Disney theme parks could see decline in business with hurting consumer confidence

Posted Wednesday, October 1, 2008 10:08 AM | Contributed by Jeff

Walt Disney Co.'s theme-park and resort unit has coasted through months of mounting U.S. economic woes, but an expected decline in consumer confidence could hurt even resilient vacation spots like Walt Disney World. Analysts and other industry observers expect the global economic situation to soften demand for rooms at the company's resorts and attendance at its parks in early 2009.

Read more from The Wall Street Journal.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008 12:20 PM

If any company can counter and cut their potential losses and keep attendance up , it would be Disney.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008 2:38 PM

DVC is how Disney will survive. Get the money upfront, so that people will have to go every year to get their money's worth. If they go, more $$$ in terms of ticket sales, food, etc. If they don't go, Disney can just cut jobs and/or rebook the room and make more money.

Lets just hope they stop cutting all the shows out. KUNGALOOSH!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008 2:57 PM

I dunno, "survive" implies some kind of impending certain doom, and I think that's going a little overboard. This hasn't been a good year, and Disney and Cedar Fair are doing OK anyway.

The article makes the good point that the company is a lot more diversified than it was ten years ago, and certainly that will help it out.

I was surprised that less than half of people fly there.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008 3:07 PM

Those first three paragraphs of the article were interesting. Unfortunately, I don't know about the rest of the story since I'm not going to subscribe to the Wall Street Journal just to find out.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008 4:40 PM

That's strange... I can see the entire story.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008 4:42 PM

Jeff said:
This hasn't been a good year, and Disney and Cedar Fair are doing OK anyway.

I don't think it's even limited to them. Hard Rock aside, with all the financial chaos, amusement parks seem to be at the very least holding steady. I don't recall hearing of any property that is down from last year. I think Busch was up something like 13%. Those are amazing numbers even in a good economy.

Thursday, October 2, 2008 2:03 PM

Here's a google-news link that shows the entire article.

Edited: oddly, the link still only gives a preview. But, if you type the article title (headwind threatens disney parks), the first hit is the full article. wsj.com must check the referrer.

Last edited by Brian Noble, Thursday, October 2, 2008 2:04 PM
Thursday, October 2, 2008 3:23 PM

Nope, still can't see the whole thing. I keep getting asked to log in or subscribe.

Thursday, October 2, 2008 3:43 PM

Try this:


Then click on the first hit.

Thursday, October 2, 2008 4:33 PM

Ah, that's much better. Thanks, Brian.

I didn't realize that the company had grown so dramatically that park revenue as a percentage of corporate total fell to 20% from 50% just a few years ago. Yay for diversification, I guess.

I'm glad that's the case, because it means that even if all these negative economic factors finally begin to impact the parks, they'll have a much larger cushion to absorb reduced or (probably not) negative earnings.

Thursday, October 2, 2008 4:53 PM

I think those "few years ago" may have been before Disney bought ABC (which included ESPN).

Thursday, October 2, 2008 6:41 PM

As a side note, a few employees have said this to me about the theme park business: its glue that holds the company together, they stated (separately so this leads me to believe the company at least tells the theme park employees this) that without the parks, there is no magic, no company personality, and the brand is greatly diluted.

The more I thought about that, the more it makes sense.


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