This formed a catalyst for international expansion and in late
1984 the heads of Disney's theme park division, Dick Nunis and Jim Cora, presented a list
of approximately 1,200 possible European locations for the park.
By March of 1985, the number of possible locations for the park had been reduced to four -
2 in Spain and 2 in France. Obviously both of these nations could see the potential
and the economic advantages of a Disney theme park, and they competed by offering
financing deals to Disney.
Both of the Spanish sites were located near the Mediterranean Sea and offered a
subtropical climate, which was similar to the climate at the Disney parks in California
and Florida. Disney had also shown interest in a site near Toulon in southern
France, which is not far from Marseille. The pleasing landscape of that region, as well as
its climate, made the location a top competitor for what would be called Euro Disneyland. However, there were
thick layers of bedrock discovered beneath the site, which would have rendered the
construction too difficult.
Finally, a site in the rural town of Marne-la-Vallee was chosen because of its proximity
to Paris and its central location in Western
Europe. This location was estimated to be no more than a four-hour drive for 68
million people and no more than a two-hour flight for a further 300 million, which meant
that a far greater number of people could have access to the park.
Construction began in August of 1988, and in December of 1990, an information centre,
called Espace Euro Disney, was opened to show the public what was being constructed and
plans for a theme park next to Euro Disneyland based on the entertainment industry,
Disney-MGM Studios Europe, soon went into development.
Disneyland Paris Resort is a holiday and
recreation resort based in the Marne-la-Vallee, which is a new town in the Eastern suburbs
of Paris, France.
The complex is located 32km from the centre of Paris and lies for the most part on the
territory of the commune of Chessy and has been in operation since 12 April 1992.
Disneyland Paris Resort is the first to be owned and operated by Disney and features 2
theme parks, an entertainment district and 7 Disney-owned hotels.
With 12.8 million visitors in 2006, it is one of Europe's leading tourist destinations.
Disneyland Paris Resort is owned and operated by the French company Euro Disney S.C.A.
The complex was a subject of controversy during the periods of negotiation and
construction, when a number of prominent French figures voiced their opposition with
French labour unions and others holding protests.
A further setback followed the opening of the resort, as park attendance, hotel occupancy
and revenues fell well below the projections. So in an effort to improve its
public image, the complex was renamed from Euro Disney Resort to Disneyland Paris in 1995
and in the July of 1995, the company saw its first quarterly profit.
A second theme park, Walt Disney Studios Park, opened its doors on 16 March 2002, making
the resort an even bigger attraction.