Yesterland

and
Yester World
The End of
“Let the Memories Begin”

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Photo by Chris Bales, 2011


It officially began January 2011—a brand new slogan—“Let the Memories Begin!”

Get it? Families visit Disney parks in Florida and California, and leave with wonderful vacation memories—even memories that last a lifetime. So visit a Disney park, and let the memories begin for you.

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Photo by Chris Bales, 2011

The Esplanade at the Disneyland Resort

Your memory of “Let the Memories Begin” might be that there were many “Let the Memories Begin” banners and signs.

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Photo by Chris Bales, 2011

Banners at the Disneyland Resort

“Let the Memories Begin” was just the latest in a series of Disney Parks marketing themes:

  • Oct. 1, 2001 to Feb. 28, 2003 - “100 Years of Magic” (marking the 100th anniversary of Walt Disney’s birth on Dec. 5, 1901)
  • 2003–2004 — “Where Magic Lives”
  • May 5, 2005 through September 30, 2006 — “Happiest Homecoming on Earth” (Disneyland) / “Happiest Celebration on Earth” (Walt Disney World)
  • October 1, 2006 through December 31, 2008 (27 months) — “Disney Parks, Where Dreams Come True” featuring the “Year of a Million Dreams
  • 2009 — “Celebrate Today” / “What Will You Celebrate?” featuring a free ticket to a Disney theme park on your birthday
  • 2010 — “Give a Day, Get a Disney Day” (ended after 68 days on March 9, 2010 because so many people signed up to volunteer)
  • 2011 — “Let the Memories Begin”
  • 2013 — “Limited Time Magic”
  • 2014 — “Show Your Disney Side” (began September 30th, 2013)
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Photo by Chris Bales, 2011

Let the construction memories begin at Disney California Adventure

At least the Disney people who design banners and determine where to put them learned something from the 27-month “Year of a Million Dreams.” For that theme, promotional artwork—with pastel squiggles and wings the first year and standardized blue banners the second year—showed up in places where such designs absolutely did not belong.

This time, the colors, fonts, and other design elements were customized to be at least somewhat appropriate for each park and resort, and most banners were not within the parks.

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Photo by Werner Weiss, 2011

Floral Mickey at Magic Kingdom Park

Although launched as the theme for 2011, the slogan “Let the Memories Begin” stayed around to some extent through 2012… and 2013… and even into the beginning of 2014.

It took until early January 2014 to remove the “Let the Memories Begin” sign that had marred the iconic scene of the floral Mickey and Main Street Station at Magic Kingdom Park.

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Photo by Werner Weiss, 2011

Entrance to Magic Kingdom Park

A media event in late 2011 suggested that 2012 would be the “Year of More Magic,” but that slogan failed to turn up on park banners.

A media event in late 2012 promised “Limited Time Magic” in 2013. Although Disney parks on both sides of the country offered limited-run events, the phrase “Limited Time Magic” mercifully never appeared on banners at the parks and resorts.

Now let’s look around some parks and resorts at Walt Disney World in 2011 and 2012.

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Photo by Werner Weiss, 2011

Epcot

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Photo by Werner Weiss, 2012

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

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Photo by Werner Weiss, 2011

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

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Photo by Werner Weiss, 2011

Disney’s Animal Kingdom

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Photo by Werner Weiss, 2012

Disney’s Old Key West Resort

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Photo by Werner Weiss, 2012

Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World

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Photo by Werner Weiss, 2012

Ticket and Transportation Center at Walt Disney World

In addition to banners and television ads, “Let the Memories Begin” included three other major components: a North American tour, a “Call for Memories” website, and projection shows on both sides of the country.

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Website © Disney

“Let the Memories Begin” Tour website

From late May through September 2011, a promotional tour made stops at 14 cities in the United States (including a stop in Puerto Rico) and two cities in Canada. At each stop, people could make virtual in-park photos and send them to family and friends. The tour was sponsored by Snapfish, Hewlett-Packard’s photo sharing and photo printing service.

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Website © Disney

“Let the Memories Begin” Memories website

Instead of relying on a few professional photographers for memorable photos, Disney looked to the millions of guests who visit the parks with increasingly sophisticated digital cameras and the skill (or luck) to take great photos. Disney encouraged guests to upload Disney vacation photos. According to a Disney press release in early 2011, “For the first time, Disney Parks is featuring the home videos and snapshots of real guests in television ads and other marketing that will allow an audience of millions to share in true-life, heartfelt moments.”

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Photo © Disney

Magic, Memories, and You! on Cinderella Castle

There was one part of “Let the Memories Begin” that actually enhanced the park guest experience. On January 18, 2011, Magic, Memories, and You! debuted at Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World, where it was projected onto the front of Cinderella Castle.

The soaring castle appeared to be alive as its surfaces were covered with brilliantly conceived animation perfectly matched to recorded music. To go with the “Let the Memories Begin” theme, the shows featured photos of guests taken by Disney PhotoPass photographers that day up to 3:00 p.m. These projected photos of park guests tended to be the low points of the show.

As the “Let the Memories Begin” marketing campaign wound down, Magic, Memories, and You! closed on September 3, 2012, to be replaced by a similar show, Celebrate the Magic, on November 13, 2012. At Magic Kingdom Park, the castle projection show has become a crowd favorite, with park guests seeking the perfect spot to see the show and the fireworks which follow it.

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Photo by Chris Bales, 2011

Magic, Memories, and You! on “it’s a small world”

A week after it premiered in Florida, Magic, Memories, and You! debuted at Disneyland Park, where the facade of “it’s a small world” made a better projection surface than Sleeping Beauty Castle.

Although also a wonderful projection show, the Disneyland edition did not seem to resonate with guests as much as the Magic Kingdom edition did. The show also closed on September 3, 2012. And that was the end of it.

 

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Updated April 18, 2014.