How long will GM sponsor Test Track?

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Future Guy
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How long will GM sponsor Test Track?

Post by Future Guy » Nov Mon 03, 2008 1:23 pm

Test Track sponsor GM has been in decline for some time now, but with the recent economic downturn there are reports that they're on the verge of bankruptcy. They're forecast to post a 41% drop in sales for October, in fact.

I'm sure GM's accountants are looking for ways for the company to cut costs, and it seems to me than an obvious cut would be their Test Track sponsorship at Epcot. If that were to happen, what do you think Disney would do? Test Track is one of Epcot's most popular rides, but I'll bet it's probably among the most expensive to operate. Do you think Disney would just eat the operating costs, or would they make Test Track a seasonal attraction or (even worse) refurbish it into something cheaper they way they did with Journey Into Imagination?

What do y'all think?

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Post by meticulus9 » Nov Mon 03, 2008 1:29 pm

too big a draw to make it seasonal till its old technology. i bet gm has a contrat with disney stating how much they pay and when. a nd for all we know it could've been an upfront payment. and lastly its advertising.

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Post by agingerbugg » Nov Mon 03, 2008 2:43 pm

According to a New York Times article from 1996, the contract Disney signed with GM for the Test Track sponsorship was to run out in 2007. I don't know if the contract was extended to 2009 because of the delay in opening the attraction. I fear for the quality of the ride if GM does pull their sponsorship. There is not a good history for attractions whose sponsorship has vanished. The Living Seas fell into ruin after United Technologies pulled their sponsorship in 2001. Wonders of Life opened "seasonally" after Metlife dropped sponsorship in 2001. Universe of Energy is need of some TLC ever since ExxonMobile pulled out in 2004. And of course we cannot forget the most missed attraction at all of WDW, Horizons...:cry:...I don't think I need to go into detail here.
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Post by packwingfn » Nov Mon 03, 2008 4:35 pm

<sarcasm>They'll just turn the ride into a video screen attraction where you can pretend you are going 65 MPH. ;) </sarcasm>
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Post by Future Guy » Nov Mon 03, 2008 4:36 pm

Of course, the Seas recently got a high-dollar Disney-funded makeover and operates full-time with no sponsor. I think Disney can afford to run attractions with no sponsor if they really want to. In the case of WOL and Horizons, the attendance just didn't justify it (in the minds of the corporate bean-counters, anyway). A highly-attended, relatively new attraction like Test Track may be a different story. Realistically, Disney would probably cut its operating hours and turn the post-show area into a wasteland of empty space like the Spaceship Earth post-show area after AT&T pulled out.

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Post by Len90 » Nov Mon 03, 2008 4:51 pm

I honestly don't have a fear for it. I am being optimistic and thinking that another auto manufacturer will take over sponsorship of the attraction. IMO: it is at the point where it can use a little updating. The pre show video is pretty antiquated.
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Post by DisBeamer » Nov Mon 03, 2008 4:55 pm

I don't know if it's still true, but I know in the past the most photographed spot at WDW was the 'new cars' area at the end of Test Track (and formerly WoM). It's gotta be a decent advertising draw for them if nothing else.

I don't doubt that Disney could afford to fund the attractions themselves, if they wanted to. It just seems to be the 'wanting to' bit that's been missing in the past ten years or so.
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Post by Future Guy » Nov Mon 03, 2008 9:52 pm

I'd like to see Honda or Toyota move in there. At least they're actually at the forefront of innovation. All the American automakers have been playing catch-up for the last twenty years or more.

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Post by boilerbabe » Nov Tue 04, 2008 12:02 am

I hope they don't make any changes to TT! But, you can't help but wonder with the economy the way it is and if GM is not doing well, what will happen?! Hopefully it's a popular enough attraction that Disney would still run it, even wtih no sponsor. Lets stay positive!!! :)
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Post by Mr.ToadWildRider » Nov Tue 04, 2008 1:14 pm

SSE went without a sponsor for some time didn't it? It's not so much "What will happen with no sponsor" it's more "What will happen with a NEW sponsor"

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Post by agingerbugg » Nov Tue 04, 2008 1:24 pm

SSE only went a year without a sponsor. AT&T dropped in 2004 and Siemens picked it up in 2005. I don't know that it would change that much, mainly the exit area would be changed to reflect the new sponsor's products. I don't imagine the proving procedures for other auto manufacturers differ that much from GM's.
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Post by meticulus9 » Nov Tue 04, 2008 3:47 pm

like to point out that most of the examples used regarding letting attractions fall into disrepair occured prior to John Lassetter.

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Post by spodie » Nov Tue 04, 2008 9:06 pm

I heard this in my All Ears newsletter, but I accidently deleted it, so maybe someone can confirm this. Anyway, I heard that the area when you first walk off of TT was all boarded up and under construction and there's no confirmed reports of what they're planning on doing with the space.
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Post by yodiwan1 » Nov Tue 04, 2008 11:18 pm

i was just on TT 2 weekends ago and there were no boards, so if they did it it just happened. I wonder hoe often they sell cars there anyhow? I never understood that. WHo goes to WDW and wants to buy a car?!?!?
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Post by Future Guy » Nov Tue 04, 2008 11:23 pm

No one buys a car at EPCOT, any more than they bought barrels of oil at Universe of Energy back when Exxon sponsored it. It's just a promotional thing.

Although Disney sponsorships once made good business sense for companies like GM, ExxonMobil, and GE, this article makes a pretty good argument that it may not be true anymore.

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