The Not-so-Wonderful-World of Eurodisney -Things Are Better Now at Paris Disneyland-

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In April 1992, EuroDisney SCA opened its doors to European visitors. Located by the river Marne some 20 miles east of Paris, it was designed to be the biggest and most lavish theme park that Walt Disney (Disney) had built to date-bigger than Disneyland in Anaheim, California; Disneyworld in Orlando, Florida; and Tokyo Disneyland in Japan. In 1989, EuroDisney was expected to be a surefire moneymaker for its parent Disney, led by Chairman Michael Eisner and President Frank Wells. Since then, sadly, Wells was killed in an air accident in spring of 1994, and EuroDisney lost nearly $1 billion during the 1992-1993 fiscal years. Much to Disney management’s surprise, Europeans failed to “go goofy” over Mickey, unlike their Japanese counterparts. Between 1990 and early 1992, some 14 million people had visited Tokyo Disneyland, with three-quarters being repeat visitors. A family of four staying overnight at a nearby hotel would easily spend $600 on a visit to the park. In contrast, at EuroDisney, families were reluctant to spend the $280 a day needed to enjoy the attractions of the park, including les hamburgers and les milkshakes. Staying overnight was out of the question for many because hotel rooms were so high priced. For example, prices ranged from $110 to $380 a night at the Newport Bay Club, the largest of EuroDisney’s six new hotels and one of the biggest in Europe. In comparison, a room in a top hotel in Paris cost between $340 and $380 a night. In 1994, financial losses were becoming so massive at EuroDisney that Michael Eisner had to step in personally in order to structure a rescue package. EuroDisney was put back on firm ground. A two -year window of financial peace was introduced, but not until after some acrimonious dealings with French banks had been settled and an unexpected investment by a Saudi prince had been accepted. Disney management rapidly introduced a range of strategic and tactical changes in the hope of “doing it right” this time. Analysts are...
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