Beyond The Magic: How Sponsorship Shapes Disney Rides

  • By: pdstamp
  • Date: January 18, 2023

One of the things that surprise many Disney fans who visit the Magic Kingdom is how many sponsorships exist. It seems as if everything is sponsored by an outside company. Why is that the case?

Although Disney is full of magic, they are a business.

Sponsorships give companies the opportunity to benefit from collaboration in numerous ways. This is true of rides that are sponsored by specific brands, as well as other sponsors who may be seen throughout the parks and Disney properties.

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As a business, sponsorship makes great sense. That is especially true of theme parks, as there are a lot of costs associated with upkeep and renovations of the rides and property.

What many people don’t realize is the fact that Magic Kingdom has changed the way that they charge over the years. When they first opened, you paid $3.50 for admission but you didn’t get any of the rides included. Each of those rides had to be paid for separately.

Quite obviously, things have changed over the years as the admission price has gone up considerably but all of the rides are free once you enter the park. The sponsorships help to make the park safe and to keep the admission price lower than what it could be.

Sponsorships also provide the following benefits to Disney (and sometimes you):

Upkeep – One of the primary reasons why sponsors are needed for Disney is because of the upkeep necessary for the rides and property. We appreciate the fact that the property is beautiful and the rides are safe. Sponsorship plays a big part in that.

Exposure – Although Disney is truly a household name, they still get a lot of exposure through sponsorships. This is especially true of some of their larger sponsors, such as Home Depot.

When you visit the Home Depot or see some of their advertisements, you might be subtly reminded of Disney in a variety of ways. This keeps your mind on the Mouse and makes it more likely that you will keep a visit to Orlando on your bucket list.

Money – Sponsorships provide money for Disney, helping to boost its bottom line. When you consider how much Disney earns on an annual basis and the fact that they are a business, finding ways to make more money is a part of the plan.

There are also different ways that Disney uses sponsorships.

In some cases, one of the rides or perhaps an attraction or restaurant may be sponsored by a specific company. Other companies may be general sponsors for Disney. There are also some items that become official items for Disney, such as the OtterBox being the official phone case.

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What Is Disney’s Longest Sponsor Partnership?

You might be surprised to learn that Disney has been using sponsorships for a long time. There have also been some companies that have stuck with them for the long term, including one that has been there for decades.

The longest public sponsorship program with Disney is with Home Depot.

In fact, they entered into their 20th year of sponsorship in 2022. That is an incredible amount of time for such a partnership to exist, especially when many other sponsorships have fallen off of the radar and new ones have been formed.

The sponsorship program that Disney has with Home Depot is one that works both ways. The Home Depot provides them with discounted supplies and at the same time, Disney uses the supplies, which is an incredible amount of product. They also give each other exposure.

When you stop to think about just the amount of paint Disney uses on an annual basis, it is really mind-blowing. That isn’t even to mention the hardware that they may obtain from Home Depot as an agreement associated with the sponsorship.

The Home Depot continues to spend money at Disney, setting up media in various areas. This is seen at ESPN at the Boardwalk Resort, as well as in other areas. It truly is a win-win situation for both entities.

There have also been some sponsors that are running quietly behind the scenes and have been for decades, such as Coca-Cola.

Does Anyone Sponsor Disney’s Land?

We often see that there are companies that sponsor specific rides or attractions at Disney. They are either listed on a sign or perhaps we may see their logo here and there throughout the visit.

This can lead many people to wonder if the land owned by Disney is actually sponsored by any companies. Considering the fact that there is a lot of property out there, the sponsorship opportunities can be huge.

Many of the general sponsors are found throughout the park, attractions, and resort areas. This includes sponsors such as State Farm and Home Depot.

Although they may or may not specifically sponsor the land owned by Disney, the fact that they are in collaboration with Disney through a sponsorship program means that they have an interest in it in some way or another.

When Did Disney Sponsorship Start?

It’s hard to believe that Disney has been around since 1923. They were formed as a company in Los Angeles in that year and since then, they have never looked back.

Since sponsorships are such an important part of what takes place behind the scenes and even in front of us at Disney, it will be good to know when they started.

Disney was cash poor when they first started to build theme parks. In order to pay for the theme parks and to keep them running, they had to solicit sponsors.

This all started back in 1955 or perhaps even earlier. It was in that year, however, when Coca-Cola was enlisted by Walt Disney personally to help finance the company and the plans to move forward with theme parks. The sponsorships have been there for a very long time.

Why Does Disney Need Sponsors?

Considering the amount of money Disney is worth, some $172 billion at a recent count, many wonder why they need sponsorships.

Sponsorships provide benefits on many fronts, including funding for rides and repairs of the property, exposure, and discounted products.

Could Disney survive without the use of sponsors? At this point, they probably could but it would likely impact your wallet at the ticket booth and when you purchase Disney merchandise.

Disney has been using sponsorships for many years to their benefit. It is also to the mutual benefit of those who sponsor them. It is not likely something that is going to go away at any point in the foreseeable future.

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