So what is media? In short, it’s a means of communication, and anyone living in today’s world cannot have escaped it.
The Walt Disney Company uses a huge range of media from advertising, through broadcast television and film, digital media, multimedia, news and print and social media.
Disney’s three biggest business segments, including TV, theme parks and feature films, accounted for roughly 90% of its revenue each year. This includes some of the best-known media companies in the United States and around the world, including the Disney/ABC television group, the ESPN sports channel, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, Lucasfilm Ltd and Marvel Entertainment.
News first surfacing in November 2017 hinted at Disney potentially buying a large stake of 21st Century Fox, but Disney, known for their bombshell acquisitions of enormous companies, is still working on this development. Watch this space – it has already caused shares in 21st Century Fox to jump by 8.5%.
If you teach or attend classes in media, Disneyland Paris must be one of the best places in Europe to see how your studies are put into practice. From an entertainment point of view Parades and shows; street theatre, night time AV and firework events; character meet and greets, are all part of the daily routine. And Study Experiences can get you closer to the [lights, camera,] action!
Following a brief introduction to Disneyland Paris and its relationship to the global Disney organisation, our first seminar, Selling the Dream, explores how the 4 P’s apply to Disneyland Paris, and investigates a selection of marketing methods, including TV advertising, brochures, social media and target marketing, synergy and partnership marketing. In addition, we examine the use of guest surveys to carry out primary and secondary research.
Disney cast members participating on video include Head of Marketing Communications Gill Corley; Ashley Berriman, Creative Campaign and Marketing Manager, Lucy Woodward, Travel Industry Marketing Manager and Dave Coombs, Head of Publicity Disney Destinations International. This is a unique opportunity to hear from the people involved in media at one of the highest levels!
Students then take part in a Media Studies Workshop that provides a practical, fun, opportunity for students to apply media knowledge to a real-life task – to increase visitor numbers to the resort. Working in teams of eight, students use their knowledge to plan a new advertisement for Disneyland Paris. Their advertisement can be in any format – poster, TV, radio, web, social media etc.
Students need to combine their understanding of media principles with the practicalities of promoting the resort. Particular emphasis is given to working as a team, communicating and meeting a deadline. At the end of the Workshop teams present their plans to a panel comprising of the facilitator and participating teachers, who ask questions and provide feedback to the team. One of the aims of the workshop is to help develop confident young adults together with working as a team, communicating and meeting a deadline.
With an estimated 240 million people who have seen a Disney movie and 800 million who have read a Disney comic or magazine, the Brand, Genre and Performance Seminar encourages students to consider whether there is a Disney Genre. We begin by exploring how Disney protects this well-loved “brand”.
We look at the Disney heritage, from the fascinating history of Walt Disney and his success in moving from animation into films, TV, music, theatre and theme parks and discover the work of some of the original animators, some Disney media “firsts”, such as the multi-plane camera, and the role of music in a Disney theme park. This is followed by a brief investigation into the techniques used to convert traditional Disney films, many based on European fairy tales for example Snow White and Pinocchio, into theme park rides and attractions (and vice versa).
A typical activity is to consider how the fantasy adventure films Pirates of the Caribbean were inspired by a theme park ride and the failure of some rides to translate into film successfully.
Disney cast members appearing on video in Seminar Two include Brand Manager Brigitte Elmkies-Sitbon; Imagineer Nigel Bratcher; Creative Entertainment Director Kat De Blois; Show Director Emmanuel Lenormand and archive footage featuring some of the original Disney animators.
Events take place in November, January/February each year at the Gaumont Cinema in Disney Village. The whole event is supported by a Teacher Education Guide, Student Workbook and optional Assignment booklet. And of course, there’s also plenty of time to have fun and explore the two parks.
To find out more take a look here.
Disneyland Paris disclaimer: Please note, because of changes in programming, unforeseen circumstances, such as adverse weather conditions or important maintenance work, changes to opening times, Disney attraction closures and parade cancellations (as mentioned in this blog) may occur without prior notice.
Lynda Warren has many years of experience of research within the UK Media Studies curriculum and has spent the last 18 years liaising with and filming behind the scenes at Disneyland Paris for Study Experiences.