After California, Florida, and Japan, Mickey Mouse is looking for a home in Western Europe. It could be a new ``Disneyville'' near Paris or a similar playground near Barcelona. Executives of the Disneyland Corp. seeking to expand their entertainment empire have been scouring the Continent for a site for a new fantasy amusement park to follow Disneylands in California and Japan and Disneyworld in Florida. They are widely believed to be deciding between locations in France and Spain.
Roy Disney, founder Walt Disney's nephew, and Disneyland executive vice-president Karl Bongiorno were in Paris recently to discuss the project with French government officials, including Prime Minister Laurent Fabius.
The French government is unwilling to give details of what would be one of the decade's biggest European construction projects as it is competing with Spain for a contract that could prove manna for its recession-hit building sector.
But Paris regional officials said the US corporation was planning to invest more than $1 billion in the new playground.
The proposed venture would create some 10,000 new jobs, with a further 30,000 jobs arising from the probable expansion of tourism and hotel trade, the officials said.
They said the Disneyland Corp. had selected sites in the Paris area and near Barcelona in Spanish Catalonia.
The French view is that access to the ``new town'' of Marne-la-Vallee, six miles east of Paris, would be easier for the tens of millions of visitors expected each year from the whole Continent.
Like its predecessors, the projected Disneyville would be built in a densely populated zone, with good railway and motorway connections and close to an international airport.
Paris is more centrally located in Europe than Barcelona and closer to the wealthy and populous north and east of the Continent, the officials note.