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Disney World now offering discounted Merchandise Credits to select Guests

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Disney World now offering discounted Merchandise Credits to select Guests

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It's all that anyone in Central Florida can talk about these days. The huge impact that the current consumer spending slump is having on the tourism industry.

And with people now admitting that they're cutting back on toys and apparel purchases ... Well, that's not what the folks at Walt Disney World want to hear. Given that they actively count on Guests splurging on all that pricey plush & t-shirts as part of their WDW vacation experience.

But rather than just mope about this unfortunate financial reality, the Mouse has decided to do something about it. Hopefully persuade tourists to continue to shop by offering them a sizable savings on souvenirs.

"And who exactly is Mickey doing that?," you ask. Well, over this past week, Disney Destinations Marketing has begun reaching out to people who have already booked WDW vacation packages with a most intriguing offer. To quote from this targeted e-mail:

Copyright Disney. All Rights Reserved

Now you can add extra shopping fun to look forward to on your upcoming vacation. For a limited time, you can purchase a $500 Walt Disney World Merchandise Credit for just $395.

This Credit -- which is supposed to be valid at over 150 locations at the WDW Resort and, more importantly, has no expiration date -- does come with a few conditions. Chief among these being that:

  • The Walt Disney World Merchandise Credit may not be used towards the payment of a Walt Disney World Resort Hotel room night or reservation or a Disney Cruise Line reservation, aboard Disney Cruise Line, or towards the purchase of any food and beverage items, spa services and products, personal services such as face painting, caricature drawings, hair braiding, and hair wrapping, recreation activities, or tours.

  • The Walt Disney World Merchandise Credit is also not accepted at Walt Disney World Resort Operating Participant locations, including but not limited to, China, Japan, and Morocco pavilions at World Showcase in Epcot, Arribas Brothers, Basin, Basin White, Cirque du Soleil, Curl by Sammy Duval, Ghiradelli, House of Blues, Hoypoloi, LEGO Imagination Center, Magic Masters, Magnetron, Niki Bryan Spas, Orlando Harley Davidson Store, Planet Hollywood, Rainforest Cafe, Richard Petty Driving Experience, Rubio Balloon Arts, SD Watersports, Sosa Cigar, Starabillias, Sunglass Icon, Surrey Bike Rental, Virgin Megastore, Wyland Galleries and any other locations or kiosks that are not owned and operated by the owners of the Walt Disney World Resort.

Copyright Disney. All Rights Reserved

More to the point, this Walt Disney World Merchandise Credit must be purchased at least seven days before the Guest arrives on property.

And for those folks who are truly serious shoppers, Disney Destinations Marketing is offering several different denominations of this Merchandise Credit. With a $600 credit going for just $445 or a $1,000 credit for just $695.

Based on what WDW insiders have told me, this targeted e-mail is something of a test to see what sort of response Guests would have if they were given the opportunity to prepurchase a significantly discounted Walt Disney World Merchandise Credit. And given that the current offer only runs through January 23, 2009 ... I'm told that WDW management will first evaluate how this test went before they then decide if this same offer will be made available to other people who purchase Disney World vacation packages.

Know this, though: The Guests who have been selected to be part of this Walt Disney World Merchandise Credit test have previously proven themselves to be very serious shoppers. The sorts of people who can blow through $400 to $500 in a single afternoon at Downtown Disney. So if you're vacationing at WDW over the next 60 days and haven't yet been recruited to take part in this program ... Don't feel too bad. You may just be too smart a shopper for Disney's tastes. The type of person who -- if you're looking to save 20 - 35% while shopping for Mouse-related merchandise -- just heads on over to Disney's Character Premiere at the Orlando Premium Outlets.

Copyright Chelsea Property Group. All Rights Reserved

But what do you folks think? If you were given the opportunity to purchase a $500 Walt Disney World Merchandise Credit for only $395, would you go for it?

Your thoughts?

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  • Yes, I probably would.  Particularly if the credit doesn't expire - I probably wouldn't blow through $500 in one trip, but in several I do.  Obviously tho, I'm not one of the ones they're targeting, so moot point for me.

  • The Orlando Premium Outlets store is merely a 'Bargain Bucket' outlet.  

    Damaged goods with the wrong year written on it, but it may have changed

    ps.  Where can you use this credit, that' s a long list of exceptions!

  • I'm not an accountant but I am a savvy shopper.  Wouldn't it make sense to just offer a 20% discount off of current merchandise prices to stimulate everyone to buy.  We all know that prices at marked up at least 50% while shopping at WDW.  I think it only makes more sense to cut prices across the board and encourage everyone to buy something instead of having merchandise sit there only to eventually be dumped at the outlets and then sold for 20% of the original price.

  • I easily spend $500 on stuff to bring back each trip, so I'd definitely go for an offer like that. While I do check out the Character Premier shop each trip, it can be hit or miss finding something in my size that I'd like. However, I certainly wouldn't characterize Character Premier as a selling damaged goods! They are selling stuff that is no longer in the park, so you will find items from the last season, but I've rarely come across damaged or poorly manufactured goods there.

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