By Andy Guinigundo
This week’s post is about my Disney Cruise Line house party that took place a few weeks ago. Certainly, Disney Cruise Line (DCL) is part of the greater Orlando attraction landscape with Port Canaveral being DCL’s main departure point. Definitely, Disney is part of the Orlando scene. The marketing idea of the “house party” is what brings the Disney Cruise Line “out of the loop”.
The first I had ever heard of HouseParty.com was on a podcast entitled “TWIT – This Week in Tech” hosted by Leo Laporte. They were discussing how Windows had contracted with HouseParty.com to be the portal by which Windows 7 launch parties would occur. Basically, the idea of the parties was for hosts to invite friends, family and/or colleagues over for a get together – all in the name of Windows 7. The actual party planning was up to the hosts. Party hosts received party supplies like streamers, playing cards, tote bags, and other giveaways from Microsoft. Perhaps the coolest and certainly most monetarily valuable piece of party swag was a Microsoft Executive Steve Ballmer autographed copy of Windows 7.
The idea made me chuckle. I guess I never thought that having people come over to install software would make for a good party. Then, an e-mail appeared in my inbox, “Sign up at HouseParty.com to host a Disney Cruise Line House Party!” All I thought was: I’m in! We took a cruise on the Disney Wonder a few years ago in celebration of my parents’ 40th wedding anniversary. I love to cruise. I love Disney. It was a match made in Heaven! I took a quick online survey and it electronically deemed I was an appropriate candidate to host a party, but official word didn’t come until several weeks later. They did mention some of the things that would be included in the DCL party pack. It included luggage tags, assorted party favors, tokens good for chances to win a cruise, and a House Party pin. At the very least, I wanted the pin. I have a tiny pin collection of less than 30 Disney pins. None of them are necessarily unique from a collectors point of view, but they are each special to me.
The parties, over a thousand across the country, were to happen on Nov. 14 or close to it. I received official word that I had been chosen to host a DCL House Party. Hosts were told to register at HouseParty.com. Once I did so, I had access to electronic invitations and social networking associated with DCL and the party. The social networking aspect was like Facebook, Flickr, and YouTube rolled up into one site. Hosts discussed DCL and their party plans, posted pictures and videos of past cruises. The main goal was to drum up excitement for DCL in general and for the house party specifically.
I opted for Sunday brunch and invited mostly family, and I did stick to the recommendation of inviting at least 10 people. In all, 13 guests were in attendance. About a week before, my party supplies arrived. I was surprised by the package’s size and weight. I was even more surprised by the contents. It indeed was a party in a box! It was packed with party favors, gift bags, DCL brochures, DCL DVD, pirate eye patches, pirate bandanas, posters, a yard sign, a cruise banner, my pin, and an eight-inch-tall Disney totem pole. The totem pole was a surprise gift. Its inclusion was a reminder of the addition of Alaska as a cruise destination in 2011.
I must say, as a marketing tool, it worked! We were all swept up in Disney Cruise Line excitement. We played the DVD in the background. We played DCL trivia and gave away prizes – including the totem pole. Game suggestions were on the Web site too. We talked about our past experiences on the Disney Wonder. We dreamed of taking a cruise on the upcoming Disney Dream. Dad said he’d never get on the water slide. whose path takes riders directly over the ocean. We had our computer out so people could redeem their party tokens for chances to win a Disney cruise.
After the party, hosts were reminded to go back to the Web site to share their party experiences by posting comments, pictures and videos. I don’t think any of my guests or myself have booked a Disney Cruise, but at the very least, the cruise line is most definitely on our radar.
Demon Drop Staying in Region
Sandusky, Ohio/Allentown, Pennsylvania – After Cedar Point’s Halloween event completed, disassembly of the classic free-fall ride The Demon Drop commenced. It was announced that the ride would be making a cross-country trek to sister park Knott’s Berry Farm just outside of Los Angeles. This was an official announcement, not rumor. Last week however, for undisclosed reasons, the trip was shortened considerably. The Demon Drop’s new home will instead be Dorney Park in Allentown, Penn. The means that Knott’s Berry Farm will not get a new ride in 2010. The ride will not be ready at season’s open, but closer to the July 4 holiday.
• Andy Guinigundo is the author of the Out of The Loop column in “Orlando Attractions Magazine”. Out of the Loop keeps you up-to-date with attraction news outside of Central Florida. Andy lives in Cincinnati, Ohio with his wife and three daughters. He grew up frequenting theme parks around Ohio and making trips to Orlando with his family. While for most of the year, he’s out of the Orlando loop, he tries to visit Florida at least once a year.