Exploring Management in Tourism, Hospitality and Events | April 12, 2016
Walt Disney World Florida
External and Internal enviroments
Walt Disney World Mission Statement ............................................................................................ 4
External Enviroment ........................................................................................................................ 5
Porters Five Forces………………………………………………………………………………………... 7
Internal Environment ....................................................................................................................... 9
Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats Analysis ...................................................... 10
This report briefly looks at Walt Disney World Florida and its External and Internal
environments. The report also briefly discusses how Walt Disney world went from being
an Attraction to a Destination. Finally the report provides a SWOT Analysis on the resort.
From Attraction to Destination
Walt Disney World Florida was envisioned by ‘Walt Disney’ in the early 1960’s. Walt
Disney wanted to create a bigger park than ‘Disneyland California’. He wanted to create
a park that is ‘free of the distracting and conflicting elements which had grown up around
Disneyland during its first decade’ (The Walt Disney Co, 2008). According to Clarve,
2007 The Magic Kingdom Theme Park was designed as a destination theme park rather
than a single day attraction (Clarve, pg. 100, 2007). Disney planning team who are
known today as the Disney Imagineers had chosen Florida as the home for Walt Disney
World. This is due to its Weather Permitted year round operation. Florida had ranked the
no.1 state in 1963 for tourism activities.
Below is a timeline of historical dates:
The grand opening of ‘Walt Disney World
Florida’ Opening with one theme park ‘the
magic kingdom and 2 Disney hotels.
‘By Thanksgiving, Walt Disney World
Resort was the most-talked-about
attraction in the Western world’ (The Walt
Disney Co, 2008).
Walt Disney World risen to ‘5 million by
April, 10 million by August, 10,712,991 for
first full year; single day: 71,328 on Dec.
27’ (The Walt Disney Co, 2008).
Capital Investment Passed$500 million
(The Walt Disney Co, 2008).
Plans for ‘Space Mountain’ had been in
the works since 1964 by Walt Disney. He
thought due to the popularity of thrill rides
such as ‘The Matterhorn’ at Disneyland
California there was a need for a thrill ride
at the magic kingdom. (Disney Park
Attendance figures ‘12,515,000 for the
year; single day: 82,404 on Dec. 31’ (The
Walt Disney Co, 2008) increased
massively since 1972.
Attendance rose to ‘14.01 million for the
year; single-day: 85,123 on March 28’
(Walt Disney Co, 2008).
Big Thunder Mountain Opened as the
largest version of the ride compared to
Disneyland Resort California. (Disney
Park History, 2012).
‘Attendance: single-day record 92,969 on
Dec. 31’ (The Walt Disney Co, 2008).
Walt Disney World Florida opened
E.P.C.O.T. on 1st
October 1982. ‘Two-
park attendance records of 123,800 set
Dec. 28, and 705,000 for week of Dec.
26’ (Walt Disney Co, 2008).
Walt Disney World Florida opened
Walt Disney World Twilight Zone Tower of
Terror opened (Werner Technologies,
Walt Disney World Opened ‘Disney
Animal Kingdom’ Theme Park. It is the
largest single Disney theme park in the
Walt Disney Studios Florida opened The
Rock N roller Coaster featuring
Walt Disney Animal Kingdom open
Expedition Everest. A man made 200 foot
Everest mountain. Attendance Records
across all 4 Walt Disney World Theme
• Walt Disney World's Magic
Kingdom, 16.64 million
• Epcot, 10.46 million
• Disney-MGM Studios, 9.10 million
• Disney's Animal Kingdom, 8.91
(Theme Park Insider, 2007)
Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom on
average attracts 52,964 people per day in
2014. In a year that works out at
19,332,000 people. (Reikofski, 2015).
Walt Disney World developed over time to become the ‘number one theme park in the
world and North America’. (Reikofski, 2015).
Walt Disney World Mission Statement
According to Horner and Swarbrooke, 2005 mission statements or business visions,
focus on the strategic direction in which the organisation wishes to go. This vision should
then be reflected in the marketing strategies and marketing objectives (Horner and
Swarbrooke, pg. 167, 2005). Corporate Objectives are set for the organisation as a
whole. These tend to concentrate on some of the following:
• Return on investment
• Image with the stock market, public, customers and employers
• Social Responsibility
• Environmental policy
Below Is the Walt Disney Company mission statement:
“The mission of The Walt Disney Company is to be one of
the world’s leading producers and providers of
entertainment and information. Using our portfolio of
brands to differentiate our content, services and
consumer products, we seek to develop the most
creative, innovative and profitable entertainment
experiences and related products in the world”
(Walt Disney Company, 2016)
According to Clave, 2007 theme parks are cultural creations in which they offer
fundamental factors such as Economic, Social and Territorial developments in
contemporary societies. Walt Furthermore, referring to Foglesong, 2003 Walt Disney
World has industry competitors which include SeaWorld, Universal Studios and the I-
Looking more closely at Walt Disney Worlds External Environment. Conducting a
PESTEL Analysis is a way in which this is done.
Political/Legal: ‘Politics can increase or decrease a country’s attractiveness for tourism’
(litteacher8, 2011). In America where ‘Walt Disney World’ is based it is currently power
that is divided between the national government and the States (Australian Politics,
1930). This impacts ‘Walt Disney Worlds’ stability. This depends on who is governing the
state of Florida and the United States of America. At present the threat from Islamic
State is at a critical
level. An attack is
imminent and with Walt
Disney World attracting
near ‘53,000 visits per
day’ (Reikofski, 2015)
an attack could happen
here in the near future.
This can decrease the
for tourism. Furthermore
looking at the legal
aspects of the American
government and ‘Walt
Disney World’ it’s clear
that due to the
environment in which
the resort operates they
must abide by the said
laws. ‘Walt Disney World’s’ attractions must contain various safety measures by law and
to protect the people enjoying the attractions they have to offer. (Walt Disney Parks and
Economic: At present the exchange rate between Pound and Dollar stand at £1 - $1.43
Dollars (Trevorrow, 2016). At present ‘Walt Disney World is the largest taxpayer in
Central Florida, paying approximately $566 million in state and local taxes each year’
(Disney, no date). The Company also employ 70,000 Cast Members who live in central
Florida (Disney, no date). This important to the economic growth of Florida and the
surrounding areas to help develop them in to sustainable tourist destinations.
Social: Walt Disney World ‘reinforce the attractiveness of its brands and products and
strengthen its bonds with consumers and neighbors in the communities all over the
world’ (Business Review USA, 2013). Additionally Walt Disney World has a strong
identity that is easily recognized throughout the world. In terms of social coherence Walt
Disney World utilizes social media to promote and directly talk to potential customers.
Technological: Walt Disney
World uses technology in all the
parks in operation. They are
constantly investing in new thrill
rides and attractions to take
people from everyday life into a
Disney World. In 2006
expedition Everest opened at
Walt Disney World Magic
Kingdom. Expedition Everest is
one of the most technologically
advanced attractions in the
world. In 2011 it received a
Guinness world record for the
most expensive rollercoaster in
the world (Jaclyn, 2015). The
ride journeys forwards and then
backwards and then forwards
again. The rollercoaster uses two track switches. “This is something that has never
before done in the world of rollercoasters” (DisneyParkVideos, 2012). Furthermore Walt
Disney World use a virtual queuing system called Fast Pass+. This can be accessed in
the theme park or via the mobile app once on park. (Walt Disney World, 2016).
Environmental: Walt Disney World are committed to environmental stewardship and
conservation and it has always been an important part of their business. They us
alternative fuels to power the attractions as well as installing more effiecent lighting in
the hotels. They also reduce waste through recycling (Walt Disney World, no date).
Furthermore in 2015 Walt Disney World reduced its net emisions by 34%. By 2202 there
aim is to reduce the net emissions by 50%. Additionally Disney have a conservation fund
that was founded in 1995. The fund helps support the study of wildlife, the protection of
habitats and experiences that connect children to nature. Currently Disney conservation
fund has given more than $30 million to help conserve and protect wildlife (Walt Disney
World, no date).
Porters Five Forces
The threat of new entrants
Walt Disney Worlds Magic Kingdom Theme Park is the worlds most visited attraction.
The park is also one of the biggest. The threat of any new entrants is low. As it would
take a brand at the same standard to surpass Disney. Piersons 2008, states that the
threat of new theme park entrants is not any easy thing to do. In the past decade there
has not been a new major theme park to open its doors. He states that it is the opposite
that in the past decade America has seen several theme parks close there doors for
good. (Piersons, 2008).
The power of the buyers
Generally in a good economy customers don’t have a say in any pricing that Disney set
at its Theme Parks. However in the great recession of 2008 – 2009 Walt Disney World
saw theme park attendance drop. Disney in 2009-2010 began offering discounts as
incentive packages to customers calling the campaign ‘What Will You Celebrate?’ The
package offered 7 nights stay at any Walt Disney World Accommodation for the price of
4 nights. Furthermore Walt Disney World offered guests free admission to the theme
park on its birthday in 2010. (Piersons, 2008).
The power of suppliers
Walt Disney World has many great attractions. These attractions are built my attraction
manufacturers. These include: Intamin, Vekoma, S&S Power and Bolliger and Mabillard.
These manufactures are in constant competition with each other just like the theme
parks. The theme parks want to create the next technologically advanced rides and
attractions. Ride manufacturers look at which theme park has the best brands to suit the
needs of an attraction. This can ‘effect the profit level of theme parks however, as they
bid against one another as they vie for the best technology, driving up the prices and
reputation of the suppliers’ (Piersons, 2008).
The threat of substitutes
This is one of the biggest challenges for theme parks to overcome. The majority of
theme parks such as Six Flags and Dollywood all exist as one or two day attractions.
However in Orlando places such as Universal studios, Sea World and Disney World they
try to sell multi day package tickets to customers. There biggest challenge is to try and
entice customers to their attractions rather than the customers attend the beach etc.
Walt Disney have excelled in trying to illuminate these factors by having;
• 4 Theme Parks
• 2 Water Parks
• Retail and Dining Shopping District
• Championship Golf Courses
• Arts and Sports Complexes
• Over 20 Hotel Complexes
Disney world has managed to make there resort a must see attraction and with different
activities on offer it requires more than 2 days to do everything. (Piersons, 2008).
The degree of rivalry between competitors
Rivalry in Orlando between Walt Disney World, Universal Studios and Sea World are
rife. Each resort/attraction has different experiences to offer. An example of this rivalry
was when Walt Disney World introduced the Fast Pass+ virtual queuing system. Many
theme parks across the globe followed this with their own systems. Another example
was in 2012 shortly after Universal Studios opening of ‘the wizarding world of harry
potter’, Walt Disney World announced $1 billion injection into the Magic Kingdom. The
company planned to expand the theme park creating new attractions, restaurants and
new entertainment (Piersons, 2008).
Walt Disney theme park refer to their employees as ‘Cast Members’. The park employs “around
70,000 Cast Members in central Florida” (Walt Disney World, no date). Walt Disney World
employees/cast members get many benefits these include:
• Learning and Development Opportunities (Disney, no date)
This is a good benefit as this can educate cast members and develop them into higher
roles within the Walt Disney Company.
• Paid Holidays
• Vacation (Disney, no date)
Having time off out of work is an important thing for employers as you don’t want to over
work your staff as it can lead to illnesses.
• Sick Pay and Short-term Disability
• Leaves of Absence
• Bereavement and Jury Duty (Disney, no date)
Walt Disney Company offer this to all its employees. Employees cant help being sick or
when there is bereavement in their life at a certain time.
• Personal Life Resources
• Group Legal Plan
• Adoption Assistance Program
• Onsite Childcare Centers (Disney, no date)
What makes Walt Disney Companies benefits so unique is there passion to make sure all
children are looked after well. Cast Members who are parents have to opportunity to put
their children into child day care centers in which are on the Walt Disney World Site.
• 401(k) Savings Plan with Company Match
• Retirement Savings Plan for Salaried Employees (Disney, no date)
Walt Disney World and many international companies have began to build Pension plans
for all employees. This can then move with an individual into any future employment they
wish to undertake.
• Complimentary Theme Park Admissions
• Employee Discounts, including local, national and Disney-themed discounts
• Merchandise discounts at selected Disney-owned and operated stores
• Company-sponsored Events and Services
• Disney VoluntEARS
• Disney Employee Matching Gifts
• Commuter Assistance Program (Disney, no date)
Cast Members at Walt Disney world gain a lot of onsite discounts from free theme park
admissions for themselves and family and friends. What a great way to keep cast members
in loop with new and up coming attractions. Furthermore, they also get discounts for all
Disney stores. Anything Disney employees getting discounts.
Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats Analysis
SWOT Analysis is a way in which a company’s internal and external environments is analysed.
According to Valverde, 2015 a SWOT Analysis is used to manage the activity of a company
because the results of this analysis, can check not only the status of an organization but also its
strategic position in the environment in which it operates (Valverde, 2015 p.59).
Below is a SWOT Analysis of Walt Disney World Florida;
• Walt Disney Worlds Magic Kingdom Theme
Park is the most visited Theme Park in the
world (Reikofski, 2015,).
• According to Sanders, no date Walt Disney
world has a ‘timeless appeal’ and that she
belives that ‘the park will never get old’.
• Walt Disney World has a unique ‘Cross
Generational Appeal’ in its attractions (Disney
• The resort is one of the largest sites in the
world and is ‘25,000 acres’ (Albert, 2012).
• Disney stands for its values and by its mission
statement to be creative and promote its
brands in experiences.
• Walt Disney Worlds target audience is Young
children and Families. There are limited
experiences for older children and adults
however unlike Universal Studios who cater for
a varied audience this could one day surpass
Walt Disney World as the world most visited
• Walt Disney Company has opportunites to
expand their theme park image and brand.
They are currently expanding their theme
parks into Asia with in recent years with the
construction of Disneyland Tokyo, Hong Kong
• Universal Studios, Merlin Entertainments, Sea
World and Six Flags Parks are all threats to Walt
Disney World. Universal Studios has developed
successful children’s brands in the past few
years such as despicable me. Furthermore
Merlin Entertainments have developed the Lego
brick into children’s theme parks. With the
release of the smash hit children’s film the Lego
Movie this has the potential to take Walt
Disney’s Customers to their attractions.
To conclude Walt Disney World has gone from strength to Strength. The Walt Disney Company
has grown however its competitors pose serious threats to the organisation. Walt Disney will
overcome this by continuing to make their brands accessible to children all over the world.
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