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Sunday 5 February 2023 Dublin: -1°C
EMPICS Entertainment The castle at Disneyland Paris.
# fairy godmother
The magic (or income) is gone at Disneyland Paris and it's getting a bailout
It’s been an up and down ride for the park since it opened in 1992

EURO DISNEY, WHICH runs Disneyland Paris, one of Europe’s top tourist attractions, has announced that it is  receiving a billion-euro refinancing package to overcome a crisis after a drastic fall in visitor numbers.

The plan, unveiled at a crisis meeting early today includes a cash infusion of €420 million euro by US parent company Disney and a conversion of €600 million of debt owed to Disney into equity.

Tom Wolber, president of Euro Disney, blamed the difficult economic environment in Europe for the group’s problems.

“Disneyland Paris is Europe’s number one tourist destination, but the ongoing economic challenges in Europe and our debt burden have significantly decreased operating revenues and liquidity,” he said in a statement.

The emergency plan is “essential to improve our financial health and enable us to continue making investments in the resort that enhance the guest experience.”

Disneyland Paris, once described as a “cultural Chernobyl” for its blend of French and US traditions, opened in 1992 on the eastern outskirts of Paris in a blaze of publicity.

But it took time to take off and has since run into a series of crises and struggled to turn a profit.

Nevertheless, the site eventually built up its visitor numbers and has welcomed more than 275 million guests, making it Europe’s top private tourist attraction.

It draws more than the Mona Lisa in the Louvre Museum and Paris’s iconic Eiffel Tower combined, according to the most recent figures from City Hall.

Thunder Mountain, debt mountain 

However, clouds have been gathering over Disneyland Paris and visitor numbers have collapsed.

The firm revealed today that it welcomed between 14.1 and 14.2 million visitors between September 2013 and September 2014, a drop of between 700,000 and 800,000 compared with the same period the year before.

In the 2012-13 period, it had already haemorrhaged one million visitors as crisis-hit locals and tourists tightened their belts.

The firm has always struggled to turn a profit — its last was in 2008 — and it predicts a loss of up to  €120 million this year.

And the park boasting Space Mountain and Thunder Mountain is also weighed down by a debt mountain of some €1.7 billion.

© – AFP 2014

Read: The heartbreaking reasons that there are hardly any mammies in Disney films >

Read: A giant Mickey Mouse balloon was rescued after crashing in the sea off Bray yesterday >

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