30 years of the convention: the social and economic benefits of Disneyland Paris

In March 1987 the famous convention was signed that signalled the official green light to begin construction on Euro Disneyland which was to be based around 30 minutes to the east of Paris. 2017 sees the 30 year anniversary of this landmark agreement and the official visit of François Hollande to the resort to celebrate the social and economic benefits of Disneyland Paris to the local and French economy.

In France, everything begins with a controversy, and ends with an anniversary. 

Often it is forgotten the controversy that surrounded building this big entertainment complex. It was, to some, seen as an American invasion, a degradation of the environment in the quiet and rural Seine-et-Marne département. But who could have foreseen how much Disneyland Paris would benefit not just France, but the whole of Europe? For the 30th anniversary of the convention, Disneyland paris released a report that details these benefits.

An economic benefit

Since 1992 and the opening of Disneyland Paris, the resort has benefitted the French economy by €66 billion in added value. That is indeed the headline figure of this report, the sheer reinvestment that Disneyland Paris has offered into the French economy which averages out at €2.7 billon per year (N.B. Added value here indicates the amount of money offered into the French economy that wouldn’t otherwise have been spent), the resort has paid €6 billion in tax (this figure includes VAT paid) and whilst Euro Disney has invested €7.9 billion in France, the French state has only invested €691 million. For every €1 that the French state has invested, €11.4 was privately contributed to the project and has meant that the French state has had a large return on investment in a resort that accounts for 6.2% of all French tourist spending.

Photo: Disney

The initial investment required was €5.06 billion to create the resort, the area surrounding the parks as well as the hotel complex and Festival Disney. This was topped up by a second park in 2002 which required €646 million. This money has created Europe’s number 1 tourist destination which receives more visitors per year than the Eiffel Tower and Château de Versailles combined which is aided by the fact that over 300 million people live within 2 hours of the resort

Disneyland Paris is a huge driver of spending through guests. Over the past 25 years, guests have spent over €80 billion at Disneyland Paris. In return, Disneyland Paris has become a large player on the european supplier market. In fact, over the course of its existence Disneyland Paris has spent over €3.7 billion with its suppliers; this is predominately in France (82% to be precise) but €77.5 million of this has been spent in the wider European area – the United Kingdom is the largest European supplier outside of France accounting for 30% of the resort’s expenditure outside of France. Within France, Disneyland Paris predominately sources its suppliers locally within the Ile-de-France region which accounts for 70% of the resort’s French suppliers.

Part of the 1987 agreement also saw Disney develop a local community in close proximity to the parks. Today, Val d’Europe is home to 30,000 residents who are housed in 12,000  homes. The development has also seen the creation of a new university, lycée (high school) and even a hospital. Val d’Europe has been such a success that 93% of residents recommending living or working in the area. When discussing the benefits of Disneyland Paris, it is the local area that has benefitted most of all with the region receiving a total of around €60 billion, around 87% of the total amount raised by the development.

A social revolution

Of course the benefits of Disneyland Paris on France (and Europe as a whole) go way beyond pure economics. Disneyland Paris is now home to 15,000 Cast Members (the term Disney gives to its employees) who are divided up into 52% male and 48% female which makes Disneyland Paris the largest single site employer in France. Even more impressive is that 13% of Cast Members have worked at Disneyland Paris since the opening in 1992. The average tenure of Cast Members in Disneyland Paris is 9 years with 85% of contracts being CDI (permanent positions).

Disneyland Paris also takes its responsibility to its employees incredibly seriously. In fact, Disneyland Paris have increased the number of training hours it offers over the past 5 years (2010-15) by 30% (around 400,000 hours of training per year) and has a training budget which is 3 times higher than the national minimum required by French law. Additionally, 80% of promotions to manager positions are internal recruitment meaning that Cast Members at Disneyland Paris have good progression potential.

Photo: Disney

The enormity of jobs at Disneyland Paris is not to be underestimated either. For every 3 jobs created in France, the 4th will be at Disneyland Paris. To understand why this is, we need to look at the construction of Disneyland Paris jobs: there are 500 different jobs in the resort staffed by over 100 different nationalities allowing for over 20 languages to be spoken. To recruit these talented Cast Members, Disney have hosted recruitment sessions in 12 European countries. Whilst this is a vast recruitment operation, Disneyland Paris Cast Members are comprised of 70% French nationals with the rest of Europe making up 18% of Cast Members.

Whilst Disneyland Paris itself employs 15,000 Cast Members, the real impact of the resort is much wider. The resort is responsible for 22,000 direct or indirect jobs (indirect jobs being jobs that have been created because Disneyland Paris exists) which has also seen residency rise in the area. Upon the opening of Disneyland Paris, just 32% of Cast Members lived in the Seine-et-Marne département, this has now risen to 73% and 17% of Cast Members live in Val d’Europe. The resort, therefore, has provided real social change for the local area; once a domain of farmers, it is now a vibrant area for young people to live and work.

The tourist centre of France

30 years ago, Chessy was a small village in the middle of a farming area just east of Paris. Today, it is the heart of European tourism. The train station located at the heart of the Disneyland Paris development has become the number 1 TGV hub in France with 54 towns serviced from this station ranging from Marseille to Brussels and London. All these guests flooding into the resort also need a place to stay and so Disneyland Paris has become the 5th largest hotel hub in France (behind places such as Paris and Lourdes) offering 8,500 hotel rooms (5,800 of these are offered in Disney hotels) – 49.5% of the hotel capacity in Seine-et-Marne.

Photo: Disney

The resort offers much more than a place to stay and a theme park – Disneyland Paris is also 2 conference centres, a golf course and offers guests over 115 restaurants and shops.

Only 44% of visitors come from France, with 56% of guests from elsewhere in the world (although primarily from Europe). With such an influx of foreign visitors, it is important to note that 52% of the foreign guests to the resort take the time to visit the city of Paris. Guest mood is calculated by Cast Members who survey guests around the park, each year 300,00 of these are completed to allow Disneyland Paris to constantly evolve according to guest expectations.

It’s not just France that benefits!

Whilst the big beneficary of Disneyland Paris is France and the French economy, Disneyland Paris is about much more than France. The resort has been used as a force for good across Europe. Discover how:


  • 4th most visitors from Europe (representing 12% of foreign guests to Disneyland Paris
  • Guests from Germany stay on average for 2 nights
  • A family from Germany was the 100 millionth guests at Disneyland Paris!
  • Disneyland Paris uses 58 suppliers from Germany – in particular plant suppliers.
  • 110 Cast Members are German
  • The average tenure of a German Cast Member is 10 years and are mostly attracted by the ability to use their language skills.


  • 5th most visitors from Europe (representing 11% of foreign guests to Disneyland Paris)
  • Guests from Belgium/Luxembourg stat on average 2 nights
  • Disneyland Paris uses 77 suppliers from Belgium – notably, chocolate suppliers.
  • 130 Cast Members are from Belgium/Luxembourg
  • Average stay of a Belgian/Luxembourg Cast Member is 7 years and are mostly attracted by their proximity to the resort.


  • 2nd most visitors from Europe (representing 13% of foreign guests to Disneyland Paris)
  • Guests from Spain stay on average 3 nights.
  • Disneyland Paris uses 40 Spanish suppliers – most notably for the construction of parade floats
  • There are 520 Cast Members from Spain
  • The average stay of a Cast Member from Spain is 6 years.


  • Italy represents 6% of foreign guests to Disneyland Paris
  • Disneyland Paris uses 43 Italian suppliers – most notably architect firms.
  • Italy represents the largest nationality for non-French Cast Members: around 900.
  • The average stay for an Italian Cast Member is 7 years.


  • The Netherlands represents 13% of foreign guests to Disneyland Paris
  • The average duration of a stay for a guest from the Netherlands is 2 nights
  • Disneyland Paris uses 63 Dutch suppliers (20% of the overall suppliers) – most notably for flowers.
  • There are 120 Dutch Cast Members who have an average length of stay of 10 years.

United Kingdom

  • 28% of foreign visitors are from the United Kingdom (The most amount of foreign guests)
  • 30% of foreign suppliers are from the UK (135 suppliers) – most notably fireworks and special effects.
  • Over 400 Cast Members come from the UK, most of these in the parades and entertainment department.

Disneyland Paris is a motor of huge economic growth and change in France, and has even seen benefits across the whole of Europe. In its construction as a unique enterprise that has seen a partnership between public and private enterprises, it is right that it has been celebrated as such by the French president. The 30 years of economic growth is only a start, Disneyland Paris will continue to grow and bring even more benefits to France and Europe.

This information has been compiled from the excellent 25 ans de contribution économique et sociale report that was published by Disneyland Paris in February 2017.

I would like to extend a big thanks to Mathias Dugoujon of Disneyland Paris for his help in obtaining this report.