Tower of Terror to Disneyland Paris??!!!
Euro Disney Eyes $180 Mln 'Tower of Terror'-Source
By Caroline Brothers
(From Yahoo! news)
(Note from Lou: Why they are still calling this Euro Disney I have no clue!)
PARIS (Reuters) - Euro Disney wants to use part of a planned rights issue to build a gut-wrenching new "Tower of Terror" ride that could cost some 150 million euros ($182.2 million), sources familiar with the situation said.
The attraction, to be built at its second Paris theme park, would be similar to the Hollywood Tower Hotel attraction at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.
The French theme park operator is up against a Sept. 30 deadline to restructure its debt and its chairman, Andre Lacroix, has said he hopes to use part of the planned 250 million euro rights issue to fund "exciting new rides and attractions."
Building a Tower of Terror, a heart-stopping vertical drop in an elevator from the top of a tower, would be consistent with that strategy, sources told Reuters.
"It will either be the Tower of Terror or three smaller attractions," one source, who declined to be named, said on Tuesday. A second source said that of the two options, the tower was the most likely.
Euro Disney, the most visited tourist attraction in Europe, has to add novelties to its existing parks roughly once every three years, analysts say, to maintain interest and encourage its fans to return.
To that end it opened a second theme park, The Walt Disney Studios, next to the Magic Kingdom at its east-of-Paris site in spring 2002. But the new park has failed to draw in the crowds.
Instead, it has increased operating costs at a time when tourism has slumped following the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, driving Euro Disney to the brink of bankruptcy.
Euro Disney's 39 percent shareholder, the Walt Disney Co., has agreed to extend it fresh credit lines and waivers on some of the royalty payments it owes for use of the Mickey Mouse characters.
Euro Disney, surviving on temporary debt waivers from its banks, is counting on new attractions to revive its flagging fortunes. Visitors to the second theme park, which has only 10 attractions against 47 at the first, have complained that the new park lacks thrills.
Euro Disney was able to revitalize attendance at The Magic Kingdom with the construction of its Space Mountain ride, though shareholders still blanche at the 100 million euros it cost the company to construct it.
When Space Mountain was opened, former Chairman Philippe Bourguignon said that each new attraction drew about half a million more visitors, but that was in Euro Disney's early days.
With numbers now stabilizing at about 12.2 million a year, some analysts say bringing increasing the number of visitors will be a much tougher challenge.
Shares in Euro Disney, which have been grazing record lows amid debt talks that have been going on for a year, were trading on Tuesday at 0.24 euros. ($1=.8231 Euro)