Essay by PaperNerd ContributorUniversity, Master's December 2001

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The Walt Disney Company has grown into one of the largest companies in the world. They are a very diverse company with an interest in movies, television, clothing, toys, real estate, music, and entertainment. However, they are most commonly known as an innovator in the animated motion picture industry and a leader in amusement park entertainment. In 1955, Walt Disney opened his first amusement park in Anaheim, California. The park, Disneyland, drew bigger crowds than anyone had suspected. Since the park was located on only 100 acres of land, the surrounding property owners who built hotels to accommodate all of the guests at Disneyland made fortunes.

Then in 1971, Walt Disney built Disney World outside of Orlando, Florida. Once again, Disney underestimated the demand for accommodations. Even with 30,000 acres Disney was unable to take advantage of all the guests coming to their park.

However, one of the most costly misjudgments was the Tokyo Disney project in Japan.

Before the park was to be built, Disney voiced concerns about investing in such a big venture on the other side of the world. Therefore, Disney passed most of the liability of the project onto to a Japanese consortium that ended up building, financing, and owning an extremely successful amusement park. In return for the Disney name, the Walt Disney Company gets 10% of gross earnings and 5% on food and merchandise.

Since the Tokyo Disney was so successful Walt Disney executives believed they had the expertise to develop a second foreign amusement park Disney was determined to make sure they did everything right this time, including choosing the right site. Europe was the obvious choice since the people were so familiar with Disney merchandise and entertainment Hundreds of sites throughout Europe were considered for the project, but in the end a...