Branding Disney World at Disney World

Epcot Disney Nemo and Friends I spent the weekend at Walt Disney World, and boy oh boy is Disney the master of branding. They create experiences that make visitors feel as if they’ve been transported to a completely different world, yet there always seems to be a subtle reminder that they’re on Mickey’s turf.

For instance, we stayed at the Animal Kingdom Lodge, which is truly a magnificent hotel. You walk in and it looks like a huge African structure, complete with subtle tribal-sounding music in the background and a savannah filled with all sorts of animals right out the window. As my husband checked us in, I was admiring the detailed craftsmanship that clearly went into building the soaring ceiling in the lobby. Now I’ve never been to Africa, but it seemed beautiful and authentic to me – that is, until I noticed that the “tribal” markings painted every so often were actually an Africanized version of Mickey’s silhouette! The effect was understated, but it was clearly Disney taking an opportunity to brand itself.

Our favorite park to visit when we’re in Orlando is Epcot. The branding there is a bit more overt than it was at our resort. You see, when I was a girl Epcot had a ride/exhibit called The Living Seas. It involved getting into a moving seat and traveling past huge aquariums that were stocked with beautiful tropical fish – that was it. Well, they still have the exhibit, but it has been updated and is now called The Seas with Nemo and Friends. It’s a similar concept; however, it now involves animated characters from Finding Nemo swimming alongside the real, live fish. It’s still a relaxing ride among beautiful creatures, but it has been given that twist to remind us that we’re not in any old aquarium – we’re at Disney World.

While at Disney World, I was constantly reminded that, well, I was at Disney World. It’s a terrific strategy because I had a wonderful time – fun that I will always associate with my visit to the resort. You know what? I can’t wait to go back. That’s great branding.

And for your amusement – click on this YouTube clip from Finding Nemo!


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