Euro Disney to raise entrance fees: Attendance figures close to 11 million target after special offer to locals

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A FAMILY of four will have to pay more than pounds 100 for a day out this summer at the Euro Disneyland theme park. Prices for the high season, from April to September, are rising by 11 per cent for adults to Fr250 ( pounds 31.25) and for children by 20 per cent to Fr150 ( pounds 18.75).

The increases, part of a big re-think on seasonal pricing, will lift entrance fees for a family to the Magic Kingdom from pounds 93.75 to pounds 106.25, before the pounds 26.25 cost of feeding two adults and two children at one of the cafeterias.

Comparative summer entrance prices for Alton Towers, the UK's biggest park where 'Wonders Never Cease', are pounds 13 per adult and pounds 9.99 per child - pounds 45.98 for a family of four.

Philippe Bourguignon, who will soon succeed Robert Fitzpatrick as chairman of Euro Disney, owner of the park near Paris, said: 'We expect the policy, seasonal pricing and the way we're operating the hotels, will improve the resort component of earnings.'

It is hoped that the switch to seasonal pricing will iron out swings in its business. Prices between September and November and for February and March remain unchanged at Fr225 per adult and Fr150 for a child.

Evening pricing is also being introduced, in an attempt to smooth out variations in daily attendances. Prices after 5pm will be cut to Fr150 and to Fr100.

Parents considering a Christmas visit, however, will have to pay Fr175, or nearly pounds 22 per child at the current exchange rate.

The price increases come just two weeks before Euro Disneyland celebrates its first anniversary. Total attendances to date exceed 10 million, and should reach 11 million by the end of April - the target for the first year of operation.

Some City analysts, however, were sceptical about the attendance figures. They said the target figure would have been missed by a long shot but for the special discount from 1 January to 31 March offered to the local population, taking in much of Paris.

Euro Disney confirmed that there had been a 'dramatic' increase in visits by the French - 3.5 million to date - and said the number of visitors from other countries was rising. Mr Bourguignon added: 'Clearly attendance is a big part of our results, but to focus only on attendance is not the way to judge the company.'

Analysts still expect the park to lose more Fr1bn ( pounds 125m) for the financial year to September.