In April of 1992, the magical world of Disney introduced EuroDisney, located just 20 miles east of Paris, France. This theme park was considered to be the greatest and most lavish park to date, trumping Disneyworld in Orlando, Florida and Disneyland in Anaheim, California. Before opening the doors in Europe, Disney was introduced in Tokyo, Japan, where it was an instant hit with more than 14 million visitors in just two years. However, Disney was shocked when their lavish new theme park wasn’t the success story they were hoping for. The prices were much too high for European visitors, limiting them to the number of days and number of activities they were able to enjoy in the park. For example, the article explains that a night for a hotel could range from $110 to $380, not including the price for park passes, food, souvenirs and any other expense there might be. With that being said, financial losses quickly became massive, amounting to nearly $900 million by 1994. It was clear that expectations were not being met and EuroDisney needed to make improvements fast. In 1992, EuroDisney tried to take care of immediate problems, such as cutting hotel rates, introducing cheaper meals at restaurants and revamping their advertising efforts, but there were more factors to take into consideration.
A former Disney executive explained in her opinion that, “We were arrogant- it was like ‘We’re building the Taj Mahal and people will come- on our terms.’” This is something that many people in France picked up on. For example, “The French see EuroDisney as American imperialism- plastics at its worst,” which goes to show why French visitors were steering clear of the new theme park. The French seemed to be bothered by the fact that early advertising was focusing on the glitz and size of EuroDisney, rather than the magic, rides and attractions that they had to offer. Although there were many uncontrollable, unpredictable and natural events that took place after opening EuroDisney, there was hope for improvement when Frenchman Philippe Bourguignon took over as CEO in 1993.
How could Disney maintain their culture of being, “The Happiest Place on Earth,” while at the same time improving and adapting to the culture of different countries?
Although Disney has successfully expanded into many markets, it is clear that they really weren’t successful at the start of EuroDisney. They didn’t fully do their homework and were concentrating on many of the wrong things. With that being said, there are alternatives and recommendations that offer ways to make sure the company doesn’t make the same mistakes again.
1. The main issue within this case is the fact that Disney didn’t fully understand the European and Chinese markets that they were entering. I say this because there are numerous factors that played a role in why they lost so much money in the first few start-up years. For starters, right from the beginning EuroDisney was marketing completely wrong. They weren’t focusing on the magic of Disney’s rides and attractions at all, but rather on the look and size of park, thinking this would relate to the beauty and culture of Paris. In fact, they needed to target each market separately, which they later figured out to do. With the new CEO, they also changed the name to Disneyland Resort Paris, which sounds much more elaborate and special than the simple EuroDisney. Disney also needed to focus on what exactly it was each different culture likes in regards to the characters, rides, food and any other expectations. For example, I thought it was great that they installed special kennels to accommodate visitors’ animals because the French often like to travel with their pets. Also, the French are the world’s biggest consumers of wine, so they may have an expectation of being able to enjoy a class of wine with their food.
Another example of why it is so...