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Disneyland Paris Plans Second Park

September 30, 1999

PARIS (AP) _ Euro Disney has announced plans to open a second theme park outside Paris, hoping Europeans will embrace its new exhibit on show business the way they have warmed to Mickey Mouse and Space Mountain.

``The Disney Studios,″ a behind-the-screen look at the movies, is set to open in the spring of 2002 next to the existing Magic Kingdom theme park in Marne-La-Vallee, east of Paris, at a cost of about $670 million.

The park, which takes its inspiration from French, European and Hollywood cinema, cartoons and television, is similar in theme to Disney-MGM Studios at Walt Disney World in Florida.

Disney chief Gilles Pelisson said visitors to the park will watch cartoonists at work, attend special effects shows and watch shoots of TV programs.

``The goal is that visitors pass through the movie screen and see what’s behind it,″ Pelisson said. ``It’s about interaction.″

Euro Disney officials also intend for the park, planned since 1987, to become home to movie shoots and other artistic endeavors.

Walt Disney Co. has said it will put up 39 percent of the capital, in keeping with its current commitment to Euro Disney.

Once the park is fully operational in 2003, the company expects an estimated 4.2 million visitors annually. The company has not yet determined a ticket price for park, which will have a separate entrance from the Magic Kingdom.

Euro Disney executives have promised the park will create 1,500 jobs.

The left-of-center government of Prime Minister Lionel Jospin has made jobs its first priority. Euro Disney already employs 10,000 people and has said it will favor young people in its staff for the second theme park.

Disneyland Paris opened in April 1992 to widespread concern _ and some heavy criticism _ that American-style family entertainment would not catch on in the Old World.

Some financial analysts worried that Europeans would balk at the prices. But Disneyland Paris proved itself in 1995 by posting profits a year ahead of schedule.

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