Disney will pour another $2.4 billion into Disneyland Paris
The €2 billion ($2.4 billion) investment plan was announced Tuesday following a meeting between French President Emmanuel Macron and Bob Iger, the CEO of the Walt Disney Company (DIS). Macron said the investment and Disney’s “strong commitment” to the the country shows that “France is back.” “The expansion plan is one of the most ambitious development projects at Disneyland Paris since its opening in 1992,” Disney said in a statement. It added that the new developments will be rolled out gradually starting in 2021.
The Paris park is among the most visited tourist attractions in Europe. But it has struggled with huge debts and weak attendance in the aftermath of Europe’s debt crisis and recent terror attacks in Paris and Nice. Disney has been forced to bail out the struggling park several times. In 2014, it invested €1 billion ($1.2 billion) into the park as part of an effort to develop new attractions and hotels.
Disney took full control of Disneyland Paris last year. First it increased its stake in Euro Disney, the company that runs the park, to 85.7% from 76.7%, then it bought the remaining shares and de-listed Euro Disney from the Paris stock market. On top of that, it also pumped further €1.5 billion ($1.8 billion) into the park to “address its financial needs.”
The latest investment will bring the total Disney pledged to spend on the Paris resort in the past four years to at least $5.4 billion. That is similar to the $5.5 billion it spent to build Shanghai Disneyland, which opened in 2016. At that time, the resort was the biggest investment the company had ever made outside the U.S. Disneyland Paris said it has attracted over 320 million visitors since 1992, representing 6.2% of France’s tourism income. It employs 16,000 people, including 15,000 cast members.