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Disney's Attempt at Foreign Corporate Expansion

Disney's Attempt at Foreign Corporate Expansion


Many companies throughout the United States and beyond are resorting to developing their business abroad. This is due to numerous factors such as the ability to cut costs through cheaper building material or labor, which leads to increg their revenues, functioning with more advantageous tax and labor laws, and expanding their market, just to name a few.

The Walt Disney Company was one of those many American organizations to expand on foreign soil. Its first foreign venture proved to be so successful that the decision was made to further expand abroad. This next foreign expansion experience, named Euro Disneyland did not prove to be the successful venture that had been anticipated by its creators.

Euro Disneyland a theme park comprised of an updated, state of the art Disney's Magic Kingdom, is a subsidiary of the Walt Disney Company located outside Paris, France, and has experienced numerous complications from its inception. Because the Walt Disney Company executives were determined to adhere to American philosophies, they did not thoroughly investigate all aspects of the European environment. This failure to do adequate research caused the Walt Disney Company executives and visionaries to construct their American dream theme park on foreign soil with little if any regard for the practical reality of the physical, financial, and/or cultural environment of their chosen site. More specifically, the Walt Disney Company's "...biggest mistakes were its overambitious plans to develop the site, plus Euro Disneyland's financial structure itself, which depended on a highly optimistic financial scenario with little room for glitches" (Gumbel & Turner, 1994, p. A 12). These massive oversights were contributing factors to the problems faced at Euro Disneyland.

As a company planning on expanding abroad, it is helpful to study the history of companies which previously have developed in other countries. For example, studying the Walt Disney Company's venture into France will allow other companies to learn from the Walt Disney Company's experiences. Recognizing, understanding and avoiding their mistakes will allow a company entering a new country increased opportunity to succeed. Reviewing the Euro Disneyland venture from the site research investigation to the present day operation will be beneficial to a company considering expansion abroad.


The human resource professional often is involved in determining the optimum site for a business and is responsible for many other aspects of an international expansion, such as cultural evaluation of...

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