Disneyland Paris, originally Euro Disney Resort, is an entertainment resort in Marne-la-Vallée, a new town located 32 km (20 mi) east of the centre of Paris, and is the most visited theme park in all of France and Europe. It is owned and operated by Euro Disney S.C.A., a publicly traded company in which The Walt Disney Company owns a minority stake. The resort covers 4,800 acres (19 km2) and encompasses two theme parks, several resort hotels, a shopping, dining, and entertainment complex, and a golf course, in addition to several additional recreational and entertainment venues. Disneyland Park is the original theme park of the complex, opening with the resort on 12 April 1992. A second theme park, Walt Disney Studios Park opened in 2002. The park is the second busiest Disney park by number of visitors with 15.6 million visitors in 2013 placing it in between Disneyland Anaheim in California, USA, and Walt Disney World in Florida, USA.
The resort is the second Disney park to open outside the United States, following Tokyo Disney Resort, and the first to be owned and operated by Disney (through Euro Disney S.C.A.). The resort was designed specifically to follow the model established by Walt Disney World in Florida.
Euro Disney opened for employee preview and testing in March 1992. During this time visitors were mostly the parks employees and their family members to test facilities and operations. The press were able to visit the day before the park’s opening day on 12 April.
On 12 April 1992, Euro Disney Resort and its theme park, Euro Disneyland, officially opened. Visitors were warned of chaos on the roads and a government survey indicated that half a million people carried by 90,000 cars might attempt to enter the complex. French radio warned traffic to avoid the area. By midday, the car park was approximately half full, suggesting an attendance level below 25,000. Speculative explanations ranged from people heeding the advice to stay away to the one-day strike that cut the direct RER railway connection to Euro Disney from the centre of Paris. Due to the European recession that August, the park faced financial difficulties as there were a lack of things to do and an overabundance of hotels, leading to underperformance.
A new Indiana Jones roller-coaster ride was opened at Euro Disney in the summer the next year, 1993. However, a few weeks after the ride opened there were problems with the emergency brakes which resulted in guest injuries and as the ride was shut down for a short time so that safety investigations could be conducted.
In 1994 the company was still having financial difficulties. There were rumours that Euro Disney was getting close to having to declare bankruptcy. The banks and the backers had meetings to work out some of the problems involving the financial problems facing Euro Disney. It was in March 1994 that Team Disney went into negotiations with the banks so that they could get some help for their debt. As a last resort, the Walt Disney Company threatened to close the Disneyland Paris park, leaving the banks with the land.
Appears on these pages
The Disneyland Resort Paris 15th Anniversary Celebration was a year-long celebration event at...