2. Where Euro Disney went wrong
Disney made a number of mistakes in relation to planning for Euro Disney. While there was extensive research and planning, Disney may have disregarded some of the most important cultural aspects, including environmental and location factors, labor laws, competition, financing, cultural differences and management hubris. 2.1 Environmental and location factors
While over 200 locations in Europe were examined before selecting the outside of Paris, Disney relied on Europe’s biggest appeal for tourism. It was viewed that millions of people could easily access Euro Disney, as the French government was spending hundreds of millions of dollars to provide infrastructure such as railroad so people could access the theme park. The opening to the Channel Tunnel in 1993 would make the trip from London to Euro Disney approximately three hours and ten minutes. However, the location was on the east Paris, not the west, despite the advice of the French. The French advised that if it were placed on the west, there would be no long-term population in the east. Erisner also considered the weather impacts and because France has colder weather than California and Florida, waiting areas and moving side walks would be covered, protecting visitors from wind and rain. Because there is only six months of the year that is pleasant, visitors were not encouraged on a year round basis. Although accommodation were made, in fact that off-season visit had to be heavily discounted had promoted to group to get even reasonable attendance still represented a major problem that needed to be corrected. Whether through pricing charges or development of other attraction or other marketing and promotional vehicles, attendance in the off-park months had to be increased. 2.2 Cultural differences
The firm’s senior marketing strategist presented the second part of the report, which focused on culture and marketing difference between U.S and European markets. The first phase of the analysis had uncovered a number of obvious problems some of which had already been rectified. The purpose in identifying these problems, the consultant said, was to be able to sensitive and identify other possibly more subtle and marketing problems. Although European public acceptance of the theme park itself has not been a problem for Euro Disneyland there has been a different type of cultural clash. Most Europeans believe there is cultural imperialism. Europeans have not taken to the "...brash, frequently insensitive and often overbearing style of Mickey's American corporate parent". Disney executives' contentious attitudes exacerbated the difficulties it encountered by alienating people with whom it needed to work. "Its answer to doubts or suggestions invariably was: Do as we say, because we know best". There were various errors made in the operations of Euro Disneyland, which affected the French culture. An example if this is the Walt Disney Company's policy of serving no alcohol in its parks in California, Florida, and Tokyo, which it extended to France. However by implementing this American strategy, it caused astonishment and rebellion in France where a glass of wine for lunch is a given. It failed to recognize that alcohol is viewed as a regular beverage with meals and a part of daily life. After much consideration, in May 1993, the Walt Disney Company changed its policy and allowed wine and beer in the Euro Disneyland theme park.
Another failure is the Walt Disney Company's misunderstanding European breakfast norms. The initial thinking was that Europeans did not generally eat a big breakfast and, as result restaurant were planned to seat only a small number of breakfast guests. This proved incorrect with large numbers of people showing up for substantial breakfasts. Disney was told Europeans did not eat sit-down breakfasts. This resulted in Disney downsizing their restaurants before Euro Disneyland opened. Once it opened the restaurants were...
References: Disney Record Loss on Charge for Euro Park. (1993). Wall Street Journal, 11.
Keegan, W.J. (2002). Global Marketing Management 7th Ed. Prentice Hall, New Jersey.
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