1. What factors contributed to Euro Disney’s poor performance during its ﬁrst year of operation? What factors contributed to Hong Kong Disney’s poor performance during its ﬁrst year?
The factors that contributed to Euro Disney’s poor performance were the wide cultural differences between the countries, two varying ways of doing business, as well as the lack of knowledge and understanding of the marketplace. As we learned in class ethnocentrism can be harmful when doing business in a foreign country. The American’s sense of ethnocentrism negatively affected business in Europe. It also seemed that Michael Eisner’s arrogant leadership style was also a negative factor. Disney failed to understand the French were arrogant and felt a sense of apprehensiveness and disapproval of the American Disney culture. American failed when their business was based on a wide-open optimism and global success.
3. What role does ethnocentrism play in the story of Euro Disney’s launch?
The truth is embodied in this seemingly ambiguous statement “you don’t know what you do not know”. The trap is that when you do not understand or know something there is no little red light that says “you don’t get it”. In fact, there is no perception at all that there is something missing. Ethnocentricity carries us deeply into this trap and Disney fell head long into it. They certainly had the resources to get marketing opinion from European sources that would have saved them millions in mistakes. I think though, that the powerful personality of Eisner, coming off of several victories where he forced his vision through the objections of the American business community to win big and be therefore validated set the entire EuroDisney enterprise up for failure. Eisner and his trusted team believed that any opposition or obstacle had to be overcome with strength of will and vision and that collaboration would not serve the vision well. Add to this the spectacular success of Disney in Tokyo and all of his personal input verified his approach. Unfortunately, it takes three points to make a pattern and he had only 2. Consultation was the only way to avoid the nightmares encountered in France. The culture was so different from America or Japan that there was little frame of reference in common. Believing all Europeans enjoyed the same sausage or Europeans vacationed in the same way that Americans did was easily corrected by cultural awareness that would not have cost much but they were too ethnocentric to even know the questions to ask. I imagine they had no ears for those who tried to tell them. Sausage might just be sausage to Eisner who probably did not eat it but to Europeans, it is as distinct as different wines. Attempting to impose American values, such as nondrinking on the French or appearance rules would have been easily understood as a mistake if they had even asked. I also know from a course in Children’s literature that the Disney version of fairytales like Cinderella were almost unrecognizable to those who had grown up on the European (original) versions of the stories. Thus, Disney did not even have the transfer of cultural understanding in the tales that they assumed that they had.
7. Now that Hong Kong Disney is up and running, will the Shanghai development beneﬁt from the Hong Kong experience?
8. Now that Disney has opened Hong Kong Disney and begun work on the Shanghai location, where and when should it go next? Assume you are a consultant hired to give Disney advice on the issue of where and when to go next. Pick three locations and select the one you think will be the best new location for “Disneyland X.” Discuss.
Australia, Brazil and India are the locations that I would consider. India loves Hollywood and has created its own Bollywood. It is fascinated with American culture but has a knack for hybridizing the content. The Indian culture tends to embrace technological advancement and its myriad festivals make it likely