The folks at Disney recently hosted a razzle-dazzle press event at New York's Palace Theater to launch their Year of a Million Dreams, actually a 15-month bonanza of new attractions and giveaways. Actors took the stage hoisting giant puppets from Finding Nemo--the Musical, premiering in Orlando this January. Puppeteer Michael Curry (The Lion King) and Tony Award-winning composer Robert Lopez (Avenue Q) are among the show's all-star team.
Nemo fans will also be able to climb aboard "clamobiles" for Epcot's ride The Seas With Nemo and Friends. It creates the sensation of traveling through a coral reef that is home to the animated characters Dory and Marlin as well as actual fish.
Not to be outdone, the Magic Kingdom has come up with a live show, Dream Along With Mickey, as well as the Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor Comedy Club. The movie's one-eyed hero will do stand-up comedy and incorporate the best jokes text-messaged in by audience members.
A good part of the dream fulfillment will come from Disney's giveaway, running through December 31, 2007. Enter to win a Disney Vacation Club membership, tickets to after-hours park events, a set of mouse ears, or even a trip around the world as grand marshall in Disney parades (disneyparks.com/rules).
The catch is that one of the niftiest prizes can't be won through the giveaway: nearly every day, a lucky visitor at Walt Disney World will be tapped by staffers to spend that night at Cinderella's Castle. Its Royal Suite, overlooking the Magic Kingdom, has two canopied queen beds and a wood-paneled parlor with stained-glass windows. A group of up to five people will dine at Cinderella's Royal Table, pose for photos with Cinderella, and get a VIP viewing of either SpectroMagic or the Wishes fireworks show.
Similarly, at California's Disneyland, visitors will be chosen at random to spend the night in the new Mickey Mouse Penthouse. The park is putting the finishing touches on an underwater ride, the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage, and has whipped up a rock and roll soundtrack for its California Screamin' attraction. For 16 weeks this spring, the classic Space Mountain rides at both parks will be rockin', too.