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Disney Changes Add Fan Favorite Perks, Free Parking at Hotels

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After widespread complaints about increased prices and seemingly diminished perks at Disney parks and resorts, the company is making some concessions under its new leadership.


Courtesy company.

Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary celebrations

On Tuesday, Disney’s Chairman of Parks, Experiences and Products, Josh D’Amaro, wrote a memo to staff saying that he’s “in the parks fairly often, and I listen to you and to our guests about the things that are working, as well as the things that might need some change,” the Wall Street Journal reported.

At Disney World in Orlando, these changes include free parking (once again) for people staying at Disney hotels, extended hours for those with annual passes to visit parks without a reservation, and added photo perks for people who purchase Genie+, a skip-the-line service.

The company also announced a relaxed rule about park-hopping and more opportunities and some cheaper options for visits to Disneyland in California.

CEO Robert Iger returned as Disney’s CEO after the embattled Bob Chapek stepped down in November. As the outlet writes, this is in essence, Iger’s “peace offering,” to fans who became personally disgruntled with Chapek over changes to the park, particularly price increases.

Over the past year, Disney increased prices on everything from merch to hotels to food at the park, per a WSJ investigation, outpacing inflation and massively boosting customer spend. On top of that, previously free benefits began to cost money.

Related: Bob Iger Returns as Disney CEO and Bob Chapek Steps Down, Effective Immediately

Related: ‘I Can Go to Europe for Cheaper’: A Trip to Disney Costs More Than Ever Before

These changes began to anger hardcore fans of the parks, including people who buy annual passes, which allowed them to enter the parks whenever they wanted throughout the years, without blackout dates in two of the tiers. (They are no longer for sale.)

The company added blackout dates and a reservation system after the pandemic, which spurred a class action lawsuit from two annual pass holders.

Disney die-hards were so upset about some of the new rules, they began wearing shirts around Disney resorts that said “Chapek Killed The Magic,” the outlet noted.

Iger was CEO of the company for 15 years and worked there for around 40. He returned to his post, barely a year after retiring, which was a surprise for many. It came amid tough reputational and financial times for the company, including an employee walkout over the company’s response to Florida’s “don’t say gay” bill, losses on streamer Disney+, and possible layoffs.

Walt Disney World, Orlando Park Changes

The company isn’t bending completely on annual passes. At some point in the “next few months,” the company wrote in their blog, annual pass holders will be able to go to theme parks without a reservation after 2 p.m., excluding Saturdays and Sundays at the Magic Kingdom Park in Orlando.

However, the blackout dates and reservations are here to stay, the latter of which “remains important to manage attendance in our parks,” the company wrote. “We realize our Passholders enjoy more spontaneous visits – and this change will make that possible.”

Disney is also giving people who already have annual passes a new perk, free Disney PhotoPass Lenses, which allows users to take augmented reality (AR) photos with special lenses around the park, and a free visit to an AR mural at Cinderella’s Castle.

Free parking is also back for those who stay at Disney hotels in the Orlando parks.

Another major price-boosting change, as the WSJ noted, was removing Disney’s FastPass system for skipping lines. The new program is called Genie+. It provides entrance to the Lighting Lane on certain rides, which start at $25 a day per person.

You have to pay extra, to the tune of $10 to $17 a ride, to enter the lane for select rides. Some are included in the $25 and some have to be purchased separately at rides such as the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and Flight of Passage, which you can do even without buying Genie+. The implementation has reportedly been a disaster at times, with people completely skipping the regular line, called Standby.

Starting in the next “few months,” people who buy Genie+ for a visit will also get free photos from Disney PhotoPass, which are taken at places like Space Mountain and Expedition Everest.

Disneyland Resort, California Changes

The company’s olive branches in California include an earlier time for people who “park hop” from Disneyland to Disney California Adventure if they have a Magic Key pass (which provides entrance to both parks) or a Park Hopper ticket from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Disneyland offers select dates where tickets are $104, a relatively lower price compared to the usual day prices, which vary widely but can cost $164-$239 for a one-day ticket that allows park hopping for someone over the age of 10, for example.

In the blog post, the company said it added “nearly” two more months’ worth of dates throughout 2023 where people can take advantage of the $104 price.

The company said it also plans to sell more Magic Key passes in 2023.

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Layoffs Abound, But These Major Companies Are Still Hiring

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This year started off with massive layoffs — from Big Tech to real estate and beyond.

But it’s not all bad news.

Though many industries continue to brace for more job cuts, some of the most well-known companies are still hiring, per Insider.

Related: These Are the 2 Reasons Apple Has Avoided Mass Layoffs So Far

Economists remain optimistic about the 2023 job market, CNBC reported, noting that blue-collar workers may have more job security than white-collar employees. ZipRecruiter chief economist Julia Pollak told CNBC that despite headlines about mass layoffs, many companies “are starved for talent and leaving money on the table because they can’t run at full capacity.”

Related: Layoffs Affecting 1,600 Tech Workers a Day on Average in 2023

See Insider’s full list of hiring companies and the number of jobs they’re looking to fill below.

Chipotle: 15,000 jobs

Boeing: 10,000 jobs

United Airlines: 2,500 jobs

Airbus: 13,000 jobs

Alaska Airlines: 3,500 jobs

Bloomberg: 1,000 jobs

Moderna: 2,000 jobs

Palantir Technologies: A few hundred jobs

Binance: 15%-30% workforce increase

Hudson Tunnel Project: 72,000 jobs

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6 Ways to Celebrate Black History Month beyond February

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Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Celebrating Black History Month is a great way to honor the significant contributions African Americans have made throughout history. However, to create a truly equitable workplace and ensure that our employees feel seen, heard and valued daily, it’s essential to recognize Black history as an integral part of American history throughout the year.

Research shows that workplace diversity positively impacts employee engagement and productivity. In other words, creating an environment of inclusivity for all employees isn’t just the right thing to do, but it also makes good business sense. An authentic celebration of Black heritage throughout the year can help companies foster understanding and empathy among coworkers from different backgrounds. Such a celebration also allows employees to learn more about their colleagues’ experiences, promoting a deeper sense of community and understanding.

Related: It’s Black History Month. Here’s How to Show Black Employees You Care.

By recognizing Black history all year long, companies can show their employees they care while demonstrating a commitment to creating an environment where everyone feels seen, heard, valued and respected. Celebrating Black culture is one way to ensure all employees feel included in the workplace, no matter what month it is.

Here are six ways to be a better ally and celebrate Black History Month beyond February:

1. Celebrate authentic Black history and culture

Make sure that all employees have access to accurate and current information about the African-American experience and contributions throughout history. Encourage employees to learn more about the accomplishments of African Americans in a variety of fields — from science and engineering to art, music and literature.

How to implement it: Provide employees with a list of books, movies and articles by African Americans that tell the stories of African Americans throughout history. As opposed to non-African Americans telling the stories about African Americans (which has been the norm for too long).

Related: Be Intentional About Diversity

2. Plan authentic events

Celebrate Black History Month by planning events that make meaningful connections to the African-American experience. Invite guest speakers to share their unique perspectives on Black success stories and create opportunities for employees to engage in dialogue about important topics such as race, identity and inclusion.

How to implement it: Engage in an open dialogue with employees about the types of events they would like to participate in, such as movie screenings, group discussions and panel talks. Use their input to plan engaging activities focusing on Black culture and history.

Related: Here’s the No. 1 Question White Leaders Ask Me About Black History Month

3. Show authentic support

Show employees that their contributions are seen and valued by celebrating their success throughout the year. From recognition awards to career advancement opportunities, ensure you’re actively engaging with all of your employees so they know their work is appreciated.

How to implement it: Highlight employee achievements in company newsletters and recognize them at team meetings. These small gestures can go a long way in making your workplace more inclusive for everyone!

4. Host educational events

Consider hosting educational events such as lectures, workshops and brown bag lunches that focus on learning more about the roots of Black history in America. Provide professional development resources and opportunities for employees to engage in meaningful conversations around race, culture, and inclusion.

How to implement it: Invite experts in the fields of African American studies or Civil Rights to speak to employees about the history and legacy of Black people in America.

5. Incorporate inclusive resources into training

Include inclusive language, images, historical facts, etc., into all existing workplace diversity curriculums and training materials. Such a universal approach will help employees become more aware of the impact that race, gender and ethnicity have on daily workplace interactions.

How to implement it: Incorporate examples from Black history into existing diversity training materials such as videos, readings, and case studies. Ask employees for feedback about which resources would be most useful for learning more about Black history and culture.

6. Develop authentic mentorship programs

Invest in mentorship programs focusing on developing collaborations between African American employees and their colleagues of other ethnic backgrounds. Establish safe spaces where everyone can share their experiences openly and without judgment.

How to implement it: Create an inclusive environment through team-building exercises, cross-cultural conversations and networking events. Facilitate dialogue among employees of different backgrounds and encourage them to share their insights and ideas.

Celebrating Black History Month is an important way to remind everyone of the contributions African Americans have made to our society over the last several hundred years. Yet it’s also important that we recognize these achievements throughout the year in the workplace. By incorporating authentic resources into the workplace, employers can create a more inclusive atmosphere for all employees — no matter what month it is.

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3 Growth Stocks to Buy Now Before They Heat up

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The gradual decline in inflation and decelerating wage growth might prompt the Fed to slow the pace of rate hikes this year, which might help growth stocks to stage a recovery. So, fundamentally strong growth stocks Salesforce (CRM), HF Sinclair (DINO), and Box (BOX), which look poised to soar in the near term, might be ideal buys now. Keep reading.

December’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) fell 0.1% for the month, in line with the Dow Jones estimate, marking the largest month-over-month decrease since April 2020. Moreover, the Labor Department reported that employers added 223,000 jobs in December 2022, reflecting a slowdown from the pace of job creation seen earlier in the year.

Also, average hourly pay, which had been increasing at an annual rate of 5% in September, fell to 4.6% in the month.

The sky-high inflation and the Fed’s aggressive interest rate hikes to tame it have affected growth stocks significantly last year. However, the easing inflationary pressures and declining wage growth signals that the Fed’s rate hikes are having their intended effect, which might prompt the Fed to slow its rate hike pace.

The Fed is widely anticipated to deliver a 0.25 bps rate hike in its next meeting, a step back from a 0.50 bps hike last month.

Furthermore, as per Fundstrat Global Advisors co-founder Tom Lee, US stocks will surge back toward record highs in 2023 once the Federal Reserve signals that it’ll ease up on its monetary-tightening campaign. Lee also said that he expects the S&P 500 to steadily climb to hit 4,800 points this year.

Given this backdrop, fundamentally strong growth stocks Salesforce, Inc. (CRM), HF Sinclair Corporation (DINO), and Box, Inc. (BOX) might be ideal buys for solid returns this year.

Salesforce, Inc. (CRM)

CRM provides customer relationship management technology that brings companies and customers together worldwide. The company’s service offerings include Sales, Service, Marketing, and Commerce. The company provides its services through direct sales, consulting firms, systems integrators, and other partners.

The company’s forward Price/Book multiple of 2.79 is 32.8% lower than the industry average of 4.15.

During the third quarter that ended October 31, 2022, CRM’s total revenues increased 14.2% year-over-year to $7.84 billion. The company’s gross profit increased 14.5% year-over-year to $5.75 billion, and non-GAAP income from operations increased 30.9% year-over-year to $1.78 billion.

The consensus EPS estimate of $1.36 for the fiscal fourth quarter ending January 2023 indicates a 62.3% improvement year-over-year. The consensus revenue of $8 billion for the same quarter represents a 9.2% year-over-year growth. CRM has an impressive earnings surprise history as it has surpassed the consensus EPS and revenue estimates in each of the trailing four quarters.

Also, the company’s revenue and levered free cash flow have grown at a CAGR of 24.1% and 21.8%, respectively, over the past three years.

The stock has gained 26.7% over the past month to close the last trading session at $167.97.

CRM’s POWR Ratings reflect its promising outlook. The stock has an overall rating of B, which translates to Buy in our proprietary rating system. The POWR Ratings are calculated by considering 118 different factors, with each factor weighted to an optimal degree.

It has an A grade for Growth and a B for Sentiment. Within the 138-stock Software – Application industry, it is ranked #27.

Beyond the POWR Ratings just highlighted, you can access additional CRM grades for Value, Momentum, Stability, and Quality here.

HF Sinclair Corporation (DINO)

DINO is an independent petroleum refiner that produces and markets high-value light products such as gasoline, diesel fuel, jet fuel, renewable diesel, and other specialty products.

Its forward non-GAAP P/E of 3.80x is 53.8% lower than the industry average of 8.23x. Its 0.27 forward non-GAAP PEG multiple is 59.6% lower than the industry average of 0.68.

The company pays $1.20 annually as dividends, which translates to a yield of 2.81% at the current price. Its four-year average dividend yield is 2.99%.

DINO’s sales and other revenues grew 126.2% year-over-year to $10.60 billion for the third quarter that ended September 30, 2022. Its adjusted EBITDA increased 267.9% year-over-year to $1.50 billion. The company’s adjusted net income increased 368.2% year-over-year to $982.90 million, while its adjusted EPS rose 257.8% year-over-year to $4.58.

Street expects DINO’s revenue to increase 106.6% year-over-year to $37.99 billion for the fiscal year 2022. Its EPS is expected to rise 789% year-over-year to $14.96 for the same year. The company has surpassed the consensus revenue estimates in all of the trailing four quarters.

Moreover, the company’s net income and EPS have grown at a CAGR of 39.1% and 33%, respectively, over the past three years.

The stock has gained 9.7% over the past month and 61.8% over the past year to close the last trading session at $56.90.

It is no surprise that DINO has an overall rating of B, equating to a Buy in our POWR Ratings system.

It has a grade of A for Growth and Momentum and a B for Quality. It is ranked #10 among 93 stocks in the B-rated Energy – Oil & Gas industry.

In addition to the grades stated above, we’ve also rated DINO for Value, Sentiment, and Stability. Get all DINO ratings here.

Box, Inc. (BOX)

BOX provides a cloud content management platform that enables organizations of various sizes to manage and share their content from anywhere on any device.

On January 10, BOX announced that BETC, a global communications, marketing, and advertising agency, have chosen BOX’s secure content management capabilities to power collaboration and accelerate processes around content management.

Sebastien Marotte, President of EMEA at BOX, said, “We’re delighted to support BETC in powering the next generation of creative content for their prestigious clients. We look forward to our continued partnership as BETC continues to expand its use of Box and develop its Content Cloud journey.”

In terms of forward non-GAAP PEG, BOX is currently trading at 1.36x, which is 14.8% lower than the industry average of 1.60x. Its forward Price/Cash flow multiple of 16.32 is 11.2% lower than the industry average of 18.37.

BOX’s revenue increased 11.6% year-over-year to $249.95 million in the third quarter that ended September 30, 2022. Its gross profit rose 15.2% year-over-year to $185.46 million. Also, its EPS came in at $0.03, compared to a loss per share of $0.12 in the year-ago period.

Analysts expect BOX’s revenue to rise 9.9% year-over-year to $256.48 million in the fiscal fourth quarter ended January 2023. Its EPS is estimated to grow 42.6% year-over-year to $0.34 in the same quarter.

Its revenue and levered free cash flow have grown at a CAGR of 15.1% and 29.1% over the past five years.

The stock has gained 22.4% over the past year to close the last trading session at $31.99. It has gained 10.1% over the past month.

BOX’s strong fundamentals are reflected in its POWR Ratings. It has an overall B rating, which equates to a Buy in our proprietary rating system.

It also has an A grade for Growth and Quality and a B for Value. BOX is ranked #6 among the 78 stocks in the Technology – Services industry.

Click here for the additional POWR Ratings for Stability, Momentum, and Sentiment for BOX.

Consider This Before Placing Your Next Trade…

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Yes, some special stocks may go up. But most will tumble as the bear market claws ever lower.

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You owe it to yourself to watch this timely presentation before placing your next trade.

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CRM shares were trading at $168.63 per share on Wednesday morning, up $0.66 (+0.39%). Year-to-date, CRM has gained 27.18%, versus a 5.98% rise in the benchmark S&P 500 index during the same period.


About the Author: Kritika Sarmah

Her interest in risky instruments and passion for writing made Kritika an analyst and financial journalist. She earned her bachelor’s degree in commerce and is currently pursuing the CFA program. With her fundamental approach, she aims to help investors identify untapped investment opportunities.

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