When most people think of France, Euro Disney does not often come to mind. The average person may think of fashion, the Eiffel Tower, romance or fine wine. With the theme park in Japan doing quite well, Disney built Euro Disney about 20 miles outside of France. France at the time was vulnerable and recession filled and hoped for a recovery with the help from Disney. But the theme park in France did not do as well as Disney had projected. Many factors contributed to the struggles that Disney encountered. What is the BRIEF definition of the overall problem in ONE sentence? The main challenge and overall problem of Euro Disney in France, was that Disney failed to recognize the predominance of cultural differences between the European culture and American. What do you feel are the 5 KEY facts presented in the case?
Location of Euro Disney was chosen in Marme – la – Vallee about twenty miles outside of Paris. This location was used because of its central location. It is described that 310 million people are less than a two hour plane ride away (Anthony, 1993) and 68 million people are less than four hours by car. Weather temperatures get quite cold, often 23 degrees during the winter, but based on the driving success in Tokyo Disney downplayed the negative effects that it could have.
Cultural Differences were dominant throughout the theme park. Employees were trained based on American service ideals and it was said that visitors were not sure what type of theme park they were going to: American, European, or French. Euro Disney did not represent a variety of cultures and produce one clean image, but conflict among employees. Disney quickly hired thousands of employees, based on the peer interview process and trained them accordingly. Employees not only were hired from France but other countries as well, but suffered a staff housing shortage. Paying only 15% above minimum wage, employees were not paid enough to commute, or find housing elsewhere. Employees were expected to work about 169 hours per month.
Many of the decisions relating to Euro Disney were based on the success of Tokyo Disney, without regard to cultural differences between France and Japan. Tokyo Disney found great successes because the culture parallel Disney ideals and standards. Japanese are often clean cut and can easily fit into the clean cut mold of Disney. Also, culturally there is a politeness to strangers, ease of wearing uniforms, and obedience to their bosses while value the importance of being part of a team. With an increase in leisure in Japan, and openness to American culture this contradicted what was seen in Europe at the time. In France however, individualism take priority and open friendliness is not seen.
French government was undergoing a recession and had made considerable contractual promises to Disney. They had promised to build extensions of highways and trains to lead to Euro Disney, have lower tax rates, and not have any repayment necessary for five years. The French government had extended considerable loans to Disney as well. It was difficult for people to actually get to Euro Disney, when it had opened there were train on strike.
Service is one of the most important factors to Disney as seen in theme parks and hotels. Disney has a high level of service standard based on the American ideal of friendliness, clean cut appearance, and treatment of employees. Euro Disney did not portray the expected level of service to tourists that Disney is known for. What ADDITIONAL or MISSING facts do you wish you had ?
I would like to know what exact methods were used for market research prior to the building of Euro Disney. What information did Disney receive from the future guests? What information did they receive of expectations of employees? Also, what I believe is missing is what if any, was done to learn about the culture of the European and French society at the time prior to being built. Other information that would be...
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