Group: Disney EchoEar Grand Mouseter/AdministratEAR
Joined: Aug. 2001
||Posted: Oct. 09, 2003 9:39 am/pm
The More the Merrier as Walt Disney World Resort Announces Exciting New Way to Vacation
Magical Gatherings in a Magical Place
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Whether with friends or neighbors, classmates or cousins, the hot trend in travel today is extending the family vacation beyond the immediate family.
This fall, Walt Disney World Resort kicks off Magical Gatherings, a multi-faceted and unprecedented program of new products and services designed with these extended travel groups in mind.
"Whether they're friends across the street or families across the globe, the need to reconnect with each other is more important than ever -- we call it 'togethering,' " said Walt Disney World President Al Weiss. "We believe Walt Disney World is the most magical place there is to vacation with extended family and friends. Time together is an invaluable souvenir."
The Magical Gatherings program will give guests special opportunities to relive memories and make new ones at the world's most popular vacation destination. The program, which officially commences Oct. 6 and will continue adding more features over time, addresses everything from the details of planning an extended-family vacation to dining and entertainment, sports and recreation.
Also included are some special experiences available only to guests who are part of a Grand Gathering -- a Magical Gathering of eight or more people staying at a Walt Disney World resort:
"We're trying to create experiences that guests traveling in larger groups will enjoy -- and will remember forever," Weiss said. "We want this Magical Gatherings vacation to become part of family history."
- The "International Storybook Dinner" at Epcot. A dinner featuring international cuisine, storytelling and entertainment ends with a special VIP viewing of "IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth."
- The "Good Morning Gathering" breakfast at Magic Kingdom. Guests meet favorite Disney characters -- with special one-on-one time with Mickey Mouse -- and experience magical surprises to start their day.
- The "Safari Celebration Dinner" at Disney's Animal Kingdom. Guests enjoy an end-of-day safari followed by a dinner reception at the rustic Tusker House in the Africa section of the park, complete with live entertainment, Disney character appearances and 'up close' animal experiences.
- The "Magical Fireworks Voyage." An evening cruise on Seven Seas Lagoon, where guests enjoy entertainment surprises as Disney characters make special appearances and fireworks explode over Cinderella Castle during the new "Wishes" fireworks spectacular, created to bring to life the Magical Gatherings theme of spending time together. (Available seasonally.)
And Magical Gatherings makes it easier than ever to plan the perfect group getaway. Among the new services and offerings that start now or will be launched soon, guests will enjoy:
In addition, Grand Gatherings (Magical Gatherings of eight or more guests staying at a Walt Disney World resort) will enjoy:
- A Vacation Planning Kit, complete with video or DVD and step-by-step information on how to plan a Magical Gathering.
- Personalized Web-based planning tools to assist communication among the group and help build consensus on dates, accommodations, activities and other details. The tools also will allow guests to invite others to participate in their Magical Gathering.
One thing hasn't changed for Magical Gatherings guests: The "Disney Difference" -- including legendary guest service, magical surroundings, lovable characters, spectacular live entertainment and incredible attractions -- will continue to offer something for everyone, from toddlers to teens to grandparents.
- A Walt Disney World team of specialists assigned to assist with every aspect of vacation planning -- dining, tours, spa treatments, recreation, special celebration events and more.
- Group dining options. Walt Disney World Resort has significantly increased the number of dining facilities that can accommodate larger parties.
- Other exciting options such as group souvenirs, two-way radios and photographic memories of their Disney vacation.
"Research shows that spending quality time with family and friends tops the list of things people want to do on vacation today," said Peter Yesawich, president and CEO of Yesawich, Pepperdine, Brown & Russell, America's leading marketing, advertising and public relations agency serving travel and leisure-industry clients, and co-author of the widely quoted National Leisure Travel Monitor.
"The emotional fabric of the country has combined with the growing sense of pressure most of us feel from the demands of our jobs to elevate the importance of spending time with the ones we love," he said. "And contemporary vacations are not just about rest, relaxation and entertainment. They're also seen as an occasion on which to reunite with our friends and family."
According to surveys, groups are increasingly looking beyond backyards and parks for a more creative location that appeals to a majority of the attendees.
"With world-class theme parks, themed resorts in all price ranges, unmatched accessibility by air or highway, recreation aplenty from golf to water parks and the added plus of Disney Cruise Line , Walt Disney World Resort is ideal for the 'togethering' vacation," Weiss said. "And now with all the new value-added benefits for the group vacationer, a good thing gets even better."
What makes any Magical Gathering even more magical is all that's new across the 47-square-mile Vacation Kingdom. Mission: SPACE at Epcot takes guests where they've never gone before -- deep among the stars to a touchdown on Mars in a simulated space adventure. "Mickey's PhilharMagic" treats Magic Kingdom guests to an entertaining 3-D musical adventure with Mickey, Minnie, Donald and friends.
And, created especially for the Magical Gatherings inaugural year, Walt Disney World Resort launches "Wishes," the most spectacular fireworks show ever to paint the sky above Cinderella Castle.
On board Disney Cruise Line , guests can enjoy a sparkling new stage show, "Golden Mickeys," a salute to Walt Disney and the animated films he created.
And -- coming soon and loaded with enough way-back memories for any Magical Gathering -- Disney's Pop Century Resort is a new value-priced resort celebrating the fads and fashions of the 20th century with giant icons such as a Big Wheel, yo-yo, jukebox and Rubik's Cube.
Beginning Oct. 6, 2003, guests interested in booking a Magical Gathering may call 407/W-DISNEY or go to disneyworld.com for more information. To download the Magical Gatherings online planning tools, guests can visit www.disneyworld.com/magicalgatherings starting Oct. 15.
Source: Walt Disney World
More pictures coming!