In the beginning, it started when following on from the success of the Disneyland theme park in Anaheim, they plans to build a European version first started around 1975, nine years after Walt Disney died. Initially Britain, Italy, Spain and France were all considered as possible locations, through Britain and Italy were quickly dropped from the list of potential sites because they both lacked a suitably large expanse of flat land.
Then, the likely site was thought to be in the Alicante area of Spain, which had a similar climate to that in Florida for a large part of the year, however the area was also beset by the notorious Mistral winds. Eventually, the French location won and a site was duly investigated at Mame-la-Valle, partly because of its close proximity to Paris and also its central positioning within Western Europe. The factor that was thought to be crucial to the park’s future success is to attract sufficient visitors. The proposed location put the park within 4 hours drive around 68 million people and 2 hours flight for a further 300 million or so.
Basically, Michael Eisner signed the first letter of agreement with the French Socialist government in December 1985 and started to draw up the financial contracts during the following spring .Robert Fitzpatrick, a key organizer of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics was appointed as the Euro Disney President and the park slowly started to take shape with construction starting on the 2000 hectare site in August 1988.
In December 1990, Escape Euro Disney ( an information centre ) was opened to the public to show what Disney were constructing, this was followed by the opening of the casting centre on 1st September 1991 in order to start recruiting the hundreds of cast members that would ultimately operate the park’s main attraction.
2. a) What are the major factors influencing the Walt Disney Corporation’s decision to locate near Paris?