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Discover Disneyland Paris History | From 1992 to Today

Disneyland Paris, originally known as Euro Disney, is an entertainment resort in Marne-la-Vallée, a suburb located 32 km east of Paris. Opened on 12 April 1992, Disneyland Paris is the second Disney resort to open outside the United States, following Tokyo Disney Resort. The park encompasses two theme parks — Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios Park — resort hotels, Disney Village, and a golf course. The park celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2022, and over the past three decades, the park has seen more than 375 million visitors making it one of the most visited theme parks in Europe.

However, things were not always so rosy at the most "Magical Place on Earth", with it even going into bankruptcy. Find out all about the park's history, including how the park catapulted itself to success.

Disneyland Paris Timeline

1987: Disney signs an agreement with the French authorities to create Euro Disney.
1992: Euro Disney opens to the public.
1994: Euro Disney becomes Disneyland® Resort Paris.
1995: One of Disneyland Pari's most popular rides, Space Mountain- From the Earth to the Moon (today known as Star Wars Hyperspace Mountain) takes passengers on a ride for the first ever time.
1996
: Eurostar starts running trains direct to Disneyland Paris.
2002: Walt Disney Studios Park opens.
2006: Another popular ride, Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast opens.
2007: Toon Studio, which allows visitors to explore the world of Disney animation, opens.
2022: Walt Disney Studios Park launched Avengers Campus! The park also celebrated its 30-year anniversary.

Disneyland Paris History Explained

Disneyland Paris History

A European Disneyland: The Genesis

1972-1988

  • 1972: Plans to build a European theme park after the success of Walt Disney World in Florida.
  • 1983: Tokyo Disneyland's success strengthens the European theme park plan.
  • 1984: Disney's theme park division presents a list of 1,200 potential locations in Europe.
  • 1985: Four locations were shortlisted, two in Spain and two in France (Marne-la-Vallée and Toulon). Marne-la-Vallée was chosen due to its proximity to Paris.
  • 18 December 1985: Michael Eisner, Disney's CEO, signs the first agreement with the French government.
  • 1986: First financial contracts are drawn up.
  • 24 March 1987: The final contract is signed.
  • August 1988: Construction of Euro Disney begins.
Disneyland Paris History

Euro Disneyland: The Opening

1992

  • March 1992: Euro Disney opens for employee preview, allowing park employees and their families to test facilities.
  • 12 April 1992: Official opening of Euro Disney Resort and Euro Disneyland.
  • The park expected huge crowds but only saw around 25,000 visitors on the opening day, far below the anticipated half a million.
  • Speculation that people heeded the warning to avoid the area due to traffic and a one-day strike disrupted the direct RER railway connection from Paris to Euro Disney, making the park less accessible.
  • The European recession in August worsened the park's financial situation.
  • The initial failure of Euro Disney resulted in the cancellation of several projects, including WestCOT, Disney's America, Tomorrowland 2055 at Disneyland, and the Beastly Kingdom at Disney's Animal Kingdom.
Disneyland Paris History

Euro Disneyland: Era of Bankruptcy & Recovery

1992-1995

  • 1992: Disneyland Paris opens on April 12, 1992. The park is initially met with high attendance, but it soon becomes clear that the resort is not generating enough revenue to cover its costs.
  • 1993: Disneyland Paris's financial problems worsen in 1993. The park loses $1.4 billion, and its parent company, Euro Disney S.C.A., is forced to file for bankruptcy.
  • 1994: Euro Disney S.C.A. emerges from bankruptcy in 1994. The company is restructured, and new management is brought in to turn the resort around.
  • 1995: Disneyland Paris begins to turn a profit in 1995. The park's attendance increases, and new attractions are added.
Disneyland Paris  History

Disneyland Paris Flourishes

21st Century

  • 2002: Disneyland Paris changed its name to Disneyland Resort Paris and opened a second theme park, Walt Disney Studios Park.
  • 2004: the Walt Disney Company wrote off all debt that Euro Disney S.C.A. owed them.
  • 2004: Disneyland Paris became the number one tourist destination in Europe.
  • 2008: Disneyland Resort Paris welcomed its 200 millionth visitor.
  • Over 20 years, Disneyland Resort Paris has generated 37 billion euros in tourism-related revenues and has created an average of 55,000 jobs in France annually.

Construction of Disneyland Paris

Disneyland Paris construction

Controversies Around Disneyland Paris

1992

  • The proposal for a Disney Park in France was met with great criticism, as many saw it as a product of cultural imperialism.
  • The park opened during the height of the cultural exception debate, which further fueled the controversy.
  • French farmers blockaded the park in protest of farm policies supported by the United States.
  • The power to the park was nearly cut due to a failed terror attack.
  • CEO Michael Eisner was assaulted with ketchup upon his arrival in France.

1993

  • Many decisions were based on misinformation or catering to American palates.
  • European guests were shocked by the lack of breakfast service, limited lunch options, and refusal to serve alcohol.
  • Theme parks were seen as day trip attractions in France, so the hotels surrounding the park stayed empty.

1994

  • The economic recession pushed the park into debt.

Paris Disneyland Today

Disneyland Paris history



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Frequently Asked Questions About Disneyland Paris History

When did Disneyland Paris open to the public?

Disneyland Paris officially opened its doors to the public on 12 April 1992.

How old is Disneyland Paris?

Disneyland Paris is 30 years old.

Why did they build Disneyland in Paris?

The plan for Disneyland Paris came up with Disney wanting a park similar to Walt Disney World, Florida in Europe. The success of Tokyo Disneyland, which opened in 1983, further cemented this purpose.

Why is Disneyland Paris famous?

Thrilling rides, beautiful castle, spectacular shows, and all your favorite Disney characters, there is a lot to do at Disneyland Paris. Designed for all ages, this theme park is world of charm and nostalgia will leave all Disney fans awestruck.

Where is the Disneyland Paris?

Disneyland Paris is located at Bd de Parc, 77700 Coupvray, France.

How much does it cost to visit Disneyland Paris?

Disneyland Paris ticket prices start at €56.

Who designed Disneyland Paris?

Walt Disney Imagineering designed Disneyland Paris.

How many years did it take to construct Disneyland Paris?

It took 10 years to construct Disneyland Paris.

How much did it cost to build Disneyland Paris?

It cost $4.4 billion to build Disneyland Paris.

Why is Disneyland Paris important?

Disneyland Paris is important because it is the most visited theme park in Europe.

Can I visit Disneyland Paris?

Yes, you can visit Disneyland Paris.

Do I need tickets to enter Disneyland Paris?

Yes, you need tickets to enter Disneyland Paris.

What is inside Disneyland Paris?

Disneyland Paris has two theme parks, seven hotels, and a shopping, dining, and entertainment district.