Walt Disney Parks and Resorts' promotion strategy will continue into 2010.

In 2009, in an attempt to boost attendance in a down market, Disney introduced aggressive promotions such as a free birthday admission offer and specials such as buy four nights, get three free.

The offers for late 2009 and 2010 don't look all that different from their predecessors.

"Frankly, we know that the conditions haven't changed that much in this economy," Jay Rasulo, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts chairman, said during a conference call last week to talk up the company's newest promotion: free park admission to people who volunteer in their communities.

In a promotion announced last week, up to 1 million people who volunteer in their communities will be offered a free, one-day admission ticket to the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida or Disneyland in Southern California.

Additionally, customers who book four-night ticket packages for select Walt Disney World villa resort properties can get three more nights and park tickets free, on select departure dates for bookings made by Dec. 20.

"Clearly this past year, with the state of the economy, we know where families are, we know the situation they're facing and we clearly responded with promotional programs," said Rasulo.

"We made the decision to promote volume over price."

About 3 million people have applied for the free birthday admission offer, and about a third of those have redeemed their free birthday admission ticket, according to Rasulo.

As for why Disney chose a volunteer-oriented promotion rather than to simply extend the free birthday admission offer, Rasulo said, "We thought that this message of voluntourism was very appropriate for the state of the world."

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