Up Front: OVER THERE
DISNEY'S PLAN TO TERRIFY EUROPE
AILING EURO DISNEY HAS A new thrill ride aimed at turning around its theme park by luring thus far elusive teen visitors. The white-knuckle Space Mountain ride just opened amid a massive promotion campaign. Analysts say the ride--a scarier version of the Space Mountains at Walt Disney's U.S. parks--is a make-or-break vehicle that will determine if Euro Disney survives.
The $120 million ride seems to have the right stuff for teen thrill seekers. You experience weightlessness, hurtle past meteors, flip upside down, and corkscrew in eerie silence through space--all in the dark.
That's a lot like Euro Disney's three years of operation, which have seen $752 million in losses. Space Mountain is part of a revamping that has led the company to rename the park (from Euro Disneyland to Disneyland Paris), slash ticket prices 20%, and postpone debt service. Attendance and Euro Disney stock lately have started to nudge up, but the ride isn't over.EDITED BY LARRY LIGHT, WITH OLUWABUNMI SHABI Stewart Toy