Monday, June 2, 2008

Resident Fortune Tellers

I've been fascinated with the old coin operated fortune telling machines ever since I saw the movie "Big" where Tom Hanks pleads to Zoltar to make him magically grow up over night. These machines have a great sense of nostalgia, which is why it's no surprise that Disneyland is the home of two such fortune tellers Esmeralda and Shrunken Ned.

We all know how they work... you drop in a quarter, they read your palm or consult their cards, give you a little spiel and print you a card with your fortune. Both fortune tellers at Disneyland are really well placed and fit thematically within each land they reside. Esmeralda is an antique fortune teller that sits on Main Street in the Penny Arcade. The beheaded British explorer Shrunken Ned on the other hand, is an Imagineering one-of-a-kind found in the shops in Adventureland. You might even remember Captain Fortune Red who once resided in New Orleans Square?





I'd like to see Imagineering create custom fortune tellers for each land at Disneyland. In Fantasyland maybe the three Fairy God-Mothers from Sleeping Beauty grant you a wish, in Tomorrowland a droid may scan you and give you a piece of sage advice, and in New Orleans Square Calypso awaits to give you and eerie prediction (that you can hardly understand).

But these are Disney fortune tellers they should have greater powers than just prediction. For every hundred or so fortune cards dispensed the deck should be stacked with ones that are redeemable for something, like a fast pass for your entire party good on any ride in that land, a free trading pin, or a set of mouse ears! Or in other words all of the little prizes that are part of the Year of a Million Dreams (YMD) promotion.

I've griped about the YMD promotion before, but my issue is with the way the prizes are handed out rather than the concept itself. Utilizing Disneyland's resident fortune tellers would make winning some of these smaller prizes more surprising and entertaining for guests. It would remove the ambiguity of winning prizes under the current YMD promotion by making the who, what, when, where, and how quantifiable.

7 comments:

Cory Gross said...

I love the fortune tellers at Disneyland! It even became a daily ritual to stop by each and get my fortune. Shrunken Ned is one of my all-time favorite Disney characters too!

I wish that Fortune Red was still around New Orleans Square though, and would prefer him to Calypso. Heck, I'd prefer anyone to yet another character from the latter two, awful, pirates movies. Something Haunted Mansion-related? Princess and the Frog?

Mr. Lincoln said...

That's funny you mention something from Haunted Mansion. As soon as I finished the post I thought a fortune teller machine with the miniature Madam Liota would be cool... "hurry back!"

sorcerer-mickey said...

You are invited to revisit the Fortune Red fortunetelling experience at Sorcerer's Workshop.org, where you can still have your Fortune Red.
http://sorcerersworkshop.org/piratesarcade.shtml

Tim Beard said...

I never make a trip to Disneyland without stopping by and getting a fortune from Esmeralda. It's become a ritual. I miss Fortune Red. They returned him for like a month and then he was gone again. I have to say that 'Big' started my fascination too.

kirockk said...

I was fortunate enough to get to work on marketing ideas for the second pirates movie before production began. One of the concepts that wasn't picked up was to introduce the Fortunes Red character into the movie and then use him in the promotions as part of a sweepstakes. Missed opportunities. By the way nice site.

Mr. Lincoln said...

Thanks kirockk... that would have been a really fun idea to use Fortune Red in the films as well. Too bad... maybe in POTC 4??

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