Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Eastern Airlines and Walt Disney World

      Right around the opening of Walt Disney World, Eastern Airlines started servicing the Orlando area. To promote the tourism to the east coast Disney project, Eastern was brought on board as a sponsor and named the "official" airline of Walt Disney World.  This was a mutually beneficial relationship in the fact that Eastern was able to use the Disney name and characters in it's advertising and Disney received sponsorship money.  It was an estimated ten million dollars that Eastern put forth to sponsor an attraction in Tomorrowland named "If You Had Wings", which opened on June 5, 1972, eight months after the Magic Kingdom officially opened.  This attraction was designed by Claude Coates, and offered  to guests without a ticketed entry fee as to expose people to Eastern Airlines and promote the company.  This attraction was extremely popular mostly due to the fact that you did not have to use one of your A through E tickets to ride it and it was included with the park admission.  This sponsorship lasted until June 1,1987 when Disney cut ties with Eastern Airlines and the company later filed for bankruptcy in 1989.
        Sponsorship did play a major part in the expansion of Walt Disney World, and still does to this day.  The reason that we have lost good things in the parks is due to lost sponsorships, or lack of sponsorship funds.  I hope that companies see the benefits of Walt Disney World attractions once again and put the money toward viable experiences in all the parks.

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