Euro Disney

Topics: Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, The Walt Disney Company, Walt Disney World Resort Pages: 18 (6500 words) Published: July 24, 2005
Only one year after the grand opening of EuroDisneyland, Robert Fitzpatrick left his position as EuroDisney's chairperson, citing a desire to start his own consulting firm. In April 1993, Philippe Bourguignon took over the helm of EuroDisney, thought by some to be a sinking ship. EuroDisney publicly reported a net loss of FFr188 million for the fiscal year ending September 1992, though cumulative losses through April 1993 approached half a billion dollars.1 The European park also fell one million visitors short of its goal for the first year of operations, with the French comprising only 29% of the park's total visitors between April and September 1992—a far cry from the predicted 50%.2 In addition to the financial woes weighing on Bourguignon, he was also expected to stem the flow of bad publicity which EuroDisney had experienced from its inception. Phase Two development at EuroDisneyland was slated to start in September 1993, but in light of their drained cash reserves (FFr1.1bn in May 1993)3 and monstrous debts (estimated at FF421bn),4 it was unclear as to how the estimated FFr8-10bn Phase Two project would be financed.

Despite this bleak picture, Michael Eisner, CEO of Walt Disney Co., remained optimistic about the venture: "Instant hits are things that go away quickly, and things that grow slowly and are part of the culture are what we look for. What we created in France is the biggest private investment in a foreign country by an American company ever. And it's gonna pay off."5 The Dawning Of Disney

After first attempting to start a commercial arts firm in 1917, Walt Disney, along with his partner Ub Iwerks, joined the Kansas City Film Ad Company, and began to learn the craft which would carry him to fame—cartooning. By 1919, Walt was making independent short cartoon ads for theatres. In 1920, Walt's brother Roy became a partner, and soon thereafter the group moved to Hollywood. There, they developed a standardized cast of cartoon characters, which were mass-produced using a large staff and artists working on a single easy-to-draw cartoon. The year 1928 saw the creation of "Mortimer Mouse," later renamed Mickey.

1 David Jefferson. "American Quits Chairman Post at Euro Disney," The Wall Street Journal (January 18, 1993), p. B1.
2 Ibid.
3 "Euro Disney: Waiting for Dumbo," The Economist (May 1, 1993), p. 74. 4 Peter Gumbel and Richard Turner. "Blundering Mouse: Fans like Euro Disney But Its Parents' Goofs Weigh the Park Down," The Wall Street Journal (March 10, 1994), p. A12. 5 Jefferson, "American Quits Chairman Post at Euro Disney," p. B1. 2 A15-99-0007

In 1955, Walt decided to send his entourage of characters into the real world, through the creation of Disneyland in Anaheim, California. Walt's Disneyland dream was to create a place where people from all over would be able to go for clean, safe fun, unlike the less-than-wholesome carnivals of the day. He wanted a place that would teach both young and old about America's heritage and about the diversity of the world.

Since July 17, 1955, Disneyland has stood as the icon of Walt's dream—a park for family-type entertainment that would provide clean, safe fun. Cleanliness is a high priority. By 8 a.m., when the park opens, the cleaning crew will have mopped and hosed and dried every sidewalk, every street, and every floor and counter. This begins at 1 a.m., when more than 350 of the park's 7400 employees commence the daily cleanup routine. This routine includes using steam machines, razor scrapers, and mops towed by Cushman scooters to literally scour the streets and sidewalks in an effort to rid them of the chewing gum and other garbage left behind. Other examples of the emphasis placed on the small details include one person working a full eight-hour shift to polish the brass on the Fantasy merry-go-round; treating the meticulously manicured plantings throughout the park with growth-retarding hormones to keep the trees and bushes from spreading beyond their...
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