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Does the Disneyland Paris resort really need a new congress and exhibition center?

Does the Disneyland Paris resort really need a new congress and exhibition center?

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As some of you have heard, Euro Disney S.C.A. (the company that operates Disneyland Resort Paris) has a plan to expand Disney Village and also to build a brand new exhibition center right next door to the Newport Bay Club resort hotel.

"Why build an exhibition center?" you ask. Isn't this company already having cash flow problems? And what does this have to do with the theme park business?

After all, Disney hasn't added a single new ride to the Disneyland Paris theme park in 9 years. And -- as if a new exhibition center isn't enough -- ED SCA is also planning to build a brand new hotel between the Disney Village shopping district and the Newport Bay Club resort hotel.

Have the people running Euro Disney S.C.A. got their priorities in order? Actually, yes. As you might have heard, Disneyland Resort Paris suffers from a huge variability in attendance numbers between peak season and low season. It's true that DLRP is usually packed during school breaks. But -- during the rest of the year -- both theme parks feel more or less empty. And that Parisian weather doesn't make it any easier to visit DLP and Walt Disney Studios during late autumn and mid-winter.

"DLRP needs new rides!" you say. True. But would adding new rides and shows fix Disneyland Paris and Walt Disney Studios off-season attendance problems? ED SCA doesn't think so. The resort's seasonal festivals (like DLP's highly successful Halloween promotion) do have a temporary positive impact on this theme park's attendance levels. Unfortunately, these events seem to only bring in local visitors and have not turned out the 'gold mines' that Euro Disney S.C.A. had hoped for.

This is where building DLRP's new exhibition center comes in. If you can't get holiday tourists to come to the Disneyland Paris resort during low season, how about filling that attendance gap with business tourists? And the beauty part is ... the holiday and business seasons actually compliment one another because they peak at opposite times of the year. Which is why DLRP is already working hard to get more business people to hold their meetings at the resort. Just check out these packages that Euro Disney S.C.A. has put together in an effort to lure more businessmen to the Parisian property.

But -- of course -- in order to bring really big business groups to DLRP, you need a really large facility for them to meet at. This is where Disneyland Paris Resort's new exhibition center will come in.

I know, I know. There are a lot of you out there who think that Euro Disney S.C.A. is neglecting its core business by building this new exhibition hall and hotel. That they should be paying more attention to the Parisian theme parks.

Well, maybe if you knew that the Disneyland Paris theme park was currently undergoing the biggest refurbishment in the resort's history ... You might feel a bit better. As you read this, Main Street U.S.A. and Discoveryland are both getting new paint jobs. Space Mountain's long-broken cannon is being repairs. And the Cabane des Robinson tree house is undergoing a full renovation.

So -- in addition to adding new meeting facilities to the resort -- Euro Disney S.C.A. is doing everything it can to make Disneyland Paris look great. As for Walt Disney Studios, plans are still in place to eventually bring the Tower of Terror to this theme park. But -- as of right now -- no firm date has been set for the start of construction.

So -- as you can see -- ED S.C.A. is doing everything it can to put its house in order. Speaking of which: Euro Disney S.C.A. has managed to persuade all of the lenders the resort is dealing with to extend their 'til May 31st.

So here's hoping that DLRP's short-term financial problems can soon be cleared up so that Euro Disney S.C.A. can then concentrate on the big problems. Which is to turn the Disneyland Paris resort into a real year-round success.

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