Disney Magic Not Working So Well in Europe

From The Guardian, a report that Disneyland Paris — once called “Euro Disney” — is in financial trouble.

le château de Disneyland Paris
(“le château de Disneyland Paris,” by Louis Engival, on Flickr under Creative Commons.)

From the article, Disneyland Paris forced to ask for €1bn emergency rescue,

The theme park, which was dubbed a “cultural Chernobyl” when it opened 22 years ago, is haemorrhaging visitors. It drew in 14.1 million over the past 12 months, a drop of 800,000 on the previous year and 1.5 million lower than 2012…. But experts believe that to start making money it needs to draw in at least 15 million people a year. The park last turned a profit in 2008 and expects to lose €110m to €120m this year.

So, as a result, the Walt Disney company, which owns 40% of the Paris attraction, is stepping in for “its third multimillion-euro bailout of its French offspring,” to the tune of a billion euros (at today’s exchange rate, $1.27B, some in cash and some converting debt into shares) and ten years of “breathing space” on the remainder of its €1.75B ($2.21B) debt.

It surprised me to learn that, “While visitor numbers are down, the park still pulls in more people than the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower combined, making it Europe’s biggest tourist attraction.” I never even considered going to Disneyland Paris when Jill and I were in Europe for the World Science Fiction Convention this past August — not that our entry fee would have made a dent in that amount of debt!

I’m not sure that there’s any big lesson in all this — you can take it as a cautionary tale; as an example that just because something works in one place it’s not guaranteed to work somewhere else; or as encouragement that even highly successful companies don’t always succeed when they pursue new ventures — but it was interesting to me.

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Clear Skies in Utah, But No Meteors

At least, none that I saw this morning as I walked and jogged near the hotel area. C’est la vie.

After a day of travel that was 4 hours longer than it should’ve been — one flight cancelled, missed the shuttle bus and had to wait for the next one — I arrived here late last night for Dave Wolverton’s writing workshop. Hopefully I got enough sleep that I’ll be able to pay attention. (Wish me luck.)

P.S. It occurs to me that posting this is something of an OPSEC violation. If I thought anyone cared, I might desist.

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Spring Daze Travels

Today is Cary’s annual “Spring Daze” arts & crafts festival at Bond Lake Park, so in a little while I’ll walk over there to serve my 2-hour shift in the cultural arts booth. So far as it will involve pretending to know what I’m talking about, it won’t be too different from what I do 99% of the time … just this time it’ll be with respect to public art plans and projects.

In other news, I have a couple of days of traveling coming up so I may not post as frequently as I have been. For the two or three people who actually read this thing, that will probably come as something of a relief ;).

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