Disney has decided to partner with location service Gowalla — rather than Facebook or Foursquare — for an immersive location-based campaign to help people explore its flagship Disneyworld and Disneyland parks.
The Gowalla/Disney partnership focuses around custom Passport pages that not only show off Disney-branded stamps (Gowalla’s version of Badges), but also a photo and check-in stream. Gowalla’s Disney page also offers Disney-branded pins that users can earn by completing specific trips within Disneyworld and Disneyland.
This isn’t just a few stamps and a check-in stream, though; Gowalla and Disney have created literally hundreds of stamps for rides and locales within the two parks. Everything from the fireworks show to “Finding Nemo-The Music” offers a stamp or pin that can be earned by checking in.
This is a major win for Gowalla; Disney is the world’s most-recognized entertainment brand, and any form of promotion by Disney should drive new users and extra attention to the location-based service. It’s struggled to keep a high profile in the face of stiff competition from Foursquare, which raised $20 million earlier this year, and Facebook, whose Places feature recently got a new deals platform.
Neither Foursquare nor Facebook seem suited for creating the type of exploration experience that Disney likely wanted to deliver to its audience, which is why the Gowalla partnership makes some sense to us. Still, location is far from mainstream and it’s unclear how many people Mickey Mouse can drive to adopt the checkin.