As we prepare to ring in another new year, we begin to look back on 2012 as one of the busiest and most exciting in theme park history. It’s a year that saw more major grand openings - and closings - than any in recent history.
And throughout the year’s many exciting events, fans have flocked to our YouTube channel, which grew from 20,000 subscribers and 18 million total views at the beginning of the 2012 to more than 41,000 subscribers and 52 million video views today! That’s more than 33 million views in the year of 2012, totaling an estimated 35 million minutes watched. It was indeed a BIG year.
In fact, we received so much attention on our videos that to properly count down the most popular, it’s necessary to separate them into two categories. First, the top 10 most popular original new videos for 2012 - ones shot, created, and uploaded within the year - followed by the top 10 most popular overall, as many past videos continued to bring big view counts throughout the year.
Our Top 10 Most Popular New Videos for 2012
The ten videos below represent our most popular, and some of our best, new and original videos for 2012. These videos were all shot, edited, and uploaded within the year that brought quite a lot of entertainment and excitement from Florida and California.
10. Full Ride: Radiator Springs Racers with source audio at night in Cars Land
Uploaded 6/25/12 - 152,600 views
This tenth most popular video makes a double appearance in our top 10 original new videos for 2012. It’s a nighttime ride on Radiator Springs Racers, the amazing new E-ticket attraction in Cars land at Disney California Adventure. This video is special as it features a mix of the ride’s source audio from “The Music of Cars Land” CD.
9. Full Ride & Queue: The Little Mermaid in New Fantasyland at Walt Disney World
Uploaded 10/12/12 - 183,609 views
Despite New Fantasyland only officially opening a few weeks ago, a full ride on The Little Mermaid attraction at the Magic Kingdom still made its way into the top 10, as it had been running previews since October. But its sister in California pulled even bigger numbers, as seen in the overall top 10 below.
8. FULL Silent Hill haunted house lights-on walkthrough at Halloween Horror Nights 2012
Uploaded 9/12/12 - 265,969 views
Branching out from the worlds of Disney, much of the remaining top 10 come from Universal Studios, both in Hollywood, California and Orlando, Florida. A lights-on preview walkthrough of the “Silent Hill” haunted house for Halloween Horror Nights proved to be quite popular.
7. Transformers: The Ride 3D ride & queue experience at Universal Studios Hollywood [1080P HD]
Uploaded 5/26/12 - 268,399 views
When Universal Studios Hollywood grand opened Transformers: The Ride 3D in May 2012, many flocked to YouTube to see what it was all about. This trend will likely continue in 2013 at Universal Orlando gears up to open their version of the ride in a few months.
6. Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem at Universal Orlando - Queue, pre-show, dance party, store
Uploaded 6/13/12 - 289,133 views
Just days before Disney opened Cars Land in California, Universal Orlando began previews of their Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem attraction and though video of the actual ride is not allowed, this compilation showing its pre- and post-show areas did well in 2012.
5. Blue Man Group does Lady Gaga “Bad Romance” at Universal Orlando
Uploaded 2/16/12 - 337,731 views
Universal Orlando’s Blue Man Group show got an upgrade in 2012 and this short sequence featuring a Lady Gaga song was instantly popular.
4. Grand Opening of Transformers: The Ride 3D at Universal Studios Hollywood
Uploaded 5/24/12 - 438,168 views
Few events were bigger than the grand opening of Transformers: The Ride 3D at Universal Studios Hollywood, with Optimus Prime and Bumblebee rolling out as vehicles and walking around as giant robots - plus plenty of action-packed moments and big explosions.
3. Full Ride: Radiator Springs Racers in Cars Land at Disney California Adventure POV HD
Uploaded 6/16/12 - 481,942 views
Drawing many more views than the source audio version listed above, a live ride-through of Radiator Springs Racers during the grand opening days of Cars Land brought nearly half a million people to our video, which includes binaural audio.
2. FULL The Walking Dead Escape zombie experience at San Diego Comic-Con 2012
Uploaded 7/14/12 - 683,226 views
A big surprise for 2012 was the popularity of The Walking Dead Escape at Petco Park during the San Diego Comic-Con. Making a total fool of myself, I brought along a small GoPro camera as I avoided walkers in an invasion that sent me on a grueling obstacle course throughout the stadium. This video shows every gritty moment, especially the exhaustion and hilarity that ensued.
1. Jaws Ride: The Movie - An ultimate tribute to the Universal Studios Orlando attraction
Uploaded 1/2/12 - 1,503,935 views
When Universal Orlando announced at the end of 2011 they were forever closing the classic Jaws ride at Universal Studios Florida, I knew I had to mark the occasion with something special. I created “Jaws Ride: The Movie” with a cinematic approach to the attraction, paying tribute through multiple camera angles, careful editing, and John Williams’ rousing score from the original film. The result swept across the Internet drawing more than 1.5 million views, a number that will surely continue to grow in the future as nostalgic fans look back on this gone-but-never-forgotten ride.
Our Top 10 Most Popular Overall Videos for 2012
Though our list of the top 10 new videos for 2012 is quite exciting, the view counts for all our videos from 2012 and prior are even more impressive with our top video drawing more than 3.3 million views in 2012 alone! Here, like in the past, it was a huge year for Disney.
10. “Tangled” Rapunzel tower at Disney’s Epcot Flower and Garden Festival 2011
Uploaded 3/7/11 - 558,195 views in 2012 (824,718 total)
This simple video of a short sighting at Epcot continues to grab the attention of Rapunzel fans with more than half a million views in 2012, despite the fact that the video was released in 2011.
9. “I See The Light” from Tangled as performed during “The Golden Mickeys” on the Disney Dream
Uploaded 1/27/11 - 648,403 views in 2012 (1,295,883 total)
Rapunzel fans continue to swoon over any “Tangled” entertainment available, including an audio-only recording of “I See the Light” from the Disney Dream cruise ship from the beginning of 2011.
8. FULL The Walking Dead Escape zombie experience at San Diego Comic-Con 2012
Uploaded 7/14/12 - 683,226 views in 2012 (683,226 total)
The Walking Dead Escape experience managed to break into the top 10 overall most watched videos for 2012 despite it being a new video. “The Walking Dead” is indeed that popular.
7. Jodi Benson (voice of The Little Mermaid) performs “Part of Your World” at the 2011 D23 Expo
Uploaded 8/20/11 - 711,458 views in 2012 (928,574 total)
The legendary performances from the Disney Princess voices at the 2011 D23 Expo will forever be popular, a once-in-a-lifetime moment. Jodi Benson commands attention with her rendition of “Part of Your World.”
6. Lea Salonga (voice of Mulan) performs “Reflection” at the 2011 D23 Expo
Uploaded 8/20/11 - 732,517 views in 2012 (988,750 total)
Lea Salonga inched ahead, just barely, with her performance of “Reflection” from the 2011 D23 Expo. But much higher on the list is an even more breathtaking moment from the event.
5. Jaws Ride: The Movie - An ultimate tribute to the Universal Studios Orlando attraction
Uploaded 1/2/12 - 1,503,935 views in 2012 (1,503,935 total)
Our most popular new video for 2012 is also the 5th most popular overall across our whole YouTube channel as fans don’t want to let go of Universal Orlando’s Jaws ride.
4. Rapunzel becomes 10th Disney Princess with procession and coronation ceremony in London palace
Uploaded 10/3/11 - 1,685,902 views in 2012 (1,735,398 total)
Much attention has been on the royals of the United Kingdom in 2012 and when Rapunzel was officially crowned Disney’s 10th Princess in 2011 our video of the event became hugely popular, stretching throughout 2012.
3. Full Ride: The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure at California Adventure, Disneyland
Uploaded 6/4/11 - 1,858,155 views in 2012 (2,136,718 total)
Though attention in the last quarter of 2012 was on New Fantasyland at Walt Disney World, many fans interested in seeing The Little Mermaid ride wound up at our video of the attraction at Disney California Adventure from its grand opening in 2011, drawing nearly 2 million views in 2012.
2. Disney Princess voices sing together at the 2011 D23 Expo
Uploaded 8/20/11 - 1,999,343 views in 2012 (2,533,599 total)
Just a handful shy of 2 million views, the Disney Princess voices singing together at the 2011 D23 Expo is one of those moments that will never be duplicated and will continue to entertain and delight YouTube audiences for years to come.
1. Mickey’s Soundsational Parade shot high above Main Street USA at Disneyland
Uploaded 6/4/11 - 3,378,035 views in 2012 (3,517,397 total)
The shocking standout of all our videos from 2012 is the unique capture of Mickey’s Soundsational Parade at Disneyland, from the one-time viewpoint at the top of the tall floats, above Town Square at the end of Main Street USA. This full parade video drew more than 3 million views in 2012, rocketing to our most popular single video ever. And it’s a great parade too.
Some videos just barely didn’t make the top 10 lists for a variety of reasons, but are still worth revisiting. Some fell short but just a few thousand views while others simply haven’t been around long enough to gather enough attention. So here are just a few more of the most popular in 2012 that will likely reach the list next year:
Merida “Brave” meet-and-greet at Magic Kingdom with bear cubs & archery lessons
Flying Dragon debuts at Walt Disney World for New Fantasyland grand opening
Dance-Off with the Star Wars Stars 2012 at Disney’s Star Wars Weekends
Optimus Prime & Bumblebee as vehicles and robots at Transformers: The Ride 3D grand opening
Grand opening of Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem at Universal Orlando
Full ride: New Matterhorn Bobsleds, both sides, and mountain climbers at Disneyland POV
Full Test Track 2.0 queue, ride, and post-show at Epcot, Walt Disney World
Carbon Freeze Me experience at Star Wars Weekends 2012, Walt Disney World
Glow with the Show Ears debut for World of Color at Disney California Adventure
Tribute: Snow White’s Scary Adventures full ride with binaural audio at Walt Disney World
Happy New Year and see you in 2013!