Defying expectations, Euro Disney recently celebrated its 20th birthday. Conceived during a boom, the ill-fated park was launched amid a global downturn. Protesters waved "Mickey Go Home!" placards, and Michael Eisner, Disney's chief executive, was pelted with eggs when the company made its debut on the Paris Bourse.
Despite warnings of traffic chaos, the April 1992 opening day brought just 25,000 visitors _ 475,000 below estimates. In the first month, 3,000 of the 12,000 workers quit over intolerable working conditions. Attendances averaged well below half of target, each visitor spent less than forecasted, and the business reported a first-year operating loss of 300 million francs.
The very existence of The Walt Disney Company was threatened until creditors agreed to forego their claims against the parent in return for US$500 million worth of Euro Disney shares.
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