Disney may lose GM sponsorship for Test Track

Posted Wednesday, March 4, 2009 10:56 AM | Contributed by Jeff

Struggling U.S. auto giant General Motors Corp. is considering pulling out as sponsor of Test Track, the high-speed Epcot attraction among the most popular rides in all of Disney World. A 10-year contract between Disney and GM expires this year. And GM, which lost $31billion last year and is relying on loans from the federal government to stay in business, may not be able to afford to renew the pact. Disney and GM are negotiating new terms but have so far been unable to strike a deal. GM has indicated it wants a resolution by the end of this month.

Read more from The Orlando Sentinel.

Related parks

Wednesday, March 4, 2009 12:44 PM

This would be unfortunate. The GM logo is on almost everything in the queue, on the building, and on the ride. The preshow also mentions GM several times. ("... at GM testing facilities around the world" etc)

There'd be a lot of work that would have to go in to rebranding for a new sponsor or dropping sponsor branding all together.

+0
Wednesday, March 4, 2009 12:48 PM

I bet Disney could execute a thorough de-branding in a week or less, if they were forced to . . .

+0
Wednesday, March 4, 2009 12:49 PM

Aw, c'mon, Disney- let em have it for free....

+0
Wednesday, March 4, 2009 12:55 PM

Letting GM stay for free would be a pretty good PR move, I think. And probably the right thing to do.

+0
Wednesday, March 4, 2009 12:56 PM

This comment on TFA sums it all up pretty well:

Sadly Test Track is the only GM product still on the road after 10 years.

+0
Wednesday, March 4, 2009 4:25 PM

Right thing? Not if you're a shareholder.

GM is truly run by idiots if they're unwilling to drop $5 million a year on this. How many people go through Test Track in a year? If even half of the guests get on it, that's 4 million a year. Is it not worth about a buck a head to expose people to your brand in that intimate of a setting? To sell five-figure vehicles?


I really don't think a rebranding would be all that difficult for Disney. They do the impossible practically every day as it is.

Last edited by Jeff, Wednesday, March 4, 2009 4:26 PM
+0
Wednesday, March 4, 2009 5:18 PM

I don't think it's so much GM not willing to plunk down the money, it's the new reality the company faces living under the microscope of public opinion. Their executives aren't allowed to fly privately anymore, and as the downturn worsens they keep having to go back to the federal watering hole for more rescues. Even though sponsoring Test Track is still a slam-dunk, probably a lot of people (who have never run their own car company and don't understand the first thing about marketing) would find it unnecessary and wasteful.

+0
Wednesday, March 4, 2009 6:01 PM

It would truly be a big loss for Epcot Center, but, I think Disney could come up with something that would be able to replace it if a deal couldn't be stuck with GM. I totally enjoy the attraction at Epcot, but, there are other things that are good there and at the other parks too...so, I'm not going to get myself all "broken up" over it. When my husband & I go over to Epcot next week for his birthday, we'll make sure to get a couple good rides in on Test Track in case it goes belly up.

+0
Wednesday, March 4, 2009 6:12 PM

^The ride isn't going anywhere. It would at the most be rebranded.

Space Mountain used to be sponsored by Fed Ex and it is still there, Spaceship Earth used to have AT&T sponsorship and it is still there.

+0
Wednesday, March 4, 2009 6:14 PM

Ensign Smith said:
Even though sponsoring Test Track is still a slam-dunk, probably a lot of people (who have never run their own car company and don't understand the first thing about marketing) would find it unnecessary and wasteful.

Like a Senator representing a state with a Toyota or Honda factory.

+0
Wednesday, March 4, 2009 6:33 PM

Honda has ASMO (a robot) at Disneyland. It would be neat if they could become the sponsor, but frankly, I just don't think they will.

By the way, My Accord has 208,500 miles on it now! *Grin*

Last edited by john peck, Wednesday, March 4, 2009 6:34 PM
+0
Wednesday, March 4, 2009 7:15 PM

RGB: yeah, isn't it funny how that worked out? The senators who most opposed the bailouts tended to come from just such states. Talk about your bizarre coincidences. :insert eyeroll emoticon here:

+0
Wednesday, March 4, 2009 8:01 PM

They could just put a Cars Theme to it.. or better yet! Get VW and change it over to some Herbie goes crazy Ride!!

+0
Wednesday, March 4, 2009 10:16 PM

I like your idea, but as clever and interesting as it is, it would mean a huge loss of ad revenue.

+0
Wednesday, March 4, 2009 10:21 PM

robotfactory said:
This comment on TFA sums it all up pretty well:

Sadly Test Track is the only GM product still on the road after 10 years.

That is pure genius.

The Creditwh0re will never buy a Big 3 auto ever again.

+0
Thursday, March 5, 2009 2:00 AM

I know it's different but it reminds me of how once Wonders of Life didn't have a sponsor that was basically the end of the pavillion. They started opening it seasonally and the last time it was open in Decmber 2006, it was not like Disney at all. Dirty walls, ceilings, and no one around at all. I know Disney would be stupid to do the same thing with Test Track but I wonder if Disney would cut back operations like closing it at 7 or 7:30 when most of Future World closes instead of 9:30 (or whatever Epcot's closing time is).

+0
Thursday, March 5, 2009 7:44 AM

Test Track will not go away if it loses sponsorship. The Wonders of Life pavilion didn't get a sponsor because it was dying and didn't get many people through it. Seasonal operation, poor promotion, and lack of anything interesting further sealed the death of the pavilion.

It didn't go away because of sponsorship. Sponsorship went away because, for whatever reason, it just wasn't interesting.

An attraction that after ten years still runs out of Fastpasses by noon on a regular basis is too popular to axe.

Edit:

Also, Jeff sez:

I really don't think a rebranding would be all that difficult for Disney. They do the impossible practically every day as it is.

Difficult for Disney? No. Of course not. They're pros at doing things nobody who is a mere mortal should be able to do. I just wouldn't want to be the lead on that project. Though, they probably have had a plan for it since the ride was designed. They have plans for everything.

Last edited by robotfactory, Thursday, March 5, 2009 7:48 AM
+0
Thursday, March 5, 2009 10:50 AM

the last time it was open in Decmber 2006

It's now used as a Festival center for Food & Wine and Flower & Garden. We were in it during F&G this past May---it was a nice little space, though if you knew where to look you could still see a few vestiges of the past.

The only thing that will happen to the attraction in the short term is a removal of most of the GM-brand identity. It's Epcot's #2 attraction, behind only Soarin'. It's not going anywhere.

+0
Thursday, March 5, 2009 11:03 AM

5 million is a drop in the bucket compared to their financial problems. From entering the queue to actually leaving the store its a 60 minute (or longer) commercial. If you can't justify that kind of marketing and exposure, then you don't belong in a boardroom.

+0

You must be logged in to post

POP Forums - ©2018, POP World Media, LLC
Loading...