ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) _ Trying to lure visitors to its struggling theme parks as the holidays approach, the Walt Disney Co. unveiled a discount offer in which Southern California residents can buy two tickets for a few dollars more than the price of one.

The discount is considered unprecedented for this time of year and indicates that Disney is ``desperate to pull in traffic,'' said Tim O'Brien, a senior editor for Amusement Business, which tracks theme park attendance.

``And with travel as dismal as it is overall these days, they're fishing where the fish are,'' O'Brien said. ``They're going after the locals.''

Attendance at both Disneyland and the new California Adventure theme park has lagged since the terrorist attacks dealt major blows to travel and tourism.

Even before Sept. 11, attendance at California Adventure was dramatically below projections, rarely topping 20,000 visitors a day.

The ticket deal comes at a time when a flurry of holiday shows, parades and seasonal displays typically draw huge crowds to the theme parks without discounts.

While acknowledging the promotion is unprecedented for Disney, officials said it is intended to showcase both parks' holiday shows.

Until Dec. 18, Southern California residents can buy two tickets for $49, just $6 more than the price of one. The same discount is available for children, whose tickets will cost $39 for two, compared with $33 for one.

Guests can use their tickets to visit both Disneyland and California Adventure on any two days during the promotion, or they can opt to visit the same park twice.

Disney also offered a discount during the peak summer season. Admission to California Adventure was free for area children accompanied by an adult, whose ticket also was significantly reduced.


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