Desperate Disney makes history - by offering discounts

The magic is fading for Disney, but for its customers, it's just beginning.

This morning, after announcing that theme park bookings fell off a cliff in the last month and corporate income was down 13% last quarter, Disney's stock dropped 6.1%. Hotel bookings at the Walt Disney World resort are down 10% from what they were a year ago, profits are down from last quarter, and they're only going to get worse.

So Disney, which runs nine of the ten most-attended amusement parks in the world, has sprung into action and is doing something it never does: It's giving stuff away. After years of turning up its whiskered nose at discounting, suddenly it's scrambling to draw customers back to Orlando. Disney is going all-out to fill its parks again.

The biggest score was just announced. If you book by December 20, you can get a seven-day vacation for the price of four days. That means that if you buy four nights in one of its hotel rooms plus four days of park tickets at the full price, Disney will give you another three nights and three days theme park tickets--free. The buy-four-get-three-free deal, equivalent to a 34% discount, also comes with another astonishing gimme from January through March: a free $200 gift card, which can be used to buy food and souvenirs.

What? Disney is giving away money? What's next-- talking fairies?