Disney offers buy-outs to 600 managers; Universal lays off 70*
Substantial hotel and ticket discounts
have helped slow the expected loss of visitors at Walt Disney World and Disneyland this year, but not enough to save some employees' jobs.
Disney announced today that it's offering buy-outs to 600 managers at its U.S. theme parks. If not enough take the offer to leave (and the company didn't say how many that would be), then Disney might start laying off employees.
Disney also said that advance bookings at Disney's hotels were down six percent for the first six months of 2009, compared with the same period one year ago. That's a better showing the 10 percent drop the company forecast earlier, when it announced its current round of discounts.
*Update: (From the comments) Universal Orlando lays off 70 employees.
Man ... what would you do in that situation if you were a manager? I wonder how much the buy-out delivers ...
Wow. This hard news to swallow. As a cast member, this is certainly worrisome to me. Not only do I know a lot of managers, and I feel so bad for them, but this also means that the hiring freeze wasnt enough, and we are in such bad economic shape that hourly CMs may even be getting laid off soon if things dont get any better.
My prediction for the past few months has been that Disney would start feeling the economic heat. They have spent freely on hotels, attractions, you name it, for years...100 million dollars for Expedition Everest alone. The fact that they, the most popular and most affluent theme park chain...are worried about cutting costs, says something to me. It also makes me wonder about their pecking order. 600 managers is a lot of suits for a couple of parks and a handful of hotels. It seems to me that perhaps they were a little top heavy to begin with.
This buyout is only offered to people with 6 figures and up. So people who have the the titles of director, vice president and higher. http://biz.yahoo.com/ap/090121/disney_buyout.html?.v=1
From a purely selfish perspective, this news is "good news" for people like me who are waffling on their trip to WDW. If the bookings are still down, then perhaps Disney will extend their 4 for 7 deal into the fall. Maybe even sweeten it a little bit with a free dining plan offer as they have in the past. If that happens, there is a real good chance I will make the trip. In fact, I would definitely take a trip this fall if 4 for 7 were extended and sweetened with some sort of dining discount.
We are still going to go to Disney in June but we are staying off site at a condo near Disney's south gate. Awesome amenities for about half the price of a nice Disney resort. But still $1250 for a 6 day park hopper pass for our family of 5 is steep! We were this close to going to Universal instead for about $800 less but decided to cut back in other areas so we could save more money to make up the difference.
We are staying on site in May, but we were lucky enough to get DVC in the early 90's. Now that was an investment which is looking better this year. But that is the other weird thing, DVC seems to be not taking that big of a hit.
Our June trip for 11 days was booked awhile back. Usually when we plan any vacation, we don't book everything until mid to late February. This year I decided to jump on it early. We're staying on site at a value resort simple because my son loves the themes and it's much less expensive than the others. Plus we don't spend much time in the rooms, either.
I can't believe bookings are down. We just returned on Sunday from a week long stay and the place was packed. We stayed at Disney the same week last year and we never had to wait in line for rides or transportation. Last week, we had to wait a minimum of 30 mintues for most rides.
Universal Orlando laid off 70 employees today. (Can't paste link since I'm on iPhone at the airport gate.)
Robert, do you know if those Universal employees were seasonal, part-time, managers, etc?
Mr. Potter writes: My prediction for the past few months has been that Disney would start feeling the economic heat.
Rumors abound on EE's costs. $125 mil may be right, it might not. By the time Disney
TH, some people with mouse on the brain think that Disney is invincible and that they can continue business as usual through a potential depression. Some of these marketing promotions that you speak so highly of would never happen if the company was meeting it's financial goals. They would never hand out three free nights at one of their resorts if business was up, and probably wouldn't give people free admission on their birthday either. While their marketing is good and aggressive, it's indicative of some problems.
Speaking as a Tour & Travel Manager, and from the AAA club that sells more Disney than any Travel agency in the U.S. let me say that EVERYONE in this industry is at risk. The Mouse is strong enough in other sales (merchandise, video etc.) that they will survive. But even before this all happened, how many D stores were closed? That already showed a downturn in their economy, and a barometer for us all. The good news is that typical Disney pricing may come down for the first time enough so that those who couldn't afford it before, (& who keep their jobs)will finally get there. Not since the abolition of the ticket system might it have been this way. I bet there's some truth that you won't see any influx of big money into new attractions for a while, but with several added in Cali, we are set for a little while. I just wonder what will come of Carsland now. Hopefully they won't make the same discounted version that happened with the Rocket Rods Debaucle.
Everything I have read says that all the monies for the DCA "fix" have been allotted and approved.
I agree -- the regional and local parks will see an upswing this year as the longer trips will just cost too much, even with gas prices down 30 or more percent from last summer. Now I wish I had bought that Cedar Fair stock last fall when I was thinking about it...
The promotions Disney has launched (three nights free; complimentary birthday admissions; discounts for military personnel) are being supported by television advertisement and web campaigns that we produced months before the programs were announced. Jim Hill Media reported that Disney launched into full cost cutting mode as early as January 2008.
Mr. Potter Writes: The two words that I never hear at Disney are "cut costs."
Smartley put TH Creative! I've been a seasonal cast member down at WDW for 2 years now and the last couple of trip I took down there in Sept, Oct-Nov, and Dec I have been able to get 1 or 2 shifts for each trip. For some reason last year at these times I wasn't able to get at least 1 shift but now I have been able to get more more shifts and the parks have been busy! I was surprised last trip that the parks have been packed for the traditionally slow times. Either its because of the promotion that they have been doing or because of the preventative measures that Disney has put into place as early as last year, and then maybe aslo due to shorter hours and less atractions that are open.
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