MARCH 21, 2007

The case for Disneyland Paris

Disneyland Paris, once known as Eurodisney, is located at Marne-la-Vallee, near the town of Meaux, to the east of Paris. It attracts large numbers of tourists from all over Europe but needs to be constantly updated in order to encourage people to come back time and time again. The location was very carefully chosen by Disney when the park was built and the business is now going well although there were serious problems in the early years when the cost of construction gave the company problems.

The biggest advantage that Disney has is that it has large tracts of privately-owned land which has yet to be exploited. It already has two theme parks at the site with the original Disneyland having been joined by a movie-themed park which is very popular. There are huge numbers of hotel rooms at the park itself and access to the city of Paris is quick and relatively easy. Thus it would be a perfect venue for an F1-theme park, which would fit in nicely with the plans being put forward by Union Properties in Dubai, the company that owns the global rights to theme parks using the F1 brand. Putting a circuit next to the park is the plan in Dubai, while Aldar is planning the same thing with its Ferrari theme park in Abu Dhabi.

Disney already has huge car parking facilities on site that feed the two existing parks and there is a direct rail link to Paris with the RER, the rapid regional express which does directly to the Paris downtown area. It stops at every station between the park and Paris and is rather slow but there is no reason that cannot be improved to create a better service. There is also Eurostar station at the park which could bring in fans from both north and south and the road links are extremely good with a direct link to the motorway network via the A4, which goes east to Germany and the N104 "Francilienne" ring road which links up with the A1 in the north and the major routes to the south and south-east.

The park is also easy to access for VIPs as helicopter access is swift.

The big question is whether a deal can be struck between Union Properties and Disney for a combined theme park-race track.