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Disney hopes that our next Commander-in-Chief can inspire some consumer confidence

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Disney hopes that our next Commander-in-Chief can inspire some consumer confidence

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It all comes down to what happens tomorrow night. More importantly, Wednesday morning. As in: Who winds up in the White House and how Wall Street & consumers then react to this news.

That's what I've repeatedly been told by Mouse House personnel. That the Walt Disney Company wants to see who wins the Presidential election before it then commits to a definite plan of action for its stateside Resorts in 2009 & 2010.

Oh, sure. There have been lots of meetings lately. As well as a number of high priced projects that have been placed on hold (The folks from the Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts were reportedly not pleased when they learned that Disney had decided to postpone construction of Jungle Trek. Especially since this ultra-exclusive niche theme park was one of the main reasons that Four Seasons agreed to build a new resort on WDW property). But no official decision has come down from on high in regards to the Disneyland & Walt Disney World Resorts. Not yet, anyway.

Copyright 2008 Disney. All Rights Reserved

But given current financial trends (Consumer spending slowed considerably in the third quarter) as well as how soft advance reservations for the Resorts are right now ... Something will have to be done. And soon.

Mind you, there's been some talk that the Mouse will reveal some sort of marketing masterstroke as part of Thursday's earnings call. You know ? When CEO Bob Iger and CFO Thomas Staggs will discuss how Disney did over this past quarter as well as reviewing the overall results for fiscal year 2008? But what this incentive plan might be, how it will then  convince tourists to return to WDW in 2009 ... No one can say right now.

Which brings us to the obvious question: Who would Mouse House officials prefer to see as President? To be honest, I don't know. But I can tell you that -- when it comes to Vice Presidents -- Mickey is a much bigger fan of Joe Biden that he is of Sarah Palin.

Vice Presidential candidate Joe Biden (D-DE)

Why For? Well, Joe was one of the most influential members of Congress when it comes to the protection of intellectual property. And Disney execs hope that -- should Obama and Biden actually wind up in the White House -- he'll then continue to champion this issue. Put some real teeth in anti-piracy laws.

Which -- given the amount of money that the Mouse already pours annually into its own anti-piracy efforts ... Well, Mickey would be thrilled if the government picked up the slack here. Actually got China & Russia to go after those folks who make millions off of duping Disney's movies and music.

But as for having any real preference when it comes to who our next Commander-in-Chief might be ... Mickey's gone out of his way to appear non-partisan here. Even going so far as to have Valerie Edwards, WDI's Director of Sculpture, sculpt busts of both Obama & McCain. So that -- once the results of this year's Presidential election has officially been announced -- Imagineering can then immediately get to work creating an AA version of that candidate. So that this robotic statesman can then be placed in a revamped version of "The Hall of Presidents." Which should re-open as part of next year's Fourth of July celebration at the Magic Kingdom.

Copyright Disney. All Rights Reserved

But whoever our next President is ... Disney executives just hope that this individual can then inspire some consumer confidence. Given how spending slowed from July through September (Consumer spending shrank 0.3% over that three month period. That was the first drop in over 17 years and the sharpest decline since 1980), people are now thinking twice about scheduling vacation trips to Disneyland and/or Walt Disney World. And given that the Mouse now has 32 hotels and over 31,000 rooms to fill in Orlando (and 3 hotels and over 2,200 rooms to fill in Anaheim) ... A prolonged recession here in the U.S. could have a profoundly negative impact on the Walt Disney Company.

Which -- again -- is why the Mouse hopes, whoever wins tomorrow, that this candidate can then go on and do something similar to what George W. Bush did during the days directly following 9/11. When the President actually went on television in an attempt to inspire people to " ... fly and enjoy America's great destination spots. Go down to Disney World in Florida. Take your families and enjoy life the way we want it to be enjoyed."

Of course, the credit crunch is a very different animal from what Disney was dealing with back in the Fall of 2001. But -- even so -- given the current grim financial outlook, Mickey will take whatever help he can get right now.

So which candidate do you think will actually bring about the results that the Walt Disney Company desires here? Which is to get the American people to fly on down to Orlando and/or out to Anaheim in 2009 & 2010. And -- most important of all -- to bring their wallets along.

Your thoughts?

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  • Dry stack of hay with gas fumes, meet match.

  • Non-partisan? Seems to me that having 2 busts ready to go is simply efficient. What's one unused bust when work on the newest HoP AA can get going Wednesday morning?

  • Efficient?  It is fully inefficient.  The HOP isn't re-opening until July 4, 2009.  I think that is more than enough time to complete a Barack Obama or John McCain AA.  

  • Obama for president!

  • Boy, will they be surprised when Nader wins!

  • I'm not sure it matters which one wins from this standpoint.  Our country is in for a long haul of tougher economic times.  We dug this debt-ridden hole; we may never be the same again.  No matter which party dug it or tries to lead us out, it's still a huge pit.  I'm surprised Disney would think that which party wins should affect their plans.

    Personally, I hope I'm wrong.  But it seems like the only real way to get out of this is to grow our economy with new markets and new technologies.  It will be interesting to see what happens next.

    Sue in Texas

  • With some of the stuff in Obama's bio (cocaine use, "white man's greed runs a world in need/ U.S.K-K-K of America!", his vote against medical care for babies that survive botched abortions), I would think Disney would privately prefer he *not* be the next president.  However, they can't come out and say that.


  • Really, one Four Seasons main reasons for building at WDW was because of the proposed Jungle Trek boutique park?!?!?!?  If that's true then that's just dumb on there part.

  • dravanos> But I'm not talking about an AA. I'm talking about the reference busts being ready to go. If they waited, especially with the contested nature of '00 in mind, they'd lose weeks of show creation and fine-tuning by holding off on the busts.

    I'm just curious how this has been done in the past couple elections, when one of the guys running is already installed.

  • Yeah bonk, I'm sure Mickey absolutely prefers McCain's foul mouth and promiscuous military days to whatever Obama's done in his life.


  • I wouldn't be surprised if Disney reverses itself and makes a President Obama AA figure talk. If McCain wins they will stick with the current plan and not have the current President speak.

  • Isn't the whole thing about the next prez not speaking specifically about how divided the country is- with W's speech getting cheers and jeers depending on the crowd?

    Obama would make for a better show, no question, but it would be so awesome if a Prez McCain figure was built based on his debate performances.

  • WestCOT, Obama's poor choices of word and deed much more recent.


  • Obama for president!

  • Tomoyo,

    I agree about the jeers and cheers which is why I think the original plan was a good one (no speaking).

    However, I think Disney would make more money if Obama speaks (assuming he wins). People would go to Walt Disney World just to hear him speak in the context of the other Presidents.

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