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  1. #1
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    Default Cost cutting moves?

    Listening to a podcast and reading about some of the things that Disney is supposedly doing to cut costs, started me to thinking, what would I do to cut costs or generate revenue at WDW in this tight economy? So, put on your CEO or CFO hats, and give it your best shot.

    If it were me, I think I would look into a few of the following:

    1) Reducing the number of night-time hard ticket events. Thinks like the MNSSHP, and the Pirate & Princess parties.
    2) Putting some rides that draw less traffic in a reduced or even closed (temporary) status. Things like, Carousel of Progress, Sounds Dangerous, Conservation Station.
    3) Closing a building or two at a resort, depending on occupancy rates.

    Also, what would you do/consider, in order to generate more revenue?

    1) Special promotions - work with The Disney Store and other vendors outside the parks to encourage/promote park attendance. Put the free planning DVD in The Disney Stores.
    2) Special pricing/discounts for Deluxe and Moderate resorts.
    3) Free Dining -
    4) Partner with airlines and other travel providers to create package deals.
    5) Buy one Get one free or half price tickets, especially around valentine's day. This would be a great tie-in with the Celebration Vacation promotion for 2009.
    6) Special Hard Ticket event for Valentine's Night, including Dinner.
    7) Send out special offers to anyone who has visited any of the Disney Parks in the last 5 years. Offer a discount to return. This would be especially good for those who like to go frequently, but don't see a good enough reason to go right now. Motivate them with a special offer.


    Some of these will be more favorable than others, and some people may disagree, but these are just my thoughts. Please share your own.
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  3. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by GrumpyFan View Post
    1) Reducing the number of night-time hard ticket events. Thinks like the MNSSHP, and the Pirate & Princess parties.
    This wouldn't be a very smart move, since hard-ticket events are huge revenue generators for Disney World.
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  4. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian View Post
    This wouldn't be a very smart move, since hard-ticket events are huge revenue generators for Disney World.
    That's exactly what I was thinking. Other than MVMCP and MNSSHP, I have no interest in the hard ticket events, but apparently, I'm in the minority.

    Just because you're paranoid, doesn't mean they're NOT out to get you!

  5. #4
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    Okay, maybe MNSSHP, is a bad idea to cut, but I've heard a few stories of very low attendance for some of the Pirate and Princess parties. Are they still doing those?

    Come on, somebody else make a suggestion. What would you cut, or how would you generate more revenue?
    Everybody else is thinking it, I'm just saying it. - Mr Gibbs
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    The #1 cost to any business in the US is personnel. If cost-cutting is necessary in anything remotely more than being budget conscious, then reducing staff or wages is critical.

    1. Manage expenses. Insure each department is investing in the absolute most critical needs
    2. No over-time
    3. Completely shut-down a resort or two. This will consolidate work force and get resorts closer to max capacity.
    4. Work with airlines to reduce ticket fares to get people to WDW.
    5. Offer a modified free dining, but increase the cost of consumables. Just give one free TS meal.
    6. Reduce park hours.
    7. Better logistics for the buses. If a bus is not at capacity, stop at another resort on the way.
    8. Alter the pay-scale for employees so they are salaried. This way they can work more than 40-hours with no additional compensation (Thank WalMart)
    9. Go back to charging for EMH (remember E-Ride nights)
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  7. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by GrumpyFan View Post
    3) Closing a building or two at a resort, depending on occupancy rates.
    I'd actually be very surprised if they don't already do that. Its a fairly standard practice in the hotel business. At the one I was a co-owner of we could shut off wings or floors and did during our shoulder and low seasons. That way, you don't need all the cleaning staff etc. to maintain and its also how a hotel can have no available rooms even if not at full capacity.

    From what I see, all of the Disney properties can easily do that and on every trip it looks like some areas are closed in several hotels, its just not made all that obvious but a uniform look to the draperies is a pretty good giveaway.
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  8. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigRedDad View Post
    2. No over-time
    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Yeah, there'd be no one to work the park with no OT.

    6. Reduce park hours.
    Already being done.

    8. Alter the pay-scale for employees so they are salaried. This way they can work more than 40-hours with no additional compensation (Thank WalMart)
    If I'm salaried, I want to be a manager and be able to write up CM's who fall short, I want all the managerial benefits including professional dress and not those ugly costumes, and I want to be able to talk on my Blackberry all day and ignore Guests and Cast.

    Good effort though, but those are some of the worst ideas I've heard.

    For me, I'd eliminate things like EMH altogether and instead focus on having things at the resorts since they have staff 24-hours anyways. Beach Club and the Campgrounds have the right idea - the movies are a minimal cost to the company since it requires little man power. But for EMH, you need people working food, entertainment, and the attractions (even the less popular ones).

    "Refurbish" rides that are less popular, or operate them seasonally. This includes the COP, HOP, Country Bears, Treehouse, Tom Sawyer Island, Universe of Energy, Narnia.

    Reduce the number of shows - fewer BNTD, DAWM, Voyage, Festival, Nemo.

    Operate resorts with only 75% of the rooms. Also, most of the rooms are already equipped with the SmartRooms technology - the lights, A/C all run at minimum unless someone is scheduled to check into the rooms. I would reduce the number of days for housekeeping - they would only visit once every 4 days unless you requested more (during your stay - if you stay less, obviously they would clean after each guest checks out). This includes them coming in to clean rooms, make bed, take out trash, etc.

    I wouldn't offer by one, get one free or any kind of ticket like that. Instead, I would revert back to the older pay scales - children tickets were more expensive than adult tickets and the age range was up to 12 years old. Think about it - you'll typically have more children in a party than adults.

    I agree with the increasing bus capacity by making multiple stops but only during the day. At night, to increase efficiency (as well as getting the staff off earlier) you need to maximize the buses.

    I think there should be more upsells, similar to Universal's deals. Perhaps changing the Fastpass to include both the free ones with the tickets and ones you can purchase. The ones you can purchase would be similar to the Dream Fastpasses and feature all the major attractions and shows, while the free ones will be fewer and bound to the time constraints for picking them up. Also, Universal offers the meal deal - pay a set rate and eat as much as you like throughout the day. They have the option to add the drinks on there for an additional fee. They are also offering free admission to any teacher who brings in their most recent paycheck and their state ID. Disney could offer similar to teachers, military, and other groups.

    Alternative tickets as well - pay for a day, come back all year at the Water Parks and DisneyQuest. Or even offering one day free to resort Guests (obviously when they are not offering discounts and free dining).

    We've been discussing a lot of this stuff in class as well. In several classes, actually. Contemporary Issues in Theme Parks and Operational Issues in Theme Parks both have a big focus on what parks can be doing to increase attendance.

  9. #8
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    How about free parking for Florida residents? It would encourage more of them to come more regularly. Sure it reduces some revenue, but it might create some extra revenue elsewhere.
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  10. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainJessicaSparrow View Post
    Alternative tickets as well - pay for a day, come back all year at the Water Parks and DisneyQuest.
    I assume you mean they could come back again anytime within a year. I like this idea, although I would make it so they could come back and visit any park, not just the water parks and/or Disney Quest. This would seem to be a good option, especially for the one or two day tickets, which are really expensive.
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  11. #10
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    I'd cut down on a few rides that weren't generating much traffic like COP and Universe of Energy.

    I have to say I would be inclined to do away with some really old rides that people don't visit anymore and refurbish them with something more "technology" special. At some point you've seen everything.

    Now that people have table services they like I would do away with the dining plan and offer "dining coupons" to returning guests.

    I'd keep the late evenings but...I would bring back the PAY plan where you charge $10/12 for a night ticket.
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  12. #11
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    Originally Posted by CaptainJessicaSparrow:
    I would reduce the number of days for housekeeping - they would only visit once every 4 days unless you requested more (during your stay - if you stay less, obviously they would clean after each guest checks out). This includes them coming in to clean rooms, make bed, take out trash, etc.

    With the prices that they are charging for the rooms I would think a very large discount would be in order if they were not to send housekeeping in. Most people expect this and some even look forward to it.
    Even value hotels have this service.
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  13. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainJessicaSparrow View Post
    Perhaps changing the Fastpass to include both the free ones with the tickets and ones you can purchase. The ones you can purchase would be similar to the Dream Fastpasses and feature all the major attractions and shows, while the free ones will be fewer and bound to the time constraints for picking them up.
    Good idea, but perhaps an addition that would promote both the parks and the hotels. Allow resort guests to pre-order one (or perhaps more) FP per day of stay, for an additional cost. I know I would order and FP for Toy Story Mania, EE, Soarn', TOT at a minimum prior to travel.
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  14. #13
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    Default cost cutting moves

    don't pay the bigwig CEO's so much money. LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Justice11

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    1) First of all, Disney NEVER cuts costs they "react to guest surveys", such as
    . . . reducing/elimination live performers
    . . . reducing/eliminating live shows
    . . . reducing/eliminating menu items
    . . . reducing uniqueness of menu items
    . . . standardizing menu items
    . . . reducing staff and increasing mandatory overtime
    . . . reducing part timer's hours and forcing full-timers into overtime
    . . . outsourcing parking valets
    . . . outsourcing some luggage handling
    . . . outsourcing maids
    . . . outsourcing services
    . . . closing down rides or attractions
    . . . opening certain rides only during peak periods
    2) Second, reading all official reports, the revenue & profit continues to increase.
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    I don't know why everyone thinks cutbacks need to be the answer here. What started me going to WDW on a regular basis was the overall value I received for my money. I would increase incentives to visit the parks rather than cutback on the experience. Afterall this was Walt's Philosophy. It seemed whenever I was looking to go on vacation and priced things out and looked at my options Disney always came out the front runner. But the more they cutback, the less value I get for my money has me looking into other options. When a famil;y is budgetting for a vacation they are looking for value and the more fun they get for their money the more likely they will be willing to return.
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  17. #16
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    Cool

    I agree totally with Jeff. To me cost cutting is the bean-counter way to deal with an economic down turn. It requires no real thought, looks good to the Wall Street types, and carries little risk.

    But, IMO, it doesn't work for a destination entertainment company like Disney. In an economic situation with tightened budgets, limited vacation dollars, and higher transportation costs, you need to be showing people why your destination is still the right place for them to part with their hard-earned dollars.

    Entertainment cutbacks, reduced hours, poor service, and no new attractions is only giving people a reason not to spend their money in Disney World.

    It's better to have 100,000 guests in your parks at a profit of $1,000 per guest (made up numbers) than it is to have 50,000 at a profit of $1,500 a guest.
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  18. #17
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    Cut costs?

    My compensation, as CEO, would be no more than 10x that of the lowest paid castmember. All castmembers would be on the same bonus plans, health plans, etc, regardless of pay grades or prestige.

    Increase revenue?

    Advertise that my compensation is linked directly to the lowest paid castmembers, because I believe that the marketplace will celebrate a business that really does things differently and is willing to tell the world all about it.

  19. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by goofy for pluto View Post
    Originally Posted by CaptainJessicaSparrow:
    I would reduce the number of days for housekeeping - they would only visit once every 4 days unless you requested more (during your stay - if you stay less, obviously they would clean after each guest checks out). This includes them coming in to clean rooms, make bed, take out trash, etc.

    With the prices that they are charging for the rooms I would think a very large discount would be in order if they were not to send housekeeping in. Most people expect this and some even look forward to it.
    Even value hotels have this service.
    Agreed. The last thing I want to think about or do while I'm on vacation is clean my room. One of the best feelings in the world is coming back after a long day in the parks to a spotless room, and the housekeeping staff excels at getting this done. If cutting staff is necessary to cut costs, this is not the department to do it in.
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  20. #19
    CaptainJessicaSparrow Guest

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    ....Which is why I said the guests would have the option of having housekeeping coming in during their stay or not. Instead of having everyone's room cleaned, they would only have to clean say maybe 15 out of their normal 20.

    I know a lot of people who don't mind not having their beds made everyday or don't create a huge mess that needs someone to clean up after them so they just clean as they go.

    I'm more worried since I just heard that they are cutting about 5,000 jobs, starting mostly with Entertainment and that any one with less than 2 months seniority in Entertainment will not be able to transfer to another line. I'm hoping this is just a rumor more than anything else because I finally made it to where I am happiest and most productive in the company.

  21. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainJessicaSparrow View Post
    . . . I'm more worried since I just heard that they are cutting about 5,000 jobs, starting mostly with Entertainment and that any one with less than 2 months seniority in Entertainment will not be able to transfer to another line. I'm hoping this is just a rumor more than anything else because I finally made it to where I am happiest and most productive in the company . . .
    For you and other CM's . . .
    1) Permanent Layoffs
    Article 15, Section 1:
    Whenever it becomes necessary to reduce the working force in a given job classification, the employee(s) permanently assigned to that job classification with the least Service Trades Council bargaining unit seniority will be laid off

    2) 30-day Furloughs
    Article 15, Section 8:
    A department/location shall furlough non-tipped employees by classification based upon their relative bargaining unit seniority within the affected department/location provided the employee is recalled thirty (30) days or less from the furlough date


    3) They must layoff in the classification first (eg. Entertainment).
    4) These types of agreed terms are something employees do not read.
    5) They only pay attention when layoffs arise.
    6) Plus, part-time usually go before full-time, since they earn no seniority.
    7) If you are a union member, you might try to file a grievance.
    8) Good luck in your situation.
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