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Disney Guests Become Stars of TV Ads, Castle Show As Walt Disney World and Disneyland ‘Let the Memories Begin’

Thomas Smith

by , Editorial Content Director, Disney Parks

As you just learned during our live coverage out of New York City, Disney Parks has officially launched “Let the Memories Begin” – our special celebration of family vacations and magical memories. And yes, you’re going to be the star. For the first time, your home videos and snapshots will be featured in Disney television ads and other print and online communications.
Let the Memories Begin
To kick things off, we’ve launched It’s a new destination where you can upload your Disney vacation memories captured in photos and videos and share with the world. And getting started is easy:

Simple, right? So, what should you submit? Your favorite memories – whether it was a first meeting with a Disney princess, a laugh-filled Splash Mountain ride or a magical moment around a holiday fireplace when mom and dad surprised everyone with a “We’re Going to Disney!” announcement – We’re looking for videos and photos that capture your never-to-be-forgotten experiences. Take a look:

And there’s more – beginning in January of 2011, you’ll also become the star of a nightly spectacular at Disney Parks. Photos of magical memories made in the park during the day will be projected that night on Cinderella Castle at Walt Disney World and “it’s a small world” at Disneyland Resort. Pretty cool, huh?

In both locations, Disney PhotoPass photographers will provide images of guests shot during the day to be shared on the icons. While we’re still working on the show details, producers estimate as many as 500 photos will be shown in each location every day.

So, let us know about your favorite Disney memory and share it at


  • I think this sounds awesome! I actually got sort of teary-eyed thinking about what pictures I’ll submit – Disneyland has been an important part of my life since my first trip at age three, and now that I have two small children of my own, I’m getting to relive all those “firsts” again. I can’t wait to see the commercials and things, and I’m going right now to look through the pictures of all of our Disney trips! I may have to dig through some of my old family photo albums to find pictures from the ’70s!

  • yea this is a preaty boring idea. evryone wanted the new plan for fantasyland or wdw 40 but you want to show picture on a castle and need a big annuocment to say that…..

  • Do we get compensated or is there an incentive if our submissions are used in a commercial or in print? Do we get credited? How do the photos/videos get selected?

  • This is awesome…i love all of my memories at disneyland. my family, friends, and i go very often to the parks and we take a lot of photos & videos!

    Memories are what allow the Disney Parks to thrive, people want to continue having wonderful memories.

    It’s kind of similar to the Disneyland 50th Anniversary… they had photos/memories submitted by anyone who has visited in the last 50 years and complied them in to wonderful collages shaped like the characters like Mickey, Alice, and even a picture of Walt. Instead of collages they’re projects…

  • What I dont think most of you realize is this is going to be a show, like the fireworks, not something that is going to be up from dawn til dusk. How many of us have memories of Disneyland/Walt Disney World? ALL of us. I think this is a wonderful idea Diseny! How many of you and your kids would love to have your wonderful memories shared with other Disney lovers just like you? Thats what makes Disney so special is it is a common love, so why not share it? Its fun, its different, and it gives us the guest another Disney experience! I cant wait to “Let The Memories Begin” again! 😀

  • I’ve seen the projections on Small World at Disneyland that go along with the fireworks show many times and it is very well done. I’m hoping this will take some of the massive crowds that form in front of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle and move them over to Small World. Fireworks over there are awesome too.

  • Very underwhelmed by the news and I am one of the biggest Disney fans around!

  • Maybe I missed this part but how is it going to work? Are the photopass photographers going to take only a certain number of pictures a day? If they do, will that mean you are guaranteed to get a spot on the castle? How about what time it is goign to appear? I am not sure I want to waste hours of my vacation to wait until my picture appears. Or will they just select random pictures the Photopass folks take? Then will we ever know if our pictures appear.

  • Not cool- please don’t mess with the castle!

  • Truly profound. The most connected creation to come from Disney digital (and possibly the company at large). Memories of the guest experience is the ONLY reason why Disney remains valid and relevant. I LOVE THIS. 🙂

  • I can’t believe Disney is turning our beloved, enchanting castle into a TV screen. Cinderella Castle is an ICON and you’re totally disrupting the atmosphere you’ve worked to create by cheapening it. Some things should be left well enough alone and this is one of them. I can only hope that this slideshow is only played in very limited increments. No more magical castle-gazing, I guess.

  • This is the most profoundly connected and poignant product ever created by Disney’s digital team and perhaps throughout the company at large. The fundamental concept is so solid and true to the guest experience that its ongoing and systemic importance cannot be underestimated with regard to the vitality of all that is Disney. These memories (though park centric) are THE reason and core of what makes Disney relevant today and the ONLY reason why the company remains valid. Kudos.

  • I do think it is a cool idea. I will definitely be looking for some good photos to post. I think it is great that Disney wants to use real guest photos and memories to commemorate the 40th birthday of WDW. On the other hand, I also think that it was a bit hyped up for what it is. It is not quite the spectacular news I was hoping for.
    I read a comment about it being a bad idea to mess with the castle. They are not going to post pictures all over the castle all the time, just have projections run during a night time show…or at least that is what I gather. They are not messing with the castle. And I think it’s a cool idea. One last note: I love Walt Disney World!

  • I really don’t get the idea of putting people memories on the castle when I can just look around and actually see people making memories?!? I’ll reserve judgement until I see it. However, the way it was delivered was a lot of hype about nothing but a marketing campaign. I took time off of work for this and am hugely disappointed. You’re Disney, you can do SO MUCH BETTER!!!!

  • Jeez a lot of disappointment, BUT I THINK THIS IS GREAT!!! I absolutely love taking pictures at Disneyland and I have lots of pictures from Disney World, this is all up my alley. Imagine all the pictures of all the happy children is this a bad idea. I’m sure they will be excited to see themselves as the stars.

  • I don’t care what others think. I love it. It would be nice to see pictures all day on a projetion screen as you come in and then later at night you can make a special slide show. 🙂

  • The consensus seems to be that today was a big screw up. Ha! I liked what one person commented – what happened to the days when Disney OVERdelivered, as opposed to creating unworthy buzz? All of us still would have tuned in if we knew it was just the new campaign. I do like the new concept, but they didn’t give me anything to really be excited about.

  • Really? I have to watch other peoples vacation slides projected on the side of the beautiful castle?! I’m not very interested in watching others vacation slides. Please don’t show them on the castle.

  • Boring..Give me a 40th anniversary promotion!!!

  • I think seeing people’s reaction about going to Disney is amazing, especially seeing it everyday, but this is what Disney is for, it’s part of a Disney vacation and we know that, people have made many blogs we all see it everywhere when we research Disney vacations and youtube it. I don’t want to see other peoples vacations while I’m on vacation I’m completely focused on my family. How do you think guests are going to feel when they take a picture with the castle and there’s a huge face of some kid on the side of it???? STOP MESSING WITH THE CASTLE!!!!!!!!!!!! If your going to make magic and memories bring back year of a million dreams….and thanks for making us wait for this HUGE announcement….what a let down.

  • tears flowing 🙂

  • Not your best idea, Disney. The Castle at night is one of the most awe inspiring parts of WDW. Don’t ruin it was strangers pictures.

  • I think it would be cool to see your image on the castle. However, how fast will they be moving through them? And will there be segments of time where there wont be anything on the castle so people can get the awesome nighttime photos of the castle. I hate this idea if, at night, the castle will always be plastered with these. That being said, love the commercials.

  • Hmmmmmm…….. Wrong, wrong, wrong! Big announcement?! No where near it was a terrible presentation that gave us pretty much nothing. What about WDW 40th. I for one am not considering if paying out $4000 on a trip from the UK next summer is worth it. All because I might see myself on the castle! I don’t think so. Way to let everyone down. Walt would have hated this idea. Get the business men out and the ideas men back in!

  • Lame….very lame

  • I have visited Disneyland too many times to count. The most exciting moment of every trip is when I can say “That is another Disney first” and it happens on every single trip. I can’t wait to experience this Disney first!! How exciting it will be if I see MY picture on the castle!!! The magic of Disney is that it is forever changing AND forever the same.

  • I’m with the group that warns, “Don’t mess with the Castle.” I love how the castle looks at night–it’s mesmerizing!!!! Having a bunch of cookie cutter photos plastered on it is just going to take away from its magic!

  • Showing it on the WDW’s Castle and on DL’s Small World, doesn’t sound all that great (maybe on WDW’s Castle).
    What would be cool is to do that whole video show on the water screens at Fanastmic or WoC at the Disneyland Resort.
    Just a thought…

  • I agree with Dan. Cindy’s castle is amazing all by itself. With the exception of Dreamlights, the castle should be left alone.

  • Sorry, but my daughter loves having her picture taken in front of the castle at night. I don’t think that I want my pictures blurred up with the images of other people fading in and out on the castle included in our memories. Yes, it might seem like a neat idea, but not on the castle where everyone else is trying to make their own memories!!! Denise had the right idea, tons of windows down mainstreet to post them on!!! Or there is always “improvement” blockades up to use!!

  • I’m actually really excited about this — I don’t think the nightly photos will really disrupt anything major, and I love the nostalgia and togetherness at the heart of the new promotion. I love seeing the joy that being at Disney brings to myself, my friends and family, and others, and think this is a unique idea that really plugs into how digital and social people have become with their memories.

    Plus I feel like any major announcements like new parks or something would honestly probably be held for a shareholder meeting or for the big D23 Expo next year anways.

    Super happy about this over here in CA!

  • Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz….

  • Underwhelmed … to say the least

  • Not happy about the castle thing, glad it’s not happening until after our trip in December, and we shouldn’t really be saying that about a new Disney announcement!

  • I don’t care what anyone else says..I LOVE this idea! Absolutely love it!

  • I think this is actually pretty exciting! Just because it’s not free admission to a park on your birthday doesn’t mean it’s not cool! I for one think it will be really cool to see everyone’s pictures from the day up on the castle, and it’s not like it’s all day, just during a night time show, so it’s hardly there long enough for you to get tired of it. Who doesn’t want to see cute pictures of kids meeting princesses?

  • I think projecting images on the castle for a few hours a night is ok. It’s not like the birthday cake that completely covered the castle all the time. That being said, I do agree there was much hype about nothing. So the next time Disney does have a legitimate big announcement, people might be less likely to pat attention.


  • My tought is it’s a cute idea if the people want to share their idea, but Disney please leave the castle alone. Our family enjoys guessing what color it will change next. That is one of our memories. Sitting watching the castle change colors we don’t want to see our families on it. Think about changing it to the windows on Main St. It can give family something to see on their way out of the park.
    1. Cute idea
    2. Bad spot

  • Snooze- this should not have been hyped up as it was. As far as the new promotion, who wants to see photos of complete strangers projected on the castle?

  • Agree with Dan and Anonymous. This is nearly as unexciting as Duffy the Bear. The last thing I saw that was this “un-Disney” was the “ExtraTerrorestrial” attraction at the Magic Kindom. Has Michael Eisner somehow returned to put his “special” mark on Disney again?

  • The projection of photos on Cinderellas Castle will really be cool. My husbands wins just about every year a very special vacation for being a top sales person. His company hires photographers to document all of the fun memories had during the trip. The last vacation evening there is a farewell party where the photos are projected in a very well produced manner. It is so fun! I look forward to that!

  • This new idea is LAME! Come on Disney it the 40th Birthday of WDW you could have come up with something better!

  • I may be a bit off, by posting this as a comment here, but I truly feel that this is an absolutely bad idea. Have we not learned from the “pink-birthday-cake-nightmare” that “we shouldn’t mess with the castle”? I’m also not a fan of using people’s private pictures as free advertising for your company. There are so many other worthwhile projects that could get funding in the Magic Kingdom (and all around WDW). This was not one of them. Please reconsider your decision, and leave the castle alone. Its majesty and glory should remain proud as the center of the Magic Kingdom – Not used as a billboard.

  • Is there any word on how the new theme song will be released? Free dowload? Upcoming park album? I’d really like to get the song asap 🙂

  • Thats the big news????

  • I immediately thought of a video that I need to dig out and upload. It was one of those, “Surprise! I’m waking you up at 5am to go to Disney World!” things and my daughter’s response was everything I hoped for.

  • Meh

  • That’s the big announcement? Yes, this is cool, but man, you hyped us up for something way bigger than a website!

  • Can I be honest? Now that the rumored Memories campaign has been confirmed and Disney Parks Blog is back up and running after the announcement, I’m underwhelmed.

    However, the star of this show is the real home movies of average Americans telling their kids they are going on a surprise trip to Disneyland or Disney World. Those are wonderful clips, and proof of what Walt Disney has given to this country after he created Disneyland as a “source of joy and inspiration to all the world”.

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