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GM & Disney still working out Sponsorship of Test Track at EPCOT


I was at EPCOT yesterday and managed to sneak in a ride on Test Track. GM’s imprint via name, vehicles, and┬ábrands is still all over the attraction. Frankly, it seemed a bit of a disconnect from what everyone knows is going on with the company trying to reinvent itself. While the post-show showroom, however, is looking the emptiest I’ve ever seen it, they did have the new Camero on display (and it looks amazing).

This morning the Orlando Sentinel reports on the progress of negotiations between Disney and GM. The expiring sponsorship deal was for a reported $10 million a year, which GM paid mostly upfront.

GM also spends between $1 million and $2 million a year operating a post-ride showroom inside the attraction, with more than a dozen vehicles on display and terminals that guests can use to order sales brochures.

The company’s contract-extension talks with Disney have been further complicated by the involvement of the federal government, which has kept GM afloat with tens of billions of dollars in loans and is about to become majority owner of the iconic company. Some worry the company could face a public backlash if it is seen as using taxpayer money to underwrite a theme-park ride.

I personally think it makes great sense for GM to keep this facility open with their brand on it. It’s great PR, not just for the domestic audience they reach, but internationally. If anything GM should work with Imagineering to help reshape their message to enforce the new reality of GM going forward. Disney and GM can partner getting the word out as well.

What say you now that the American Government is a 60% shareholder in the automaker?

11 thoughts on “GM & Disney still working out Sponsorship of Test Track at EPCOT”

  1. I think Disney should talk with Honda — they’ve already worked with them out at Disneyland (sponsoring some things at Innoventions & the recent fireworks show).

    I think fresh sponsorship could bring some good things to Test Track (and who knows what else)!

  2. I think if GM makes a new deal with Disney then American tax payers should receive a discount on Epcot admission considering we’re sponsoring a ride.

  3. I think it depends what GM feel the value they get out of it is.

    Do they get $10m or upwards value of purchases back? It’s probably quite hard to measure.
    If they do, then even with it being tax-payers money going into it they should probably continue to sponsor it for the value they get out of it (Why save $10m if you’re going to lose $15m income)

    I wonder if Disney would allow them to just fill the post-show area. From a guess, this would be where GM benefit most and they’d get the most return for the sponsorship.

  4. I was in “the World” for the better part of the last two weeks and every attempt to ride Test Track was met with a 100 minute or longer wait! Awesome you were able to hop on it the other day.

    If Honda were to take over sponsorship I’d like to see a Godzilla AA worked into the ride somewhere!

  5. Crazy idea I know, but wouldn’t it be nice if Disney, having enjoyed a decade of sponsorship from GM, now supported the company (and therefore the American auto industry) by simply leaving the GM brand on the attraction for free, at least for a few years to give GM some time to try to climb out of the hole.

    Could be decent PR for Disney too.

  6. GM killed the EV1 the nano-second that it absolutely, positively could get away with it.

    The World of Motion was a nice dark ride illustrating the history of transportation & fitting into the theme of EPCOT Center. Test Track is a roller coaster that fits into the “It’s kinda future-y so that’s close enough” era of Epcot.

    As far as I’m concerned, both GM & Test Track can disappear off of the face of the planet…Today. No great loss. Bye bye.

  7. Skipper Disney probably would be more willing to do that if Test Track wasn’t the most expensive ride at the park to maintain, even over Mission: Space.

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