Guess who's (probably not) coming to Disneyland?
Let's say you're a world leader who wants to call out another world leader. What are you going to do now?
You're going to Disneyland!
Well, that's what French President Francois Hollande did last week. Hollande took the opportunity presented by his visit to Disneyland Paris to celebrate the park's 25th anniversary to take a verbal shot at U.S. President Donald Trump.
Trump had made his own crack at France — specifically Paris — during a speech at a conservative political convention last week, claiming that a friend named Jim had told him that he wouldn't visit the French capital anymore, following the 2015 terror attacks in the city. Hollande fired back, suggesting that he should invite Trump to visit Disneyland Paris so he "understands what France is."
Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo also piled on, posting a photo of her at the Eiffel Tower with Mickey and Minnie Mouse.
Paris long has been the world's most popular tourist destination, but the community and its attractions — including Disneyland Paris — have endured a sharp drop in tourism since the 2015 attacks, though Mayor Hidalgo noted in a subsequent tweet that bookings from American visitors to the city are up 30% so far this year.
It's hard to imagine President Trump taking up President Hollande's presumed invitation, but as some of the world's most famous tourist destinations, the Disney theme parks have ended up in the news with world leaders many times over the years. U.S. Presidents Obama, Bush (Sr.), Reagan, and Carter all visited Disney parks while in office. But those were all for routine, photo-op speeches. The really fun incidents involved foreign leaders who couldn't get into the parks.
Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev famously threw a fit when local police wouldn't let him head down to Disneyland on a trip to California in 1959. And the recently whacked son of former North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, Kim Jong Nam, pretty much lost his chance to succeed his father when he was caught by Japanese customs officials trying to visit Tokyo Disneyland using a fake Dominican passport.
And I've even had my own encounter with a foreign leader while working at Walt Disney World (with a future president of France, no less!), while my sister had her own run-in with a U.S. president at the Magic Kingdom.
So, you'll never know whom you might run into at a Disney theme park. Or... at the gate trying to get in.
Interesting that France did not address the real issue of safety. Many foreign countries are telling their citizens to avoid Paris and France especially with increased crimes against tourists and terrorist-like acts at Nice and The Louvre in Paris. I don't expect Disneyland Paris to be unsafe, but you have to want to come to Paris in the first place. They are putting in a clear bullet proof perimeter around the Eiffel Tower. You never know.
Well, there has been an awfull terrorist attack in Orlando, with 49 people killed. So, you would tell people not to go to Orlando an WDW anymore ? Come on. There are 35000 people dying every year in the United States because of fire arms. It is far more unsafe to go in some cities à the USA that anywher un Paris. I live in Paris and I can tell you that you have far less risk of being killed here than in some places in America (and that will not stop me going to th USA, I am just telling you that it is easy to make fake news like Trump is doing, trying to make Americans believe that if is not allowed to ban muslim from his country, the USA will become as unsafe as Europe)
Sorry, but what is the real issue of safety in France? Even with recent terrorist attacks, France has a far lower rate of violent crime than the US. Whether you are killed by a terrorist or a thug mugging you with a gun, you are still just as dead, so why isn't the US addressing their issue of safety?
Europe has dealt with "terrorism" for as long as I can remember. In the end it's a tiny fraction of people who die a violent death. Don't get me wrong, there are many people working hard behind the scene's to keep that number as low as possible. But no walls, turrets, moat or castle gates will keep the bad people out (as we know from the middle ages) it only gives a false feeling of security.
Interesting that the article notes Paris as holding the destinction as the "world's most popular tourist destination?"
WDW is an individual attraction while Paris is a regional destination. That work?
It's news like this that make people not want to visit Paris. "Twenty-seven Chinese tourists were assaulted on Tuesday by half a dozen men as they boarded a bus that was to take them to Paris’s Charles de Gaulle airport, a French police source said."
Anton, those are isolated incidents, and looking at the bigger picture France is still a much safer place to travel than the US, or many other countries. The perception from these events is that France is unsafe (when the truth is far from), so in order to maintain tourism, France should address this issue. As a matter of public safety though, France's issues are far less than some other countries.
Grant: Those are the stories where the tourists are targeted. They are not isolated incidents for the frequency constitutes a trend (more than three). Of course you'll say France is safe, but this is true if you're not the victim. So fewer tourists from Asia are willing to take the risk. US has higher crime, but if the tourists avoid high crime areas, they'll be safe. What you don't hear about is a bus hijacking at Paris. Your rebuttal doesn't address the actual concerns about tourism crime and terrorism. Plus there's the import of migrants who are camping out on the Paris streets scaring away tourists.
One question Anton M. Have you actually been to Paris or Europe recently?
Well Donald Trump doesn't seem to be one for optics either. Quite frankly, I think Disney is getting the better end of the deal with the reorganizing of ownership of DLP.
David: You can't have it both ways. Is the news exaggerated? Alternative news? Goodness. These reports in the media tell a real story of victimized tourists. Nice to tell them to forget about it. You can have Paris. It's not on my travel itinerary. You should be glad I won't have any bad personal experiences to report. As for America first, I doubt Donald Trump will advocate for Disney in America especially with Disney CEO Iger being hostile towards Trump. Iger avoided a business advisory committee. His ABC network also made anti-Trump political jokes at the Academy Awards while showing how incompetent they are in putting on a show. #FakeOscars
Haven't been to Paris since November 2001. People tole us we were crazy to go then as well. I think it's time to return! Oh and Paris Disneyland is so much better priced than the US Disney parks I bet it will be cheaper than visiting Disneyland.
Robert your borderline talking politics here. I am guessing not all of us reading this agree with your politics.
I don't know why the U.S. can't adopt Europe's immigration policies, after all it's worked so well for them. Pres. Trump is just being mean, it's not like we have religious fanatics in the world that are actively trying to kill Americans, destroy Israel or institute world wide Sharia law. Wouldn't it be great if we could be as sophisticated & cosmopolitan as Europe?
Rubicon, from this side of the Atlantic we see religious fanatics actively trying to kill Americans on a weekly basis. They're usually other Americans.
David Matecki, your point about areas of Paris that even police don't travel into maybe correct, I have never been to Paris. I have been to Orlando three times to visit the parks on our first trip in 2010 with our two boys, first trip we had no children, the battery in my GPS died just after leaving Sea World. We ended up lost in Orlando and came across a couple of police having coffee. I stopped to ask directions and they wrote out directions for me to get back to our condo and explained that we needed to get out of the area as quickly as possible as they were there to provide protection for city workers doing maintenance work. The point is that the city you live in probably has areas that you wouldn't visit in the middle of the night so why should Paris be any different.
I am French and Parisian. Since Jan 2015 overseas friends, professionals and journalists call or email same question: is it safe to come to Paris? My answer has changed from dont be silly do come to only if you must and will be careful. Paris suburbs burn cars every weekend for years. Every major city has pickpockets but Paris has gypsies, Russian gangs and basic hoodlums. My beautiful city has more migrants defecating on the street than the old jokes about dog poop. For 2nd year in row my arrondisement has voted to close our park at dark during daylight savings time instead of open 24 hours.A Muslim taxi driver spit in my face as I asked him to use entrance nearest oncology building and refused to take me. My son in law has forbidden my daughter to walk my gran daughter and their dog until he walks with them after work. Mayor Hidalgo has ruined traffic with her changes and turnrd city into migrant hell hole. Big name boutiques offer customers delivery or plain brown bags so we are not robbed of our purchases on way home. My 2 daughters and I now carry tasers daily. The pollution is awful..thank Hidalgo.Our beautiful wrought iron planters and sections of metro entrances are broken stolen and used by angry illegals to beat each other and police and anyone they want too! Trump spoke truth about Paris and about Sweden. Our media and governments are in denial and not responding to reality. Sad and fearful.
We all know that if you refuse to kiss the gilded comb over of Trump, he will pretty much make anything up to deride you and where you come from. It is why he has called France, Sweden, Germany and virtually every major city in his own country as apparent war zones. If you stroke his fragile ego though, he will do the opposite. Explains why he has basically said Russia, instead of Disneyland, is the Happiest Place on Earth.
I live in Paris and And I assure you that safety is at its maximum.So please come to Paris to judge if in your opinion Paris has changed so much and if it has changed it can only be positively. Best regards.
David Brown: You kill me. I wouldn't want you to come if you believe the USA is unsafe. On the other hand, you hand wave the crimes directed towards tourists at Paris. It's perfectly fine to vacation where you want to. I wouldn't advise traveling to Chicago or Detroit. Avoid some parts of Los Angeles and New York.
I didn't say the USA was unsafe. I said that I take more of a risk visiting it than I do visiting Paris.
Anton, you're ranting now. If you understand the point most people are making is that not travelling to Paris based on this newspaper report (which as newspapers generally do, is reporting facts) is absurd. It is objectively a much safer place to travel than the US - where most people have no fear of travelling.
grant: Goodness. You said I'm ranting, but your rebuttal makes no attempt to filter through the newspaper reports and decide whether they are reasonable or wrong. You cite statistics compared with the US. That's all fine, but this tells you nothing about whether a tourist should take a risk for vacation.
Here's a good article. The comments below are even better. The link is at the bottom.
Seems a good place to put this Guardian article - no-one (apart from Russia) wants to visit Trump's America:
Maybe so, but it's going to be the Greatest US Tourism Slump!
I'd rather visit Trump's America over Merkel's Germany or Hollande's France. Let me know how those refugees turn out. Oh wait...
We have refugees here in my UK town. They're not a problem. My last trip to France was perfectly fine (honestly, in France it's the French who are rudest).
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