Monday, May 18, 2015

Don't Choose Your Target Audience: Your Target Audience Chooses You

Like many other small children, I was taken to Disney World at a very young age. I went for the first time when I was barely over a year old--most of the trip lives on in videos my parents took while painstakingly documenting every single time I misbehaved. 
Since then I've gotten a little taller and it's only slightly less cute when I make new friends waiting in line for Splash Mountain. When I was in college, my sister and I took our first trip without our parents and realized there were whole sections of the parks we had never explored. As our week sped on faster than we would have liked, we also realized that taking a trip without small kids following us around was an entirely different experience. Our "party of two" often got ushered to the front of lines, to round out a family with an odd number. We spent mornings sleeping in and evenings riding Rock N Roller Coaster until we were dizzy. We made friends with cast members and sat in cafes, splitting cupcakes and trying new flavors of coffee.

Do NOT pull

Now, while some of these activities were new things we'd come up with, or stumbled upon leaving no corner un-explored, some were inspired by scavenger hunt posts of websites such as, where fans of the parks have netted so much information you might not even need to leave you couch to have tons of fun*. While my sister and I were in the parks, however, we realized our information was almost all aimed at people who either had kids, or were kids themselves. There was nothing particularly for us "in-betweeners"--the twenty-somethings. 
Since that trip which was now almost five years ago, my sister, fiance and I have done even more research and realized the findings from that first search were more of a problem than we originally believed. We found travel guide after travel guide with info for parents, or "kids guides", or tips for Disney post-retirement. There was one glaring gap in this generational separation, and we got the picture: it was us.

*This course of action not recommended. While it will save you money it will not quench your thirst for Disney. 

Find Your Disney Side 

This makes logical sense, as the park was not originally intended for those of us without families. Disney World in particular is designed as a long-term, all-inclusive vacation destination. While Land is smaller, more easily accessible and less daunting for a day-long getaway, World boasts four full parks, a huge shopping a dining area, tons of hotels, golf courses, a test track for race cars... it's not exactly something you try to take on on a lazy Thursday after class.  

When our parents were in their twenties, they were already getting married and settling down (for the most part.) We, the greatest generation, were not far behind. This did not leave our parents with much time for drinking around the world in EPCOT, or for getting into lightsaber duels with "flight attendants" at Star Tours.** It was straight into raising us ruffians for them.

Now here we are, extending our adolescence in every way we were taught--and that includes bi-annual trips to Florida. So here we are, in our twenties with nothing to do but return to Disney over and over again (I mean there are bills to pay and degrees to finish but we'll get to those when we get to them, I guess.) 

**Yeah. Flight Attendants used to carry lightsabers as part of their uniform. I can't imagine what could have possibly happened to put a stop to THAT practice...(besides the factual inaccuracy of a non-jedi carrying a lightsaber in the first place...)

Grow Up, Would You? (Haha No Thanks)

Going to Disney in your twenties is a whole different beast, and a great example of how we didn't go looking for an audience. In fact, our audience presented itself to us, as more people our age would facebook message or text or ask us in person for our Disney Tips. My sister and I have helped a variety of family members pick and choose their priority attractions, but I really enjoy introducing people to "Disney The In-Betweeners Way". This way has lots of exploring, off-season visiting, and food and drinks involved where the family set may wait in line for character signatures, rock the baby back to sleep, or desperately seek out the closest bathroom before an 'accident' occurs.

Once we realized that not only is there a lack of info available specifically for our age group, and noticed the growing desire FOR that information, we set out to write the book we were looking for. And that's how we wound up here today. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to get back to watching Hercules. It's back on Netflix.

How did your audience find you?

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