16 Nov: When Space Mountain Saved EuroDisney

Rerun. Disneyland Paris, now Europe’s most popular theme park, initially haemorrhaged money – at a rate of around $1 million per day. But, after three hard years, it returned its first annual profit on 16th November, 1995. 

This change in the park’s fortunes can be attributed to the popularity of two trains: the opening of the Eurostar direct line from London, and the building of the world’s most expensive roller coaster, Space Mountain, which first launched from Discoveryland on 1st June.

In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly unpick how the Disney Corporation consistently underestimated the French traditions of wine with lunch, surly customer service and a unionised workforce; reveal how Spain and Britain had competed for the opportunity to be considered as alternative sites for the park’s development; and recall the French antipathy for Americana that led to one critic to label the attraction ‘a cultural Chernobyl’… 

Further Reading:

• ‘INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS; Euro Disney Reports Profit for ’95, but the Future Remains Cloudy’ (The New York Times, 1995): https://www.nytimes.com/1995/11/16/business/international-business-euro-disney-reports-profit-for-95-but-future-remains.html

• ‘Why Was Euro Disney Considered a Failure?’ (The First Drop, 2021): https://thefirstdrop.net/disneyland-paris-resort/why-was-euro-disney-considered-a-failure/

• ‘Your destination: outer space. Your speed: astronomical.’ (Space Mountain advert, 1995):

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