Trading Simulation for Stimulation

by Ric Erickson
Number 1.10 - Metropole Paris, Friday, 26. April 1996:- In 1989 when the Disney Company was planning Euro-Disneyland and had selected Paris as the location for their European 'theme' park, I thought it was a good idea. Disneyland-Paris, as it is now called, is starting to make money and it still makes sense. So much so, that they have considerable competition, which must mean that others see it the same way as I do.

At the time, in 1989, I was fiddling around with the idea that Paris was sort of a 'Disneyland for Adults' and was doing well enough with its own brands of amusements that it really had no need to have 'Euro-Disneyland' on its doorstep; and I guess the name-change of the park reflects this. Kids are not going to come from all over Europe to Disneyland unless their parents are willing to pay to visit Paris.

It was not the weather or the relatively high prices of everything at Disneyland that kept attendance at the park to modest levels in the beginning. I think Europeans simply could not accept the idea that a 'theme' park - in the American sense, a park where the attractions are simulations of real places, or times in history - was worth spending money on, when in many cases many Europeans live in the 'real' thing on a daily basis.

Even if kids can tell the difference between the 'real' and a simulation, I doubt if it makes much difference to them - but without their parents to pay, they don't get much chance to choose in any case.

If I lived on the Left Bank in Paris, and I offered Willy and Max the choice of riding all the way out to Disneyland - or walking a few blocks to the children's play compound in the Luxembourg Gardens, I'm sure they would choose the Luxembourg. No, not because they know it would cost a lot less - they have little idea of what money is - but because it is closer.

Not only that, if there are lines for certain activities, they are short. The 'rides' themselves are simple, needing no explanation, and the kids engage themselves in activity without aid - while their parents have to sit back under the hanger or outside the fence.

There are a few animators to pick up the wounded because kids fall down - they are allowed to fall down too - but that is the only intervention by... larger people. The kids are in a park made especially for them inside a park inside a big city - and they can do what they want for nearly as long as they want. For kids, it is a here and now situation that requires little anticipation, little waiting, less planning and practically no infrastructure other than the cleverness of some department of the city's administration.

Paris is a hard-knocks playground for kids and adults. The worst part of it for kids is that somebody is always saying 'no' - don't do this or that - except in this small part of the Luxembourg Gardens; and in other similar areas throughout the city.

For adults in Paris there are few no-nos, a vast array of activities, a little bit of dirt, a fair amount of noise and pollution of all sorts - and, because it is a really big city full of every sort of people from everywhere in the world - including a few that are out of it - there is a bit of risk too. Walking around knowing that you can get knocked down anytime - for any reason or no reason at all - means that you know the difference between the 'real' and a simulation and probably relish it.

All you have to do is add a 't' to that word to get the idea of what Paris is and know the reason why the Disney Company changed the name of their park. The word is 'stimulation' and the park is Paris.

Watching the Sky

The 'Salon des Avions de Legende' is taking place at the old airport at Le Bourget on Saturday and Sunday, 4 and 5. May. For information phone 40 58 10 01. Tickets are available at many Paris locations. According to the publicity for it, you can get really close to the aircraft on display. Unless they are in the air, of course.

Metropole is planning extensive coverage of another aircraft show near the end of May - the 24th and possibly the last air meet at Cerny in Essonne, near Paris. This second show will feature not only the 50 antique aircraft on permanent display there, but also about 200 visiting airplanes dating from the first pre-WWI models, up to the latest - propeller versions, that is.

Weekend Weather

For the Ile-de-France and Paris there will be simple weather this weekend: mostly sunny, lows about four degrees and highs in the low 20's.

Weekend Traffic Not much to fear, except for the usual return snarl on Sunday afternoon, from the Channel coast and Normandy. The big school 'Easter' holiday return to the Ile-de-France will take place in the middle of next week, so watch out for that.

Since the weather has been half-good all this past week, I have no Web site URLs to propose for you. Why not go out dancing instead?

[Tony has a couple on the photo theme...]

Maison Europeene de la Photographie New site that wasn't up yet when I tested it this morning.
Plisson is an artist photographer from La Trinité sur Mer

These URL's come from one of the largest directories for French sites:
Liste des serveurs W3 en France with 2250 entries this morning.

In Metropole Paris
Latest Issue
2008 Issues
2007 | 2006 | 2005
2004 | 2003 | 2002
2001 | 2000 | 1999
1998 | 1997 | 1996
In Metropole Paris
About Metropole
About the Café Club
Links | Search Site
The Lodging Page
Paris Museums List
Metropole's 1996 Tours
Metropole's 2003 Tours
Support Metropole
Metropole's Books
Shop with Metropole
Metropole's Wine
metropole paris goodblogweek button
Send email concerning the
contents to: Ric Erickson, Editor.
Metropole Midi © 2014
– unless stated otherwise.
logo, metropole sml midi logo No matter how good it tastes,
there is no such thing
as a free lunch.
Waldo Bini