A: Welcome back
B: It’s been a little while I know but …
A: Busy… busy… busy
B: Absolutely. But I need to talk about Euro Disney?
A: Do you mean Disneyland, Paris ?
B: Afraid not. It’s part of the ‘what are the glorious mistakes you can learn from’ series.
A: Pretty big series.
B: Oh yes. So let me give you a brief run down of the problem.
A: Please do.
B: Well Disney wanted to build a theme park in Europe – Florida was a big success so they were looking for more …
A: … money.
B: .. opportunities to make the dream come true. So they choose Paris.
A: I’ve often wondered about that. Why Paris?
B: Good question. What do you know about Paris, France.
A: Well I know that Paris, France has a latitude of 48° 51′ north – roughly the same as Prague, Krakow, Lvov, Kharkov and Winnipeg.
A: The average temperature is around 25 degrees Centigrade (77 Fahrenheit).
B: Whereas Florida has an average temperature of 33 degrees C. (92 F.)
A: Doesn’t Paris, Texas have an average temperature of 33 degrees C. (92 F.)
B: I believe so.
A: You don’t think…….
B: No. (pause) It couldn’t be ….
A: Anyway another thing I know about Paris, France is that it’s full of French people.
B: And what do we know about French people?
A: Well we know they have a culture of fine food and wine; the mentality of French workers is different from American workers – they tend not to like being told what to wear, how to behave and what size earrings they are allowed; European business is often conducted differently than business in America, for instance school terms in Europe are more strictly adhered to in Europe, i.e. French parents are less likely to take children out of school for a week for a holiday; European spending habits are different than US habits – they aren’t willing to pay high prices for hotels to be close to the attractions. Europeans tend not to stay too long in one place for holidays, etc. etc…
B: I see, so it’s not Florida then?
A: It’s not.
B: Anyway, Euro Disney opened in April 1992. On the first day there were expecting 500,000 visitors.
A: How many were there?
A: So did Disney have a rethink?
B: They did.
A: Well done Disney.
B: However it took them 2 and a half years and costs rose from $2.25 billion to $4 billion.
A: So the learning here is?
B: Don’t get into a stupid fight with the French.
A: Or arrogance is not bliss
B: Or be prepared to change when you’re wrong.
B: As an afterthought I’ve just read ‘The Disney Way’ co-written by 2 consultants versed in the Disney principles ‘Dream, Believe, dare, Do’.
A: Oh and they have an explanation for Euro Disney do they?
B: They do …. “One of the biggest mistakes was in naming the park.”
A: I see, so the money, the culture, the climate weren’t all that important then?
B: Apparently not. They continue; “Fortunately, Disney took steps to rectify the problems before the venture failed completely.”
A: So success then.
B: Apparently so.