10.8 Million Reasons to Buy GM

It's a big day for Disney's (NYSE: DIS  ) Florida resort. Its ambitious New Fantasyland expansion officially opens to guests at the family entertainment giant's Magic Kingdom.

It won't be getting the same kind of attention, but something new is also opening to Disney World guests today. A couple of miles away from the media frenzy at Disney's Magic Kingdom, the company's EPCOT theme park reopens its Test Track attraction.

General Motors (NYSE: GM  ) has been the car ride's sponsor for years, but the automaker is getting a more prominent role after months of refurbishing.

Sure, the original ride referenced the test course as taking place at a GM "testing facility" and the showroom at the end featured GM's latest cars, but this time the product placement is far more obvious.

Before boarding the six-passenger vehicles, riders are encouraged to build their own ideal vehicles in the Chevrolet Design Center. The futuristic designs are then pitted against other guests in the same vehicle during the actual ride.

As another nod to GM, the ride's on-board audio makes a reference to "connecting to OnStar" when testing the simulated cars.

How big will these enhanced plugs be to both GM's OnStar telematics platform and its Chevy brand? Well, millions of people will go on the ride every year. Disney doesn't make its turnstile clicks public, though Themed Entertainment Association projects that EPCOT entertained a little more than 10.8 million guests last year.

The showroom itself at the end has always been a nice promotional touch, but it's not as if showcasing its Volt there last year helped sales of the fledgling plug-in vehicle. However, now that Chevrolet and OnStar have become integral parts of the ride experience, you can be sure that at least young riders will become more familiar with the company in a forward-thinking manner.

Well done, GM.

On with the show
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  • Report this Comment On December 06, 2012, at 3:45 PM, rtichy wrote:

    Rick,

    Any word on whether the ride will still close whenever it rains? I have always thought that it was a sponsorship disaster for GM to have their name on a ride that closes whenever it rains (in Florida, no less)! It matches the legend of the Chevy Nova ("No va") marketing in Mexico and Latin America for big business stupidity.

  • Report this Comment On December 07, 2012, at 11:09 AM, lem2004 wrote:

    It doesn't rain in Florida much in the winter months from about Oct.to June when most of the snow birds and tourists are here.Don't be so negative.

  • Report this Comment On December 07, 2012, at 12:12 PM, TMFBreakerRick wrote:

    Well, it's the same ride once you hit the outside loops, so I'm pretty sure it will continue to close down during heavy rain.

    I've ridden it during light rain. It's only those pesky late afternoon thunderstorms during the summer that send the ride to a grinding halt (in my experiences).

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