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Euro Disney, a History of the 1992 European Cultural and Financial Disaster Essay

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Updated: May 14th, 2022

After building a theme park in Florida with raving success, Disney’s next stop was Tokyo, Japan. The blockbuster success in Japan was a revelation for Disney. After Florida 1972, Tokyo 1983, in 1984 there was scouting of potential European spots to set up a theme park. From an initial over 1200 potential areas after much analysis, there was a remainder of 4, spread evenly in France and Spain, but finally, a town near Paris was the location choice for a European theme park.

Disney had a budget of $2.3 billion to meet construction goals for a theme park with a service capacity of 55000 people per day. Secondly, Disney had a contract with the French government to build 18,200 hotel rooms by 2017 at Euro Disney; by the launch ready for occupancy rooms were just above five thousand. Disney had twenty-nine restaurants built at the time with a further eleven at Disney hotels and a reservation of 2300 seats within the theme park for outdoor eating.

However, in 1991, there was a beginning world economic recession. October 1987, USA, Dow Jones stock market exchange collapses by 22%. The USA banking industry starts collapsing slightly. Fear of a collapse of USA banks and consumers spending cuts directs USA, Canada and Europe into a recession. The USA economic shock had a negative economic impact on France and its Europe trade partners due to decreasing exports to USA. The negative French economic spiral had acceleration of production cutbacks with financial tightening, unemployment, inflation rates and labor agitation for better employment terms being on the rise. Euro Disney was at the crucible of the recession especially in France. The changing fortunes were a financial management disaster; in 1984 June $/franc exchange rate was 8.4, before recession it was 5.0 in august 1990 and 5.6 march 1992 to 5.9 in January 1994.

Factoring in the construction of entertainment facilities at the theme park, the requirement of twelve thousand employees was necessary. The employees went into training on Disney Theme Park standards, which were seemingly rigid and had a requirement for a given dress code. This was a spark by protests by employees and labor unions who led an agitation for reforms, thousands of employees quit while there was massive negative publicity due to labor strikes against Disney.

The name Euro Disney did not inspire the feel of Disney, but it did inspire the feel of USA taking over local culture. The French culture was at risk due at first, the rigid laws on employee clothing. Ideologies working against Euro Disney were inclusive of perception of discrimination against the common person through restriction of alcohol consumption and intellectual fear of spread of American consumerism culture.

The media were the mouthpiece for all hostile groups, creating a public relations nightmare. The 1992 launch of Euro Disney had 50% less daily visitors than projected figures. The spending of the few customers was further more than 10% lower. The firm incurred recurring losses up to July1995. Aggressive campaigns by public relations of Euro Disney, such as an end of restrictions of alcohol or a 2002 name change to Disneyland Paris, was a boost to its public profile. Investment from Disney reinvestment, new shareholders and bank debt conversion, into park attractions with a combination of a world economy on the upturn led it to be by 2007 the number one tourist destination in Europe.

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