Negotiations with the French government were difficult. Disney committed a string of cultural misunderstandings. There was a backlash in France, particularly from Parisian intellectuals, who attacked the transportation of Disney's dream world as an assault on French culture. French farmers used the opening of the park as an occasion for staging a protest against the U. S. government for its insistence that French agricultural subsidies be cut.

In addition, there were operational errors. For example, Disney thought that Monday would be a light day for visitors and Friday a heavy one and allocated staff accordingly, but the reality was the reverse. Disney also miscalculated the length of time that people would stay at the theme park and adjacent resort. As a result, its new hotels stood half empty most of the time.

Eventually, Disney changed its strategy and things are now going more smoothly. The company changed the name of the park from Euro Disney to Disneyland Paris in an attempt to strengthen the park's identity. The early operational challenges have been straightened out, and the park now accommodates European tastes and preferences. Attendance at the park was 11. 7 million in 1996, up sharply from 8. 8 million in 1994.

This case illustrates the difficulties that a firm as large and seemingly savvy as Disney has in effectively understanding a foreign market. It also illustrates the power of culture, and the extent of cultural differences that exist between countries. There are organizations that are dedicated to facilitating business between specific countries, and helping companies avoid the types of problems experienced by Disney.