Published: January 25, 2009 at 9:45 AM
Mr. Potter Writes: The two words that I never hear at Disney are "cut costs."
I respond: You have GOT to be kidding. Disney is constantantly looking for ways to reduce costs. Where to begin? From the food services for cast members (employee cafeterias, etc.) being contracted out to an outside company, to the reductions in entertainment at all the Florida parks, to the closing of the clubs at Pleasure Island, to the intermittent opening of the Life and Health pavilion, there are a myriad of places Disney has reduced its operating expenses.
Jim Hill Media (and this was Published LAST JULY): "Finding new ways to cut costs as well as increase profits ... That's Mickey's new mantra. Particularly since Mouse House managers are anticipating that -- what with the higher costs of jet fuel & heating oil -- far fewer Guests will be flying on down to Disney this winter.
This is why -- in anticipation of these coming tough times -- Disney's being proactive. They're instituting all sorts of cost savings measures around property these days. Doing everything from limiting the amount of overtime that’s available to WDW cast members to removing some of the less popular / more expensive items from the menus of the resort's buffet restaurants."
Having said of of that, Mr. Hill recently reported some good news!
Jim Hill Media (January 13, 2009) :For most of 2008, WDW officials knew that 2009 was going to be a real challenge for the Resort. Which is why -- as far back as July -- they began putting cost containment measures in place. Doing whatever they could to lower Disney World's operating costs (i.e. cutting Fantasmic! back to just two performances a week, eliminating character dining at the Liberty Tree Tavern, etc.).
But then in October of last year, Disney Parks & Resorts execs got some scary, scary news. Due to what was happening on Wall Street and the continuing credit crisis, WDW's advance bookings had fallen off precipitously. And unless something was done and fast, the Magic Kingdom (which can hold 65,000 - 67,000 Guests on its busiest days) might see weekdays in January of 2009 where its attendance level would fall into the teens.
This was why Disney Parks & Resorts rolled out that Buy-4-Get-3-Free promotion back in early November. Which seems to have done just what the Company had hoped it would. Given that -- during the first 10 days of January -- the Magic Kingdom saw weekday attendance levels in the 30,000s.
Now anecdotally speaking my (gorgeous) wife who works in entertainment just got done playing what we refer to as the Sunday Disney Scratch-Off Game. That's where she gets her cup of coffee, sits down at the computer and checks her schedule. As a part time cast member she has managed to get three days of shifts scheduled every week this year. No cut backs.
Meanwhile, my pal Chris, will arrive on January 29th from Chicago, to stay at the Poly -- where he is taking advantage of the buy four get three deal.