When I was a little kid, I remember watching Fantasia with my Mom. I remember being mesmerized by Mickey in the Sorcerer’s Apprentice. The animation, the music – it all seemed so magical. Little did I know that when my Mom was a little kid like me, she had the same emotions when she first saw the movie.
That was a long (long!) time ago and fast forward to today. I find myself making memories with my little boy with another Disney classic, Aladdin. Such is the magical staying power of Disney!
I had the chance to chat with Angela Saclamacis – Head of Public Relations and Broadcast Programming for Disney Parks in Canada. She was one of the speakers at CIMC. I really wanted to pick her brain, what is it about this brand that has the power to cross generations? How do they remain so relevant?
She says it all goes back back to Disneyland, the one park Walt Disney walked on, and the only one that can brag about that. There’s something so special about that park, she says, and you feel that energy when you get there.
“If you look over the Fire Hall in Disneyland’s Main Street, you can see a window with a light on – and it’s always lit -the reason for that is because in the 50’s when Walt Disney was working around the clock (as were his staff), he wanted to motivate them and for them to say “Ok, he’s working hard too, we’re all doing this together”. He would have the light in his office on at all times, and after his passing, the tradition continued with the light always on. To feel that energy is unbelievable”.
Walt Disney was an entrepreneur and a savvy business man. He would be so proud now, as Disney Parks is celebrating its 60th anniversary celebration, and with the new acquisitions of Star Wars and Marvel, they continue to reinvent themselves.
“We’re all about story telling,” says Angela.
In Florida, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park has a new attraction – The Rivers of Light – a nighttime water and light show that takes you across Asian jungles and tropical oceans to African savannahs and North American mountains. That’s story telling at its finest.
But even though Disney and Disney Parks welcome and embrace technology, they’re not about to dismiss the classics we all grew up with and love. “Mickey Mouse is not a new product. He’s multi-generational,” says Angela. “Grandparents love going to Disney parks with their children and grandchildren. Disney is not just for children, it speaks to adults as well. And we cater to all.”
It’s true. When I ask Angela about Disney’s inclusivity policy she says Disney Parks welcomes all. ” We welcome all guests” Says Angela. “There’s nothing really more to say about that. I think that’s the way the world should be”.
And that in itself is kinda magical.