Thinking creatively is second nature to fashion brand Esprit. So, when it came to its annual Christmas party last year for its 750 employees, the company stepped away from the usual banquet set-up.
For the first time, Esprit did not opt for the customary city-centre venues, preferring instead to take over Hong Kong Disneyland on Lantau Island for the evening. The challenge was to book a place that was flexible enough to accommodate a range of entertainment and dining activities, an effort that took eight months to gel.
Help was never an issue with Disneyland’s one-stop-shop business solutions and events team offering full support every step of the way. This, coupled with the Park’s top-quality entertainment offerings, meant that there was no need to go far to find the talents that would fire up the evening affair.
The party, held on November 24, was designed to create good cheer and bring out the festive spirit in each attendee. A spectacular fireworks display kicked off the programme, with a group of 47 VIPs and senior Esprit executives watching the show from an exclusive viewing section on the train station platform. They were then led to the Theatre in the Wild at the park’s Adventureland where Disney cartoon characters and a drum band provided a rousing welcome. A tailor-made Esprit logo gobo lighting projection flashed across the venue to herald the start of the celebration as the VIP guests and the Esprit staff started pouring in.
Inside the theatre, guests were handed colour-coded goody bags (different for VIPs, local staff and overseas staff). Two senior Esprit executives went onstage accompanied by a troupe of Disney characters to deliver a speech thanking their staff, then proceeded with a lucky draw before everyone settled back to enjoy a special staging of the Festival of the Lion King.
Finally, Goofy and the other cast members led the Esprit group in a conga line out of the theatre towards Fantasyland, where a lavish buffet dinner was waiting at the Royal Banquet Hall and the Cinderella Carousel patio. “A smooth logistical flow from one part of the event to the next was of paramount importance,” says a Hong Kong Disneyland spokesman.
“One challenge was the very tight set-up time for the dining area as it could only be done after the fireworks display because of safety concerns. As a result, the banquet team had about 40 minutes to set up 17 tables with five buffet lines, beverage bars and prize-redemption counters so guests would not have to wait around for dinner after leaving the Festival of the Lion King show.”
To maintain clockwork precision, all equipment needed for the event, down to the cutlery, was delivered to the park’s back-of-house area the day before, and extra waitstaff were hired – split into small teams and assigned dedicated duties – to ensure a smooth work flow. Guests dined under the stars and, later in the evening, were given the freedom to pick their own entertainment. They could go on several of the park’s rides, which continued to operate, pose with Disney characters or enjoy the antics of a magician and a balloon twister.
The programme closed with a farewell procession amid falling “snow” as guests walked the length of Main Street USA from the Sleeping Beauty Castle. The ever-present Disney characters bid the guests goodbye.
According to Hong Kong Disneyland, Esprit gave a positive feedback after the event.
“They were happy with the creativity and efficiency – especially the way our events team worked with them to think through the logistical arrangements to ensure the event would flow smoothly,” says the Park’s spokesperson.
Event: Esprit Company Party 2010
Venue: Hong Kong Disneyland
Date: November 24, 2010
Number of participants: 750