Weeks before the release of Toy Story 3, guests at Walt Disney World Resort had a sneak peek at characters and storylines from the new hit film.
Since early May, guests have experienced the new characters in many ways, through attractions, shows and parades, merchandise, and food and beverage.
It’s a prime example of Disney putting synergy in motion across its various business units.
“We regularly evaluate synergy opportunities between our films and our parks, looking for ways to bring proven guest favorites to life in a way that only Disney can do,” said Darlene Papalini, vice president of global synergy, broadcast marketing and talent relations for Walt Disney World Resort. “Franchises are never manufactured but always organically come to life in our parks. The response of our guests to stories and characters determines the strength of the franchise.”
Papalini says the teams look at each franchise and story individually; there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Where there is a natural fit to bring in a new story or new characters from an existing franchise – like Toy Story for example – they carefully consider it.
The new characters from the latest chapter from the Toy Story franchise have already been popping up in numerous ways across Walt Disney World Resort:
- A “balloon pop” game hosted by Rex and including new Toy Story 3 characters Trixie and Mr. Pricklepants has been integrated into the Toy Story Mania! attraction at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
- Also at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, guests visiting the Magic of Disney Animation can stop by the colorful toy room of the Sunnyside Day Care and meet Lotso, the newest star of Toy Story 3. Guests can also catch Lotso in the Block Party Bash parade at the park.
- More than 50 Toy Story 3 merchandise items exclusive to theme parks have been sold at locations across property since May, including action figures, plush toys, t-shirts and even a plush Lotso that smells like strawberries.
- Since April, various dining locations across property are using children’s beverage cups featuring Toy Story 3 characters, including a light up Buzz Lightyear straw clip.
Additionally, guest favorites from the Toy Story franchise, like the meet-and-greet photo opportunity with Woody and Buzz Lightyear across from the Toy Story Mania! attraction at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, are spread out at locations across Disney Parks.
Papalini says the idea is to seamlessly bring new characters from the latest chapter of the story into the parks because as the film grows in popularity, more and more guests have an expectation of seeing the new characters.
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