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									                              Walt Disney Corporation 1

 Walt Disney Corporation

     Marketing Audit

       Max McKay

      Sabrina Coady

      Henrik Oiseth

Principles of Marketing 308

    Professor Simpson

   November 14, 2006
                                                                 Walt Disney Corporation 2

                                 Walt Disney Corporation

       Founded in 1923, the Walt Disney Company has predicated itself as the world’s

best in the family entertainment business. After 80 years in the business, who could

argue with that statement? Today, Walt Disney Corporation dominates the market of

family entertainment. An unparalleled experience is the direct affect of superior quality,

innovative content, and brilliant storytelling. To capture such a highly diverse market,

Walt Disney has divided itself into four main business segments: Studio Entertainment,

Parks and Resorts, Consumer Products, and Media Networks. The purpose of these

different segments is to integrate, and effectively operate in performance to maximize

exposure and growth (Disney Online, 2006). This paper will analyze Disney’s marketing

strategies directed at promoting its theme parks and resorts, as well as the firm’s

strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.

Business Mission

       Walt Disney pioneered the world of entertainment into what we know today. In

1940, the Burbank Studio was constructed in California with a staff of more than 1,000

artists, animators, story men, and technicians (“Walt, Biography” n.d.). Due to World

War II, 94% of the Disney work was associated with special government work. This

included the production of training and propaganda films for the armed services, as well

as health films that are still shown throughout the world by the U.S. State Department of

Health (“Walt, Biography” n.d). Walt Disney’s dream came to life in 1955 when the first

Disneyland amusement park was built in California, priced around $17 million (“Walt,

Biography” n.d). Through all of this, Walt’s original purpose was to stimulate the idea of

education in children through entertainment in his movies, shows, and theme parks. The
                                                                  Walt Disney Corporation 3

company’s mission statement states Walt’s aspiration to “nurture the imaginations of

children around the world a well as to celebrate American values” (“The Walt Disney

Company,”1996). Walt Disney and company has successfully upheld this mission in the

business for over 80 years now.


        It was Walt’s objective to provide a service in which every person would desire

now, as well as in the future. More than this, Walt Disney inspired to reach and touch as

many people as possible, providing an unsurpassed experience in the world of

entertainment. The firm’s stated objective is to be one of the world’s leading producers

and providers of entertainment and information (“Disney Online,”2006). Walt Disney

Corporation focuses on using its assortment of brands to differentiate its content, services

and consumer products. Disney online states that the company’s financial goals are to

“maximize earnings and cash flow, and to allocate capital profitability toward growth

initiatives that will drive long-term shareholder value” (2006). These goals of being the

world’s leader in producing and providing entertainment are entirely realistic,

considering the current financial position of Disney. The financial goals are also

measurable in terms of revenue expected. Walt Disney Corporation is specifying goals

by stating that they intend to differentiate content, services and consumer products, to run

a superior business. The time period in which this firm plans to accomplish this objective

is alluded to in its financial goals, stating that the firm aims to sustain long-term

shareholder value.
                                                                 Walt Disney Corporation 4

Internal Strengths

       The Walt Disney Corporation brand name has powerfully distinguished itself

nationwide as one of the best in the entertainment business. Operating at a multinational

level, Walt Disney has over 58,000 employees worldwide, accompanied by more than

189,000 shareholders. Since 1995, Walt Disney has nearly doubled its sales to over $33

billion dollars. In the same time frame, net income of this organization has more than

doubled, from $1.2 billion to $2.8 billion. Disney stock prices have also increased

steadily throughout its existence. Current stock prices are hovering around $30 per share

(“The Walt Disney Company,”1996). Walt Disney Corporation can contribute much of

its success to a large number of resources, superior experience, and its low-cost strategy.

The company has developed a well -known brand name that has lead to high brand

loyalty. This has given the organization the ability to adapt when product line sales

decrease. At the same time, financial stability has allowed Walt Disney Corporation to

extend its product line and services into home video, film, merchandise, radio

broadcasting, network television, and theme parks (“The Walt Disney Company,”1996).

As product line sales declined in the US, Disney has effectively e xpanded its operations

to Japan and Europe. Overall, financial stability is one of Walt Disney’s primary internal

strengths, giving the firm flexibility to submerge into a variety of different markets and

expand operations globally.

       Innovative thinking by Disney employees has been critical to the company’s

success. Employees have highly contributed to several box office hits in Disney

productions. Creative and unique ideas this firm continually produces has overshadowed

much of the competition. In an industry where extreme amounts of capital investments
                                                               Walt Disney Corporation 5

are required for new market entrants, Walt Disney has intimidated many new market

entrants by dominating the market of entertainment. Much of this success is contributed

to the organization’s internal assets in human resources.

       Another internal strength of Walt Disney is its ability to control costs. Disney

benefits from implementing a low-cost-corporate-strategy while delivering superior

goods and services at the same time (“The Walt Disney Company, ”1996). The low-cost

strategy has subsequently minimized financial risks within the organization. Once again,

this is possible because of limited competition.

Internal Weaknesses

       Although Walt Disney is a very successful organization, every company fights

one or several weaknesses within the organization. A case study on Walt Disney

Corporation points out three primary internal weaknesses. The first is an affect from the

firm’s large work force. Communication is critical to any organization’s success a nd

problems will inevitably exist with ideas and information circulating across 58,000

employees. The large work force inadvertently creates a high bureaucracy level within

the corporation, which promotes stages of inequality between employees. By

diversifying into more niches, Disney must be able to support the expansion of the

company’s work force through efficient and effective means of communication (“The

Walt Disney Company,”1996). With Disney’s persistent growth, supporting such a large

number of employees and constant changes in top-management positions can become

dangerous. The firm’s intentions are to bring in fresh ideas and different perspectives by

changing executives, but employees may not always understand the reasoning behind this

tactic, thus leading to inefficiency and possible moral dilemmas within the company.
                                                                Walt Disney Corporation 6

Although there are several positives that supplement structural changes, resistance and

heavy expenses are often associated along with these changes (“The Walt Disney


       The third and final internal weakness noted in the case study of Walt Disney

Corporation is the firm’s high overhead expenses. The case study notes that, “Large

overhead costs are usually direct effects of a large work- force and a large number of

fixed assets” (“The Walt Disney Company,”1996). As Disney products and services

expand globally, a vast amount of employees and fixed assets tied into the company is

impossible to avoid.

External Opportunities

       For an organization to be successful, recognizing external opportunities is crucial.

After recognizing an opportunity, the company must research and continue to analyze the

research to respond quickly and effectively to the market. Walt Disney Corporation has

taken full advantage of external opportunities presented throughout its livelihood in the

entertainment business. One opportunity Disney recognized and responded to at an early

stage was the deficient movie market for young children. The newly animated movies

produced by Disney have specifically targeted a young audience and has done so

effectively, resulting in high profit margins. Although their target audience is generally

the younger generation, many teens and adults have found themselves enjoying Disney

productions. Competition has found it difficult to penetrate the company’s highly

diversified product/service mix in such a highly specialized industry (“The Walt Disney

Company,”1996). Diversification of products and services is a strategy that the Disney

Corporation clearly focuses on in order to establish a competitive advantage in the
                                                                 Walt Disney Corporation 7

entertainment market. In addition, extraordinary initial capital investments are essential

to enter the business.

       The entertainment industry itself has presented itself to be a high opportunity

market. People will relentlessly seek amusement and entertainment in until the end of

times. Movies, cartoon shows, toys, and Disney theme parks all have a value that

consumers will actively pursue as we have seen on a daily basis. With such a high

market share, Disney obtains considerable leverage in pricing. If the demand for Disney

products and/or services is high, the organization can increase prices. If the demand is

low, Disney can afford to lower prices. This is another direct affect of the firm’s financial

stability they have established through 80 years of successful operations.

       Another external opportunity is seen in positive government attitudes towards the

organizations operations. Although government is generally recognized as being more of

a negative factor in large corporations, government forces nationwide have contributed to

Walt Disney’s product/service mix. For example, the French government invested over

USD 1.2 billion in a Euro Disneyworld development. Benefits of this investment went

towards tax reliefs in cost of goods sold accounts and communication facilities (“The

Walt Disney Company,”1996). The French government’s financial support in this

situation would make it difficult for Walt Disney Corporation to lose large amounts of

capital in a new theme park. Consistent funding from government entities is an

advantage every corporation dreams about.

External Threats

       Despite the number of external opportunities presented to the Disney

organization, there still lies a few external threats. Although Disney has been very
                                                                 Walt Disney Corporation 8

successful in the movie line, the business itself is extremely risky. Marketing research is

important in the case of the movie and network-television industry. Understanding when

and why the market shifts suddenly and frequently is critical to every organizations

success. Disney must understand the external environment in this case and sustain sales

through market orientation. Despite the overall market barrier in this industry,

competition is always a factor in the network-television industry. The Disney channel

has many rivals as new cartoons have surfaced in television both domestically and

internationally from Sponge Bob Square Pants to Scooby-Doo. Disney has created a

niche in targeting a specific age group of young children in its movies and cartoon shows,

resulting in much of the firm’s success.

       One factor that has limited the firm’s external threats is the expansion of its

business. The Walt Disney Company case study writes that, “… the company has hedged

itself to the macroeconomics factor, as it has diversified its business worldwide” (1996).

If there happen to be an economic depression in one area of the world, operations in

another site would support in covering losses by increasing revenues. Although most

businesses would be affected by a recession, Disney has taken full advantage of the

opportunity to expand globally. The primary rationale for not pursing high revenue on a

consistent basis is because the corporate policy is to grow slowly and not tr y to impress

anyone. With economic depression seldom spreading across the world instantaneously,

this firm can rest easier than most organizations in the entertainment business.

Strengths tied to Opportunities

        Opportunities that have been recognized and taken advantage of by Walt Disney

Corporation can be contributed to the organizations internal strength of human resources.
                                                               Walt Disney Corporation 9

Disney executives take on a decentralized management approach by encouraging ideas

from employees within the organization. The most creative and artistic employees

usually meet every Sunday in what is called a “Gong-Show” (“The Walt Disney

Company,”1996). Here, employees brainstorm in order to come up with innovative ideas

and new business concepts/strategies (“The Walt Disney Company,”1996). Top

employees benefit from special perk-packages, higher bonuses and an increase in salary.

Although this expense is heavy, Walt Disney Corporation has dedicated itself to

employee satisfaction, knowing much of the organization’s top achievements have come

by way of its own workers.

         Porter’s Five-Forces Model is alluded to in any marketing case. Throughout the

SWOT analysis, several relationships were brought up that tied this model to the Walt

Disney organization. Examples aforementio ned, integrated in Porter’s Five-Forces

Model, include new entrants, customers, and competitors. Below is a diagram of the

model:                    Michael Porter’s Five Forces Model
                                   New Entrants
                                - No current entrants due
                                to high market barrier

        Suppliers                  Direct Competitors            - Families, large
      - Singapore,                 - Universal Studios
                                   - Six Flags                   groups
      Taiwan, Hong

                                   - interactive gaming
                                   - video gaming
                                                                Walt Disney Corporation 10

Walt Disney Marketing Strategy

       Good enough to get by is not good enough for Disney. Unlike other organizations

that claim to be the best at what they do, Disney has the numbers to back up this

statement. Disney’s Parks and Resorts attract over 50 million people annually. This

number is unmatched by any competitor in the industry. The very reason behind their

success lies in the firm’s marketing strategy. The marketing strategy of a business will

undoubtedly make or break an organization. Such work is the daily commerce of Walt

Disney’s imaginers, a core group of creative and highly skilled professional wizards

(Eisner, 22). These employees combine imagination with engineering to create the reality

of dreams that is Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disneyland Paris, and Tokyo

Disneyland, the world’s most popular vacation kingdoms.

       The desire to take his passion for storytelling far beyond the confines of two-

dimensions, Walt Disney inspired to construct an adventure park that emulated the

sensation of stepping inside a theatre for the first time. Walt wanted every inch of the

place to be part of a story, as in a movie or television show. Walt and his first team of

imaginers invented the theme park business by inventing the process of “Imagineering.”

Imagineering is the process of learning and succeeding by dreaming and acting (Eisner,


       Walt Disney Parks and Resorts initiated the slogan, “Where Dreams Come True.”

To make this more possible, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts have grown to encompass

the Disney Cruise Line, seven Disney Vacations Club resorts, Adventures by Disney, and

five resort locations (encompassing 11 theme parks) on three continents. Disney’s

drawing board concepts are designed to bring Disney experiences to new markets. Within
                                                               Walt Disney Corporation 11

new markets, Disney remains dedicated to the promise that its cast members turn the

ordinary into the extraordinary. Making dreams come true every day is a central theme to

Disney’s global growth strategy.

Walt Disney’s Five Marketing Strategies

       A successful marketing strategy defines the future for a company. Walt Disney

Corporation has five marketing success strategies. First, Walt Disney sells more to

existing customers. At Walt Disney theme parks, customers are continuously offered

other products and services to purchase. For example, upon exiting an attraction,

customers enter a store themed to that attraction with gifts. In addition, while traveling on

trams, monorails, trains and boats, there are continuous marketing announcements. These

recordings inform customers of ways to upgrade their tickets, persuade them to stay

longer, dine at Disney’s restaurants, or go to other attractions that Disney and company

offers. Recognizing that current customers are the easiest to sell to, Disney targets them

by taking every opportunity to sell them more.

       The next marketing strategy Walt Disney follows is expanding its marketplace.

Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, attracts visitors from all over the world. With

extensive environmental scanning and research, Disney realized they could expand its

business if the firm offered its products to other marketplaces outside of the USA. As a

result, Disney developed country specific theme parks and delivered its products to these

marketplaces, constructing its global vision. Disney has increased its marke tplace and

created worldwide brand recognition by building these country specific theme parks.

Now that the firm’s market has increased, its resorts and parks are easier to visit and
                                                                Walt Disney Corporation 12

ultimately more available to Disney’s target market, families. The exclus iveness of

Disney’s theme parks has not affected tourists from traveling across the world to visit

Disneyland or Walt Disney World. The value of service and experience presented by

Disney is unsurpassed in the world of entertainment. Most Disney Theme Parks are

mostly open seven days a week for 10-12 hours a day to satisfy customers as much as

possible (Orlando Sentinel, 2006).

       Walt Disney Theme Parks cover a very big area and an individual can not go

through an entire park in one day. For this reason, it is more than just a one day visit to

the park, it is a destination. Since 1971, Disney has been the top family- vacation

destination in the world because visitors can spend several days experiencing everything

Disney has to offer (Orlando Sentinel, 2006). Add many fine restaurants and shopping

venues on top of thrilling roller coaster rides, and customers see that there is plenty to

keep them busy while wondering inside Walt Disney Parks. Disney offers many different

hotel options for travellers looking to stay on-site. For an example, Grand Floridian

Resort & Spa and Animal Kingdom Lodge are some of the few hotels that place guests in

the finest surroundings, alongside exceptional service and luxurious on-site dining.

       Disney's All-Star Resorts provide high-quality accommodations at reasonable

prices. Walt Disney provides transportation between on-site hotels and its theme parks.

Even if an individual or family does not stay on-site, it is easy to take Disney's

transportation services between the Magic Kingdo m, Epcot, Animal Kingdom, Disney-

MGM Studios and other Disney destinations (Orlando Sentinel, 2006). The service aspect

of the Disney Company illustrates their ability to entertain and satisfy visitors, young and

                                                                Walt Disney Corporation 13

         Walt Disney World Theme Parks strive to improve and add to their offerings.

Disney is constantly expanding, building, and looking to improve. With its existing

theme parks, Disney is always introducing innovations to its parks. Buzz Light-year

Astro Blasters was recently unveiled at Disneyland. This ride entails riders to turn circles

in their cars while shooting laser cannons to defeat the evil Emperor Zurg. Riders

compete for points, but the interactivity does not end there. People at home can download

a free video game on his or her computer and play along with the riders in real time.

         These regular improvements draw back repeat visitors. In addition to improving

its existing theme parks and building new theme parks, Disney is persistently inventing

new products to sell. Walt Disney movies are the most well known of its products.

Disney’s studios are always working to create new motion pictures and releasing them

into the marketplace to produce consistent profits. The company further leverages its

movies by incorporating its products into theme park attractions. The synergy Disney has

developed between its theme parks and movies helps drive the organization’s movie

sales, creating a well-defined marketing mix.

         One thing that makes Disney parks unique is that they pioneer some of the most

innovative and one-of-a-kind attractions. A couple examples are Indiana Jones and Test

Track, which is the first of Disney’s true thrill rides (Cabico, 2006). These are just a few

of the Disney Theme Park rides that have put Disney ahead in the theme park industry.

Disney Theme Parks also have the reputation of being the most clean and professionally

run parks in the world (Cabico, 2006). A primary reason for this is that cast members

working these parks make it a priority to make each and every guest feel special (Cabico,

                                                                Walt Disney Corporation 14


        Marketing activities are a critical part of a company's strategic plan. An

organization may have an outstanding product, but if they are unable to communicate that

to the market, the product is not likely to be successful. While the common interpretation

of marketing is advertising, additional components, including the product itself,

promotion, sales promotion, public relations, and pricing strategy are also critical

components of the marketing mix. When developing a marketing plan, companies must

take into account their target market. Disney Theme Parks’ target market is family. One

of the best ways to reach families and appeal to the market is through promotional


        Walt Disney Theme Parks practice continuous promotion. They have a marketing

budget and a plan that’s designed to keep their message in front of their audience. People

regularly see Disney’s ads on TV, in print publications and on the Internet. Disney also

sends direct mail pieces to past customers with varying offers. Disney’s promotions are

designed to continuously remind its customers that they are waiting for them.

         The "Year of a Million Dreams" is Disney's latest promotional marketing

campaign. The yearlong celebration began on October 1, 2006 at the Walt Disney World

Resort in Florida and the Disneyland Resort in California. It has been called the "Disney

Dreams Giveaway" promotion. During this campaign, Disney Park employees will

present gifts, or “dreams,” to visitors. One recipient was awarded the fast-pass allowing

them to skip the park’s lines. Guests were also given the opportunity for overnight stays

in the new Cinderella Castle Suite at Magic Kingdom Park (Disney Online 2006).

                                                              Walt Disney Corporation 15

       Disney has created a strong advertising appeal for families to visit Disney theme

parks. “Where dreams come true” is Disney’s unique selling proposition. On May 5,

2005, Disney Theme Parks began to celebrate their 50 th year of the 1955 opening of the

first Disneyland. The 50th year anniversary was an opportunity for Disney to practice

institutional advertising, building their image and educating the public about Disney

Theme Parks. To educate the public about Disney Theme Parks and the 18- month

anniversary celebration, Disney used different media to reach their target markets.

       Disneyland’s 50th anniversary necessitated that marketers within Disney’s resorts

search for creative ways to spread news across the entertainment company’s various

media outlets. This required observation of the marketing environment to determine a

new way of reaching out to consumers. Walt Disney’s idea for the 18- month international

anniversary celebration was taking passive entertainment and making it immersive in an

attempt to educate the public about Disneyland. Disneyland is celebrating its 50th

anniversary with an estimated $150 million in marketing support (Cabico, 2006).

       Television presents creative opportunities that allow Disney to advertise through

targeted channels and reach their target market. The Disney Channel is targeted to the

tween-to-teen viewer, aged roughly 8 to 15. This targeted channel allows Disney to reach

children, an audience within their target market. ABC also did a segment on videos

filmed on Walt Disney. To advertise this campaign, the program starred three actors on

ABC's most popular shows to obtain people’s interest. Playing off the hype of a star to

promote Disney represents the halo effect. The stars involved were: Kim Yun-Jin from

Lost, James Denton from Desperate Housewives, and Isaiah Washington from Grey's

Anatomy. These actors gave testimonials about their hopes and dreams. Country singer
                                                              Walt Disney Corporation 16

Sara Evans, a contestant on Dancing with the Stars, also appeared on ABC (People’s

Daily Online, 2006). The ads were shot in a reflective, documentary style. The message,

advertising Disneyland, explored the dreams of each individual and what it took to

accomplish them.

       Even new SOAP net got involved in advertising the Disney parks for the 50 th

anniversary. On January 1, 2005, during the anniversary celebra tion, Disney kicked off

its global branding campaign. SOAP net’s telecast of the Tournament of Roses parade

adopted the theme, “Celebrating Family.” Targeting families in its parade theme can be

traced back to Disney’s mission statement, “nurturing the ima ginations of children and

celebrating American qualities.”

       The anniversary exceeded expectations. Disney Chief Financial Officer Thomas

O. Staggs told investors and analysts during a conference call in May of 2005 that overall

profit increased 12% in the second quarter (People’s Daily Online, 2006). An estimated

63.1 million people visited Disney's parks in Anaheim, California and Orlando, Florida

last year (People’s Daily Online, 2006). “Attendance at Disneyland was up 8.5% last year

over 2004,” said John Robinett, senior vice president of Los Angeles-based Economics

Research Associates (People’s Daily Online, 2006). Effective advertising attracted the

increased attendance at Disney Theme Parks.

Pubic Relations

       After Disneyland hit the half-century mark, the Walt Disney Co. faced some

critical challenges. One of these challenges is geographic. The company is set to open its

11th park in Hong Kong in September and could soon announce plans for another in
                                                                Walt Disney Corporation 17

mainland China. The question is how many more places in the world can support a

massive new multi-day theme park?

       From a public relations perspective, Mickey and Minnie were just two of several

characters to use at the opening of the Hong Kong Disneyland to carry their message. The

PR excitement for the mid-sized amusement park is stemming from two contentious parts

of society, big business and government (Cabico, 2006). The promises that Disney made

for Hong Kong Disneyland raised public relations pressures, issues that may elicit public


       The first promise is Disneyland’s fundamental appeal that kids and families will

have fun together at the park. The second promise is that Disneyland will help drive the

next generation of Hong Kong tourism and possibly help to stimulate the country’s

economy. The third promise is that similar to Disneyland, Hong Kong will enhance its

position as an international capital, attracting world-class culture, investment, brands, and

talent (People’s Daily Online, 2006). These promises that Disney is making are placing

positive information in the news media to attract attention to their services. However, it is

risky for any company to make a promise, as the result may enhance or detriment

Disney’s image.

       Disney’s biggest challenge, however, may be keeping the attention and dollars of

a generation raised on video games. The demand for games is extremely high and has

slowly gained leverage over Disney’s entertainment than most Disney attractions

provide. “Almost everything Disney does today is passive, while kids today expect

everything to be interactive,” said Martin Lindstrom, a brand expert and author who has

previously consulted for Disney (People’s Daily Online, 2006). As mentioned above,
                                                                Walt Disney Corporation 18

Disney has already begun to offer interactive entertainment such as, the new Buzz Light-

year Astro Blazers ride. Riders compete for points, but the interactivity does not end

there. People at home can download a free video game on his or her computer and play

along with the riders in real time. Disney is also counting on the Internet, cell phones,

digital projectors and other technology to make its parks more appealing to Generation Y,

while maintaining the nostalgia that appeals to baby boomers at the same time.

        In an effort to enhance their image and promote health in kids, Walt Disney Parks

and Resorts declared on October 16 of 2006, that well-balanced meals for children will

now become the standard offering at Disney-operated restaurants and kiosks in its U.S.,

as part of the firm’s new food guidelines to promote health in kids (Disney Online, 2006).

The guidelines will be adapted internationally over the next several years. Walt Disney

Parks and Resorts announced a plan to eliminate all added Trans fats and enhance the

taste of most of its food offerings for kids and adults by the end of 2007. Disney’s new

food guidelines are aimed at giving parents and children healthier eating options. Disney

Consumer Products has already begun to offer many licensed products that comply with

the guidelines. There are now kid sized apples and bananas. Consumers can also purchase

organic food and pasta shaped as Mickey, or one of the other well-known characters. The

chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts said: “This is a terrific initiative because it

makes it easier for parents, even while on vacation, to offer their children well balanced

meals with kid appeal” (Disney Online, 2006). Disney is generally synonymous with fun

and can play a very important role in getting kids to eat a more balanced diet.

                                                                Walt Disney Corporation 19

         The price for certain attractions varies dependent on the theme park location and

which ticket that customer purchases. Disney’s slogan that accompanies their ticket

prices reads: “The Longer You Play, The More You Save Per Day.” Disney accepts many

different payment options and purchase options to lessen the hassle for customers. Disney

also offers several different packages to satisfy consumers.

         One of these packages is called Magic Your Way Package. Magic Your Way

Ticket, costs $67 and will give each member of the party entry to one theme park a day

for each day of the ticket (Disney Online, 2006). There are four parks within Disney

Theme Parks, Animal Kingdom, Magic Kingdom, Epcot and MGM. If an individual

purchases the Magic Your Way Package they can only attend one of these four parks.

Some of the benefits people get by buying a Magic Your Way Package are three hours of

extra time after regular park closing and transportation to different places throughout the

park (Disney Online, 2006). Another significant benefit is that cast members pro vide a

24-hour service to ensure that the vacation is as worry- free as possible (Disney Online,


         A ticket called, Park Hopper, allows a person to visit more than one of the four

theme parks each day of the pass (Disney Online, 2006). The Park Hopper ticket costs

$120 (Disney Online, 2006). Another option is to purchase the Theme Park Annual

Passes. This pass grants freedom to the customer to come and go through all four theme

parks for an entire year as they please. The annual pass costs around $440 (Disney

Online, 2006).

         Universal Studios is a theme park that competes with Disney on pricing.

Universal Studios’ two parks, Universal Studios and Island of Adventure, offer a cheaper
                                                                Walt Disney Corporation 20

ticket than Disney’s one-day ticket with the Park Hopper option (Universal Orlando

Report, 2006). An individual pays $30 more for Disney’s one-day ticket than a ticket to

Universal’s two parks. (Universal Orlando Report, 2006).

       Tickets to Walt Disney Theme Parks are expensive, especially when a person

purchases a one-day or a two-day ticket. As mentioned earlier, to get around one of

Disney’s Theme Parks in one day is pretty much impossible, and therefore people often

take an entire vacation there, and stay at one of their resorts for a week or two. This is

how Disney Theme Parks implement their slogan “The Longer You Play, The More You

Save Per Day”.

       Walt Disney’s well-defined service marketing mix is also attributed to its personal

business tracking ability. Disney responds to minimal attendance by implementing

strategic planning accordingly. During slow times, Disney runs promotions to improve

sales and also targets its advertising to people who do not have children in school. Walt

Disney Theme Parks target marketing is often defined as seasonal, as Disney’s

determination to bring customers year round has prospered.

       The Walt Disney Company has been around for over 80 years. By this point in

time, they have adapted and adopted the different concepts that are ideal in order to run

successful business operations. The ways in which they market products and provide

marketing information for customers, are exceptional for implementing a successful

marketing plan. Some specific activities that must take place for Disney to market its

products include the following: keeping prices competitive and reasonable in terms of

the demographic area they are selling to, providing many different ways in which its

products can be located and ordered. For example, a person can purchase vacation
                                                                 Walt Disney Corporation 21

packages and other Disney products both on the Internet and via telephone. People can

also see the different products that Disney Theme Parks have to offer in magazines,

pamphlets, and on the Internet. Product quality and differentiation is also vital so that the

organization continues to set itself apart from competitors. It is critical for Disney to keep

its theme parks clean, safe, and exciting to its customers. Resorts and hotels must exceed

customer expectations in order to sustain its competitive advantage in the long run.

        The reason behind the success of Walt Disney Company is explored throughout

this paper. The company continues to strive for a competitive advantage in superior

product quality and assortment. An unforgettable experience is almost certain when

visiting any Walt Disney Park or Resort as a result from the service and fun atmosphere.

Disney and Company has established itself as the nation’s leader in family entertainment

by sticking to its mission statement of “nurturing the imaginations of children and

celebrating American qualities.” Disney continues to globalize into foreign markets,

inevitably increasing profits and financial stability. Disney is currently in the maturity

stage of their services lifecycle, therefore, continually striving to offer additional services

and expanding their market place is essential for Disney to continue to grow. The ability

to draw innovative ideas from employees within its company has highly contributed to

the success of Walt Disney Corporation. If Disney continues to do what it has done for

the past 80 years, a bright future is undeniable. Marketing to the dreams and

imaginations of kids through campaigns such as, The Year of A Million Dreams, upholds

the idea that fostering the imaginations of children around the world through

entertainment is a market niche that Disney will continue to maintain.
                                                            Walt Disney Corporation 22


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