Guests at the Walt Disney World and Disneyland resorts will find an “extra sprinkle of pixie dust” each week next year as the iconic American theme parks shake things up with “Limited Time Magic.”
Disney announced the new program in New York City on Wednesday in true larger-than-life fashion, with Mickey Mouse and company unveiling a three-story-tall ice castle in the heart of Times Square. Ice carvers crafted the 25-foot-tall bastion out of 45,000 pounds of ice, and it’s surrounded by six additional ice vignettes. Like the program it's promoting, it will last only a short time until it melts under the autumn sun.
Disney’s latest plan to drum up interest in 2013 entails 52 weeks of “magical experiences big and small that appear, then disappear.” Independence Day or Valentine’s Day, for instance, become weeklong events -- and it’s not just holidays. Among the “Limited Time Magic” weeks Disney Parks announced Wednesday are “Long Lost Friends Week,” where lesser-known Disney characters like Clarabelle Cow or Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum move out from the shadows; “Pirate Week,” where Disneyland and Walt Disney World become “pirate-palooza” with pirate bands, pirate meet-and-greets and Jack Sparrow-themed events; and “Unleash the Villains,” where Capt. Hook, Jafar, Maleficent and others unleash nighttime mischief.
Other weeks on tap include “Dapper Dans Sing Boy Bands,” “True Love” and “Golden Horseshoe Revue,” with many more surprises still under wraps. According to Disney Parks, the experience of the week will be announced on a variety of platforms, including the parks’ websites, Facebook, Twitter and the Disney Parks blog, beginning Jan. 1, 2013.
Constantly evolving and upgrading its facilities, Disney Parks managed to weather the recession and remain highly profitable. In its third quarter, Disney said per capita guest spending at its domestic resorts increased by 8 percent, and with strong bookings for its new cruise ships and a return to normalcy at Tokyo Disney Resort after last year’s earthquake and tsunami, its total operating income rose 21 percent to $630 million.
The company expects a big year in 2013, too, with New Fantasyland, the largest ever expansion of Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, and the first full year of a re-imagined Disney California Adventure park.