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Ask The Disney Experts Discuss How hard has the recession hit Disney? in the Ask The Experts forums; It seems every time I log on here lately theres more bad news about Disney laying off more employees, or shutting down rides at certain times of the year to ...
  1. #1
    RuddyWDW's Avatar
    RuddyWDW is offline Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery
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    Oct 2007
    Manchester, England

    How hard has the recession hit Disney?

    It seems every time I log on here lately theres more bad news about Disney laying off more employees, or shutting down rides at certain times of the year to save money.

    I never really thought it would affect Disney but it appears it has, just small things I notice now when I visit such as certain areas of the park being untidy, in need of a coat of paint, the buses looking past their best etc. When I visited last year at a quiet time of year there were quite a lot of attractions that were closed.

    I never really noticed any of these things say 10 years ago so is this to do with the recession?

    Living over here I dont really get to know how well they are doing in business terms, can anyone shed any light on it. Is it just Disney being sensible and making sure spending doesnt get out of hand or are they struggling at bit at the moment?


  2. #2
    dzneynut's Avatar
    dzneynut is offline Trivia Nut & Supplier of Games
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    Feb 2004
    Poquoson, VA

    Re: How hard has the recession hit Disney?

    Well, at least they aren't going out of business, like a lot of companies have!
    The thing we have observed first-hand and in talking with cast members, is that park attendance is running as high or higher than normal and resort vacancies are higher, but not significantly higher. The big difference is, guests just aren't spending money! They aren't buying food, snacks, souvenirs, etc. like they usually do after they go to all of the expense to get to the parks. Disney is offering incentives to encourage people to travel to the theme parks, but there's not a lot they can (or will) do to get them to spend money once they get there, and it's obviously affecting the bottom line!

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  3. #3
    Tigger59 is offline A-Ticket holder
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    Jul 2009
    Toronto ON (Canada)

    Re: How hard has the recession hit Disney?

    I know that Disney is hurting financially like a lot of companies and wonder if when we go in 18 days (Aug 30-Sep 9) how crowded the parks will be.

    When we were there 3 years ago, when the financial picture was much better, in the same timeframe (Aug 27-Sep 6), the parks were pretty much empty. The only day it was crowded was on the Sunday of the Labour Day weekend. That day, there was a 5-6 hour wait for Soarin' ... and that was with a FastPASS! Most other days, it was a 45-60 minute wait and most other attractions had a 10 minute wait time posted when in fact, you could walk right in.

    We went to Universal a couple of days after leaving WDW and it too was empty. I've got photos from both theme parks where there are no people in sight. We're only doing WDW this time around.

    I suspect we may run into the same thing this year at WDW but the emptiness will be due to
    (a) the time of year (kids returning to school)
    (b) the recession
    (c) fears of H1N1 (aka "swine flu")

  4. #4
    NC_WDW_Daddy's Avatar
    NC_WDW_Daddy is offline Annual Passholder
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    Jul 2008
    Richlands, NC

    Re: How hard has the recession hit Disney?

    The Disney Company was not reporting great numbers in earning, but still beat the market estimate. I didi not notice any decrease in crowds when we visited in June; we visit every year at the same timeframe. I did notice that a lot fo the table service restaurants had empty tables, even when they reported there were no openings available. I believe this is because the labor model was adjusted with a decrease in staff and they can not support serving all the tables. We did cut back on our spending in the parks and purchased more souvenirs at third-party off-site vendors like wal-mart.

  5. #5
    Spodie's Avatar
    Spodie is offline Fastpass Holder
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    Jul 2007
    Atlanta, Georgia

    Re: How hard has the recession hit Disney?

    I agree with what a couple of people have already said - people are still going to the parks, but are not spending money on food, souveniers, etc. We were just there last week and were seeing things like this:

    - We stayed at Pop Century and at the height of breakfast service every day (8:00-9:00 AM), I could walk through any line I wanted to get my food and usually had little to no wait to pay either. Back before the recession really hit in 2007, I remember that it was almost impossible to get through the lines at the food courts at the peak dining times.

    - We ate at Whispering Canyon Cafe one night for dinner (we weren't on the table service DP) - a reservation that we had already had for a couple of weeks, which is a reflection of the economy in and of itself. Anyway, after eating, we decided to see if we could get reservations at the 50s Prime Time Cafe the next day, so I walked over to the front desk to see if anything was available. Not only were we able to get an ADR the day before, but I was able to choose what time we wanted to make it for.

    - I also noticed that people weren't buying as many souveniers this time around. I went to the World of Disney store at 3:00 or 4:00 one afternoon to get some shopping done and, while there were many people in the store, I did not have to search for a register with a short line - I could have walked up to any of them! The same thing applied to Mouse Gear as well.

    - All stores were still having those sales on certain items - something we haven't ever really seen at Disney until late last year.

  6. #6
    Tigger59 is offline A-Ticket holder
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    Jul 2009
    Toronto ON (Canada)

    Re: How hard has the recession hit Disney?

    I'd be curious to know what the crowds are like this week and next week (Aug 10-22) to compare with last year. We were at WDW Aug 11-20 and it was quite busy.

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