Disney gives to those who give

September 30, 2009

Walt Disney Co on Tuesday launched a new parks promotion called “Give a Day, Get a Disney Day” pledging to give out a million free one-day tickets in 2010 to Orlando’s Walt Disney World Resort or Anaheim’s Disneyland to folks who volunteer in in their communities for a participating organization.

The media giant is working with HandsOn Network, the nation’s largest volunteer network and part of the Points of Light Institute, which has 250 on-the-ground volunteer action centers across the country and connects volunteers to more than 70,000 nonprofit agencies that need their help.

“We are thrilled at this unprecedented effort by Disney Parks to help mobilize 1 million volunteers into action,” said Michelle Nunn, CEO of Points of Light Institute.

Starting Jan. 1, 2010, guests can go here for the United States and Puerto Rico or here for Canada to search for volunteer opportunities available in those areas and sign up for a day of volunteer service.

For its latest reported quarter ended June 27, Disney showed it has stopped a recession-fueled free-fall in sales at its theme parks, but had not yet turned a corner to return to growth. Analysts said this latest promotion would help fill up parks and that Disney was more than likely to make up on lost admission revenues with merchandise and food sales.

“Disney parks margins have held up better than the last recession, as they have continued to raise prices over the years to offset their promotions. They make healthy margins on concessions, so even if they lose revenue from an entrance, they get an additional head that needs to eat and buy Mickey ears,” said David Joyce, analyst with Miller Tabak.

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