Another Sign of the Troubled Economy: WDW Passholder Pass-Along Savings Card

12 May

In what might be a strategy inspired by Disneyland Paris’ Annual Pass Sponsorship program, Walt Disney World has an (apparently) limited-time offer where current AP holders can give a friend a “pass-along savings card,” which gives the friend a 10% discount on a new Annual Pass (or Premium Annual Pass), and a $25 Disney Gift Card kickback to the current AP-holder. The new AP must be purchased at the ticket gates, at the parks. (Details are in an enclosure with the current issue of the Mickey Monitor, the newsletter for Annual Passholders.)

I find this a somewhat worrisome development, as Annual Pass discounts for Walt Disney World are few and far between (and longtime fans know the last time they were offered was also during dire economic straits). As much as I’d love to take advantage of the promotion (hey, are any of my friends or family members planning to buy new Annual Passes before July 31st? want 10% off?), I can’t help but see this as a fairly desperate move to keep attendance up while the economy continues to falter. Sure, attendance is only off by about 1% at this point, and room reservations are expected to remain flat, but check these additional numbers from the Wall Street Journal:

Staggs said the “Buy 4, Get 3 Free” promotional pricing] offer in Orlando helped to lift room occupancy to 89% versus 88% in the prior year but also contributed to a 17% decrease in per-room spending. In Anaheim, the company didn’t have a comparable promotion and occupancy came in at 69%, down by 14 percentage points. Per-room spending at Disneyland Resort decreased by 6%.

The company’s revenue from its parks division fell 12% for the second quarter, while its operating income plunged 50%.

I’ll read that again: “Operating income plunged 50%.” Ouch.

Some would argue that Disney’s doing the right thing by going to any length to maintain market share, even if they incur significant losses in doing so. And they’re probably right. But it doesn’t make me feel any better.

2 Responses to “Another Sign of the Troubled Economy: WDW Passholder Pass-Along Savings Card”

  1. sambycat May 14, 2009 at 10:44 am #

    kinda seems like yesterdays disney parks merchandise online might belong in this category too…

  2. Marlowe May 16, 2009 at 9:42 am #

    The price-cutting is probably necessary to maintain a flow of customers. But I am sure that the Mouse Ears will survive and emerge from the economic downturn with a big smile on his (and her) face.

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