February 22, 2013
The Walt Disney Company was originally founded in 1923; a company committed to providing quality and wholesome entertainment experiences to people of all ages. The company is known for the following four segments, which consist of Studio Entertainment, Parks and Resorts, Consumer Products and Media Networks. The Walt Disney Company consists of five (5) Disneyland and Disney Park Resorts, in total. Two are located in the United States, one in Europe and two in Asia Pacific. The original Disneyland Resort was built in 1955, in Anaheim, California; followed by Disney World Resort, Lake Buena Vista, Florida in 1971. After the success of these two large theme parks in the United States, Disney decided to expand internationally. First Tokyo Disney Resort built in 1983, secondly, Disneyland Resort Paris (EuroDisney) which opened its doors in 1992, and thirdly, Hong Kong Disneyland, opening its doors in 2005.
Case Study Questions
The factors that contributed to EuroDisney, now called Disneyland Resort Paris, poor performance during its first year of operation was the lack of knowledge of their target market, cultural differences between the USA and Europe, and the failure to take into account that “Paris is Europe’s most-popular city destination among tourist of all nationalities”. Disney did a bad job at understanding Europeans and their lifestyles. Unfortunately, for Disney the French were neither happy nor receptive to having what they called “America Cultural Imperialism”. Many specially the children welcomed Mickey and his character friends, but there were many against the “cultural Chemobyl”, such as the French Communist Party and many demonstrator who with the following action, of throwing eggs and ketchup at Disney President, Michael Eisner upon his arrival to Paris in 1989, let Disney know they were not welcome.1 The prices were much higher in EuroDisney, than in any other Disney park. The hotels and park entrance were considered high, especially by the French, causing low attendance. The staff was low, and the park did not run effectively. An example was erroneous assumptions by Disney management, that European’s do not eat breakfast. Disney in turn did not prepare well, they were under staffed, and breakfast items were lacking. 2500 people showed up for breakfast, in a 350 seat restaurant, and they did not just want coffee and croissants, they wanted bacon and eggs. Disney went wrong by force feeding American culture, with a mixture of what they thought the French would like. The Europeans did not take well to the oversized designs and the “American” attitude of everything needing to be bigger, bolder, than in other European theme attractions. The French wanted quality within the rides, service, and overall experience; instead they got over sized designs, high prices, and lack of service. Management was a huge issue because foreign shareholders owned Euro Disney and they did not have a full understanding of the European culture.
In Hong Kong some of the startup problems, and reason why the park failed in the first year, was once again cultural differences, such as the lack of knowledge of Chinese culture. Low amount of rides within the park (16 rides, versus 52 in EuroDisney). Environmental problems and lack of knowledge of their target market. For example, there was a lack of American characters within the park, something the Chinese wanted in order to take pictures with them and document their holiday vacations. Environmental issues, four weeks prior to opening of Hong Kong Disneyland was a sign of a “rocky start” as the local press reported. During the trial period, where 30,000 selected groups of individuals were asked to visit the park to test the rides and environment, a dark misty fog and cloud covered the entire theme park. A result from the pollutants, passing from mainland, China. In addition, it was noticed that the original 30,000 park...
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