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Why do commercials for Disney World have a toll number?
January 3, 2008 11:22 PM   Subscribe

Why do commercials for Disney World have a toll number?

It's always struck me as odd and stupid that so giant and profitable a company wouldn't spring for an 800 number. Is it just a cost-cutting measure? Have they always done it this way?
posted by aerotive to Travel & Transportation (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
I remember the (407) W-DISNEY number going back at least 20 years.

They've got a memorable number. Who's to say any 800 number they might get would be as memorable.
posted by cmgonzalez at 12:25 AM on January 4, 2008


1 407 W Disney...I worked at the Disney Store 12 years ago and can still remember the number...wonder if its just beause its easy?

I guess I never noticed, but a quick check of the reservations page for WDW shows all local numbers, no 800 at all...Disneyland too...ok, now I want to know why too!! :)

Did 800 numbers exist in the 50s when DL opened? If not then maybe by the time they came out, all their advertising was based on the local number and then it was just a corporate 'tradition'?

hmmm...now I'm curious....if I get a chance tomorrow I'll call the Disney Archives
posted by legotech at 12:27 AM on January 4, 2008


I haven't seen the commercials, but the first (probably absurd) theory that came to mind is that perhaps it discourages kids from playin' on the phone? When I worked National Directory Assistance (which is a free service in Louisiana), I had scores of calls every week from LA children in wanting to talk to Raven or other Disney regulars. Perhaps they know enough to understand that a long distance call will get them in big trouble?
posted by bonobo at 12:30 AM on January 4, 2008


Behold: an answer!
The company explained that it was necessary to shut down the toll-free number because it received so many calls about anything and everything related to Disney. The toll-free number was replaced with "407-WDISNEY" in an effort to make sure only callers who were calling to make reservations were calling that number.
The site goes on to explain that 1-800-828-0228 is the "secret" WDW number.
posted by bonobo at 12:49 AM on January 4, 2008


...and I just tested the number (after posting it, of course) and it's now a recording with instructions to call the toll number.
posted by bonobo at 12:52 AM on January 4, 2008


I think there used to be a toll-free number which was available as a perk of belonging to the now-defunct Magic Kingdom Club, and there's a toll-free number to use if you're part of the Disney Vacation Club (the Disney version of a timeshare ).
posted by penguinliz at 3:06 AM on January 4, 2008


It must be easy to get new phone numbers starting with 407-WDW or even 407-WDI since they're all assigned to the Disney geographical area and their magic phone company.

Information on phone number range +1 407934XXXX

Number billable as geographic number
Country or destination United States
City or exchange location Lake Buena Vista, FL
Original network provider* Smart City Telecom Llc Dba Smart City Telecom

Information on phone number range +1 407939XXXX

Number billable as geographic number
Country or destination United States
City or exchange location Lake Buena Vista, FL
Original network provider* Smart City Telecom Llc Dba Smart City Telecom

*) Number portability has not been taken into account
posted by grouse at 4:51 AM on January 4, 2008


In addition to the other reasons, most toll-free numbers can't be called from outside the U.S., so depending on how many international visitors are trying to make reservations, that may have played a part in it, too.
posted by occhiblu at 7:38 AM on January 4, 2008


While that may have been true when the 407 WDISNEY number was set up originally, it isn't now.
posted by grouse at 7:43 AM on January 4, 2008


The company explained that it was necessary to shut down the toll-free number because it received so many calls about anything and everything related to Disney.

Good grief... a multi-billion dollar company would throw away a great public relations asset like that? That can't be for real.
posted by chips ahoy at 9:41 AM on January 4, 2008


Because Disney gives away NOTHING for free.
posted by Kangaroo at 10:21 AM on January 4, 2008


For the life of me, I cannot justify or relate to the Disney/Magic Kingdom mania; however; I experienced a sample of the target audience from at least one state.

When I worked as a 411 operator, I had a few similar calls from paying customers in other states (both adults and children) who DEMANDED to speak to such-and-such character/host on [name of show]. People cursed, cried, and threatened to kill themselves if I (or any other operator) didn't give them the number they sought. NDA does not have access to toll-free numbers.

I wish that Disney (and other networks) had more call centers/numbers to deal with their target audiences|products of their marketing.
posted by bonobo at 4:44 PM on January 4, 2008


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