Disney's Theme Park Plan for 2013: Keep the Magic Alive Every Week

Ice castle in Times Square
Ice castle in Times Square

Times Square just got a little bit cooler, thanks to Disney (DIS). Yup, Disney.

The family entertainment giant set up a three-story castle made of ice in Times Square this week to introduce its new Limited Time Magic in-park promotion campaign. Kicking things up a notch at its popular Florida and California gated attractions, Disney will be offering 52 weekly themed events throughout 2013.

Some of the events planned for the parks include a Long Lost Friends Week when Disney's lesser-known characters will grab the spotlight for meet-and-greet experiences, and a Valentine's Day campaign in which couples are invited to partake in romantic full-course meals and the castle will shimmer in red and pink. There will also be a week for pirates, of course, and even a clever twist where the iconic barbershop quartet that entertains guests on Main Street U.S.A. will perform modern boy band hits.

The full slate of in-park events isn't available yet, but it's safe to say that Disney wants to offer something for everybody. But the magical events -- like the melting ice castle in Times Square -- won't last long.

As the Turnstiles Click

Disney typically waits until the holidays to introduce its marketing promotions for the following year. This year, one was keeping its parks open for 24 hours on Leap Day. Prior campaigns have included free admissions on birthdays and giveaways at the gate.

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It doesn't take a rocket scientist -- or even a well-read Belle -- to figure out what Disney's trying to do here. The economy's starting to claw its way back, and Disney wants to create enough unique events to keep guests coming back.

The sale of annual park passes should spike as locals enjoy the new weekly wrinkles. And guests that haven't visited the parks in ages may be tempted by one of the many attractions. After all, it may be hard to resist visiting Disneyland in California or Disney Hollywood Studios in California on Sep. 13 for a Friday the 13th fete where villains abound and the parks are open until 1 a.m.

It's a Small World

Disney's global empire of theme parks is doing well these days, with the exception of Disneyland Paris. Revenue at the company's parks and resorts division grew 10% in its latest quarter with operating profits soaring 53%.

Disney's domestic theme parks are holding up well. Park attendance rose 7% in its latest quarter and the average guest was spending 5% more. Crowds should continue to keep coming now that Disney California Adventure opened up its Cars Land attractions this summer and Florida's Magic Kingdom is starting to let guests check out its expanded Fantasyland during this month's soft opening.

Unlike Six Flags (SIX) and Cedar Fair (FUN) with regional amusement parks that generate most of their revenue during the summer, Disney never sleeps. Disney is open year-round, and that means never letting go of momentum once things start rolling.

Week after week in 2013, Disney's hoping that there will be some serious money to be made in the puddles that were once castles made of ice.

Motley Fool contributor Rick Munarriz does not own shares in any of the stocks in this article, except for Disney. The Motley Fool owns shares of Walt Disney. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Walt Disney.

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