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Theme Parks

Experiential Licensing: Targeting Travelers

Globally, the fastest-growing consumer segments are spenders hailing from Asia and, more generally, Millennials. These two cohorts are more likely then ever to spend money on an experience, rather than on some consumer good.

According to Expedia’s 2018 Air Travel Outlook Report, for example, 74% of 18–65 year-olds would rather spend their money on experiences than possessions, with 65% of 22–35 year-olds setting aside money specifically for travel. According to the U.S. Travel Association, direct spending on leisure travel by domestic and international travelers totaled $683.1 billion in 2016.

To that end, brands are crafting new experiences around the world for travelers of every type.

Cartoon Network U.K. promotes its new animated series We Bare Bears with a polar-bear shaped food truck. The pop-up will hand out free drinks to kids and their families as it tours the country.

Nickelodeon breaks ground on its first theme park in China, Nickelodeon Cultural Resort. The park is part of a larger development project—estimated to be worth $1.71 billion—and is expected to open in 2020. As many as 6.7 million tourists are anticipated in the first year of operation. Characters to feature at the part include those from SpongeBob SquarePants, Dora the Explorer, and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Late last year, Nick also signed with IMG World’s new theme park to open its first branded park in Dubai.

Disney is also building in China, with the company and the Hong Kong government planning a $1.4 billion expansion to the existing Hong Kong Disneyland.

Across the pond, Universal Studios Hollywood will welcome DreamWork’s Kung Fu Panda for its Chinese Lunar New Year celebrations. New attractions at the California theme park include a Dragon Warrior Training stage show, the opening of a replica Mr. Ping’s Noodle Shop, and the return of a Mandarin-speaking Transformers MEGATRON.

This year will see the launch of the DreamWorks Theater attraction created in partnership with Universal Creative and DreamWorks Artists at the Hollywood park. The opening attraction will feature a Kung Fu Panda multi-sensory adventure with state-of-the-art projection mapping and LED lighting effects.

Meanwhile, Disney’s Minnie Mouse is getting a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in honor of her 90th anniversary; the star will be dedicated in the category of Motion Pictures in front of El Capitan Theatre. Minnie joins previous honorees such as Donald Duck, Tinker Bell, Winnie the Pooh, Snow White, Kermit the Frog, and, of course, Mickey Mouse. Bob Iger and Katy Perry will emcee the dedication of the 2,627th star.

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