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Disney: Pricing levels yet to recover

Orlando Sentinel

Original Article »

March 13, 2011

Ever since the Walt Disney Co. began aggressively discounting to keep its theme parks full during the global recession, analysts have been wondering how long it will take Disney to return to full pricing.

Although Walt Disney Parks and Resorts recently posted its first quarterly profit growth in more than two years, Disney acknowledged last week that its pricing levels haven't recovered yet.

"We're not fully back to where we might have been pre-downturn," Disney Co. Chief Financial Officer Jay Rasulo told analysts at a conference organized by Deutsche Bank.

Still, Disney has been slowly reducing the size of its discounts for months now, and Rasulo said he isn't concerned that the company will be able to return to pre-recession prices.

"We're on the trajectory to get back," he said.

Rasulo also revealed that Disney's cruise line is once again hedging on fuel prices, providing the company some insulation from the recent spike in oil prices.

"We are not 100 percent hedged for the coming year, but we are hedging," Rasulo said, adding of rising oil prices, "I'm not worried about it."

Volatile fuel prices have vexed Disney Cruise Line in recent years. Two years ago, the company took a $40 million write-down when a hedging contract soured as oil prices fell. The company stopped hedging last year — only to see rising prices eat into profits.

Disney's fuel bill has grown much larger with the launch of the 130,000-ton Disney Dream, the company's third cruise ship and by far its largest. A fourth ship will launch early next year.

Trade shows honored

Trade Show Executive magazine held its Fastest 50 Awards & Summit in Orlando last week to honor the fastest-growing trade shows in the U.S. and around the world.

The list of honorees included a few shows that made appearances in Orlando in 2010, including Premiere Orlando, Pittcon Conference & Expo, and the Coverings show.

The event, which took place at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort, recognized shows that expanded their net square footage at a rate of at least 14.7 percent last year, Trade Show Executive said. That beats the industrywide average of a decline of 2.7 percent, the group said.

Orlando's new logo, site

After rebranding itself in December, Visit Orlando unveiled a new logo Wednesday that will represent the organization worldwide.

Visit Orlando, the trade name now used by the Orlando/Orange County Convention & Visitors Bureau Inc., said consumers and meeting professionals have described the new turquoise-and-orange logo as "vibrant, inviting, modern, dynamic, fun, classy and memorable."

"The charge for our team was to create a logo that would convey the Orlando experience for all of our leisure visitors, meeting professionals, partners and other stakeholders. It needed to embody the core brand attributes on both the leisure and meetings side, and it needed to be timeless," said Gary Sain, president of Visit Orlando. "The new Visit Orlando logo does all of these things and expresses the Orlando experience as well."

The logo's arrival coincided with the debut of a redesigned version of The new site, launched last week, includes an online reserviations tool powered by Travelocity that allows potential visitors to book a trip to Central Florida from the visitors bureau site.

The site also includes a "trip ideas generator" that quizzes travelers about their party and interests and offers a range of customized ideas. It also has a "trip itinerary builder" that allows travelers to browse Orlando offerings and drag and drop them onto an itinerary that can be saved and shared.

In addition to English, is now available in Chinese, Japanese, Italian, French, German, Portuguese and Spanish. The visitors bureau also launched a mobile site for smart-phone users last week — That site is available in English, German, Portuguese and Spanish.


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