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Disney steps in with another cash bailout for Euro Disney

October 6, 2014, 11:30 AM · The Walt Disney Company today poured more than a billion dollars into the company that owns the Disneyland Paris Resort, in the latest bailout for a theme park development that's been a hit with fans but a financial drain for most of its 20+ years of existence.

Disneyland Paris

The deal wipes out 600 million Euros in debt that the Euro Disney company (which is 40 percent owned by Disney) owes to Disney. It also provides about 420 million Euros in extra cash to Euro Disney.

Disney said in a statement: "This recapitalization plan would improve Euro Disney Group's financial position and enable it to continue investing in the guest experience. With this effort, we are demonstrating The Walt Disney Company's continued confidence in Disneyland Paris, which remains the number one tourist destination in Europe."

Disney's management has thought about just taking complete control of the Euro Disney company before. This latest bailout perhaps brings that one step closer to happening. Disneyland Paris' attendance this year is down several hundred thousand from last year's reported 14 million total attendance, despite the opening of a widely-praised new Ratatouille attraction in Walt Disney Studios Paris. The resort has announced a significant refurbishment program, but the Studios park needs the multi-billion-dollar makeover that Disney and its partners have put into the other two undercapitalized parks it built in the early 2000s: Disney California Adventure and Hong Kong Disneyland.

(Beating the dead horse, again, let's remind everyone about the other Disney park opened in the early 2000s: Tokyo DisneySea. Built with the Oriental Land Company's lavish budget, DisneySea remains an attendance hit, a cash cow, and the world's best theme park.)

Disneyland Paris has been in financial trouble since its birth, due to an over-reliance on real estate investment income from non-theme park development that never happened. Like anyone who's ever been in debt knows, once you get into debt, paying the interest payments on that debt can make it next to impossible to get out, even if you start making more money. And without extra money to invest in the new and refurbished attractions that the entire Disneyland Paris Resort needs, the parks will find it difficult to attract more visitors in a continually-recessed European economy. Welcome to Mickey's Vicious Cycle. But will today's deal help Disneyland Paris find its way out?

Replies (19)

October 6, 2014 at 11:49 AM · Disneyland Paris really is the weakest park. Was there 4 years ago and saw most things in BOTH parks in under a day.

Also I am not liking the choice of Paris. There are better places to have a park.

October 6, 2014 at 11:56 AM · I have been to DLP twice, both before the addition of the Disney Studios Park. It was wonderful both times. I understand it has gone far downhill since then. I hope they will be able to refurbish it with this new money. While they are at it bring back the Jules Verne Space Mountain. Steampunk is huge now.
October 6, 2014 at 12:39 PM · I like DLP, and had a great time there on my last visit two years ago. But the simple fact is they should never have built "EuroDisney" in France. It was all downhill from there...
October 6, 2014 at 12:45 PM · Time for Disney to take full control. They know how to turn parks around.
October 6, 2014 at 12:54 PM · It's such a beautiful park. It just needs bit of TLC. The Studios Park does need a re design to give it an identity/theme the will demand more than a 3 hour visit.
October 6, 2014 at 1:02 PM · They should have built the Disney park in the UK, nicer people, Prob cheaper, better transport links, a better disney fan base, need I go on :)
October 6, 2014 at 2:02 PM · How many more bailouts? Too much to count and billions of dollars. The french are hard to please. They are worse in dealing with the customers with their surly service. I guess that's a feature. Perhaps they need to vent their hate Mickey side. Give them their favorite past-times. Bonfires and strikes, while enjoying a coffee and the sipping of wine.
October 6, 2014 at 2:28 PM · There is so much wrong with DLP.
First it's location, most Europeans won't travel more then 1, maybe 2 hours to visit a theme park. A theme park has never been a destination but something you do when you stay in your home country when going abroad is to expensive. Taking a bag of food and drinks with you is standard. The comparison a DLP visit would at least triple the costs.
The location, if a destination, is wrong. We rather travel to Spain to also soak in some sun then stay in the cold and drab weather in France. Yes we travel for 2 or 3 nights to visit cities but do that without kids and we want to see the architecture, museums, not a theme park.
France is one of those countries that, due to their attitude to foreigner are not globally loved by most EU countries.
Then onto DLP itself, the studios is the ugliest park I've ever seen. Even uglier then six flags. Audio in the parks is France (a language spoken by the least amount of people in EU). Movies and shows have headphones where you can select another language but the France version is blaring so loud above it.
And finally it's very, very American. A country that is not very much loved or understood in the EU. The park tries to cater to the EU but the EU doesn't exist. It are all very different cultures, customs, food preferences etc.
There is no winning this. Yes a lot of people visit the park but Europeans will never, ever spent as much money on their theme park visit as and American, they are just not that invested. Disney will NEVER make money from this resort.
October 6, 2014 at 3:02 PM · DLP isn't all bad - the potential's there, but it's a bit like the park time forgot compared to places like Florida. Its in a bad state of repair and, if I'm honest, when I've been there's a lot of English speaking visitors who find it strange that a lot of attractions are 50% run in the French language.

Some shows have alternate French and English performances...which seems a tad disproportionate to the number of French and English speaking guests. Others, including Animagique, have an English Donald Duck conversing with a French Mickey Mouse. It sounds strange!

October 6, 2014 at 3:19 PM · I think you're being a little too generous to WDC. Based on the articles I've read, WDC is giving them 420 million euros, but the 600 million euro debt reduction is being paid by flooding the market with more Euro Disney shares. This mean the current stock holders are really paying for the debt reduction by reducing their current ownership percentages.

I really do hope it works out, but it looks a bit like a 10-year band-aid at the moment.

October 7, 2014 at 4:08 AM · The best thing for all DLRP stakeholders is TWDC taking more direct control and finally giving the resort the attention they've been promising was coming once Hong Kong and DCA were dealt with. This is them finally beginning to do that. An outright takeover is still the best way to proceed, but there are a number of hurdles to that so in the meantime this is the next best thing. They need to spend some money restoring Parc Disneyland to its former glory by improving show standards. This should let them do that. Fixing Studios will cost a lot but it's just going to have to be done. They could save some money by increasing its ride numbers with relatively modest themed versions of spinning, pendulum and vertical drop thrill rides which are very popular in Europe. That would make it a more significant park and make the whole resort more appealing to the thrill-seeking European audience.
October 7, 2014 at 6:08 AM · I can't believe what I read about French people and french language which is the fifth spoken language in the world (about 300 millions people). Have you ever been to France once in a lifetime ? Have you ever talk with french people, visited paris, museums, countryside... You are too much into cliché (I can do the same with american but that will deserve my speech). And remelber that France is, since many many years, the most visited country all over the world... And fyi, more than 60% of the Disneyland Paris guests speak french. According to a french law, all the rides must at least be in french.
Regarding DLP, most people, and many from the USA, thinks that it is the best Maginc Kingdom at all.
October 7, 2014 at 4:52 PM · Complaining about French shows at Eurodisney, that must be the sadest thing ive ever read here. Pretty sure one of the biggest problems at Eurodisney still is too much US management that is incapable of the slightest cultural adaption. The least two things they need to learn if they ever want to make any money is how to deal with French staff and German customers.
October 7, 2014 at 5:12 PM · The biggest problem was created by Michael Eisner who decided to build 6 hotels at the opening of the resort.. Not even Disney World started out with that many hotels. Other then that , the park is visited nowadays by 15 million people, I'm one of them, and I'm ready to spend some money but find there is very little interesting merchandise, everything looks alike, only since this month they officially rolled out the Photopass system, the dinner show they run is old and tired (Buffalo Bill's Wild west show) and already running since the opening.. there is little choice of entertainment in Disney Village, the cinema is only in French, dining out is at some moments quite hard since many restaurants close up early.
Still I really love the park, even de Walt Disney studios, ugly as it is, it does have some of the best rides in the resort like Crush's coaster, Cinemagique and Ratatouille is amazing! The new restaurant that came with it finally made me spend some money dining out and not only was the food very nice, the setting is so amazing it is going to make me want more.. If they build on that they can make a profit I think.. but changes are neede, many amazing classic rides are hanging by a thread, Phantom Manor has so many effects not working, quite a few Pirates are missing in POTC, and Star Tours feels like an old timer..
While other parks in Europe do good business and are adding new rides each year, Disneyland Paris is evolving too slow.. Ik hope this will make for the needed changes cause the place deserves to shine again like it did in the 90's when Disneyland Paris was a 3 day destination only because of the many live shows the park had.. Now there is NONE.. No live shows in the original park, only a parade and a night show.. three theaters are sitting empty! come on! Really? I hope they get into it quickly and show Europe the quality of the brand again.
October 8, 2014 at 12:13 AM · It has not been called Euro disney for nearly 20 years. Disneyland Paris is amazing, I have been to all the US based ones and can call that a fact. Calling it Euro shows ignorance and a lack of knowledge by commenters and bloggers alike! Do your homework.
October 8, 2014 at 4:22 AM · EuroDisney had two big mistakes from its conception. First one, location, it should have been built in Spain, they could have a more Florida-like weather and the Spaniards staff are used to deal with customers from every single European country (they have 60 million tourist a year). Europeans visit Spain for sun, beaches and fun, I have always though that Disney would have had an incredible success there (And probably an Euro DisneySea park) Paris is an incredible city but, unfortunately, it has such an horrible weather that, somehow, it could ruin your visit.
Second reason: the hotels, Who was in charge of that decision? It was a completely nonsense¡¡¡
October 8, 2014 at 10:53 AM · Uh, Mr. Anonymous 86.148.248.186: The company that owns and oversees the Disneyland Paris Resort is still called Euro Disney.

So, as someone on this thread said, "Do your homework." :^)

October 9, 2014 at 3:29 PM · To be honest, i just like the name Eurodisney. I would keep using it if the company would also be renamed Disneyland Paris. Theres a fun story somewhere in that about intercultural managment. But its probably not the one Anglo consultants like to tell. Their story is that changing the name to Disneyland Paris from Eurodisney made the park more sucesfull by distancing oneself from a term that could be asociated with the EU which is at times unpopular in France and pretty much always unpopular in the UK. But then, look at what happend to German visits. Also, i seriously doubt the "europe" brand is as bad as alleged in the other source markets. So the appropiate offense i should be accused of if any at all is not lack of knowledge about the subject but trolling anti EU trolls :-).
October 10, 2014 at 9:12 AM · I had been to Disney World 3 times prior to my visit to DLP in 2012, and did not enjoy it. It's like the poor Disney cousin.
There were many shows cancelled and some attractions were being refurbished and this was the beginning of June. I found most of the French visitors to be rude and arrogant, pretty much doing what they want, where they want. A good example is smoking where they feel like such as seating at concession stands, even though the park in non smoking unless in designated area. The cast members just walk on by.
The park seemed messy and untidy. The area between the parks, train station and downtown is not owned by Disney, so you have the looky looky people there trying to sell you cheap crap. It's hard to walk past them without being harassed.
As part of our trip, stayed in one of the Disney hotels and should of had free breakfast. This would be great apart from needing to queue for way over an hour to get it. This was tried at different times from 07:30 to 09:00 over three days.
I have always been confused why France was ever chosen to be the site for a park. It's not the weather and definitely not the loving people (and yes I have been to France several times). They should of chosen here (England) or some where warmer such as Spain

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