Disney cuts Orlando resort rates as low as $55, temporarily closes Wonders of Life

Posted Thursday, December 11, 2003 10:08 AM | Contributed by Jeff

Anticipating a seasonal slowdown that usually begins right after New Year's Day, Walt Disney World said Wednesday it will cut rates at its new Pop Century Resort and its All-Star Resorts to $55 a night and temporarily shutter its Wonders of Life pavilion at Epcot. The announcements came a day after the company narrowly averted layoffs of more than 100 banquet servers and other resort employees after the workers agreed to potential cuts in hours in return for keeping their jobs.

Read more from The Sun-Sentinel.

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Thursday, December 11, 2003 10:18 AM
I have a real issue with closing any attractions just because the parks are slower. Closing for maintenance I understand. Closing because there is a smaller crowd I don't accept. Are the guests paying less to get in the park because there are less attractions available to them? No. That is bad show for any park but it is particularly galling at Disney where they pride themselves on guest service.

As for the room rates, that is a sound business decision. You can make either $0 on a room or $55 on a room. It makes sense to get what you can out of it. If you are a FL resident you can actually get All Stars and Pop for $49 a night during this promotional time.

But, back to closing the Wonders of Life...that is weak.

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Thursday, December 11, 2003 10:59 AM
Anyone have any idea how to get those rates? This is absolutely PERFECT for me as I planned on staying in Orlando the night of the 4th. But, I just checked for the Pop Century hotel on Disneyworld.com and it still says $77 a night - any idea on when this will hit the website?
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Thursday, December 11, 2003 12:45 PM
I found info on the rates here.

We were thinking about a trip to Disney in March, but maybe we should look at bumping that trip up a few weeks.

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Thursday, December 11, 2003 2:04 PM
For the price of doing the sort of trip I would like to take to WDW I can still go to Italy for that amount of money.

I'm still thinking about taking the family out to DL, even flying across country it ends up being way cheaper, plus Ghostrider has been calling my name in my sleep lately. :)

I know a lot of people that are going to be excited about this, I'm thinking Disney is going to be please with the results they get from this. *thumbs up*

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Thursday, December 11, 2003 2:22 PM
Wahoo:

At least they are being upfront about it. Parks close rides all the time late in the season because they just don't want to pay to operate them. They just aren't going to tell you that straight up, like Disney is.

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Thursday, December 11, 2003 3:18 PM
matt,

You are absolutely right and I loath parks (Six Flags) that do it without telling you.

However, if you give a mouse a crumb he will want the whole cookie. If Disney finds it acceptable to close one or two attractions and not lower the price, how about 3 or 4? This shouldn't become standard practice in my opinion.

Tomorrowland already does this to an extent with Timekeeper and Carousel of Progress. That is almost half of the Tomorrowland Attractions. (Of course Alien Encounter is closed for the Stitch do over.) That leaves you with Space Mountain, the People Mover/Rocket Ships and Buzz.

Frankly, just the fact that we are comparing Disney's policies to Six Flags policies is an insult that Disney has brought on itself.

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Thursday, December 11, 2003 5:12 PM
I think we're missing the most important thing here: People's jobs were saved. Our economy is still incredibly volatile (as evidenced by attendance figures), and job security does not seem to be a priority for many corporations. Despite the questionable business practice of shutting down rides because of a lack of traffic, this is the most amicable of all solutions that might be agreed to.

On another note, what is preventing the higher-ups in the company from taking small pay cuts. A 5% pay cut for Eisner wouldn't even be felt by him and could probably pay for about half of those compromised hours, if not more. Oh well, I guess the world isn't as perfect as one would hope.

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Thursday, December 11, 2003 6:26 PM
That's not important to the customer. Of all the things I spend my money on, I would not be pleased to spend "discretionary" cash on something and get less for the same money. That's a cop out in the amusement industry.
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Thursday, December 11, 2003 8:30 PM
V2:

This article from today shows that they are predicting 2004 to be the best year economoically in 20 years!

http://biz.yahoo.com/prnews/031211/nyth120_1.html

Seems like a weak argument to keep blaming an economy that has been growing for over a year now! Jobs are coming back! If Disney is having troubles it is simple supply and demand! Not enough people want their product at the price they are charging! They are choosing to cut service to maintain margins which is a typical Eisner reponse. I'm not saying this is right, but this is just how it is! As another aside, I'm quite sure Eisner has taken pay cuts in the past during down years! The fact of the matter is again supply and demand. I'm assuming there is too many people with catering skills at WDW and not enough demand for their work. It is not a real unique skill. On the flip side, how many people are qualified to be a CEO of a company as large as Disney? Simple economics my friend! We live in a capitalist society. What you are advocating falls more in the lines of a socialistic society!

I'm not going to WDW this year for Christmas. This is only the second time in 16 years! My reason is that I have already done all they have to offer and there is nothing big enough to get me back! Their are many hardcores like myself that have grown a little tired of the park offerings!Mission Space was not enough to get me to cough up the dough this year!

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Friday, December 12, 2003 1:02 AM
I have the same experience with DLR being cheaper than WDW. From Detroit, it is literally impossible to get frequent flyer seats to Orlando, but they can be had with as little as three months' notice to Orange County, and one month to LA. UM's spring break week flights to Orlando are > $400. To LA < $300.

WDW's sprawl makes offsite hotels a royal pain with small kids. Single hotel rooms are a pain for parents of small kids. That leaves the Doubletree suites in downtown Disney--the only "on property" suites for anything reasonable, and that is a good $150/night. There are literally a dozen all-suite hotels within a 10 minute shuttle from DLR, ranging from $70 to $130 per night for similar amenities that same week.

Tickets for a week offseason for a family of two adults/two kids: $660 (Deluxe Annual passes for the year). Tickets for a week offseason at WDW: $780 (5-day Park hoppers; good luck the other two days let alone visits later that year)

Put all this together, and that's why I plan on celebrating my tenure (or mouring the fact that I've been fired) at DLR, not WDW.

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Friday, December 12, 2003 8:18 AM
The people whose jobs were threatened were banquet servers. The reasons those jobs were saved had nothing to do with closing the Wonders of Life. Those cast members agreed to work less hours to save their jobs.

Frankly, I don't have a problem with that. If banquet sales are down, it is hard to justify the staffing. I guarantee you that when a corporation DOES book a party though that they are getting everything they pay for (and then some in the case of Disney).

The same cannot be said right now of the way they are dealing with the day guest. The day guest is paying the same (actually it wasn't that long ago that prices were raised and it probably won't be long until they are raised again) but getting less.

Disney's mantra is "Exceed Guest Expectations". They are not.

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