Today Ben Parr of Mashable reported that Disney has partnered with location-based mobile app Gowalla to help visitors further engage with their two flagship theme parks – Disneyworld and Disneyland – via mobile check ins and stamps.
This is a significant partnership for Gowalla who is often left in the dust behind mobile check in dominators Foursquare and Facebook Places (I wrote about the launch of Facebook Places back in August, you can read the full post here).
Parr describes some of the details of the partnership and agrees, this is a monumental deal for Gowalla. He writes:
“ . . .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.”
Joshua Brustein of the New York Times reported that Gowalla currently has 600,000 users as compared to the 120 million people that visited the Disney theme parks last year. Brustein accurately comments, “Gowalla’s user base would skyrocket even if it converted a miniscule proportion of Disney’s users into new users.”
Why haven’t Foursquare or Facebook Places announced these types of partnerships? According to a post on Gowalla’s corporate blog an incredible amount of time and human resources went into customizing this mobile platform. The blog post reads:
“We’re launching over 100 new featured stamps within Disney Parks today, with over 100 more expected by the end of the year. Each featured Disney stamp was painstakingly rendered in pixel form by Gowalla with the guidance of the Disney creative team — bringing you an experience that is truly 100 percent Gowalla and 100 percent Disney.”
Congratulations to Gowalla on teaming up with the most recognizable entertainment brand on the planet. Naturally this announcement will breed intensified competition from competitors, but for now, Gowalla is at the happiest place on earth.