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First Disneyland in Europe : Mickey Mouse and Pals to Take Their Act to Paris

December 18, 1985|From Times Wire Services

PARIS — Walt Disney Productions today signed an agreement with France to set up Europe's first Disneyland amusement park in a suburb of Paris.

Prime Minister Laurent Fabius signed the agreement with the president of the American company, Michael D. Eisner, for the establishment of the theme park--Disney's fourth and only the second one outside of the United States--in Marne-La-Vallee.

"We are hopeful that our current negotiations will result in a definitive agreement to bring Mickey Mouse and the Magic Kingdom to France and the European Community," Eisner said.

France won the contract in the face of stiff competition from Spain, which was hoping to set up the park on the Costa Blanca, between Barcelona and Alicante.

Disney executives were also known to have held talks with the then Portuguese prime minister, Mario Soares.

Marne-La-Vallee emerged as the standout location after about 200 other proposed sites were evaluated, Eisner said.

The chosen site is within 15 minutes of the two major airports serving Paris, and a planned two-mile extension of the Paris Metro system would connect Euro Disneyland with the main commuter rail system of Paris.

The French project will mean as many as 30,000 jobs, more than $1 billion in investment and increased tourist revenues.

The envisaged park would be patterned after the original Disneyland in Anaheim, with a resort and recreation complex similar to Disney World in Florida, and is expected to open in 1990 or 1991.

The worldwide entertainment giant's first park was Anaheim's Disneyland, an instant success when it opened in 1955. It was followed by Disney World in Orlando, Fla., in 1971 and another Disneyland in Tokyo in 1983, the first outside the United States.

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