The 2016 edition of the Disney Parks Vacation Planning Video is available now. This free DVD (or online video collection) features a look at Disneyland, Walt Disney World, Aulani, Disney’s Beach Resorts and more. These are basically infomercials about the parks and resorts. They give you an overview of offerings at each.
Most of us Disneygeeks have these videos dating back to VHS days when there were separate tapes for each and you would have to call an 800 number to order. Usually the new one would be advertised during the Annual Christmas Day parade. We would order these as well as the free World of Motion VHS tape each year/visit. It offered a chance to have Disney produced video clips of the parks at home to watch over and over (since YouTube and the Internet were still not invented!). The videos evolved and some years were targeted by demographic.. those with young kids, older kids, no kids, etc.. with a different video and script for each group.
Over the years the videos migrated from VHS to DVD and digital and have become less comprehensive and more highlights. They follow the same basic format of a collection of videos for each destination. A video will highlight a park or topic and run in length from a couple minutes up to just under 10 minutes. This year for the parks they follow the format of introducing a cast member who talks about their role and some guest interactions. Then a quick set of clips to highlight a half dozen attractions or entertainment choices at the park. There seemed to be more pictures of guests than in years past and less of the attractions themselves. For WDW they make sure to show clips of the Magic Bands in use quite frequently. Thinking back I do not recall any real emphasis on the Disneyland App, but they do talk about the myDisneyExperience site and app for WDW.
This year’s DVD does not look too far into the future, but they do talk about openings in the upcoming year. For example in the Animal Kingdom section Rivers of Light is discussed and a Joe Rohde interview is included. They also talk briefly about Disney Springs and the expansion. At Disneyland I thought it was odd they did not mention Luigis at all.
The video clips used throughout span the years in terms of Disney b-roll. I noticed for Disneyland much of it has been updated recently. You can spot Disneyland 60th decorations in the background of quite a few shots. One of my biggest complaints in productions like this is they do not check their video that carefully. To me there is no excuse why an official release should not be able to keep the footage straight. For example in the Epcot Flower and Garden section there is a clip of gardeners working on “it’s a small world” in Anaheim. Or for Fantasmic! at Disneyland they jump back and forth between Orlando and Anaheim with the clips. Another example is for PhotoPass at Disneyland they had Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom clips. Or they show clips of things that are no longer around. One that jumps to mind is for Disneyland they showed the Billies at Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree. Neither of which are there any more. This is just B-Roll, some on screen for only a split second, with other narratives over it and most people would never notice but there are those of us that do.
Walt Disney World and Disneyland are the focus of the video but there is a third section that includes Adventures by Disney, Disney Vacation Club, Disney Cruise Line, Aulani and Disney Beach Resorts. These videos are between one and four minutes long. I thought the Cruise Line one really needed more as did Adventures by Disney they were really brief and did neither one justice. The Aulani Package gives a good look at the resort. The term Disney’s Beach Resorts (http://disneybeachresorts.com/) was new to me. I had not heard them packaged this way before. This refers to the Hilton Head and Vero Beach DVC properties. They are pitched as stand alone resorts/beach experiences now.
I have tried to put on a new guest hat and watch the DVD objectively and I really cannot. To me it seems to really be all over the place and if I had no idea what I was getting into then I am not sure if this would help. If I was a casual visitor and looking to see what has changed or something to trigger memories and the urge to go back then I may find it more useful. If you are a disneygeek then you already know most of the what is being discussed but are curious what footage is used and how it is presented.
If you are a first time guest to either WDW or Disneyland and order one of these DVDs I would really be interested to hear your impression. Did it answer any questions? Help you to make any decisions? Or what?
Bottom line is the 2016 is on par with recent year planning videos. It is a FREE Disney video that gives you a portal back to the parks and resorts. If you are looking for some Disney provided travel tips and highlights it is a resource. With the continued growth of the internet and streaming video I would think the days of these DVDs are numbered so you may want to pick one up for your collection sooner rather than later.
You can use this banner link or the one at the top of the post to order your Free Planning Video from Disney.