Walt Disney World has been a source of entertainment for young and old since 1971. That’s over 30 years of pure magic!
There’s something fun to do at Disney World, no matter who you are and what you enjoy. Are you a fan of the movies and shows? You can immerse yourself in the stories, whether it’s “being a guest” with Belle and her French companions or “finding a friend” with the Toy Story crew.
Non-Disney fan? You still tag along with your loved ones and have a great time. The rides are insanely fun, the shows are great, the hotels are beautiful, and the pure Florida sunshine is simply irresistible!
Disney’s basically the magic castle of great branding. They’ve got it right when it comes to marketing to diverse demographics – everyone, young and old, can come to the parks and have a blast!
Put on your mouse ears and get ready to learn all about Disney’s marketing strengths!
What is Disney World’s Marketing Mix?
The marketing mix, if you’re not familiar, consists of product, price, place, and promotion. Let’s take a look at how that works for Walt Disney World.
Walt Disney World, including all the parks and Disney Springs (formerly known as Downtown Disney), has a wide variety of fun experiences to offer guests.
Disney World’s products include:
- Water Parks
- Branded Merchandise & Souvenirs
- Character Meet & Greets
- Surfing Lessons
- Boat Rentals
- Light Shows
- Holiday Festivals & Parades
- Safaris & Petting Zoos
- Horseback Riding
- Bowling Lanes
- Movie Theaters
The rides, shows, dining, and more focus on not only classic Disney characters like Cinderella and Dumbo, but also on additional Disney-owned properties like Marvel, Pixar, and Viacom. This explains why you can see Spider-Man, Princess Jasmine, and Homer Simpson all in one day if you visit Disney World!
Disney World offers package deals for their theme parks and resorts. On average, it costs a family of 4 about $3,000 to visit the theme park, which only includes admission and the hotel stay.
If you’re a frequent visitor, you can opt to join Disney’s Vacation Club, which starts at $250 a month. This is a great choice for diehard fans as you get access to exclusive discounts and events.
Disney World is located in Orlando, Florida where the average temperature is somewhere between 75°F and 90°F. It’s almost always a beautiful day, which is essential since most of Disney’s attractions are located outdoors.
Interestingly, Disney World’s location was originally swampland. This particular spot was chosen because it was close to the interstates, meaning people could easily travel from all over the country to visit. Genius!
Disney World is promoted through commercials, billboards, Spotify playlists, magazine ads, and mailers. They are also active on social media.
Here’s a quick breakdown of Disney World’s social media presence as of March 2020:
- Facebook: 16,247,605 followers
- Twitter: 3.1M followers
- Instagram: 8M followers
- YouTube: 1.08M subscribers
Disney World’s campaigns usually align with the release of a new ride or attraction. For instance, for the debut of Toy Story Land they promoted their resorts and fares with the slogan “Incredible Summer.” There was also “The Magic of Endless,” which coincided with the release of a new show, Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular.
What You Can Learn From Disney’s Marketing Mix
Slip on that Disney glass slipper and bring some of Disney’s marketing mix magic to your own business. It’s all about making sure you have valuable products to offer everyone, prices that work for any budget, easy accessibility, and captivating marketing campaigns. Embrace the 4 “P’s” – product, price, place, and promotion.
Who is Disney World’s Target Market?
Walt Disney World’s target market is, simply put, families. This is “families” in every definition of the word, whether it’s a newlywed couple or parents with seven little dwarves of their own!
Families is a very broad target market, which is why Disney World segments what they offer so there’s something for every demographic.
Fun Characters for the Kids
Disney World is the ultimate playground for kids. If the bright colors and upbeat atmosphere aren’t enough, there are also costumed characters walking around at all the parks. The best part? Kids under 3-years-old get free admission!
Night Life for Adults
Disney Springs is full of life, especially when the kids are all tucked into bed. Go to Jellyrolls, a dueling piano bar where you can sing along to Billy Joel or Elton John covers. You can also dance the night away at fun clubs like Blush or the Rumba Room.
Rides for Everyone
Are you tired of having to be “this tall” to ride? Disney has got your back! They have hundreds of rides for any age range and height, whether it’s small toddlers, elementary kids, or thrill-seeking teenagers and adults that want to hit the roller coasters.
Fine Dining for Foodies (Including Vegan Options)
The adventurous eater will love visiting Epcot where you can get cuisine from all over the world like macaron ice cream sandwiches, poutine, ramen noodles, and cannoli cupcakes. Do you have dietary restrictions or need vegan options? You’ll find something for you on almost every menu at all the parks!
Water Parks If You’re Too Hot
That Florida sun can be brutal! Cool off by visiting one of Disney’s water parks – Typhoon Lagoon or Blizzard Beach. You can also go back to your hotel and get in some swimming, or hit one of the many water rides like Runoff Rapids, and everyone’s favorite, Splash Mountain.
Indoor Shows If You Need to Chill
Disney is a go-go-go kind of place, but sometimes you just need to get off your feet. This is especially true if Grandma and Grandpa came along for the trip. For these moments, it’s worth checking out great shows like the Festival of the Lion King, Finding Nemo – The Musical, or Fantasmic!
Sights for the Animal Lovers
Animal Kingdom is made for you! You can visit this park and go on safaris, feed giraffes, visit the exotic birds, dine with an animal specialist, or stop by the petting zoo. This park also features some extremely fun dinosaur rides and exhibits that will have you roaring with pure joy!
Delicious Breakfasts for Morning Birds
Disney World offers some truly unique breakfasts for guests. Not only can you get Mickey Mouse pancakes and waffles, but you can also make a reservation to have your favorite characters join you for the meal. There are over 15 restaurants that offer this service, giving you the chance to dine with the princesses, Winnie the Pooh and his friends, Lilo & Stitch, and of course, Mickey and Minnie Mouse.
The Hollywood Experience for Movie Buffs
If you love movies, you have to make a point to visit Hollywood Studios.There’s something here for Star Wars nerds, Pixar fans, music lovers, and even horror fans (Tower of Terror, for the win!) You can also check out the mini movie “Disney Movie Magic & Wonderful World of Animation” to learn a little bit more about Walt Disney and his filmmaking genius.
Fun Experiences for the Night Owls
Aside from the flashy fireworks at the Magic Kingdom, night owls will love “Extra Magic Hours.” This is specifically designed for those who want to hit the parks in the wee small hours of the morning. A few hotels in Disney offer this one-of-a-kind feature to their guests.
Shopping for the Shopaholics
Ready for a serious shopping spree? You better have your credit card ready because every park is full of gift shops with incredible merch at the ready. You can also visit Disney Springs and check out exclusive shops, like the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique and World of Disney, or more mainstream names like Levi’s and Tommy Bahama.
Disney is wheelchair and stroller accessible and also offers other services inside their park to make life easier. This includes the super popular FastPass+, which gives you free rein to skip the long lines for certain rides and shows. It’s a great option for people who want to cram in as much fun as possible, especially if they’re on a shorter vacation.
What You Can Learn from Disney’s Target Market
A target market helps you figure out what exactly you want to offer and how you want to “speak” your marketing language. Disney is “talking” to families, but they’re not doing it as a whole. They’re targeting each individual member one-by-one.
Make sure that you offer something very specific for each segment within that broad category of “everyone.” Grandpa isn’t going to like the same thing as his Gen Z grandson. The football player will probably gravitate toward something different than the art student. You get the idea.
How Disney World Uses Branded Merchandise
Aside from a strong marketing mix and focus on their target audience, Disney World has found success with a ton of merchandise and custom promotional products at their incredible gift shops.
Take a look at the most amazing Disney gift shops:
- The World of Disney
- The Emporium
- Memento Mori
- Big Top Souvenirs
- Mouse Gear
- The Art of Disney
- Joffrey’s Café
- Island Mercantile
- Bonjour! Village Gifts
- Zawaldi Marketplace
The World of Disney
The World of Disney is the world’s largest Disney gift shop. You can visit this store in Disney Springs and browse over 50,000 square feet of souvenirs.
This classy gift shop has an old-school charm that’s hard to resist. It is located in the heart of the Magic Kingdom and has everything a Disney fan could ever want including apparel, food, housewares, and plush toys.
Do you dabble in the dark side? You’re going to love Memento Mori! This gift shop is attached to the Haunted Mansion ride and offers a chilling experience for guests. This store is particularly popular around Halloween.
Big Top Souvenirs
Step right up, step right up! You’re now entering Big Top Souvenirs, a fun circus-themed gift shop located in the Magic Kingdom. This tent is packed with tasty snacks, cool souvenirs, and plenty of lights and bright colors.
Mouse Gear, located in Epcot, has a cool industrial style, but is ultimately still a super cutesy gift shop. They pride themselves on offering “gifts with real character” – ones you’ll love bringing home.
The Art of Disney
If you’ve always wanted a giant Goofy painting for your living room, or a nice print of Alice in Wonderland, this is the gift shop for you! You’ll find a ton of artsy pieces and figurines, with some even signed by renowned Disney artists.
Grab a coffee at Joffrey’s Café! There are many locations through the Disney Parks, and some of them have souvenirs like mugs, tumblers, and even limited edition grounds and single serve pods that are decorated with Disney-inspired imagery.
No vacation is complete without a good Hawaiian shirt! You can find that and more at Island Mercantile, which is located at Animal Kingdom. Moana would be proud!
Bonjour! Village Gifts
Visit this Beauty and the Beast gift shop in the Magic Kingdom. It’s full of souvenirs and gifts inspired by the Disney favorite, which was the first animated film ever nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards.
You had a blast in Animal Kingdom, so remember that experience with a souvenir from Zawadi Marketplace. This shop is chockful of lions, tigers, zebras, and all the other animals you may have seen on the safari.
Disney World’s souvenirs range from pricey fashionable items to small tchotchkes like keychains and magnets. It really depends on your taste and how crazy about Disney you really are. Some people go bananas over the collectibles and are willing to shell out a few bucks for something really cool and memorable.
What You Can Learn from Disney’s Gift Shops
You can’t just say “bippidy bobbidy boo” to turn your business into a brand. People need to embrace who you are and what you do into their lifestyle.
The best brands make it cool to promote their logos. Fans willingly wear t-shirts, put PopSockets on their phones, or carry around water bottles that feature the brand’s logo or name. You can build your business to the same caliber by finding creative ways to use merchandise like the ones found in Disney’s gift shops.
Statistics About Disney World
Do you want even more proof that Disney World is amazing? Take a look at the numbers!
- Approximately 52 million people visit Walt Disney World every single year.
- According to The Wall Street Journal, Walt Disney World’s annual profit is $12.6 billion.
- More than 50,000 couples have gotten married at Disney World.
- The water parks in Disney World are very popular. More than 5,000,000 people visited Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach in 2018.
- Walt Disney World covers 27,258 acres. That’s about 2x the size of Manhattan!
Clearly, any place with millions of fans and upwards of billions in profit is doing something right. It’s all about offering something for everyone!
You can love The Simpsons, but hate princesses… love watching shows, but hate rides… love shorts lines and hate long ones. No matter what, there’s something at Walt Disney World for you.
It’s this universal appeal that has made the theme park such a huge success. As a small business owner, you probably don’t have Disney’s wallet to throw toward these efforts, but that’s okay. Take baby steps one day at a time to diversify your audience. To quote Hercules, your company will eventually go the distance!
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