Case Study Disneyland Resort Paris Abridged Answers

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The case tracks the story of Disneyland Resort Paris from its opening in 1992 until the end of 2006, illustrating how the resort's managers learned from their initial errors how to take a strong cultural product (the Disney experience) and implement it effectively in a multicultural environment. However, by the end of 2006 the park was still not profitable and the managers were hoping for 2007, the Park's 25th anniversary season, being a turnaround year. The case presents the dilemma of global integration vs local adaptation in a multicultural and culturally-sensitive environment. It draws upon unique insights from some historic key players as well as the current ones and sets up situations that can be interpreted from different roles in an organisation (marketing, operations, senior management, etc) and some of the issues they faced being the first multi-cultural Disney theme park in the world. Disneyland Resort Paris opened its gates in April 1992 amidst enormous controversy as a bastion of American cultural imperialism in Europe. By 2006 it was the most visited tourist site in Europe with over 12 million annual visitors. In spite of a difficult tourist industry in the early 2000s, Disneyland Resort Paris' attendance remained stable: 60% of its visitors were repeat visitors, and guest satisfaction was extremely high. The operation had created 43,000 jobs, invested more than 5 billion euros and contributed to the development of a new region. As the leaders developed their execution plans, they wondered what principles should guide them and how to interpret Disney in multicultural Europe. Guests from different parts of Europe wanted different things from a vacation: how could they keep the classic Disney magic yet successfully appeal to European consumers? After 15 years of switching between French and American leadership, the answers were still not obvious. The leaders agreed that the 2007 celebrations of its 15th anniversary should set the scene for Disney's recognition as a well established experience in the heart of Europe, and a long-term financial success. But what would it look like and what path would take them there? The case was written to support two teaching objectives; the class can focus on one or both depending on time and instructor objectives. It raises issues that can be dealt with through perspectives of organisational behaviour, general management and marketing: (1) identifying the complex role of national or ethnic cultures in multinational firms. Disneyland Resorts were 'selling' one culture (idealistic American culture) to guests from many cultures, and only started to become successful when they could articulate cultural issues well; and (2) working with the global standardisation vs local adaptation tension. Disneyland Resorts could be neither completely standardised nor adapted. Finding an 'intermediate' solution is not obvious but is key to managing the Resort for high performance.
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1.The main problem is that the Disney Paris was struggling to be profitable under Europe’s multi-culture background which is underlined by the specific French culture.

Tokyo Disneyland was the profitable Disneyland in the world, everything that worked well in the US was positively received in Tokyo despite the obvious culture distance. But unfortunately, when the Euro Disneyland opened in 1992 in Paris, the story did not follow the Tokyo script. The Decreased Revenues coupled with an investment burden that was hard to carry, put an end to the optimism and euphoria. Financial difficulties had plagued the resort since it opened, crippling its ability to invest and creating urgency for short-term cash flow.

So how to adapt the multicultural business environment in Europe especially the cultural in France to make Disney Resort Paris became a profitable company is the most difficult challenge.

2.Culture is the core factor cause the problem. Euro Disneyland (now Disneyland Resort Paris) is the first multicultural park. Some people see Disneyland Resort Paris as a bastion of American Culture imperialism in Europe. Dominique Cocquet, Executive VP of Development and external Relations, said “In the beginning, on the French side, there was some easy and non-rational anti-Americanism”. It is predictable that the Euro Disneyland experienced the cultural shock in France.

As the largest Western European country, France is a nation that takes immense pride in its history and prominent culture. Such cultural identities play a crucial role in French business culture. When encountered the foreign culture especially come from America French people have a kind of instinct reaction to push it away. That is why the French president, Francios Mitterrand, stating that it wasn’t his “cup of tea.” I think it is quite typical, and represent the common thoughts and feeling of the French people when the Disneyland opened in Paris in 1992.

3.Along with the culture difference between US and France, there is a Multilanguage difference. Imaging the jungle guide in Europe warning passengers about a hippo will rises out of the river and spews water in six language, by the time he gets to Spanish, the hippo is already out and the Italians and the Dutch—whose language haven’t got to yet. That quite an example for issues caused by Multilanguage. Disneyland Paris had to learn to create emotion without verbal scripts.

Also the war in Iraq after 9/11 did create uncertainty and lower levels of tourism. The Germen economy shattered, other European economies went into decline and tourists turned to cheaper and more local travel. And at the same time, the Euro increased against most other world currencies, and Disneyland Resort Paris became more expensive relative to vacations outside Europe. Tour operators in the US, northern Africa and Asia, were desperate to attract tourists by offering vacations at loss-leading prices. And Euro Disney S.C.A had to repay *600 million in convertible bonds in late 2001.

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