While it is frequently mentioned as the most beautiful of the Disney theme parks, Disneyland Paris is also a financial mess. Overbuilt hotels at its launch and some poor planning over the years saddled it with a debt load it has never quite been able to shed. A few years ago, the resort was able to finance some much needed improvements to its second gate and that seemed to help. But the years since 2008, not coincidentally the start of the world recession, have not been as kind with guest numbers off and the park reportedly falling into disrepair.
So, Euro Disney SCA, the company that manages the resort is looking for another financial package that would allow it to make the sort of ‘on-stage’ improvements that would fix up the park and make it all bright and shiny for its next major anniversary. In theory they would also build another major attraction. The last one to open was Tower of Terror in 2008.
As it turns out the resort is also at the point in its history where it needs to make a decision on adding a third gate or not. The original deal with France allows Euro Disney to build a third park by 2017. The theory with adding a third gate is the same as when Walt Disney World added MGM-Studios. It turns a 2-3 day weekend visit into a 3-5 day visit. That spreads out attendance across the week maximizing the hotel occupancy efficiency.
Given a 3-4 year lead time for planning and construction of a new park, Euro Disney (and the Walt Disney Company, who still owns 39% of the Disneyland Resort Paris) will need to round up some additional investors in the next year or two. Those investors will want to see that they first two parks are being well-maintained and attended, so fixing the current investment problem is a must for the future of DLRP.
More on the financial issues over at the Guardian.
If you were running Disneyland Paris Resort, what would you want for the third gate? An EPCOT Center clone, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Clone, A Villain’s thrill park, or something else? Share in the comments.