April 4, 2013
Disney’s entertainment PR touting “taste of hometown Florida.” Ronn Torossian of 5WPR noted that when it comes to entertainment PR, there’s no doubt Disney has it mastered. From the top down, Disney’s corporate PR firm protects its properties and artfully manages the reputations of everything from individual child stars to cartoon characters, movie franchises and major international resorts. So it came as no surprise that Disney’s latest PR announcement generated excitement the world over. “Pleasure Island,” the central entertainment attraction in Orlando’s “Downtown Disney” would soon have a new name, a new face and a new theme.
Disney World is already well known for its themed destinations. Each “world within a world” (or “Land” in California) creates its own unique vibe and offers its own menu of entertainment venues for visitors.
These names evoke the vibe and culture of the place, giving guests easy options. Do I want luxury? Then it’s the Grand Floridian for me. Rustic vibe with a camping option? Fort Wilderness. Given this trend, it can be easy to see why “Pleasure Island” didn’t exactly feel right. Disney’s PR firm originally crafted a campaign to promote Pleasure Island as nightclub scene only loosely tied to established Disney brands. The idea had been to attract more local visitors to Downtown Disney’s shops and restaurants.
But Orlando already had the Church Street club scene. The two areas battled for years to garner the most local trade. Tourists still came to Downtown Disney to shop, but they weren’t partying in large numbers. While it’s fun to go window shopping after an all-day park trip, or cruise over to the Hard Rock for a show or Planet Hollywood for a meal, rock ‘n’ rolling all night was not on the agenda. Back in 2009, Disney officials abandoned the Pleasure Island nightclub format. They went back to the drawing board to design a free entertainment destination that would appeal to its longtime target market–young families. But the new brand would still be geared toward local guests.
Over the next few years Downtown Disney will be transformed into “Disney Springs,” an entertainment, dining and shopping venue offering “a taste of old hometown Florida.”Disney’s corporate PR firm announced that Disney Springs will more than double the current Downtown Disney attractions, both in size and scope. And it will do so while evoking the spirit of a Florida many locals fear forgotten.In its initial releases, Disney’s PR firm hit all the right notes. The new venue would be bigger, cooler and more charming. Plus the new project will increase jobs in one of the hardest-hit industries in Florida–construction. In addition, the new venue promises to add thousands of permanent jobs.
Crafted in this way, Disney’s news appealed to fans, dreamers, local politicians and families going through tough economic times and desperate for some happy thoughts.