Limited Time Magic Promotion

Posted On January 13, 2013

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The 2013 Disney promotion is “Limited Time Magic” (which may be an attempt to capitalize on the success of the 24-hour “One More Disney Day” events on both coasts). I’ll keep track of the events here:

Announced in Advance:

  • Unleash the Villains, Friday September 13. DHS will have special villains meets and will be open till 1 am (the 13th hour).

Rumored:

Walt Disney World:

  • “Teen Beach Movie”–Dance Party: May 24-September 11. A daily dance party at Typhoon Lagoon. Once again, I wonder why Disney thinks dance parties are so exciting.
  • Long-Lost Friends redux: vote for a second round of Long Lost friends to appear at the Magic Kingdom:
    • Clarabelle Cow and Horace Horsecollar (at the last long lost friends week)
    • Robin Hood, Friar Tuck, Sheriff of Nottingham, and Prince John (at the last long lost friends week)
    • Fifer Pig, Fiddler Pig, Practical Pig, and the Big Bad Wolf (at the last long lost friends week)
    • Clarice, Chip, and Dale (Chip and Dale aren’t so long lost at all…)
    • Wendell, Liver Lips, Shaker, and Big Al (saw at One More Disney Day, Feb 29 2012, in California)
    • Chicken Little and Abby Mallard
    • Brer Bear, Brer Fox, and Brer Rabbit (saw Brer Rabbit in Animal Kingdom in Dec. 2011)
    • Flik and Princess Atta
    • June and Leo from Little Einsteins
    • Tweedle Dee, Tweedle Dum, and the Queen of Hearts
    • Dr. Facilier and Louis the Alligator
    • Penguins from Mary Poppins (saw in March 2010)
    • Suzy and Perla (saw on one of our first trips)
  • Monsters University Homecomings: June 14 through end of summer. A dance party with Mike and Sulley in Hollywood Studios.
  • Merida joins the Disney Princesses: May 11. There will be a special ceremony, and special merchandise available for purchase.
  • ¡Fiesta! Cinco De Mayo Celebration: May 5 to May 11 at Mexico Pavilion in Epcot. Meet all three Caballeros, see special performances by Mariachi Cobre, buy Cinco de Mayo ear hats (although if they’re the ones pictured as available at Disneyland, they’re just the regular Mexico world showcase ear hats), and enjoy food at the pavilion’s two restaurants.
  • Star Wars Day: May 4 (could it be any other day?). Extra Jedi Training Academy sessions (where adults can participate alongside their children), Star Wars characters on hand to meet guests, an evening dance party, and a special Symphony in the Stars fireworks. On the one hand, this sounds awesome. I would totally consider going to this event. On the other hand, it’s not all that different from Star Wars Weekends (fewer celebrity appearances, less merchandise), so it’s a little like a Star Wars weekend preview event.
  • Party for the Planet: April 22 to 28. Dance party and special merchandise in Animal Kingdom.
  • Go Vintage at the Disney Truck Stop: April 8 to April 14. The Disney Truck Stop merchandise truck (apparently like a food truck, but selling merchandise) will be parked on the West side of Downtown Disney and selling limited edition Disney Truck Stop t-shirts. Note to Disney: this is not amusingly meta. It’s lazy thinking.
  • Monstrous Summer: April 5 to June 13. Savings on hotel rooms for selected summer dates. There will be a Monsters University tie-in (as of yet, unspecified).
  • Living Captain Hook Topiary: April 5. Now why can’t we have more things like this?
  • Spring Break in the City Dance Party: April 3 to April 6. A DJ will host a dance party on the Streets of America in Hollywood Studios from early afternoon through the evening. I guess this is an attempt to deal with Spring Break crowds (interesting that this entertainment ends just before they take away the Disney Channel Rocks and Pixar Parades on April 7), but I’m not sure I understand the appeal of dance parties in a theme park (still).
  • Spring Trolley Show on Main Street USA: March 3 to May 12. The Main Street Trolley show (which has been running three times a day since 2004) is switching over from its winter to spring costumes. There might be some new songs (the old lineup was a medley that is called “Welcome” on the Four Parks, One World CD) but this “limited time magic” is basically neither new nor unexpected. Edited to add: there was a special “fall” show that debuted last fall, too.
  • Superbowl Parade: February 1-3 pre-parade with Goofy playing football and Chip and Dale as refs. February 4: Superbowl MVP. February 1-9 “Soup”-er bowls of soup at Cosmic Rays. The characters in the parade are cool (although not all that exciting). The Superbowl MVP comes every year–another instance of Limited Time repackaging–see many events at Disneyland!
  • Long Lost Friends Week: Meet rare characters in the Magic Kingdom including the Three Little Pigs (Fifer, Fiddler, and Practical) and the Big Bad Wolf; Clarabelle Cow and Horace Horsecollar; Friar Tuck, Robin Hood, Prince John, and the Sheriff of Nottingham; Scrooge McDuck and Professor Ludwig Von Drake; Pinocchio, Gepetto, and Jiminy Cricket. January 21-27. These characters are more exciting than last week’s although we met many of the Robin Hood ones (Friar Tuck, the Sheriff of Nottingham, and King John) in 1991. These characters will not sign autographs, but you do get autograph cards (pre-signed). See Kenny the Pirate’s blog for details on where and when they meet.
  • Winter Wonderland: Special characters and snow in Epcot’s Canada Pavilion. This could be a chance to meet rare characters or familiar characters in rare costumes. January 14-20 (meets 10:30-2:10 and 3:05-5:45). The characters were Donald, Daisy, Chip, and Dale in snowy weather costumes (plaid coat and hat for Donald, red snowflake dress for Daisy, red and green vests and scarves for Chip and Dale).
  • A week of the Bling in the New Year Dance Party: Entertainment on the Tomorrowland stage, and a character dance party, running every night from December 30 to January 5. I can’t say that the dance parties (a perennial feature of the Halloween and Christmas Parties as well) have ever seemed all that appealing to me.

Disneyland:

  • Lone Ranger food offerings: from June 21. Root beer floats in Lone Ranger boot mugs and “Masked Ranger Favorite” burgers with cheese, bacon, and onions at the Golden Horseshoe.
  • Meet Mr. Incredible and Frozone for Father’s Day: June 10-16 in DCA.
  • Opa! Greece Celebration: May 25 and 26. Food offerings, entertainment, and characters. Note these days are *not* being billed as Limited Time Magic, but they seem to be exactly what Limited Time Magic was designed to do, so I’m listing them here anyway.
  • Glow with the Magical Show: May 5, 10, 11, 12, 17, 18, 19. Special reserved seating for those wearing the Glow with the Show ear hats, which will coordinate with the Magical fireworks.
  • Cinco de Mayo: from May 5. Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with a “limited edition” ear hat (direct from Epcot’s Mexico pavilion).
  • May the 4th/Revenge of the 5th: Disneyland’s version of Star Wars Day looks heavier on the merchandise and lighter on everything else, at least at first glance.
  • Take Iron Man for a Test Drive exhibit: from April 13 in Innoventions. Digitally “suit up” in an iron man suit and take a movie poster home. Cute idea. I can’t blame TDO for not bringing this one to Orlando, as they don’t have theme-park rights for the Marvel characters east of the Mississippi.
  • Long Lost Friends Week: April 8-14. The characters will meet at Big Thunder Ranch and include Esmerelda, Clopin, Frollo, the Three Little Pigs, the Big Bad Wolf, Robin Hood, Friar Tuck, Prince John, the Sheriff of Nottingham, Pocahontas, John Smith, Meeko, Governor Ratcliffe, Scrooge McDuck, Ludwig von Drake, Jane, Turk, Mushu, Ping (Mulan disguised as a soldier), Lilo, Stitch, Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather. All of these characters meet with appropriate backgrounds, and Disneyland got 26 friends (as opposed to Walt Disney World’s 16). It looks like the Disneyland event will have classic retired food items paired with this promotion (such as Monte Cristo strips).
  • Vote for which Long Lost Friends visit: March 15-21. Once again, the Disneyland offering beats the WDW offering because DL guests actually get to vote on which friends will visit. Choices are: [Robin Hood, Friar Tuck, Prince John, and the Sheriff of Nottingham], [The Three Little Pigs and the Big Bad Wolf], [Jiminy Cricket, Pinocchio, Geppetto, J. Worthington Foulfellow and Gideon], [Scrooge McDuck and Ludwig VonDrake], [larabelle Cow and Horace Horsecollar], [Brer Rabbit, Brer Bear and Brer Fox], [Ping and Mushu], [Flik and Princess Atta], [Tweedledee & Tweedledum, Alice, Mad Hatter and Queen of Hearts], [Clarice, Chip ‘n’ Dale], [Jane and Turk], [Jack Sparrow and Angelica], [Merlin], [Esmerelda, Clopin, and Frollo], [Lilo and Stitch], [Peter Pan, Wendy, Captain Hook and Mr. Smee], [Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather], [Pocahontas, John Smith, Meeko and Governor Ratcliffe], or [Little Einsteins].
  • Oz Exhibit in WonderGround Gallery in Downtown Disney: March 1-March 9. See costumes and artwork inspired by the new film.
  • Extra Magic Hours and Peter Pan Screening: February 27–five screenings of Peter Pan (to celebrate the Blu-ray/DVD release) and 2 extra hours to enjoy Fantasyland–annual passholders only.
  • Sneak Peek of Oz the Great and Powerful: Showing in the Muppetvision 3-D theater from February 16 to March 31 with special 4-D effects. I suspect the success of this offering will depend on how well the sneak peek is edited to fit a theme-park-appropriate running time. The idea of seeing parts of the movie in advance and with special effects is really cool, especially for a movie that I’m hoping will be good!
  • Lunar New Year Celebration: February 8-11 in DCA. This celebration includes specially dressed characters, unique food offerings, and special entertainment. Another one of last year’s events repackaged (although it has also moved across the Esplanade–from Disneyland to DCA). Screenings of Mulan for AP holders February 11 and 12.
  • Extended DCA hours: Thursdays in February, for AP holders only.
  • Ticket Promotion: for visits between January 7 and March 11, 2013, a three-day park hopper costs $220 (instead of $250) if you buy it ahead of time (and before February 27). Last year they ran a similar promotion, but the same ticket only cost $200 (you are getting Cars Land and Buena Vista Street, which weren’t finished at this time last year). $30 is $30, but this is another little promotion that’s happened before and been repackaged under the “Limited Time Magic” banner.
  • Bayou Bash and Mardi Gras: Meet Princess Tiana and Louis the Alligator, enjoy jazz music and street performances, and eat Cajun cuisine in New Orleans Square on weekends between January 18 and February 12. It’s worth noting that this event was also held last year (so while it’s a neat offering, it’s also an old offering re-labeled rather than something new developed for the promotion).
  • A Salute to the Golden Horseshoe: Probably the coolest limited time magic offering so far, a tribute show that pays homage to the Disneyland classic (featuring Wally Boag and Betty Taylor). If I lived closer to California, I’d definitely try to attend this show (and reports are, it’s been mobbed). Runs Thursdays through Mondays January 10 to February 4. AP holders can book a dinner package for about $35 that includes a souvenir mug and a CD of the old show. 
  • Three Kings Day Celebration: Live performances, specially costumed characters, unique food, and activities. This event also happened in 2012, but apparently it’s been enhanced.

Both:

  • Fourth of July Week: 1-7 July will be celebrated with red, white, and blue fireworks, Cinderella’s Castle, and merchandise all week long. The 2-day special edition of the Wishes fireworks (usually July 3 to test and July 4) will be extended all week. There will be a special tag on Illuminations and fireworks in DHS on July 4. Patriotic characters will appear in Epcot and the Magic Kingdom. The Voices of Liberty have their annual July 4 special show. And there will be lots of opportunities to spend money!
  • 24-hour Party to kick off Monstrous Summer: May 24-25 at Disneyland, California Adventure, and Magic Kingdom. Special food and merchandise available. This event was a lot of fun for Leap Day last year. Probably a smart move to extend it to DCA as well.
  • Disney Fairies Week: April 15-21. Meet Tinker Bell with many of her friends, including Fawn, Iridessa, Rosetta, Silvermist, Vidia, and Terrance at Pixie Hollow in Disneyland and Tinker Bell’s Magical Nook in the Magic Kingdom.
  • Spring Fling Easter Celebrations: March 25-March 31. Meet Mr. and Mrs. Easter Bunny. Easter bunny pre-parade segment in MK and Easter bunny dance party in DL. Egg hunts in Epcot and DCA.
  • Egg Hunt in Epcot and DCA: March 18-March 24. Buy a park map and find hidden Easter eggs themed to Disney characters. As you find an egg, mark it on the map, and then, once you’ve found them all, return to Elias & Co. or Port of Entry for a surprise. The egg hunt part is cool, but I’m not so enthralled with the idea of spending $4.95/map to participate. It seems a little cheap to me. As it turns out, the prize was a double vinylmation keychain set. They normally retail for $12.95–but there are also reports of them being on sale for 3 for $9.99 at Orlando area Disney outlets (once again, a limited time magic promotion seeking to get rid of excess inventory).
  • MousekeEars Sale: available from March 8 for a limited time, you can buy 2 MouskeEar hats for $15.00 (normally they’re $12.95 each) at retail locations in Disneyland and Walt Disney World and on the Disney Store online site. MousekeEars are ear hats sized for dolls and small pets (based on a picture posted on the Disney Parks Blog, they don’t even fit well on infants). I am a huge ear hat fan, but I think manufacturing them in this size is inane. They appeared sometime last year (fall, I think), and according to posters on Lines (the chat application of Touringplans.com) they are already on clearance at some regional Disney stores. The cynical part of me suspects the idea behind the sale and the Limited Time Magic promotion is for Disney to get rid of the existing stock of one of its worse ideas.
  • 2014 Logo Revealed: March 1 – March 8. It’s the Mary-Blair-esque castle design. Not as bad as the other two, which, upon further reflection, I realize may have been put in just to ensure the castle design was picked. Still lame.
  • Wickedly Beautiful cosmetics (the first limited edition of Disney’s new Beautifully Disney cosmetic line) are available for a limited time only, March 1 to March 31. Even more blatant merchandising.
  • The Original Boy Band Week: February 25 to March 3. The Dapper Dans will add 1990s Boy Band classics to their repertoire. This promotion is one of the ones originally promised–and at the time was one of the most mocked and denigrated ideas. I’m intrigued by the idea.
  • President’s Day Week: The Voices of Liberty will perform a special Hail to the Chief set with quotations from great presidents interspersed with song. Appearing at the America Gardens Theater in Epcot from February 18-24 and at the Main Street Opera House in Disneyland February 18, 19, 22, 23, and 24 in Disneyland. I think this is an awesome idea for this promotion. Wish I were there!
  • True Love Week: February 11-17. Special decorations in the parks (Magic Kingdom and Disneyland–including an evening blushing pink, red, and white lights package for the castle), meet and greets with princes and princesses together (usually only offered during hard-ticket parties), special merchandise, and romantic, candlelit dinner-for-two packages at select restaurants. Screenings of Lady and the Tramp for AP holders at DL only.
  • Limited Time Magic wallpaper available from the Disney Parks Blog: available from January 31 for a limited time. Better than the “do our work for us” “surprise” that closes later today, but probably not the magic that most visitors to WDW or DL were hoping for this week. The Disney Parks Blog regularly releases promotional wallpaper to promote celebrate various events and locations (MVMCP, MNSSHP, new Fantasyland, Aulani).
  • Pick the 2014 Logo: January 25-31. There are three logo options (two are hideous and the third is almost as bad). This may be a limited time option, but you don’t even have to be in the parks to be part of it (all voting is through the internet) and they won’t announce the winner till late 2013. I get that they don’t want to do something every week, but this just feels like the merchandising department is having the internet do their work and marketing research for them. Lame.
  • Year of the Ear: Blatant merchandising–and this assessment is coming from someone who loves ear hats. I might add that the five couture hats featured on the Disney Parks Blog for January were (per commenters on the blog) all available to the public as early as last fall–so it’s not even like these hats are particularly limited in their editions. January–Couture Hats. February–Headband Hats. March–MousekeEars (these also have been available for some time, and according to some commentators on Touring Plans’s Lines app, are on clearance at various regional Disney stores! They may be “limited” because Disney realized that they were a bad idea and don’t plan on making more after they get rid of the ones they have….). April–Strawberry ear hats in WDW (Flower and Garden Festival tie-in) and Cone hats in DCA. 

Seasonal Events not billed as Limited Time Magic (…yet):

  • Flower and Garden Festival at Epcot (March – May)
  • Animal Kingdom’s 15th Anniversary Celebration (April 22): special opening ceremony, special artwork to buy, limited edition merchandise, special food and drink offerings, and “Party for the Planet”
  • Star Wars Weekends at Hollywood Studios (May and June)
  • Flower and Garden Festival at Epcot (September – November)
  • Halloween at the Magic Kingdom (MNSSHP, September – November)
  • Christmas Festivities (Candlelight Processional, MVMCP, Osborne Lights)

My take on the Limited Time Magic promotion: Some parts of this promotion feel very lazy. Others are really cool. I think the long-lost characters week and the return of the Golden Horseshoe Revue are both awesome ideas and if I lived closer to one of the parks, I would have made an effort to see those events. Other events (like a lot of repackaged Disneyland events) would be neat to see if I already had a trip planned at that time. In fact, the nicest way of thinking of those repackaged events is that Limited Time Magic is a way to give what the park already does well or offers specially a nice amount of attention. But other ideas (like having fans pick the 2014 logo, or offering “unique” ear hats that have been on sale for months) really scream “we had this idea, and we could afford to (or budgeted to) do neat and new things for about 25% of the time, and we realized that we had events that we were planning already that could count as ‘limited time magic’ for about 50% of the time, so now we’re stuck with that other 25% of the time to come up with something on no money…” I’m not necessarily opposed to merchandising–even limited edition stuff (I love my One More Disney Day sweatshirt)–but it needs to be really cool and legitimately limited (or not limited, but then don’t say that it is). I doubt there will be great/new events around Christmas (they already do a lot, and they don’t need to lure people into the parks then), but we’ll see as we get closer, I’m sure. At the end of the year, I’ll do a full update. HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Return of the Golden Horseshoe Revue (Disneyland, January)
  • Long Lost Friends Week (WDW, January; Disneyland, April)
  • Voices of Liberty Presidential Show (Disneyland and WDW, February)

LOWLIGHTS:

  • Pick the 2014 logo
  • Buy a limited edition merchandise truck t-shirt
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