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Saudi Prince Disneyland Adventure Cost Him and Friends $19M

Image: Saudi Prince Disneyland Adventure Cost Him and Friends $19M

By Clyde Hughes   |   Wednesday, 05 Jun 2013 07:06 AM

Saudi Prince Fahd al-Saud celebrated earning his degree by spending 15 million euros, or $19 million, hanging out with Disney characters in France.

The price tag, though, included closing off the portions of the park for three days for roughly 60 guests, according the French news agency AFP. The prince booked entire areas of the park over May 22 to 24 for his elaborate party. The festivities included tailor-made events involving "rare Disney characters," Euro Disney told AFP.

Special security was put in place for the prince, one of the park's top customers, claimed Euro Disney.

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Euro Disney likely will not complain about the effort. The amusement park has not turned a profit since it opened 20 years ago. In the six months to March, the group had a net loss of 89.1 million euros ($116.6 million) compared with a loss of 11.8 million euros ($15.5 million) in the same period last year, AFP said.

The Los Angeles Times reported that attendance grew at the Paris theme park by less than two percent last year compared with 2011, according to a report released Tuesday by the engineering and consulting firm Aecom and Burbank-based Themed Entertainment Assn., a trade group for designers of theme parks, casinos, restaurants and zoos.

By comparison, the world's top 25 theme parks enjoyed an average 5.2 percent increase in attendance in 2012 compared with the previous year, the report said.

The United States is still king when it comes to theme parks, from profits, attendance and employment. According to the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions, theme parks in the United States raked in $12 billion in revenue.

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Europe, which has about 100 fewer theme parks than the United States, collected $5.3 billion. U.S.-based theme parks also hire about 600,000 seasonal workers compared to 47,590 hired by Europe amusement parks seasonally.

Prince Fahd is the son of the late Saudi Crown Prince Nayef bin Abdul-Aziz al Saud and his third wife, Maha bint Mohammed bin Ahmad Al Sudairi. In March, a French court had his mother's assets seized after she fled Paris's luxury Shangri-La hotel in the middle of the night to avoid paying a £5 million ($7.66 million) hotel bill.

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