Has Social Media Influenced Disney?
As I wrote in a previous post, the Disney Parks were well represented in the Most Instagrammed Locations of 2017, including the number one spot, Disneyland California. I’m not sure if it had anything to do with the large number of guests at theme parks or perhaps the ages of the guests. No matter what the reason, we know how much social media has changed our daily lives and Disney was not going to be left behind. So, if you don’t want to get left behind, you join and they have joined on a very large scale. They have over 10 million Instagram followers, their Facebook page has over 51 million “Likes”, and nearly 6 million Twitter Followers.
You can physically see the stronger influence of advanced technology in their newer attractions and rides. Disney has always been on the cutting edge of technology and tries to be ahead of the game when possible. They know that they have to appeal to ALL ages to keep families returning year after year, even as the kids get older. So along with the iconic structures to photograph, they had to bring in more thrill rides and rides that involve the guest as kids (and adults) love to interact. We now want to do more than just ride on a ride, we want to create it, design it, or be a part of the action. Even though you just sit in a seat on Soarin’ you are not just sitting there. You are flying through the air like a bird with wind, sounds, and smells to make the attraction as realistic as it can get. An experience that appeals to all ages (myself included!)
By always growing, changing, and adding attractions and lands that make you feel like you are walking into another world, why wouldn’t we want to take a gazillion selfies and pics to share. Also by adding special events that require an extra ticket, you are inviting guests to flock to something extra with extra content and special experiences to share on their social media. Even though some critics frown on paying extra for something they feel should be part of the park entry fee, it hasn’t slowed down the ticket sales for these events. This tells me that the public not only wants the “extra” stuff, but demands it by paying whatever Disney is charging for it. For those that might be asking what exactly are the extra events, I’m talking about the holiday parties, Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas party. A few more are popping up but that’s another post. I see this increasing every year as a travel agent and you can see it with the announcements when the event sell out everyday.
So, I think it’s safe to say that Social Media's influence is still in the toddler stage but is growing by leaps and bounds (imagining the baby in “Honey, I Blew Up The Kid”) and as it does, companies like Disney that specialize in creating the perfect and desirable backdrop for our social media images will keep pushing the envelope and design more than what we even knew we wanted.
TRAVEL TIP: Disney Parks no longer allows selfie sticks. They will confiscate them when your bags are checked going into the parks!
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