The Disney Theme Park in Europe: Pros and Cons

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Pros and Cons of a Theme Park in Europe

Pros of building a theme park in Europe include the fact that the company would be tapping into a new market. The new theme park in Europe would enable the company to offer its services to the broader European population at their convenience. This was projected to result in greater profits for the company, ensuring its overall growth. A new theme park was also poised to create employment for many people, providing a better quality of life. The host country was also poised to benefit as the taxes the company remitted would significantly contribute to its income (Loveman & Schlesinger, 1992). Additionally, the foreign exchange would also be enhanced as the company was America based. Europeans who would travel to America for the experience would save massive amounts of money that would have been used for travel.

Some of the cons of building a theme park in Europe include the possible withdrawal of thousands of travelers to America. This would rob the country of its income and foreign exchange that resulted from Europeans traveling there for the experience. The theme park in Europe was a massive gamble for the company, and given the resistance it was anticipated to receive and the reality that losses could occur. The company invested enormous capital in the theme park that was not guaranteed to make satisfactory returns. Building a new theme park in Europe was also poised to make the company change its original ideals to accommodate European culture. This was meant to deter the company’s identity, making it flexible to different clients and cultures.

Was it Wise to Build a New Park in Paris?

Building a new park in Paris was a wise decision for the company given all the considered factors. The central location of Paris was a major favorable factor given its position in European geography. It was easily accessible for all European countries within the shortest time, and customers would travel for a short while from across Europe. The site for construction also made Paris an attractive prospect. The proposed site was at the outskirts of the city, which guaranteed the park of a large number of customers from the city’s residents. Paris was one of the most popular tourist and holiday destinations for many people in Europe. This, coupled with the city’s large population, guaranteed to provide an immense number of customers for the park. Additionally, Europeans’ target market took longer holidays than their American counterparts, ensuring better business.

The French government had made commitments to the company to smoothen its entry into France and general operations. Favorable tax incentives were offered to the company guaranteeing easy operations and greater profitability. Additionally, infrastructural developments such as transport and accessibility features were availed, easing the startup process for the company. The first few months to the park may have been underwhelming, but there were adequate reasons for this. The company initially projected attendance of 11 million people, but there were only 1.5 million people during the first seven weeks. Employee strikes and immense security threats marred the opening day. This was unfortunate and put the company in jeopardy. The initial challenges encountered by the company can be overcome through meticulous planning and careful adjustments to the company’s policies and operations to ensure success.

Euro Disney Target Market and Implications for the Development and Organization of the Park

Euro Disney’s target market was mainly the people who reside in Europe, including France, Germany, England, and Spain. This target market presents different groups with diverse languages, cultures, and beliefs. Disney is an American-based company, and its culture and values are those of the American people. The company would be obliged to make massive adjustments to its operations if it was to become a success in Europe. There was the dilemma of the language that would be used at Euro Disney. There were many languages spoken across Europe, and this was a significant challenge. The Disney franchise was based on American culture as the characters who made the parks alive in America were American fiction characters. The issue of cultural appropriation would arise and impend the operations within the park.

Europe is a vast continent with diverse cultures, and it wasn’t easy to decide what would represent the broader continent. The issue of food, drinks such as wine, and employees was also poised to create a challenge for the management. France, for instance, was known for its wine heritage, and the people were colossal wine consumers. Disney in America only allowed the consumption of alcoholic drinks under strict supervision and in restricted areas. This was meant to provide a challenge for the company as the people of France prided themselves in their ungovernable wine consumption. The dilemma of how representative of the broader European population the labor force would also be promised to make operations difficult. Whether representatives in the workforce would be sought from every country and how feasible such a plan was remained to be seen. Eventually, the company hired 70% of its employees from France, an underwhelming outcome from earlier estimates and schedules. Resistance from groups that felt America was imposing its culture on the French people was also a concern as they gave the company bad publicity.

Aspects of Traditional Disney Theme Park Transferable to Euro Disney, and Ones Specific to the US

The basic model of the traditional Disney parks that consisted of theme parks, hotel and conference facilities, retail complexes, and other recreational properties were transferable everywhere. This was the identity of Disney and would be the heart of operations everywhere the company decided to set up shop. The company’s core was its ability to sell fantasy and myths, making it a lovely venture. This attracted people to its many destinations across the world and was transferable to all its outlets. As long as the company kept offering creative imagination as its main product, it was poised to become a success. Disney’s service delivery model was also attractive and would be applicable in all its parks. The appropriation of its employees as casts rather than mere facilitators gave life to the parks and made them very attractive to customers.

Some stories that the fictional characters in Disney told could only be specific to the countries they were produced in. Despite Disney being an American-based company and its initial content appropriate for the American people, its expansion meant that this would have to be amended. Stories from its various outlets would have to be sought so that the customers in those areas, whether Europe or Japan, could feel a connection. Issues of restrictions on food and drinks would have to be specific for the country they set up shop in. This entails regulations on the types of food sold within the parks and the restrictions on eating time and place. This would ensure convenience for all its customers and, therefore, greater profitability.

Euro Disney Service Delivery System and Possible Amendments

The Euro Disney service delivery system was made up of more than 1000 employees regarded as casts. This implies that they were not mere facilitators within the facility but also acted as part of the experience, bringing the Disney franchise to life. These employees were 70% French, which presented a failure in the recruitment process that targeted 45% French cast. Additionally, 270 managers were cross-trained for the facility while an additional 200 managers were imported from the other parks to work at Euro Disney. The staff at Euro Disney were required to dress and behave in a particular manner that ensured they fulfilled their role of being cast. The company required the employees to be receptive and friendly to the customers at all times. This would ensure that the customers from across Europe and other parts of the world felt welcome and appreciated at the facility.

The service system at Disney was meticulously planned but did not factor in the potential needs of the employees in terms of culture, beliefs, and fantasy views. Unlike the American employees who felt part of the Disney franchise back home related to the culture, the French employees had minimal connection to the franchise. The ability of French employees to be cast, therefore, boiled down to merely playing the role that they had no belief in as a means of meeting employer requirements. The company could have amended this by ensuring the employees were well accustomed to the Disney characters. Additionally, the failure of the workforce to be representative of all the visitors to the park was a concern. The company should have directly got employees from all the anticipated countries.

Next Step of Development

Euro Disney should continue with the next stage of development. The second phase would help remedy some of the challenges that had marred the first phase of operations. The second phase would be crucial in increasing marketability for the park as it would offer new attractions. Failure to develop the second phase would also paint Euro Disney as a failure in the public domain, discouraging the visitors already thrilled by the first phase. Failing to create the second phase on account of an underperforming first phase was also the wrong business decision as the project would be incomplete. The company would never know how Euro Disney would have performed in general. Despite the first phase being underwhelming, there were clear signs that it could improve, with the attendance of 30,000 people per day being promising.

Lessons Learned

Weather is a crucial factor that cannot be overlooked in the development of a theme park. Euro Disney may have had plans to ensure weather changes outside the park do not affect operations inside, but people outside were still affected. Additionally, the right mix of cultures within a host country is essential. While American culture is attractive and influential, critics within a host country can hamper operations. The company must learn to establish the right blend of American and European cultures to ensure that the people do not feel radicalized. The easiest way to get the parks fully functional is to make the hosts feel involved and part of the process. Preparation of staff is another crucial lesson learned by Euro Disney as many of their employees resigned. Aligning company policy with personal beliefs is vital hence the need for better preparation.


The model of the park should be adjusted to ensure that its intention to create an American establishment in Europe is married to the need for European content. This can be done during the marketing process by creating original French content and selling it to the people. Since other European countries are also targeted, the company can make at least one original film from each of these countries and market it. In addition to marketing the original story for each country, the company can create specially themed areas. These areas can highlight the creative imagination of each country, boosting originality. The staff within those themed areas should also belong to those countries to increase relevance.

The employment process should include special incentives for the employees in France as there are incentives for American employees. The company should ensure that the model of these incentives is in line with French beliefs and customs. The timing of these incentives should also coincide with French weather and timings to ensure that these employees enjoy them to the maximum. I would recommend that the interview process for the employees include a process that involves selecting those who are Disney enthusiasts first. This would ensure that an interested and involved staff was in place at the facility. This can involve creating an assessment of all potential employees to gauge their interest in Disney films and culture in general. The company could benefit from hiring supervisors and managers with European work experience. This would ensure that the company’s top brass is well accustomed to the European work experience and minimize the occurrence of avoidable challenges.


Loveman, G. W., & Schlesinger, L. A. (1992). Euro Disney: The First 100 Days. Harvard Business School, Case 693-013, 1–23.

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