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  1. #1

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    Question Why didn't Disney build their European parks in the UK?

    There's no doubt that the British love visiting WDW and Orlando. On a recent trip up there, there were British tourists everywhere. Knowing that the British like Disney and frequent the U.S. parks, why didn't they build EuroDisney in the UK ? Why in the world did they choose France, where they abhor American culture? Didn't they see this disaster coming? It's only now that Disneyland Paris is starting to become successful.

    Was the UK even considered? I know in the end it was up to Spain (Barcelona?) and Paris.

    [EDIT: Also, surprisingly even after the name to Disneyland Pairs...EVERYBODY still calls it Euro Disney. Why why why?]
    Last edited by WDWizard; 09-04-2008 at 02:24 PM.

  2. #2

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    Re: Why didn't Disney build their European parks in the UK?

    The French goverment in Paris offered the best package deal to Disney in the end.. and they helped pay for the infrastructure required to serve the park.. like the RER trains and stuff. Plus Paris was a more conveniently located spot in regards to being accessible to the rest of Europe. Personally, I am glad it is there and not in London...especially with the currency exchange from pounds to dollars being as bad as it is today.. which I suspect is the reason why many brits come to the USA as opposed to France, since the USA is a major bargain for them.

    That is all I know.

    Now in regards to the Disneyland Paris versus EuroDisney... well.. the parent company in charge of the resort is still called EuroDisney SCA I believe. I somewhat still prefer that name as well, but I guess they wanted to pay tribute to the locals and renamed the resort "Disneyland Resort Paris." The park is officially called "Parc Disneyland" and that is how it appears in most printed material. The "Disneyland Paris" name is (as far as I know..) not correct anymore.

  3. #3

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    Re: Why didn't Disney build their European parks in the UK?

    Quote Originally Posted by WDWizard View Post
    There's no doubt that the British love visiting WDW and Orlando. On a recent trip up there, there were British tourists everywhere. Knowing that the British like Disney and frequent the U.S. parks, why didn't they build EuroDisney in the UK ? Why in the world did they choose France, where they abhor American culture? Didn't they see this disaster coming? It's only now that Disneyland Paris is starting to become successful.

    Was the UK even considered? I know in the end it was up to Spain (Barcelona?) and Paris.

    [EDIT: Also, surprisingly even after the name to Disneyland Pairs...EVERYBODY still calls it Euro Disney. Why why why?]
    Is DLP a 'disaster'? Is it just 'starting to become successful'? I don't think so on either score.

    As for its geographical position, I think they just about got it right. The UK is too wet and windy for a Disney theme park (unless it was built indoors of course) and I speak as someone who lives in the UK too. Yes I have had problems with some of the French CMs and their national attitude, but I doubt it would have been any better in Spain where its too darn hot anyway. No, Paris is a good choice for both its climate and its cental position within Europe. It also allows for a quick visit to one of the most beautiful cities in the world while you are there.

    EuroDisney is indeed still commonly used to refer to Disneyland Resort Paris. EuroDisney is still the company name although no longer the name of the actual resort. However, just as many people (if not more) will refer to WDW as 'Disneyland' and say that Disneyland is in Florida. It's just simple ignorance - just like when some people refer to any cartoon character or piece of animation as 'Disney'.
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  4. #4

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    Re: Why didn't Disney build their European parks in the UK?

    Well, abhorred. France has really changed a lot since the late '80s — I was researching newspaper articles from those days for the Disneyland Paris Wikipedia article (what a fruitless undertaking that was by the way) and was shocked to find how much of a cultural island it still was. The sheltered, xenophobic manner in which renowned French writers addressed American culture sounded like it belonged in an 1897 book called "Les Habitudes Dégoûtantes des Américains" or similar. You know, one of those bestseller books by Europeans who had come back from a trip through the United States to tell their fellow countrymen about American table manners (the lack thereof) and the way they'd mangled the English language in just 100 years of independence. It was also before things like the Internet, which would make the world a lot less intimidating. If all you have to go by are the weekly ramblings of a semi-sane philosopher with a newspaper column who writes things like, "it is a horror made of cardboard, plastic and appalling colors, a construction of hardened chewing gum and idiotic folklore taken straight out of comic books written for obese Americans..." Then you'd know about as much about America as a ten-year-old would know about sex from another ten-year-old.

    The country was obviously still trying to fend off such horrors as McDonald's and caffe lattes in bucket-sized paper cups, and I imagine they had managed relatively well up until that point. So one can imagine the anxiety that arose when Euro Disney came waltzing in — and remember that their plans for the resort were much more ambitious than they have been ever since, and that they were a lot less culturally sensitive as well.

    I don't know for sure, obviously, but I have a feeling that even the British would have been a little nervous at that prospect.
    Last edited by pussnboots; 09-04-2008 at 03:29 PM.

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    Re: Why didn't Disney build their European parks in the UK?

    I have always thought that a park in England would have been a much better idea. Certainly the French attitude to American culture played an important part in the resort's initial failure, as did Disney's ignorance of, and troubles with, the socialist nature of the French workforce. Plus, all the extra trouble with multiple languages, would not be an issue in the UK. Yes the weather in the UK isn't great, and the location is not as central as that in Paris. But I too have seen the masses of UK tourists in Orlando...I believe that if the resort had been in the UK, it would not have had its initial failure, and the ripple effect of cheap theme parks and attractions across the Disney universe (most notriously, the second gate at DLP itself) might have been averted.
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    Re: Why didn't Disney build their European parks in the UK?

    Quote Originally Posted by tasman View Post
    I have always thought that a park in England would have been a much better idea. Certainly the French attitude to American culture played an important part in the resort's initial failure, as did Disney's ignorance of, and troubles with, the socialist nature of the French workforce. Plus, all the extra trouble with multiple languages, would not be an issue in the UK. Yes the weather in the UK isn't great, and the location is not as central as that in Paris. But I too have seen the masses of UK tourists in Orlando...I believe that if the resort had been in the UK, it would not have had its initial failure, and the ripple effect of cheap theme parks and attractions across the Disney universe (most notriously, the second gate at DLP itself) might have been averted.
    That would have happened eventually anyway, perhaps to a lesser degree, but it would have happened. What goes up must come down. Besides, what happened to Disneyland in the 1990s seems to have little to do with Disneyland Paris.

    I would also like to point out that France is the world's #1 tourist destination. Paris is on a lot of people's itineraries. And it's not like it's so hard to get to for the British, especially since a certain tunnel opened, so there is no reason to believe they would have stopped going to Walt Disney World even if there had been a London Disneyland.

    Honestly, we don't know what would have happened if they'd put the park in England or Spain. It could have been even more dramatic — the amount of money they threw at Euro Disney almost made a failure of some kind inevitable anyway.

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    Re: Why didn't Disney build their European parks in the UK?

    Quote Originally Posted by pussnboots View Post
    the amount of money they threw at Euro Disney almost made a failure of some kind inevitable anyway.
    I don't agree that the amount invested was the problem. Disney invested, in today's dollars, a fairly vast sum on WDW by opening day...and it paid off big time. Disney was of course at fault, in regards to DLP, by building too many hotels, but there were problems beyond their control, that were somewhat particular to France. You may be aware of these but for those that aren't the wikipedia article below is a good primer...in particular the section on "controversies" and "financial, employment, and attendance problems."

    Disneyland Resort Paris - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    The article doesn't cover everything, such as the local protests that led to the muting of the fireworks, etc. Anyway, no use crying over spilt milk, and I am glad that the future of the resort seems bright at last. My own trip to DLP is still far in the future...I'll wait till WDS is a worthy second gate...a trip to Tokyo is first in line.
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    Re: Why didn't Disney build their European parks in the UK?

    Quote Originally Posted by tasman View Post
    I don't agree that the amount invested was the problem. Disney invested, in today's dollars, a fairly vast sum on WDW by opening day...and it paid off big time. Disney was of course at fault, in regards to DLP, by building too many hotels, but there were problems beyond their control, that were somewhat particular to France. You may be aware of these but for those that aren't the wikipedia article below is a good primer...in particular the section on "controversies" and "financial, employment, and attendance problems."

    Disneyland Resort Paris - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    The article doesn't cover everything, such as the local protests that led to the muting of the fireworks, etc. Anyway, no use crying over spilt milk, and I am glad that the future of the resort seems bright at last. My own trip to DLP is still far in the future...I'll wait till WDS is a worthy second gate...a trip to Tokyo is first in line.
    (I wrote that article, as I mentioned earlier. Those things are supposed to be communal undertakings, but no one else is biting. So let me be the one to tell you that it's highly inaccurate, haha. So please, feel free to chip in.)

    Well, indeed, Walt Disney World paid off. So did Tokyo. I suppose they got overconfident with Euro Disney because of those two. Although surely Euro Disneyland was far more ambitious/expensive than the Magic Kingdom?
    Last edited by pussnboots; 09-04-2008 at 06:02 PM.

  9. #9

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    Re: Why didn't Disney build their European parks in the UK?

    Quote Originally Posted by pussnboots View Post
    (I wrote that article, as I mentioned in the other thread. Those things are supposed to be communal undertakings, but no one else is biting. So let me be the one to tell you that it's highly inaccurate, haha.)
    Sorry, don't quite understand what you're saying there. You wrote it and it's innacurate?

    Well, indeed, Walt Disney World paid off. So did Tokyo. I suppose they got overconfident with Euro Disney because of those two. Although surely Euro Disneyland was far more ambitious/expensive than the Magic Kingdom?
    Maybe Euro-Disney was more expensive, I don't know what the inflation adjusted numbers are, but WDW in 1971 wasn't just the MK, it was hotels, a monorail line, 28000 acres, and other stuff. And MK was a pretty loaded park when it opened (though certainly not as loaded as DLP). I didn't mention Tokyo because Oriental Land Company not Disney made the financial investment, unless I'm mistaken.
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    Re: Why didn't Disney build their European parks in the UK?

    Quote Originally Posted by tasman View Post
    Sorry, don't quite understand what you're saying there. You wrote it and it's innacurate?
    I know, it seems impossible, doesn't it.

    Maybe Euro-Disney was more expensive, I don't know what the inflation adjusted numbers are, but WDW in 1971 wasn't just the MK, it was hotels, a monorail line, 28000 acres, and other stuff. And MK was a pretty loaded park when it opened (though certainly not as loaded as DLP). I didn't mention Tokyo because Oriental Land Company not Disney made the financial investment, unless I'm mistaken.
    I think you're right about Tokyo. And Walt Disney World; I suppose they lucked out. It must have been quite a gamble for the company back then, which of course wasn't nearly as big as it is today.

    But whether Disney paid for Tokyo Disneyland or not, its success must have given them them the confidence to build the very expensive Euro Disney despite the ominous skies (the protests were there long before 1992.)

  11. #11

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    Re: Why didn't Disney build their European parks in the UK?

    OLC undertook the expense of building TDL...and Disney had no idea how this would play out, reason why OLC was given the keys to operate that kingdom, with some small percentages going to Disney. BIG MISTAKE. Based on the huge popularity of TDL, Disney was hoping to duplicate that in Paris.. They built with over confidence.. too many hotels and other recreation.. then bang! Disney was not counting on the european recession that occured at the time EuroDisney opened. Plus, the word of mouth about the "Disney ways" and how extremely expensive it was to visit EuroDisney.. pretty much sank the ship out of the gate. It has taken all this years for that park to find it's way and I think it's beginning to pay off handsomely. I think HKDL will follow a similar path as it grows..

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    Re: Why didn't Disney build their European parks in the UK?

    I was just going to mention HKDL which seems to be getting the same criticisms that DLP got 10 or so years ago. What goes around comes around.
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  13. #13

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    Re: Why didn't Disney build their European parks in the UK?

    Paris was the perfect location - central to a huge population (England has much less space and smaller population).

    The infrastructure, the location, the tax breaks, all made Paris the logical choice. The NIMBYs can be even worse in the UK (Port Adventura was original positioned for Bedfordshire but the locals fought it off).

    As much as I would have loved it in my back yard, the Paris location makes the most sense.
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  14. #14

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    Re: Why didn't Disney build their European parks in the UK?

    As I live in between England and France having it in either makes no difference and both are only a short plane trip away. Clearly Paris is a much easier destination to get to for many Europeans, while England would cause more difficulty. For someone living in England, Paris is only a short journey away by plane, train or ferry. Personally due to reasons involving the English culture, I'm very happy it didn't get built in England.

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    Re: Why didn't Disney build their European parks in the UK?

    Futurewise DLP is at best location because it is not so dependent of high oil prices. It is located in the crossing of fast electric railway system and that means few hours by train from Brussels, London, Marseille and soon Frankfurt. And of course it has a good train connection to Paris city. Paris has better weather than most central European countries, but still it is not that good because of 180 cold rainy days per year.

    If built elsewhere I'd have recommed the vicinity of Marseille. Nice weather throughout the year, lots of tourists around French Riviera and the population of the city. TGV to Paris and fast connection to Italy. But...
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