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‘Staycations,’ Be Gone

We’ve been hearing the stories that Americans were staying home this summer. Energy costs pushed up airfares. The weaker dollar put that European vacation out of reach. Gas prices stranded our cars in the driveway. Hey, it ain’t so bad, we were told. Why not just enjoy a “staycation”?

Luckily, the price of oil backtracked to $125 from $148, and natural gas dropped to $9 from $13. These reversals have propped up the ailing stock market, Cramer said, and they’re going to have a strong impact at the pump. As the cost for a gallon of gas falls from $4.11 to $3.50, which is where Cramer predicted it’s headed, a family trip to Disney World might be in order.

In fact, Disney is one of Cramer’s cheap-gas (did we just say that?) and weak-dollar plays. And that’s just taking into account the theme parks. Disney also has strong management in CEO Robert Iger, consistent TV advertising revenues and some extremely profitable franchises.

Here’s how the stock breaks down:

Wall Street’s been hyper-concerned about theme-park attendance. Probably with good reason considering the state of the U.S. economy right now, i.e., energy and gas prices. In all their hand wringing, though, analysts were actually wrong about the auto traffic to Disney. A Pali Research report this week said car trips to ‘World and ‘Land are strong. Most likely this will continue as gas prices come down.

It turns out Orlando, Fla., has become a much more affordable destination, too. Back during the recession of 1991, 55% of the available hotel rooms at Disney World were premium priced. Now, 75% of rooms are in the moderate, or value, category.

So the theme parks are cheaper all around. Then there are all of Disney’s famous franchises – Hannah Montana, High School Musical, Wall-E, any of the classics like Cinderella or Snow White. Cramer likened it to a drug company with a blockbuster pipeline and permanent patent protection. The merchandising – and profit – potential is endless.

Despite all this, analysts have been down on Disney. Lehman Brothers downgraded the stock, even though the entertainment giant blew away the numbers at its last earnings call. But Cramer said this is wrong. Declining gas prices mean business is only going to get better at Disney. He wants investors in this stock before we reach $3.50 a gallon.

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