This, from Marginal Revolution, is kind of funny for its irony value:
For years, France has fought what is sees as an American cultural invasion, powered by Hollywood movies, U.S. pop music and giant brands like Coca-Cola. Now, it is going to great lengths to save an American cultural icon in its backyard: Disneyland
The French government has just finished helping Walt Disney Co. bail out Euro Disney SCA, the operator of two Disney theme parks outside Paris. A state-owned bank is contributing around $500 million in investments and local concessions to save Euro Disney from bankruptcy. This comes after 17 years during which French leaders have spent hundreds of millions of dollars and countless hours to ensure that the land of Money [ed: Monet?] could keep Mickey Mouse. Still saddled with debt, Euro Disney is gambling that expensive new attractions and an improved tourism climate will deliver a turnaround.
I am not sure the Euro Disney site will ever work. The main problem is that it was put in the wrong place. The plurality of European tourists go to Spain for vacation - Spain is the Florida/California of Europe, with its warm weather and nice beaches. Putting a theme park in northern France may seem geographically logical, on the transportation nexus between England, France, and Germany, but it makes no sense for tourism -- its in a great place for a distribution warehouse, but no one wants to take their vacation there.
The equivalent would be putting a Disney theme park in Chicago. Chicago is a wonderful town and sits astride the #1 transportation hub in the US, but few people want to go there on their vacations, at least not for about 9 months of the year (by the way, due to ocean currents the situation is not that comparable, but note that Euro Disney is actually NORTH of Chicago!)