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Disneyland Resort Paris


History

The idea to build a European version of Anaheim’s Disneyland was muted around 1975. Spain, Italy and the U K were all considered but eventually sugar beet fields to the east of Paris, France would become home to the new park. The area chosen was Marne-la-Vallee, partly because of its close proximity to Paris, and also it's central positioning within western Europe, a factor that was thought to be crucial to the park's future success if it was to attract sufficient visitors. The proposed location put the park within 4-hours drive for around 68 million people, and 2 hours flight for a further 300 million or so.


Park Map

In 1985, contracts were singed by the French Government and Michael Eisner, the then CEO of Disney. The park was to be known as Euro Disney. Robert Fitzpatrick was appointed as President to oversee the construction on a 2,000 hectare site beginning in August 1988. A casting centre was opened in 1991 to aid the recruitment of cast members and the park eventually opened on April 12th, 1992.


By August 1992, estimates of annual attendance figures were being drastically cut from 11 million to just over 9 million. EuroDisney's misfortunes were further compounded in late 1992 when a European recession caused property prices to drop sharply, and the massive interest payments on the startup loans taken out by EuroDisney forced the company into serious financial difficulties. The situation was worsened by the fact that the cheap dollar was persuading more and more people to forego Europe in favour of holidays in Florida at Walt Disney World. EuroDisney was also over-populated with hotels, especially for a park that can be reasonably well explored within a full day. Coupled with high prices for food and souvenirs, the EuroDisney company started to close hotels during the winter months.


A brave face was put on the first anniversary of the park's opening, and Sleeping Beauty's Castle was decorated as a giant birthday cake to celebrate the occasion, however further problems were just around the corner. In summer 1993 the new Indiana Jones roller-coaster ride opened, but disaster struck just a few weeks after opening when the emergency brakes locked on during a ride, causing some guest injuries. As a result the ride was temporarily shut down for investigations.

By the start of 1994, with the company in serious financial difficulties, and rumours circulating the the park was on the verge of bankrupcy a series of emergency crisis talks were held between the banks and backers.


Everything came to a head during March 1994 when Team Disney offered the banks an ultimatum, that Disney would provide sufficient capital investment for the park to continue to operate until the end of the month, but unless the banks agreed to restructure the $1bn debt that the park's construction and operation had run up, the Walt Disney company would close the park, and walk away from the whole European venture, leaving the banks with a bankrupt theme park and a massive expanse of virtually worthless real estate.


Finally on March 14th, just before the annual meeting the banks capitulated, and agreed to Disney's demands, effectively writing off virtually all of the next two years worth of interest payments, and a three year postponement of further loan repayments. In return the Walt Disney Company wrote off $210m in unpaid bills for services, and paid $540m for a 49% stake in the estimated value of the park, as well as restructuring its own loan arrangements for the $210m worth of rides at the new park.


In 1994 the tide started to turn, prices were reduced, food was cheaper and special stay offers were made at the hotels. The park has gone from strength to strength and a second park – Walt Disney Studios was added in Mach 2002. It is the smallest of all Disney parks and has been heavily criticised by fans because of its lack of details. The park is supposedly themed around a working film studio, with the "lands" being studio lots. Most of its attractions are imported from the other Disney parks in California, Florida and Tokyo, yet the park has some original attractions, such as Moteurs... Action! Stunt Show Spectacular which was later exported to Disney's Hollywood Studios at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.


In December, 2007, the newly built Tower of Terror opened its doors at the Studios and together with Crush’s Coaster and the new Cars ride should make this park more appealing.



Rides / Attractions / Parades:


DISNEYLAND PARK:

Main Street USA

  • Street cars, horse drawn trams, shops.
  • Discovery Arcade – see models of great 20th Century inventions.
  • Disneyland Railroad.

  • Frontierland

  • Big Thunder Mountain – a runaway train careers around the Big Thunder Mesa. In this version the train ploughs down deep beneath the river to get to the mountain!
  • Phantom Manor – a whole new spin on the Haunted Mansion.
  • Thunder Mesa Riverboat landing – the Molly Brown and Mark twain riverboats sail the river.
  • Pocahontas Indian Village.
  • Rustler Roundup Shootin’ Gallery.

  • Adventureland

  • Indiana Jones and the Temple of Peril – runaway wagons whirl through the temple ruins
  • Pirates of the Caribbean – Jack Sparrow hasn’t yet put in an appearance on this atmospheric ride!

  • Discoveryland

  • Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast – take off in your star cruiser to save the Universe from the evil Emperor Zurg.
  • Space Mountain – Mission 2 - Buckle up as a giant cannon fires you into space.
  • Star Tours – take a trip to the Moon of Endor and the Empire’s Death Star.
  • Honey I shrunk the audience – You’ll be “reduced” to laughter with Professor Zalinski’s incredible shrinking machine.
  • Les Mysteres du Nautilus – a walk through of the famous submarine
  • Autopia – car rally

  • Fantasyland

  • It’s a small world – the famous boat ride through all the nationalities of the world
  • Peter Pan’s Flight – fly through a nursery, over London and on to Neverland.
  • Alice’s Curious Labyrinth – a maze with all the characters of the Alice film. Watch our for the Queen of Hearts!
  • Mad hatter’s Tea Cups – a whirling ride in a teacup.
  • Dumbo the flying elephant – hold on to that magic feather as you sore above Fantasyland.
  • Les Voyages du Pinocchio – a “whale” of an adventure through the famous story.
  • Sleeping Beauty castle – Le chateau de la bell au bois dormant” – beautiful fairytale castle at the centre of the park. Don’t miss the story of Sleeping beauty told in tapestries and stain glass on the interior balcony or the smoke breathing dragon that lives in the cavern below the castle!

  • During summer 2010 - the theme is the New Generation Festival where there is emphasis on new characters like Princess Tiana, the Pixar gang etc.


    Parades (depending on season):

  • Daytime – Once Upon a Dream
  • Evening - Fantillusion

  • Fireworks: Because of local restrictions (and objections of the nearby village) firework shows are severely restricted and will only take place on special occassions. DLRP tends to use low level pyrotechnics.


    WALT DISNEY STUDIOS:

    Front Lot - Great Place to meet characters and get your picture taken


    Production Courtyard

  • Twilight Tower of Tower – on Hollywood Boulevard - drop 13 floors in this “ghostly” hotel.
  • Cinemagique – are you ready for your “close up”?
  • Studio Tram Tour – visit Catastrophe Canyon as you go behind the magic.
  • Walt Disney Television Studios.

  • Backlot
  • Armageddon Special Effects – Go aboard a space station as it gets bombarded by meteors.
  • Moteurs! Action! Stunt show - cars, motorbikes and loads of action.
  • Rock n’ Roller Coaster with Aerosmith – an adrenaline charged ride.

  • Toon Studio -

  • Flying carpets of Agrabah – Join Aladdin on a flying trip.
  • Crush’s Coaster – A whirlpool ride on a turtle’s back.
  • Cars Race Rally - enter the little town of Radiator Springs - then take a ride.
  • Toy Story Playland - oipens late August 2010

  • Parades: Stars and their Motor Cars.




    DISNEY VILLAGE:

    Paris version of Downtown Disney. Dine at great restaurants such as Planet Hollywood, Rainforest Cafe or King Ludwig's castle. Meet and eat with characters at Chef Mickey's. Shop in the stores or go to a rodeo evening at Bufallo Bill's Wild West Show. Go aloft in the Panoramagique balloon and see Paris 25 miles away! Dance the night away at Billy Bob's Country Western Saloon or just enjoy a burger at McDonalds.

    Not far from the parks is the Val D'Europe International shopping centre and Sea Life centre. Buses run here from the parks.


    For more information:

    http://www.disneylandparis.co.uk/index.xhtml