Fun to get more expensive at Disney World

Prices are about to go up at Disney World, but the company is keeping the increases reasonable. Theme park multi-day admission prices will increase by 2.5 percent to 5.3 percent, depending on the nature of the passes. In 2006, when the economy was strong, the park hiked prices 16 percent.

The money has to come from somewhere. Hotel bookings are down 7 percent for Disney’s domestic parks this quarter, and the discounts used to bring more people in the door are hitting the company’s bottom line, as well. Park attendance was up last quarter, but revenue fell 9 percent, thanks to aggressive hotel room pricing.

What’s this all mean? Disney CEO Bob Iger doesn’t expect the economy to recover anytime soon, so he’s got to keep Mickey’s pockets full. He does make the point, however, that a $79 ticket to the Orlando park compares favorably to sporting events, ski lift tickets and other forms of entertainment – not a bad point.

Disney World monorail driver killed in crash

One monorail crashed into the back of another at Walt Disney World early this morning, killing one driver and shaking up a family of six. According to the park’s statement, “Today we mourn the loss of our fellow cast member. Our hearts go out to his family and to those who have lost a friend and co-worker.”

The monorail, according to a report by CNN, was shut down, as the park works with law enforcement to figure out just what happens … and what comes next.

As this story develops, we’ll keep you posted.

[Via @Mashable, Photo via @weathermanfsu]

$452 million to be invested in Disneyland Hong Kong

The Walt Disney Co. said on Tuesday that it will be investing US$452 million in park expansions, seen as necessary to compete with a planned rival park in Shanghai.

The expansion will include three new “lands,” and thirty new attractions. A source familiar with the plan stated that two of the new lands will be exclusive to Hong Kong Disneyland for five years after opening. The park will have exclusive rights in Asia to the third new land for five years, the source said.

The first area will take three years to complete and the next two will begin over the following two years with the entire expansion set for completion in 2014.The much larger Disneyland rival in Shanghai is also expected to be complete in 2014, assuming that it receives approval from the Chinese government.

So Disney fans, start making plans – and for the ultra-dedicated you might have to reschedule that ultimate park-hopper pass.

Walt Disney Museum to open this fall

When I was writing my post Five famous fathers: Visit where they lived with their children, I did research Walt Disney to see what else there was to head to that is not a theme park. Walt Disney was a dad as well as a family entertainment genius. I wasn’t able to find a site to head to, although he is one of the first men I though of. That’s changing this fall. It’s not that he lived in a museum, but there is a museum coming that will be all about him.

Walt Disney’s daughter, Diane Disney Miller is excited about the October opening of the Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco. One of the reasons for the museum is to show just how diverse Disney’s life was and to provide insight into the man behind what has become bigger than life.

While reading the AP article about the museum, I was struck by the fact that some people don’t know that Walt Disney was a real person. I suppose that’s because some companies have fake people who are their icons. Betty Crocker comes to mind. Maybe some folks think that Betty Crocker is real.

In the case of Walt Disney, I’d say that his impact on American popular culture is unrivaled. I was also happy to read that the sticky parts of his past are also included such as his testimony in front of the House Un-American Activities Committee. The museum is not a Disney version of Disney, but a full look at an amazing man.


Click the images below to learn about some the most unusual museums in the world — from funeral customs, to penises, to velvet paintings, to stripping.

Travel to lose 200,000+ jobs

Nearly 200,000 travel-related jobs were lost in 2008. Another 247,000 are forecasted for 2009. And, the financial crisis is still developing. While we lament the loss of six- and seven-figure investment banking jobs, let’s not forget what those big money gigs mean for the travel industry.

Consider your average Wall Street titan. He’s still pulling down more than $1 million a year (somehow). So, he’s sitting on the couch in his rather large Chelsea apartment, wondering, “Do I need to take that golf trip down to Naples for the weekend?” For him, it’s throwaway. If he doesn’t head out for a few days, his life doesn’t change much.

Now, multiply this by several Wall Street titans for that weekend. Most of them decide to stay at home. Who suffers?

Well, an empty restaurant is a waiter’s nightmare. It’s also rough for the spa therapists, housekeepers and everyone else along the “travel supply chain.” Eventually, the companies have to cut back, and we see how that 247,000 projection becomes a reality.

For this reason, 10 of the largest hotel companies in the United States have urged members of Congress to remember the importance of business travel when developing legislation and regulations that may “unintentionally hinder economic recovery and cost American jobs.”

The hotel companies are: Carlson, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, Fairmont Hotels and Resorts, Hilton, Hyatt, InterContinental Hotels Group, Loews, Marriott, Starwood and Wyndham Worldwide.