Catherine Powell to leave Disney

Former Disneyland Paris President Catherine Powell is leaving Disney.

It’s understood from sources within Disney that Powell’s post as President of Disney Parks West, and was in charge of Disneyland Paris, Walt Disney World and Disneyland has been eliminated, and she will help in the transition as her staff reports to Disney Parks, Experiences & Products, chairman Bob Chapek.

Powell was President of Euro Disney SCA, the owners and operators of Disneyland Paris during the controversial takeover of the resort by The Walt Disney Company and most recently in charge of the recent openings for the two new Star Wars lands — Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Walt Disney World in Orlando and another at the California Disneyland park — that suffered extremely poor attendance.

Powell, who has been with Disney for 15 years, joined the company in 2004 following senior management roles at BBC Worldwide covering TV sales for Central and Eastern Europe and the Middle East.

Her departure stands in contrast to CEO Bob Iger promising to put more women in top executive positions within The Walt Disney Company, with an eye to greater gender parity.

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Thomas Cook Ceases Trading

Thomas Cook Group, including the UK tour operator and airline, has ceased trading with immediate effect.

All Thomas Cook bookings, including flights and holidays, have now been cancelled.

Visit: thomascook.caa.co.uk or contact the UK Civil Aviation Authority for more information.

Aladdin not the Car Wreck I was Expecting it to be.

Aladdin or Will “The Fresh Prince” Smith does panto is not the car wreck I was expecting it to be.

Directed by Guy Ritchie (Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels) it includes the majority of the iconic Howard Ashman and Alan Menken musical numbers from Disney’s animated 1992 classic, plus a few new ones thrown in for good measure.

Smith’s performance as the Genie is entertaining, but you just can’t help comparing him to Robin Williams all the way through the film.

“Arabian Nights,” has had its lyrics updated once again for cultural sensibilities by song writing duo Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (La La Land, The Greatest Showman) and there are some spectacular musical numbers.

In the titular role is relative newcomer Mena Massoud and British actress Naomi Scott stars as Jasmine who is best known for her performance as Kimberly the Pink Ranger in 2017’s Power Rangers.

Unfortunately I left the cinema thinking I had watched a rough cut of Ritchie’s Aladdin, and thought the movie needed more time in the editing suite to tighten it up a bit as some scenes and songs went on for far too long.

Overall Aladdin is slightly better than Disney’s last animation re-make Dumbo, but it’s no Cinderella. Which unfortunately for Disney set the live action / animation re-make bar extremely high.

Aladdin is released in cinemas tomorrow (24 May 2019) just in time for half term.

German tourist Apprehended for flying a Drone over Disneyland Paris

French newspaper Le Parisian is reporting that a park guest was arrested Wednesday evening after they were allegedly caught flying a drone inside Parc Disneyland.

A 35 year old German tourist, was apprehended by security during park hours at approximately 9:45 PM near City Hall on Main Street, U.S.A. in Disneyland Paris and placed into custody at the Chessy police station.

There, he explained to the authorities that he had spent the day at the park and that he was trying to take souvenir photos and videos before returning to Germany on Thursday.

The police erased his images and returned the camera. He was given a warning and released without charges on Thursday morning.

The area above Disneyland Paris is restricted airspace. A 53 year old photographer in 2014 was prosecuted for flying a drone over the parks and backstage areas, facing a possible six month imprisonment before the case dropped.

Disney donates $5 million towards the Notre-Dame rebuilding project.

Following Monday’s tragic fire at France’s Notre-Dame de Paris medieval Catholic cathedral the Walt Disney Company has today announced a $5 million donation to the rebuilding project.

Robert A. Iger, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer said “Notre-Dame is a beacon of hope and beauty that has defined the heart of Paris and the soul of France for centuries, inspiring awe and reverence for its art and architecture and for its enduring place in human history.

The Walt Disney Company stands with our friends and neighbors in the community, offering our heartfelt support as well as a $5 million donation for the restoration of this irreplaceable masterpiece”.