March 19, 2009
Disney (NYSE: DIS ) has announced a new exhibit for its Innoventions attraction in Florida's EPCOT theme park. "The Great Piggy Bank Adventure" will open in two months. Let's see if you can figure out which of the four descriptions accurately describes the new experience.
- Guests climb to the top of a giant piggy bank and enter the coin slot at the top. They then slide down around the innards, coming out through a hole at the bottom. The slide will symbolize how we are not saving as much as we need to.
- Park patrons are handed 3-D glasses and then seated in an auditorium to enjoy a sensory-tingling film describing the banking fiasco of 2008-2009. The screening treats viewers to the piggish ways of bailout-grabbing banks like Citigroup (NYSE: C ) . After all, since we're now making Citi cancel corporate jet orders placed years ago and complaining this week about $10 million in office refurbishments, we may as well make people jump in their seats as they watch the freak show.
- Riders board continuously loading vehicles. They are then taken on a slow-paced journey through a Hormel (NYSE: HRL ) pork-processing plant. It may sound gruesome, but a catchy "Go Whole Hog" song sung by a chorus of giddy audio-animatronic pigs makes it go down easy. The ride dumps guests off in a gift shop, of course, where they can buy cans of Spam with their in-ride photos on the wrapper.
- Mutual fund titan T. Rowe Price (Nasdaq: TROW ) is sponsoring the interactive exhibit, where families can set realistic spending and saving goals as they come together to bone up on managing their money.
The correct answer is the final one. Naturally.
"Empowering parents to initiate discussion of the topics of saving and investing with their children is more important than ever before," T. Rowe Price executive Edward Bernard notes in this week's press release. "Financial awareness and decision-making is heavily influenced by one's early experiences, making vibrant family discussion a powerful and lifelong educational influence that can help children develop sound financial values and habits."
You know, it's hard to mock an attraction that makes perfect sense. If there is a time for educating the country's youth on the merits of conservation of capital and financial planning, it's now. If you're going to do it, you may as well pick a theme park that attracts millions of free-spending tourists a year.
T. Rowe Price is also the perfect sponsor. Its low-cost mutual funds offer cost-effective paths to building up nest eggs. The company also avoided the mutual fund market-timing scandal that burned rivals like Janus (NYSE: JNS ) and Bank of America (NYSE: BAC ) five years ago.
This is a time to heal. It's also a time to learn.