MediaFile

Disney gives to those who give

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 hikes theme park prices — necessity or confidence?

Magic, Disney’s way, just got a little more expensive, as it does every year around this time when Walt Disney World raises its admissions prices.******WIth its prices generally tracking the national economic exuberance or lack thereof, the fact that Disney raised prices this week for, among other things, its “Magic Your Way” multi-day tickets, appears to reflect expectations for some recovery at least in consumer spending somewhere on the horizon.******With the recession still weighing on family vacations, Disney hiked the resort’s most popular multi-day passes by a relatively gentle 2.5 percent to 5.3 percent this week, compared with a rise of more than 16 percent in the boom year of 2006, according to data compiled by Pali Capital analyst Rich Greenfield.******This price hike, whatever its size, may simply be aimed at mitigating a 7 percent lag in hotel bookings at its domestic parks in the current quarter, as well as margin-gouging discounts at its Walt Disney World hotels, which boosted attendance but saw revenue drop by 9 percent last quarter.******Disney CEO Bob Iger himself expressed a glimmer of optimism on a conference call to analysts  last week, saying he say signs of ”economic stabilization”, but would not commit to ending the hotel discounts that have been propping up park attendance since last year’s market crash.******A spokesman for Disney Parks and Resorts said the price increases resulted from the company’s “continuous monitoring” of park prices relative to other forms of entertainment like football games, skiiing or concerts – and by that calculus, a park visit, at $79 for a one-day, one-park adult ticket was still “great value for the money.”******So if having fun is getting pricier again, that’s a good thing. Right?