The Retrospectors / On This Day: When Space Mountain Saved EuroDisney

Listen on

Episode notes

Disneyland Paris, now Europe’s most popular theme park, initially haemorrhaged money - at an estimated rate of $1 million per day. But, after three years, it finally returned its first profit on 16th November, 1995. 


This change in the park’s fortunes can be attributed to the popularity of two trains: the opening of the Eurostar direct line from London, and the building of the world’s most expensive roller coaster, Space Mountain, which launched in Discoveryland on 1st June.


In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly unpick how the Disney Corporation consistently underestimated the French inclination for wine with lunch, surly customer service and a unionised workforce; reveal how Spain and Britain had competed for the opportunity to be considered as alternative sites for the park’s development; and recall the French antipathy for Americana that led to one critic to label the attraction ‘a cultural Chernobyl’... 


Further Reading:

• ‘INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS; Euro Disney Reports Profit for '95, but the Future Remains Cloudy’ (The New York Times, 1995): https://www.nytimes.com/1995/11/16/business/international-business-euro-disney-reports-profit-for-95-but-future-remains.html

• ‘Why Was Euro Disney Considered a Failure?’ (The First Drop, 2021): https://thefirstdrop.net/disneyland-paris-resort/why-was-euro-disney-considered-a-failure/

• ‘Your destination: outer space. Your speed: astronomical.’ (Space Mountain advert, 1995): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xlKKTSVETt0


For bonus material and to support the show, visit Patreon.com/Retrospectors

We'll be back tomorrow! Follow us wherever you get your podcasts: podfollow.com/Retrospectors


The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Emma Corsham.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2021.



See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.