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The Walt Disney Company Discuss Bob Iger's comments in the Disney Earnings Call - Discuss Mouse Business 106 article in the Miscellaneous Disney forums; Chris X. looks at what Bob Iger said - and didn't say - in the recent Disney Earnings Call. An Earnings Call is a presentation a company makes via teleconference ...
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    Bob Iger's comments in the Disney Earnings Call - Discuss Mouse Business 106 article

    Chris X. looks at what Bob Iger said - and didn't say - in the recent Disney Earnings Call. An Earnings Call is a presentation a company makes via teleconference about the current financial results for a reporting period. In Disney's case they make them quarterly. There are question and answer periods between market analysts and Disney executives. You can learn a lot about how well the company is doing from these Earnings Calls.

    The Mouse Business article can be found here: http://www.disneyworldtrivia.com/Mou...e-Economy.html


    The entire transcript of the Disney Earnings Call can be found here:Walt Disney F4Q08 (Qtr End 9/27/08) Earnings Call Transcript - Seeking Alpha
    Last edited by disneydame2004; 11-21-2008 at 12:09 AM.
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    Very interesting stuff - I always think there are good reasons to observe a company's business health in term of the economic climate.

    Historically, from what little I know Disney needs to alter it's parks at times if business is down. I believe I read somewhere that the Disney parks are traditionally one of the healthier moneymaking businesses in the overall Disney line-up and are sometimes viewed as the component of the business that can "make up some of the slack" in tough times.

    On a personal level, homogenization and standardization? Makes me sad. I can always go to a theme park that is closer to my home and find that they are trying to emulate Disney in some way. Disney lowering the bar means everyone can! And, what if that's "good enough"? I love Disney because they do go above and beyond, I wouldn't have as much to love if they didn't. I can't imagine thinking Disney and park nearby to me actually have much to compare, I always put Disney way ahead in my personal ranking!

    I will continue to be watching this board with interest, as my next Disney vacation falls right into the middle of next year's tourist season, when we can fully expect to be right in the middle of a contraction of the travel industry.

    Dan
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    Hey Dan,

    I agree with you twofold. The Disney Parks usually are looked at as the stronghold of the company and rightfully so. Even now when Disney has grown into a giant media company it's always the parks that generate the most interest in seeing how the company is doing.

    I also agree with your thoughts on "standardization". To me its similar to the phrase "Once the horse is out of the Barn" (or something like that). Once Disney starts standardizing the little things there is no going back to the way things were. For example, I doubt that when the economy recovers Disney will go back to individual resort refillable mugs or back to unique Park napkins.

    Chris

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    Standardizing?

    I realize that the whole world economy is hurting, Buy Disneyland has always, if anything , benefited from this. People want an escape from the real word. They want to go somewhere where they aren't reminded of all of their troubles. If it's just for a couple of hours, the go see a movie, If they want a whole day or a couple of days they go to a Disney Theme Park.

    There are a lot of people who are VERY faithful to one park. I prefer the Original Disneyland Because it's what I grew up with.

    Standardizing Even little things like cups or napkins actually makes me they just don't care about the guests anymore. Raising their entry fee into the park when the gas prices were so high just kept a lot of people from going at all.

    Walt used to charge just $1.00 to get in. He knew he would make up for it in food a souvenirs. I wish they would think things through from a guests point of view again, like they used to.
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    We've already seen standardization for sometime. I've brought home less souvenirs the last few trips not because of the economy but because I bore of seeing the same darn T shirts at every turn and repeatedly on guests. I go in less stores because they are all the same, may as well go to the gift shop in the hotel. I'm more likely to buy something in a speciality shop now.
    Disney is costing itself sales. Food, well look at the buffets, minus Boma, most have the same fare. Kids meals mostly the same. Moves like Chicken Strips to Nuggets, not wise.

    Things like Fantasmic going from at least 7 shows a week to two, that is a tad bit drastic than 10% drop in attendance and those shows are nearly full or full all the time. Can you just imagine how crowded those parks will be on those 2 days? I think come next year we will see just how much Disney cuts hurt the guests. When we use to go in October, back when the parks were really less crowded Disney would cut staff. They would open one side of Pirate, 2 lanes on Indy, one side of Space, etc. Shorten hours of Philharmonic, Tiki, CoP etc. They also closed DTD earlier, along with the parks themselves. Time will tell how far they will go.

    Most visitors plan these trips for a great deal of time so it is no surprise that through this year everything is OK and the beginning of next year just 10% off. Easter and Summer vacation will tell a lot. Those reservations should be made shortly after the holidays. My DS is a Seasonal Employee now. We have received at least 4 mailings on very special deals for next year for families of employees. Drumming up business where ever they can now.

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    I personally think that Disney, like most of the travel industry, make many changes to their business practices to maximize the number of people traveling. Just like the airlines, this made it harder for them to "make a buck".

    So, in the case of Disney theme parks, they are standardizing and making cost cutting measures whereever they can because they don't want to drastically raise prices in order to make the profits they want.

    Unfortunately, the Disney Execs don't answer to private investors like Walt did. They answer to hundreds of thousands of stockholders who are much less forgiving and trusting than the people who originally backed Disneyland. They simply won't sit back and accept a, "just trust me". They want to see results before a plan is even put into place
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    I've been thinking about this since I saw the post. I actually went back and ready the article he linked to.

    I understand enough about business and economics to know that sometimes things have to be done. But, a few minutes ago I took a look at the photo from my honeymoon at the Wilderness lodge, ensconced in the Wilderness lodge frame. I just had to throw away my 11 year old Wilderness lodge coffee cup. What if all that specialty branded stuff went away? Well, next time I go I won't spend $60.00 buying items that probably cost them significantly less. It's a loss for them and a loss for me.

    I hope you're listening Disney execs! I buy that stuff!

    Dan
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    Wow....
    I 1001% agree with the comments already made.
    I have purchased less the past few trips than when we first started going to WDW due to it being the same everywhere. We love our resort specific mugs! The generic mugs are still used but not as fun.
    I love finding different types, designs, or styles of merchandise in different places. It not only brings back memories of where I bought it, but also that I bought it at WDW and not through another avenue.
    As far as cutting back shows - it is difficult enough to loosely plan in all of the shows we like in order to get them 'in' during the trip, but now having less timeframes to choose from is just wrong. Not everyone stays the same days/times/or amount of days so 'catching' your favorite shows just became more difficult. They have made our already 'loosely' scheduled trips more stringent in scheduling, taking out the fun and spontaneity of the trip and making it more a of a chore. They need to remember, those of us who go to WDW go to get away from the real world for a while and to relax, not to be so scheduled like daily life outside of WDW. We like to know where we are eating dinner but everything else is random to make it more enjoyable.
    WDW set the standard high and I feel like they want to drop this standard which makes them 'just another theme park' and I can go to the other places locally if that is what we wanted, but it is not.

    Okay that is my 2 cents for now.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Winnie View Post
    Wow....


    As far as cutting back shows - it is difficult enough to loosely plan in all of the shows we like in order to get them 'in' during the trip, but now having less timeframes to choose from is just wrong. Not everyone stays the same days/times/or amount of days so 'catching' your favorite shows just became more difficult. They have made our already 'loosely' scheduled trips more stringent in scheduling, taking out the fun and spontaneity of the trip and making it more a of a chore. They need to remember, those of us who go to WDW go to get away from the real world for a while and to relax, not to be so scheduled like daily life outside of WDW. We like to know where we are eating dinner but everything else is random to make it more enjoyable.
    Winnie,

    You made some really good points, especially about the reduction in shows hurting the visitors who maybe only pop down for a weekend or for three days during the week.

    But I think your complaint also ties into another recent DisneyWorld strategy. Over the past several years the Parks and Resorts have moved their business focus/model to attracting visitors to stay at least in the 5-7 day range. I am not saying they ignore the "weekend warriors" but their focus is definitely more on the longer stay guest. So having a show 2 or 3 times a week provides more than ample opportunity for a guest who stays 6/7 days, but really cramps the person who may be there for 3 days/ 2 nights.

    It's interesting to watch how these different incidents start playing into one another in the bigger picture!!

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    *Update*

    Just want to post a little bit of an update to this story.

    Yesterday (12/9), Thomas Staggs, Disney CFO, announced that bookings were now down only 6% in the first and second quarters of next year. This is compared to the 10% they were down at the beginning of November when they held their earnings conference call. He attributed this bounce mainly to the 7 day discount package they were offering.

    Here is another interesting quote from the CFO. When talking about whether costs could be cut at the parks, he noted that costs would not be cut for the rest of the year, because they expected heavy crowds for the holiday season. However,

    "We can do this as we move into the first part of the year," Staggs said. "We'll tailor what we're doing in our parks, in the labor force, to the demand that we see," he said.

    So although the booking outlook has gotten a little better, it looks like they still intend to go ahead with their cost cutting plans for the Parks.

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