If I can’t have an International AP, can I at least have a picture with Jack Sparrow?

28 Aug

Various random thoughts, having recently returned from Disneyland Resort in Anaheim . . .

Building on the success of the Pirates of the Carribean movie franchise, Disney theme parks are now featuring a Captain Jack Sparrow face character wandering around for autographs, photo ops, etc. This is particularly amusing because as far as I’ve observed, children are not all that interested in meeting him. Instead, he is followed by a flock of besotted middle-age women, all anxious for a moment of his time, and perchance a photo with the man. (In the interest of full disclosure, I should note that when I got my chance for a picture, there was a slight problem with the camera. That was the day I will always remember as the day I almost caught a picture of myself with Captain. Jack. Sparrow!)

This makes me wonder . . . when will Disney parks send out a face character capable of inspiring the same reaction from middle-aged men? Or would that feel inherently too creepy? My husband suggests that Jasmin would have this sort of appeal, but methinks the Princess merchandising surrounding her character would make most decent guys feel pretty wrong about that. So, why isn’t Elizabeth Swan wandering around New Orleans’ Square?

I would like a word or two with whomever’s responsible for coordinating the ticket pricing strategies for Disney parks worldwide. Us east-coast Disney fans have spent a tremendous amount of time and energy learning about the relatively-new Magic Your Way ticket pricing strategy, and watching the prices soar like Dumbo. Disneyland has a whole different ticket pricing strategy, which is somewhat more in synch with the pricing systems for the Tokyo and Paris Disneyland parks (though the latter has been tweaked to fit better with the all-inclusive style of European vacations). Could we have a little more consistency among the parks, please? Surely this sort of confusion wasn’t part of Walt’s dream.

And while I’m talking with the ticket pricing strategy guru, could we also talk a bit about the lack of any sort of coordinated effort for those of us who love all the Disney parks, worldwide? Last year, my son and I visitied both Disneyland Paris and Walt Disney World, perhaps a tad unusual but certainly not unheard of. In many other years we’ve hit the Disney parks on both US east and west coasts, which is almost par for the course for some percentage of truly hardcore fans. Why not institute an International Annual Pass (AP)? Or at the very least, how bout a frequent visitor club, where some special trinket or benefit is awarded after having visited all the parks worldwide? Sure, it wouldn’t have direct impact on Disney’s bottom line; nobody’s going to visit five international parks just to get a pin. But it would be just the sort of special, guest-oriented, “magical” touch on which the Disney brand is built.

I’ve also written up a few tips about Disneyland, which are published on my husband’s blog, Collateral Damage.

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