At a Disney-organized event last week, Al Weiss, president of worldwide operations for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, explained to attendees that non-park projects are expected to draw new-to-Disney guests to the parks. Says Weiss, “By creating memories for guests in a different category of travel, guests are more inclined to book a trip to Orlando.”
The idea behind Disney’s standalone resorts, cruise ships and “flanker” ventures is to entice those who are unfamiliar with the Disney brand to visit the theme parks by introducing them to the brand in a different way. Aulani, a massive resort slated to open in August, is a prime example of this way of thinking. These other non-theme park Disney ventures also have the potential to capture dollars of those who favor Disney, but decide to travel elsewhere between Disney theme park vacations. Said Weiss about the move:
New customers will “experience Aulani [and] they’ll realize, ‘You know what, I didn’t think a Disney vacation was quite like this. It’s got a great spa. It’s got great restaurants. It’s got great entertainment throughout the resort. It’s got programming that is unparalleled, that they haven’t seen in other places before. And so I think when they see and experience that in a high quality way, I think they’re going to say, ‘You know what, I’m going to go do Walt Disney World’ or ‘I’m going to go do Disneyland or ‘I’m going to go do [Disneyland] Paris.
He also added that this way of thinking will not only encourage people to stay with the Disney brand, but can also potentially motivate tourists who never considered a Disney vacation before.