I Love Disney. OK. There, I Said It.
As the dad of two young children (my favorite job), I can finally come out of the closet and say it publicly:
I LOVE DISNEY.
But now my heretofore inane ramblings of a parent who actually knows that Miley Cyrus and Hannah Montana are the same person (just learned that) have been legitimatized by none other than The Motley Fool, a Web site for pretty sophisticated investors.
The Fool is one of my favorite publications when I want to learn; it’s not an easy read, because they use big words and terms that I am still learning. However, imagine my surprise when I read “Disney in 2012” by Rick Aristotle Munarriz– and there is a significant social media angle. As someone who works in social media, blogs, tweets and spends a lot of time in front of the ‘ol laptop, I will be much more inclined to spend my discretionary dollars with a company that “sells” me with informative, easy-to-use and sexy online content. Sell me online and I will be much more likely to dig deeper. Make me call an 800-number and you can fuggetaboutit.
Because of my day job, I can’t say much about stock valuation, but for those of you with parents, here are some WAY cool things that the article brings forth, much of which demonstrates that, in terms of an online presence, Disney gets it:
- Disney Cruise Line – This is not the first thing in the article, but it sure is first on my list. My family and I will be taking our 4th cruise in five years in about six weeks, and although it’s not inexpensive, it is the experience of a lifetime. Imagine 24/7 entertainment for your children while you sit, sunning yourself and a wait staff person (who comes right up to you poolside) delivers you a rum and coke at 11:00 am. And it’s guilt-free (aside from the fact that you are drinking at 11:00am) because you know that your children are being taken care of my people who do it for a living. About every night, I have to drag my children from Disney activities kicking and screaming.What’s the social media angle, Mark with cruising? Glad you asked.Wireless. For Type A propeller-heads such as myself, they now offer wireless in the rooms (before, you had to find a hot spot on the ship). So wanna find out what you favorite sports team is doing while sitting on the veranda of your stateroom? Fire up the ol’ laptop and you’re good. But don’t spill that drink on the laptop, for God’s sake.
- An outstanding Web site. There are cool things like a virtual ship tour that help make it more concrete for your kids, an age breakdown that provides “what’s in it for me?” even for your snarling teenager, as well an online booking for reservations, shore excursions, dining as well as massages and spa treatments. OK. Enough pimping.
- “I’M GOING TO DISNEYLAND!!” Lines? We don’t have no stinkin’ lines! From the Motley Fool post: “The biggest changes have actually been taking place inside the parks, as technological advances generate more efficient load times and customized experiences. For instance, your kid’s favorite character actually comes looking for you, instead of the other way around. Interactive in-line diversions on moving walkways make queuing more enjoyable. Only disoriented foreigners wait in line for the counter-service eateries, given the ease of ordering food and snacks through Disney’s wireless devices. There is a lot more social interaction between park guests, electronically, too.” I can only imagine me whipping out my cell phone and sashaying past a group of disoriented (and ticked off) digital illiterati with this advance. Heh.
- “Destination Clubs.” Ok. For those of you who have heard the concept, it does indeed reek of “time share.” But here’s what Rick has to say about it: “And with Disney about to break ground in Hawaii for an 800-unit resort in Oahu, its Disney Vacation Club will be a great one-stop shop for time-share fans who want to stay at Disney’s theme parks or its existing beachfront properties in Vero Beach, Myrtle Beach, and Oahu in a few years.” Can someone say “hit the beach in winter?”
- Vacations and social media are inextricably linked. Again, Rick nails it: “Entertainment destinations don’t just win back discretionary income. They earn a bigger chunk of it by tailoring themselves more to customers’ preferences. Creating content isn’t a worthless craft in a digitally-delivered future. It’s the tasty hunk of cheese that lures you deeper into a monetization mousetrap.“
Ok, so I am now out of the closet as a mid-40’s Disney lover. But so is my family, and I am willing to spend my discretionary income on a company that knows that I plan stuff online first and hit the pool second.