James Shillinglaw | May 04, 2015 2:43 PM ET
Disney's Lynn Clark Talks about Disneyland's 60th
This month Disneyland Resort is beginning the celebration of its 60th anniversary as one of the most iconic destination theme parks in the world. I’ll be at the opening event on May 20-22, so I sat down with Lynn Clark, vice president of travel agency sales and national accounts for Walt Disney Parks & Resorts, to get her best advice on how to best experience Disneyland during this landmark celebration, as well as all of Disney’s other products, including Walt Disney World, Disney Cruise Line, Adventures by Disney and Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, in Hawaii.
How should travel agents be selling Disneyland this year during the 60th anniversary? We’re very excited about Disneyland’s Diamond Celebration. It's officially kicking off on May 22, and we'll feature three main nighttime spectaculars. First is the “Paint the Night Parade,” which is a nighttime celebration on Main Street U.S.A.
It will feature a dazzling display of technology with more than one and a half million brilliant LED lights that will flash and glow, bringing Disney stories to life. The parade will have special effects, catchy tunes, unforgettable music, fun surprises and spectacular floats with Mickey leading the grand finale.
Second, we’ll have a fireworks spectacular called “Disneyland Forever” in the Disneyland tradition of fantastic fireworks. It will feature breathtaking projections across Disneyland Park, great music and special effects, all of which will set a new standard for nighttime fireworks.
Third is World of Color, the new show that celebrates the wonderful world of Walt Disney over the waters of Paradise Pier in Disney's California Adventure. Neil Patrick Harris and Mickey Mouse will be hosting World of Color, taking guests on a journey to celebrate Walt Disney and his dream with more than 1,200 fountains, lasers and special effects, plus a stirring musical score. So those are really the three key things we want travel agents to focus on for guests who have been here before and those who have not.
Let's move over for Walt Disney World. How should travel agents be selling Walt Disney World today? For Walt Disney World we are celebrating the Coolest Summer Ever. It will be hosted by Olaf, our summer-loving snowman from the film “Frozen.” Throughout the summer guests will find cool thrills at Walt Disney World resort. There will be cool attractions at all of our theme parks, cool music, waterparks and a frozen summer of fun at Disney's Hollywood Studios. There also will be a royal processional, a sing-a-long show and a Frozen fireworks display.
What is new at Disney Cruise Line this year? How should travel agents be selling the cruise line now and in the future? We recently announced the summer 2016 itineraries for Disney Cruise Line. That includes our first British Isles itinerary where we’ll be visiting Scotland, England, Ireland and France. Throughout the summer of 2016, Disney Cruise Line also will be returning to Norway, Iceland and ports of call in more than 15 European countries. So Europe is a big focus for us.
In addition to such European destinations as the Baltic, Greek Isles and Mediterranean, we'll also be visiting our favorite destinations like Alaska, the Caribbean and Bahamas. We’ve also announced that guests can celebrate the legendary adventures and iconic characters from Star Wars aboard eight special sailings onboard the Disney Fantasy. We're calling it Star Wars Day at Sea.
In addition, we also just announced that in November 2015 the captivating music and characters of the animated film “Tangled” will enchant audiences once again in an original stage show onboard the Disney Magic. This will be called “Tangled the Musical” and it's the first time this wonderful Disney tale has been adapted for the stage.
What about other Disney products like Aulani, a Disney resort and spa? We want our guests to enjoy the many experiences of Aulani, because we really believe there's truly something for everyone in the family. The water play area has proven to be very popular, featuring a spectacular infinity pool and grotto. There are a lot of poolside and beachside dining options for guests of all ages.
We also really like to focus on our accommodations, where each category of room, suite and villa is especially designed for families. Many families opt to stretch out in one-, two- or three-bedroom villas, which feature full kitchens, laundry, separate bedrooms and living room space. Auntie's Beach House, our club for kids ages 3-12, is filled with experiences designed to immerse kids in the culture and music of Hawaii and share Hawaiian storytelling with our guests. This is included in the nightly rate.
What is new at Adventures by Disney, your escorted tour company? Believe it or not we're celebrating 10 years with Adventures by Disney. Our guided group tour options now include more than 30 destinations on six different continents, including such iconic locations as London, Paris, Italy, as well as trips that include Arizona and Utah in the United States. New for 2015 we have a trip that explores the Amazon as well as Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands.
And no doubt you’ve heard that we will be launching a river cruise program for families in 2016, with five seven-day sailings of the Danube aboard an AmaWaterways ship, including four in July next year and one around Christmas time.
Are there any updates to Disney's marketing programs, at least where travel agents are concerned? There are a variety of tools and resources always available on DisneyTravelAgents.com. Most recently we refreshed the content to focus on Disneyland Resorts' Diamond Celebration, which will enable our travel agent partners to engage more with their clients, build awareness for their agencies and ultimately sell more vacations to Disneyland during the Diamond Celebration.
The home page of DisneyTravelAgents.com has a section that is constantly being updated with news about all of our Disney destinations and products. We have specific news related to Disneyland Diamond Celebration.
Are there any updates to your College of Disney Knowledge educational program for travel agents? Similar to DisneyTravelAgents.com, we provide regular updates on our products on with the College of Disney Knowledge. We want to make it a great resource for learning and education for our travel agency partners. In 2014, we had over 15,000 new graduates of the program alone. When a travel agent graduates from the program, we provide a press release that they can use in their marketing materials, as well as a Disney specialist designation. There are opportunities for agents to visit our resorts, hotels and cruises, which only apply to those agents who are graduates of the College of Disney Knowledge.
Is there anything else you want to get out to travel agents about Disney? With our portfolio of products there is truly something for everyone and always something new to experience. Families that have enjoyed vacations at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim may want to experience Walt Disney World in Orlando. For those who have loved cruising with Disney Cruise Line, they may be the perfect candidate to explore a new adventure with Adventures by Disney or a visit to Aulani. We always want to make sure travel agents are thinking about the full portfolio and certainly maximizing repeat travel opportunities.
Get Travel Deals and Travel News
Latest Travel News
Airlines & Airports
Airlines & Airports
Hotel & Resort
Cruise Line & Cruise Ship