The Not So Magic Kingdom

Disneyland Paris is a tourist magnet for France. But the park has yet to pay off for Walt Disney

When the Walt Disney Co. opened Disneyland Paris 20 years ago, many French people wouldn't have bet 10 centimes that the theme-park resort 20 miles east of the French capital would be a success. Critics lambasted the government for striking a deal with Disney that seemed to benefit the U.S. company far more than it did the French state. They mocked Disney's obsessive attention to detail, its ban on wine and its choice of rainy Paris over sunny Barcelona. And they wondered how such quintessentially American entertainment could thrive in the land of Molire, Cocteau and Sartre. Disney's implantation in France,...

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