Update: the other shoe dropped for Disneyland Paris, the good news? It was a glass slipper from TWDC: http://bit.ly/1xVukOG
What is going on at Disneyland Paris? It’s the most popular theme park in Europe in terms of attendance, but it continually struggles with profitability. This year has been particularly rough. It lost its president Phillipe Gas to Shanghai Disneyland, has been in the news for the shoddy condition of many of its attractions, and is down over a million visitors from the previous year. There is no way to put a silver lining on it. The situation is not good.
On the other hand, the park’s second gate recently opened a Ratatouille attraction that has breathed some life into that park, there are rumors of a major Star Wars addition being planned, and it’s having a Halloween Festival that is getting good reviews. All signs that the park is on the right track.
So which is it? Unfortunately, it appears that the storm clouds are gathering for the park. It will be holding a special meeting with the workers’ council on Monday to discus the park’s cash crunch. The meeting is timed for just before the Paris Stock Exchange opens.
The new resort president, Tom Wolber, just arrived in September and he can’t have liked what he saw. Revenue is down with net losses for the first six months increasing by 16% ($129 million) over the previous year. That was after another huge refinancing deal with the Walt Disney Company.
You can’t keep throwing good money after bad forever, but I don’t expect Disney to let Disneyland Paris close either.
The park might succeed by reducing operating hours to save on labor costs. Perhaps even closing Monday and Tuesday as the original Disneyland once did. They could raise ticket prices. The park is currently priced at $86 a day, about $10 a day less than its US cousins.
If The Walt Disney Company does bail out Euro Disney SCA, this time it will probably take over operations completely (or as much as French law allows). No idea what that would mean for the day to day operations of the park, but I expect prices would go up, areas that are unprofitable would have their hours reduced, and management might be in for a bit of a shakeup.
Disneyland Paris had better not close. I still haven’t had a chance to cross the pond for a visit. What do you think TWDC should do about Disneyland Paris, rescue it yet again or allow it to shutter?