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Disney exex upbeat about Euro park

Despite recent losses of $ 1 million a day, long-term prospects for France’s Euro Disney theme park are good, Walt Disney Co. exex said at yesterday’s shareholders meeting in Anaheim.

The park east of Paris, which opened last year, attracted 34,000 visitors Sunday, 28,000 on Monday and about 30,000 on Tuesday, chairman Michael Eisner said. That was compared with 28,000 visiting the Anaheim park on Sunday.

“This weekend has been sensational,” Disney president Frank Wells said in an interview.

Wells refused to speculate when Euro Disney SCA, the theme-park parent company that is 49% owned by Disney, would turn a profit. He said it would continue to lose money next quarter.

The park has failed to reach attendance projections in its 10 months of operation. One of the reasons most often cited is French coolness to American culture.

The park last month reported a net loss of $ 91.1 million in the first quarter of the current fiscal year and has said it’s unlikely to make any money in 1993.

But Wells and Eisner assured the estimated 8,000 investors at the Anaheim Convention Center they were confident about Euro Disney’s long-term prospects.

Companywide revenues rose 23% in 1992 to a record $ 7.5 billion, while profits surged 28% to $ 817 million, they said.

Shareholders also watched a presentation on Disney’s environmental efforts, which include a huge recycling plant it operates for its Florida theme parks and resorts.

Demonstrators dressed as Ninja Turtles greeted shareholders by protesting an expansion at Florida’s Walt Disney World that they say will bury thousands of tortoises alive.

“Disney is hell if you wear a shell,” read a banner carried by a handful of members of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

PETA spokeswoman Debbi Liebergot said Disney had built its vast fortunes on lovable animal characters but was willing to condemn real animals to horrible deaths to make profits.

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