NEW YORK (Sept. 18, 2008) – 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 will 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, at an announcement
event today in New York. “We thought a free birthday ticket would be the
icing on the cake as we extend this new ‘celebration vacation’ trend to
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.”
Nationwide Survey Reveals ‘Celebration
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
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
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.
Turning Life’s Special Moments Into a Personal
“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 book 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
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
“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.
Making it Easier than Ever to Plan
Planning any event can be a challenge. With Disney’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.
Disney’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.
Customizing Your Celebration
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.
Among add-on experiences guests can choose to
customize their “celebration vacation”:
Custom Bakery Cakes and Signature Desserts: Disney chefs
create an unforgettable finale to a special dinner with a beautifully
decorated cake themed to any occasion or a new line of celebration
For Lovebirds: Sweetheart dinners for two in which couples
can clink “Celebrate Today!” champagne flutes.
Family Portraits: Capture the memory with a portrait
session with Walt Disney World photographers. Build a custom photo album
with Disney’s PhotoPass.
Personalized Souvenirs: Mark your occasion with
personalized Mouse ears, character T-shirts and collectible pins.
Decorate Your Disney Guest Room: Step into a resort room
decorated to fit your celebration theme with confetti, banners,
surprises and more.
Stay Inside a Dream Theme: Book a themed guest room at
either destination – princess-themed or Mickey-inspired at Disneyland or
– coming in 2009 – pirate-themed at Walt Disney World Resort.
Set Sail: Book a private romantic cruise on a yacht or set
your party afloat on a shared magical fireworks voyage.
Go Inside the Magic: Behind-the-scenes tours take you
inside the storytelling, adventure and history of Disney Parks.
Disney Story Book Experiences: Choose from pirate
adventures, tea parties, princess makeovers and more – all with the
magic of Disney.
Disneyland Parties: “Celebration Roundup and Barbecue at Big Thunder
Ranch,” all-new, is a full-blown party complete with frontier
entertainment, goodie bags and a surprise treat for everyone – no matter
what they’re celebrating. “My Disneyland Birthday Party” features cake
decorating, party hats and even Mickey and Minnie pay a visit.
Celebrating in the Parks
Disney is unwrapping all-new entertainment with 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 coming in 2009 for all park guests to
Street Parties: Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort
and Disneyland Park come to life with 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
Tomorrowland Party: A high-energy, retro-futuristic music
video dance party 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.
Park Décor: The parks will be decorated with colorful
banners, balloons and festive party hats – as if awaiting your
Buttons: Complimentary celebration buttons will help
Disney cast members and fellow guests recognize you and your
Memories to Last a Lifetime
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.”
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