks, ("That Dole thingie is in Frontierland, right?" he noted) and Bob Iger remarked on the exchange questioning if maybe the whole idea would fly at all outside of the already established liquor-licenced parks. D23 (like clockwork it seems) complained that any event the park planned would take away from their own offerings, but several suits privately complained back to Iger that years later the fanclub still couldn't get their act together, and their notes were simply archived.
Leave it to George Kalogridis (current resort president, and the force behind the original GlowFest) in a dogged follow-up not only to find a path to a larger revenue stream, but a way to work it into the park more seamlessly. "At DCA, it was just drinks and a DJ," he wrote, but at Disneyland it can offer so much more for us in the revenue model, "...as well as a further expansion into the demographic we service." Apparently work currently going on in the Matterhorn attraction is a part of George's initiative; which we'll detail here for you.
Introducing "Disney klub55"
"Disney klub55" as the memo states, is a three-part initiative that will help bring the excitement sparked by DCA's GlowFest to its companion park across the esplanade.
The first part of the program is the establishment of klub55 itself, a new product concept/line/entertainment offering from Disney. It will be home to a slightly older, more upscale Princess portrayed as a "hip party girl." Geared to a young teen demographic (think Twilight/Hunger Games) it lets the company extend/continue its successful entertainment and merchandising relationships with their young female customers.
"Cool, groovy, hip and dangerous" is the look the park entertainment head
designer Tom Finland was looking for. "I want to almost feel mugged by the
excitement of the urban market we are so actively in pursuit of." He
added "I find black and purple to be an especially exciting color combination."
Part two of the klub55 story is the creation of a klub55 persona for the most popular current princesses. Example: By day, Beauty and the Beast's Belle works hard to be a most gracious meet and greet personality - cheerfully signing endless autograph books, offering warm hugs, and posing for those treasured keepsake photographs that you can buy at the Main Street photo shop. She appears in parades and shows, as well as in the new Fantasy Faire meet and greet area, where park guests line up first come, first served (unless they book a character meal).
By night though, Belle becomes Bel, a glamorous and vivacious party personality. While still gracious about signing autographs and posing for pictures with most visitors, she favors those who have made the effort to see her in the nightclub type settings, and she'll be the first to quietly disappear behind a velvet rope into a private room or cabana "should any real paparazzi suddenly pop in."
Princess makeovers: Original Princess Names - Top Row (left to right) Belle, Jasmine, Aurora, Tiana, Ariel;
Bottom Row - Snow White, Cinderella, Mulan, Rapunzel. "We nicknamed them 'The Tiara Brigade' commented
the Entertainment casting director, Austin Tachous. "Amazingly they all came in together and were available
to start work right away the next day. What luck!"
For those visitors who would like to spend more time with these 'royal' klub55 members, in place of a regular character meal Disney Dining can book a private klub55 meet and greet opportunity, which is only one of the many ways to increase revenues for the nighttime party events.
Party, Party, Party
Speaking of parties -just how are they going to fit in a Glow/ElecTRONica/T-Party type of event into an already crowded Disneyland? The Festival of Fools arena may end up as part of a heavily rumored OZ-themed addition (there are a few other concepts floating around) so that's out, but now the word is that they are working on an attraction overlay type of install.
We mentioned the Matterhorn, and if the after-hours installs of huge lighting arrays, mirror balls, hideaway bars and a revamp of the much fabled indoor basketball court is any indication, it may end up as soon as June 15th as the first nighttime party event at Disneyland proper.
Proposed flyer/ad test layout. Most executives didn't care much for it, "sloppy," "yecch the colors" were
just some of the comments. The
Yeti from Monsters, Inc. was used at John Lassetter's insistence - as he is now
being installed in the Matterhorn. Disneyland outsourced the flyer design to a local high school auto shop.
The overlay is simple, the Matterhorn will become a daytime coaster only, maybe closing as early as 6pm, but more likely 7 or 8pm. The bobsleds are then whisked off to a new underground storage area, and new walkway panels are rolled over and securely locked onto the coaster's tracks. As soon as 9pm, but more likely closer to 10, party-goers arrive to a festive new MatterHORNica event, where they walk around the former track paths through the now festively lit attraction interior. Lounges are everywhere, from Dolly's Lemon Drop Inn and Well's Drinks to a special up charge "Anti-Matter" lounge, where you may just find a Kardashian or two, drawn there no doubt by the basketball court.
"We wanted to make sure the costuming for the cast members was as exciting as the event itself" remarked
Disney Entertainment creative head
Roberto "Rerun" Remus (above, right). "Think Chicago (the musical)
and Project Runway (99 cent store episode) thrown together, like a frog in a blender. Well, maybe not."
Gaily dressed cast members (above) will be strategically placed all through the attraction, making sure no one wanders off a ledge or down a waterfall. The whole event will be topped (quite literally) by a giant mirrored disco ball at the top of the mountain signaling to all the party event of the evening is now underway.
Other possibilities... oy oh!
If the Matterhorn party is a success, other concepts are already in play for Disneyland. Attractions/party names now under discussion include: "Big Thunder-rama," "splashdown," and "Drink up me Harpies, Yo-ho!"
One other item of interest may be what they have planned for Main Street, logo below...
Oh-kay - that should do it for today. ;) See you at Disneyland!
Al Lutz may be
e-mailed at [email protected] - Please keep in mind he may not be able to
respond to each note personally. FTC-Mandated Disclosure: As of December 2009, bloggers are required by the Federal Trade
Commission to disclose payments and freebies. Al Lutz did not receive any
payments, free items, or free services from any of the parties discussed in
this article. He pays for his own admission to theme parks and their
associated events, unless otherwise explicitly noted.