An interesting article about the subculture of Disney Pin Trading which launched 10 years ago has been published by The Orange County Register.

The subculture of Disney pin trading turns 10
By Sarah Tully

Disney’s pin trading was supposed to be only for its Millennium Celebration. But when 2000 ended, fans wouldn’t let Disney stop making the collectibles.
Now, Disney pins – of Snow White to the Monorail – have evolved into an international phenomenon.
Collectors have camped overnight for limited-edition pins, some embedded with actual tiny pieces of Disneyland rides. Fans pack strollers with thousands of tack-like pins to swap at events. Traders with studded lanyards regularly troll Disney parks for pins that only employees give out.
Disney, celebrating the 10th anniversary of pin trading at Anaheim’s Disneyland Resort, has lost track of how many types of pins the company has created.
“You have no idea (of) the insanity,” said trader Karin Bergmann, 46. “We call it pin-sanity.”
Trading starts
Disney officials got the idea for pin trading from the Olympics; in 1896, athletes exchanged cardboard discs, and a century or so later pin-trading at the Games exploded.
George Kalogridis, now president of Disneyland Resort, headed to the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan to get ideas for Disney’s Millennium Celebration that he was leading. He was then based at Florida’s Epcot.
In Nagano, he and colleagues happened to see a pin-trading area. Few traders spoke the same language, but they were communicating perfectly.
“We thought, ‘Wow, what if we could create that type of experience with the millennium?’ ” Kalogridis said.
Disney pins were supposed to last 15 months, starting in Florida and later in California parks.
“The guests won’t let you stop it,” Kalogridis said. “That’s what’s fun.”
Steven Miller, project manager of Disney trading, said he guesses that there are less than 50,000 types of pins.
“Quite frankly, we don’t know,” Miller said, declining to say how much money the pins generate.
Addictive hobby
Alan Zanger, a retired paparazzo in West Covina, said he traded the rush of hunting for celebrities for the thrill of finding pins.
Zanger goes to Disneyland at least 200 times a year, often bringing his 9-year-old daughter. He has about 5,000 pins.
Many fans often begin by picking a character or theme.
Katy Langness of Westminster started with pins featuring nurses. Andrea Shah of Riverside prefers “A Nightmare before Christmas” items.
Laurin Bergmann, 14, likes the purple that pops out of Maleficent pins. She says they are so valuable that she might sell them to pay for private culinary school.
Many collectors won’t say – or don’t know – how much they spend. They also often don’t know how many pins they have, either.
Standard pins go for $6.95 to $15.95 each.
Serious hobbyists often spend thousands. A single pin can grow in value to $1,000, such as a Jiminy Cricket pin from a Paris pin-trading night, said Alix Bax, who owns the Dizzipinz Web site.
The Riverside resident began selling pins on the Internet in 2005. In her personal collection, she has 5,944 pins.
Five years ago, eBay listed about 13,000 pins, she said. This week, there were more than 40,000.
Pin rules
Disney pin-trading has its own rules and etiquette.
At the parks, visitors are allowed to trade pins with employees, who get pins made by Disney especially for them that are not for sale. The “cast member” pins are meant to be a way for employees to interact with visitors.
Some hobbyists set up trading tables within parks.
“It’s a whole subculture,” said Ron Spanbauer, 55, of Duarte, who trades at Florida parks about three times a year. “People don’t know when they are walking around the park.”
His friend, Karin Bergmann, added: “The big joke is, ‘Do they have rides here?’”
Disneyland Resort sets up monthly pin-trading nights, when everything is traded and nothing is for sale. In January, about 300 people showed up on a rainy night to a Paradise Pier Hotel ballroom.
Until last summer, some collectors regularly spent nights under Disneyland’s elevated Monorail tracks to get in line for limited-edition pins, fans said. Disney eventually stopped allowing it, they said.
For an October release, some fans dressed in camouflage and hid in trash cans in Downtown Disney, Bergmann and Spanbauer said.
Betsy Sanchez, a Disneyland Resort spokeswoman, said Disney went to an online, random wristband system in January to make the system more equitable for some exclusive pins. The random system was used Wednesday for a 10th-anniversary pin release.
Most traders just find pin collecting a fun way to make friends and connect with Disney employees and the parks.
“Without our guests and their passion, (pins) would have ended long ago,” said Miller, the project manager of Disney trading.

Cineworld and Disney do deal over DVD release of Alice in Wonderland

The Times are reporting that Cineworld and Disney have struck a deal after the threatened boycott by Britain’s cinema chains of Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland because of a dispute with Disney over the movies DVD release.  Cineworld will start screening the movie from the 5 March 2010.
Disney has persuaded one of Britain’s biggest cinema chains to drop its boycott of Tim Burton’s film Alice in Wonderland after negotiations about the timing of its release on DVD.
Cineworld, which owns a fifth of British cinema screens, has agreed to show the film despite the studio’s wish to bring it out on DVD after 12 weeks rather than the usual 17. However Odeon and Vue, which own about 40 per cent of screens, have refused to compromise.
Neither Disney nor Cineworld would confirm how long Alice in Wonderland would be available exclusively to cinemas, but The Times understands that the cinema chain agreed to a shorter window after personal reassurances from Bob Chapek, Disney’s president of distrubution, that this would not be the usual practice for Disney films.
The negotiations are pivotal for how people watch films in future because other distributors are expected to follow Disney’s lead. Distributors wish to bring films out on DVD more quickly because they believe it will revive flagging sales in home video, which was until recently the biggest moneyspinner for filmmakers. Sales of DVDs dropped by about 20 per cent last year. Distributors also hope that a faster home video release will curb the sales of pirate DVDs.
Odeon and Vue’s threat to boycott the film would be financially risky to both themselves and Disney, especially because Alice is available in 3-D format. The two chains own more than 60 per cent of 3-D screens in Britain.
Britain is the third biggest market for films outside the US and Japan, and is regarded as vital to the success of Alice in Wonderland. The involvement of Tim Burton, who is American but based in Britain, and British actors including Helena Bonham Carter, Stephen Fry and Alan Rickman mean that producers are hoping to recoup a substantial portion of the film’s $150 million (£100m) budget in British cinemas.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, another Tim Burton film starring Johnny Depp, made £37 million at the box office in Britain in 2005.
Joe Roth, a producer of the film, told the Los Angeles Times: “Anything that would prevent maximising Alice for the UK would be horrible. This would be one of the biggest pictures of the year in the UK. But I honestly think this will be worked out.”
A cinema source said that Disney had offered reassurances that shorter windows would only apply to a couple of its films every year: “Disney will have made some concession in order to persuade Cineworld that this is a film they want to show. The window is not the full 17 weeks, but is somewhere below. Whatever Disney does will be seen as setting the standard for other distributors.”
Odeon issued a statement last night that suggested that negotiations with Disney had broken down. “As a result of Disney’s insistence on reducing at short notice the theatrical window from 17 weeks to 12 weeks on a major 3-D title, regrettably with limited availability of 3-D screens, we have been left with no viable means of scheduling and promoting Alice In Wonderland.”
It added that other titles, such as How to Train Your Dragon and Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang, will “be taking priority” on its 3-D screens.
Disney, which has also provoked a boycott threat from Dutch cinemas, has previously backed down in arguments with British cinemas. It attempted to release Up, the Pixar animation, on DVD two months after its cinema release in October but withdrew its plans when British chains threatened to boycott A Christmas Carol, another Disney film.

Source: The Times

Eurostar Independent Review

During the night from 18th to 19th December 2009, five Eurostar trains failed in the Channel Tunnel and passengers encountered serious problems in completing their journey to London. One of these trains was from Disneyland Paris and was carrying 664 passengers.
Today an independent review into what happened has been published.

Following the overnight disruption to services on the 18th/19th December, and in the context of ongoing poor weather conditions, Eurostar services were then suspended over the next three days. Eurostar was due to carry around 90,000 passengers.

Below is what the report has to say about The  Disneyland Paris service (train 9057) that departed Marne-La-Vallée and was returning to London. What is very clear from the report is that conditions on the Eurostar Disney Train deteriorated very quickly. With the rapid build-up of heat after loss of air conditioning, many passengers on the train perceived themselves to be in an emergency situation.

As a frequest Eurostar passanger myself the report does not make pleasant reading.

The train departed Marne-La-Vallée (the stop for Disneyland Paris), carrying 664 passengers, on time at 19.37hrs and subsequently called at Lille, departing there at 20.50hrs. Many English families with small children were on board and the train crew was French.

At 21.40hrs the train was held in the Coquelles area due to the failure of 9157 in the Tunnel. At 22.08hrs 9057 entered the Tunnel. During this initial passage through the Tunnel loud noises were heard by the Train Manager and passengers and the loss of two motor blocs was reported by the driver.

At 22.40hrs the train stopped in the Tunnel, behind 9053 which was experiencing traction problems. The Train Manager noted that an announcement was made to reassure passengers and water was offered.

At this point, 9057 was at a standstill in the Tunnel, behind 9053 which had failed. An HGV shuttle was to the rear of 9057 and the position of these trains had to be rearranged before it could move. During this period further faults developed within 9057. This led to the isolation of further equipment. A battery reset was required and this was conducted at 00.18hrs.

At 23.48hrs the driver was notified that due to the failure of 9053 ahead, 9057 train would return to Coquelles. This move commenced at 00.41hrs, however the driver subsequently reported “explosion type noises” and loss of further motor blocs. The train came to a stand and failed, in interval 6 at 01.00hrs. At that time the train’s pantograph came down. Because the driver had not operated the CS Rad procedure correctly the train did not retain ‘vital services’.

9057 lost not only its air conditioning but also ventilation and lighting. In interviews with passengers it was apparent that the temperature inside the train rose quickly (see recommendation 14.1). Parents had to remove their children’s clothes leaving them in underwear and nappies. The train

was also in darkness. It was reported that some passengers suffered stress and panic attacks and that others started to feel unwell due to the heat.

The Train Manager made announcements to passengers but these were treated with a degree of distrust and many English-speaking passengers said that they could not understand the strong French accent. It was also claimed by passengers in their feedback to the Review that the crew were generally unhelpful and appeared intimidated by passengers. They ignored passengers, refused to answer questions and appeared to go into hiding.

An off-duty Essex policeman had identified himself to the Train Manager and offered help, but this was declined. At this point a paramedic from the Hertfordshire ambulance service had started administering first aid to passengers. A short time later the Train Manager requested urgent assistance from emergency services personnel aboard the train. The Essex policeman volunteered as well as two off-duty members of the British Transport police. 

The Train Manager 2 was with the driver in the cab and Train Manager 1 was working on his own with nobody from whom to seek advice. It was reported that he did not cope well and struggled with English so there were communication issues (see recommendation 12). Passengers have no recollection of seeing him walk through the train and he did not brief the catering crew to help. The off-duty Essex policeman stepped in and, according to passenger reports, took control of the situation.

As conditions in the train deteriorated, with temperatures increasing and a lack of air conditioning, a sense of urgency developed among passengers who wanted the doors to be opened. Many of these had small children who were distressed. No food or drink was offered to passengers. Throughout this time the Hertfordshire paramedic was providing medical assistance.

At 01.26hrs the driver reported to the RCC that there were major problems, on board – there was a lack of air and passengers were becoming angry. He was not able to use the radio from his own cab and had to use the telephone in the Tunnel.

A request was made by the train crew to the RCC to allow the the doors to be opened, but before authority for this was given, passengers started to open the doors themselves at 01.36hrs (see recommendation 6). The offduty police began to offer advice and assistance in opening the doors when they saw the difficulties passengers were having. It was reported that it was difficult to read the emergency instructions (see recommendations 13.3 & 13.4). Once the doors were opened and air started to circulate, the temperature improved in some areas (see recommendation 14.2).

Some passengers chose to get off the train, a number to smoke in the Tunnel (see recommendation 15.3), although most stayed onboard.  Meanwhile, an evacuation train (Eurotunnel vehicle shuttle 6667) had left Coquelles at 01.31hrs and arrived in the south tunnel at 01.49hrs. Although a few passengers had already disembarked the train, the official evacuation did not begin until 01.56hrs. Passengers report that no Eurostar staff were visible and that there was a lack of instruction.

Passengers interviewed by the Review team conveyed different experiences on this train with some passengers saying they received help from the FLOR while others received no assistance. As on train 9053, passengers were permitted to take their baggage with them.

Because of the positioning of the train in relation to the two cross tunnels, passengers in the front coaches (nearest the UK end of the Tunnel) were directed towards the cross tunnel at the UK end of the Tunnel. Passengers walked through this passage and onto the single deck of the shuttle. Passengers in rear coaches were directed to walk through the cross tunnel at the French end and to board the bottom level of the double deck of the shuttle.

Conditions for passengers on this shuttle were poor. It was cold and passengers reported that it was dirty. All passengers, including pregnant women and small children had to sit on greasy floors or to lean against the sides of the carriage. The FLOR found it difficult to identify the Train Manager from 9057 on 6667 (see recommendations 7.7 & 7.8).

The shuttle then departed at 03.52hrs, arriving at 04.16hrs on platform F4 at the Coquelles Terminal. Whilst on route to Coquelles, three medically trained rescue staff walked through the train, checking if anyone required medical assistance.

On arrival at Coquelles, passengers were asked if they wished to leave the train, rather than wait and be transported onto London. Eleven passengers left the train at this point and were transferred to Calais Frethun to await a passenger train.

After a period of time Eurotunnel provided water and around 800 pastries to Eurostar passengers on the shuttle (this was in addition to the arrangements it was making to cater for around 1,000 of its own customers in Folkestone and around 600 in Calais). Some of this food was distributed by Eurotunnel staff throughout the carriages; however, most passengers were required to proceed along the train to collect this.

Because many passengers were unfamiliar with the layout of the shuttle and hence unsure as to whether they were in the single or double deck, there was some confusion about where refreshments were being distributed (see recommendations 7.5 & 7.6).

Eurotunnel staff were available on the train to provide information, however this appeared to have been provided largely in response to passenger questions rather than through proactive announcements. Passengers were required to remain on the shuttle for a period of time prior to being allowed off in small numbers to the platform area to smoke.

At this point Eurostar thought passengers were being looked after at the terminal indicating that there were issues with the communication. During this period, the toilet facilities quickly became unpleasant. There were only 10 toilets – six in the single shuttle and four on the lower deck of the double deck shuttle.

Although Eurotunnel provided some additional toilet paper, they did not clean or empty the toilets, which were overflowing (see recommendation 16.4). This led to passengers designating one carriage as an open toilet area.

Passengers have no recollection of any senior member of Eurostar or Eurotunnel staff, or other authorities, other than the three medically trained FLOR staff, walking though the shuttle to see how the 650+ passengers were, or to provide explanation or instructions (see recommendation 16.1).

At 05.44hrs, the shuttle left Coquelles for the Folkestone Terminal, arriving there at 06.20hrs. Upon arrival passengers remained on the Eurotunnel vehicle shuttle for some time awaiting the arrival of a Eurostar train (9096) at 08.13hrs (see recommendation 16.2). At this point there appear to have been no announcements by authorities and passengers had no idea what was happening. Passengers’ feedback to the Review states that they felt they were being held ‘captive’ on the train and that tempers became frayed.

The transfer of passengers to 9096 began at 08.15hrs and was then conducted via a limited number of doors. Because platforms in the Eurotunnel terminal have been constructed for use by vehicle shuttles, there was a large stepping distance between the platform and Eurostar trains, which do not normally use these platforms. To facilitate evacuation, the authorities had put in place ramps. Again passengers have no recollection of anyone in authority walking through the train to see the conditions of the passengers or explain what was happening. This transfer was completed by 09.15hrs. Women and children were evacuated first from the shuttle and were left to wait for a time outside on a platform in freezing temperatures before boarding the Eurostar train (see recommendation 16.3).

This relieving Eurostar service 9096 was loaded with the 664 passengers from 9057, together with approximately 270 people from 9059, and departed Folkestone Terminal at 10.30hrs. The Train Manager from 9057 took charge of this train and the staff from 9059 were on board, although it is reported that they locked themselves away because they were afraid of passenger unrest.

There was a subsequent delay to this train of a further 30 minutes, which finally departed the Eurotunnel / Network Rail (CTRL) boundary at 10.55hrs, arriving in St Pancras at 11.53hrs (10.53hrs GMT).

Eurostar has said it is working with Eurotunnel to undertake a comprehensive review of all the procedures for rescue and evacuation from the Tunnel and as part of this they will be jointly purchasing two further rescue locomotives, to improve the rescue process. They will also be investing £12 million in a state-of-the art communications system which will significantly improve communications within the Tunne
In addition to the above measures Eurostar are going to be making the following further improvements to their customer care and communication processes including:

  • Operating 24/7 call centre during periods of disruption
  • Regular SMS text messaging and email updates for customers
  • A more robust contingency plan to draft in extra staff during disruption
  • Appointing a new Director of Business Service Continuity to take charge of the implementation of all these changes so they are carried out speedily and effectively

Finaly Eurostar stated that it is fully committed to ensuring that the disruption their travellers experienced before Christmas never happens again and that they wish to win back passanger confidence and trust in their service.

Toy Story 3 Trailer: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut

Pixar today released the second trailer for next year’s Oscar winner for Best Animated Film, Toy Story 3. We already knew the tear-jerking would be ratcheted up this time around (the movie follows Buzz, Woody, and other playthings as they’re donated to a day-care facility before an 18-year-old Andy leaves for college), but so, too, we guess, will everything else: There’s a larger cast of toys, more action, and at least one barely forgivable poo joke. It’ll still be great, though, probably.

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EURO DISNEY S.C.A. First Quarter Announcement

Fiscal Year 2010
First Quarter Announcement

• Total revenues decreased 11% to € 292 million, driven by lower theme parks attendance and hotel occupancy

• Increase in average spending per room and flat average spending per guest

(Marne-la-Vallée, February 9, 2010) Euro Disney S.C.A. (the “Company”), parent company of Euro Disney
Associés S.C.A., operator of Disneyland® Paris, reported today the following revenues for its consolidated group (the “Group”) for the first quarter of fiscal year 2010 which ended December 31, 2009 (the “First Quarter”):
Resort operating segment revenues decreased by 10% to € 290.8 million from € 323.0 million in the prior-year period. Theme parks revenues decreased by 12% to € 164.7 million from € 186.1 million in the prior-year period, primarily resulting from an 11% decrease in attendance. The decrease in attendance was driven by fewer guests visiting from the United Kingdom and France. Average spending per guest remained on par with the prior-year.

Hotels and Disney® Village revenues decreased by 10% to € 112.3 million from € 124.6 million in the prior-year period, due to a 9.9 percentage points decrease in hotel occupancy, partly offset by a 3% increase in average spending per room. The reduction in hotel occupancy resulted from 52,000 fewer room nights compared to the prior-year period, primarily due to fewer guests visiting from the United Kingdom and lower business group activity. The increase in average spending per room reflected changes to pricing and promotions strategies.

Other revenues, which include participant sponsorships, transportation and other travel services sold to guests, increased € 1.5 million to € 13.8 million.

Commenting on the results, Philippe Gas, Chief Executive Officer of Euro Disney S.A.S., said:

“Our First Quarter revenues reflect the continuation of the difficult economic environment with a decrease in Resort visitation. In the first quarter 2009, our revenues had not yet been fully impacted by the economic decline, partly because of the way guests book their vacations in advance of visits. This changed and intensified throughout 2009, with our guests now booking closer to their visits while also searching for promotions. However, our pricing and promotion strategies in the First Quarter enabled us to increase hotel per room spending and keep per guest spending in our parks on par with the prior-year.
We remain committed to delivering a high-quality, unique Disney entertainment experience to drive revenues while managing our costs. In April we will launch the Disney New Generation Festival, a new annual celebration, creating even more reasons to visit. We also continue to invest in the development of our resort and look forward to opening Toy Story Playland with its three new attractions, in summer 2010. We believe the strength of the Disney brand and our commitment to guest service will allow us to grow our business as the economic environment improves.”


A study on the socio-economic impact of Disneyland® Paris was issued on December 16, 2009 by the interministerial Delegation for the Euro Disney project in France. The study confirms Disneyland Paris as a leading vacation destination and as the fifth largest hotel complex site in France. The study notably concluded

• 6.43% of France’s tourism income from foreign visitors is generated by Disneyland Paris guests
• 1 job at Disneyland Paris generates 2.78 jobs elsewhere in France
• 56,000 permanent direct and indirect jobs have been created in France by Disneyland Paris activity

This study can be found on the Ile de France Prefecture’s website and is only available in French

In April 2010, Disneyland® Paris will launch the New Generation Festival, a celebration welcoming the most
recent Disney characters into the parks. New characters, such as Remy1 and Princess Tiana2, will be showcased in the Once Upon a Dream Parade, and Disney’s Stars ‘n’ Cars and on the Disney all stars express.
During the celebration in summer 2010, the Walt Disney Studios® Park will introduce three new family attractions in Toy Story Playland, inspired by the animated Disney-Pixar feature Toy Story. With oversized decor, guests will have the impression that they’ve been reduced to the size of Andy’s toys as they come to life in Toy Soldiers Parachute Drop, Slinky Dog3 Zig Zag Spin and RC Racer.

1 Featured in the Disney©/Pixar movie Ratatouille
2 From the Disney© animated feature The Princess and the Frog
3 Slinky® Dog is a registered trademark of Poof-Slinky, Inc. All rights reserved.

Next Scheduled Release in February 2010: Annual general meeting of the shareholders

Additional Financial Information can be found on the internet at


The Group operates Disneyland® Paris which includes: Disneyland® Park, Walt Disney Studios® Park, seven themed hotels with approximately 5,800 rooms (excluding approximately 2,400 additional third-party rooms located on the site), two convention centers, Disney® Village, a dining, shopping and entertainment center, and a 27-hole golf course. The Group’s operating activities also include the development of the approximately 2,000-hectare site, half of which is yet developed. Euro Disney S.C.A.’s shares are listed and traded on Euronext Paris.

Disney profit beats forecasts

Walt Disney Co. said Tuesday it made $844-million (U.S.) in the holiday quarter, roughly flat compared with a year earlier, as restructuring charges offset cost-cutting and gains at ESPN and the Disney Channel.
The advertising recovery had an uneven effect at Disney, with ESPN and Disney Channel benefiting from higher ad revenues, but the ABC broadcast network suffering from lower ratings and advertising prices. ABC nevertheless benefited from sales of Criminal Minds to other networks for reruns and in international markets.
Disney is closely tethered to consumer confidence because spending on its theme parks, stores and movies is a good barometer of how freely people are spending their extra cash.
Theme park revenues were flat as a decline in attendance at Disneyland Paris was offset by higher attendance in the U.S. parks.
Movie studio revenue was flat, but cost-cutting helped profits, while sales and income for consumer products fell.
Net income came to 44 cents per share, down a penny per share, from the same quarter a year earlier when earnings totalled or $845-million. Revenue rose 1 per cent to $9.74-billion.
The results beat analyst forecasts. Excluding one-time items, adjusted earnings rose 15 per cent to 47 cents per share, compared with 41 cents per share in the prior-year quarter. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters were expecting earnings of 39 cents per share on $9.62-billion in revenue.
Shares gained 43 cents, or 1.4 per cent, to $30.27 in extended trading after the results were announced.

Jobs that make dreams come true at Disneyland Paris

The Times newspaper has published an interview by York Membery with Simon Opie of Disneyland Paris.
Jobs that make dreams come true at Disneyland Paris

There is no question who are the stars of the show. As children and parents jostle for position, as music blasts from speakers on lamp posts, Donald, Goofy, Pluto, Eeyore, Piglet, Minnie and Mickey wobble on to the outdoor stage. Cue cheers and squeals and the highlight of many a trip to Disneyland Paris, that celebration of old-fashioned American kitsch on the outskirts of the French capital.

For Simon Opie, however, this is a serious business. As product integration vice-president at the resort, “I have responsibility for developing the entertainment programme — and that extends to the accompanying food offers and character dining experiences we’ll be putting together, as well as the relevant merchandise”. An enormous brief, in fact, that includes managing 450 product development staff.
A far cry, too, from his humble beginnings in an entertainment career as the production manager of the Oxford Playhouse, a job opportunity so attractive that he left Oxford University, where he had been reading English, before graduating to take it up. “The theatre was always my passion and it was a great opportunity which I knew I had to grab.
“Back then I had a budget of a few thousand pounds to juggle, whereas now I’m responsible for the opening of a €70 million [£60 million] attraction — Toy Story Playland.”
Mr Opie went on to work as a production manager in the West End before taking a senior management position with the Tussauds Group. He joined Disneyland Paris three years ago. Now 52, he says that his “focus, first and foremost, is on providing visitors with a first-class experience”. That, and “providing a style of leadership that encourages, rather than stifles, the park’s creative talent, who are so essential to our success.
“The great thing about this business is that there’s always something new to do or create, and that’s a great stimulus. But cheesy as it might sound, the thing that still gives me most satisfaction is being able to walk out into the park and see people having a good time and know that I’ve contributed to them having a good time.”
One of his biggest challenges on joining Disneyland was learning the language. “Like every other British employee, I’ve had to work at my French, because you need a command of the language to work here.”
Katy Harris, the resort’s show director and a fellow Briton, argues that being a child at heart has helped her to achieve her Disneyland career. “You have to be able to dream big dreams and, despite my age, I’ve never really grown up,” she says (she is 41). “I still have the spirit of a kid, and I’m able to see things through a child’s eyes, and that helps me when it comes to creating a kids’ show.
“It’s a big challenge coming up with new shows and parades, but being able to take part in the whole creative process, from the writing to the directing, is tremendously satisfying.”
At the moment she is incorporating the heroine of The Princess and the Frog, the new Disney film, into the resort’s Once Upon a Dream Parade. Creating a parade is a big challenge: they can consist of 150 or more performers. Each float in a parade is a moving theatre with its own sound and light system. “You’re never quite sure if everything’s going to be working 100 per cent until the parade takes place.”
After making her stage debut aged 14 in a panto, Ms Harris studied musical theatre at the Arts Educational School in London before going on to appear as a dancer in West End productions. She joined Disneyland Paris initially as a performer. “Having some performance experience really helps you understand what your performers are capable of delivering,” she said. “You also need to be able to keep the organisational side of things together because you have to remember that we put on most of our shows five times a day and everything has to work like clockwork.”
Inevitably, things will go wrong. Sue LeCash, show costume designer/head of creative costume, will never forget the day that she was working on a television show when the studio audience got to see more than planned of an actress. “We had to unroll someone off camera on to the stage — but quite a lot more of her clothes than expected came off so she ended up on stage in nothing but her underwear.”
Ms LeCash, 67, has worked in the entertainment industry for 40 years but says that she still relishes arriving at Disneyland Paris each day for work. “It’s a fascinating job because, as a costume designer, I’m integral to the creative process and work closely with the show director and the set designer. We make thousands of costumes every year because we need about six to ten costumes per performer to cater for their different sizes.
“Another big challenge here at Disneyland is creating costumes that can be worn outside all year round so we’ve had to create undergarments that performers can wear to keep themselves warm.”
After studying dress design at St Martin’s College of Art in London in the early 1960s, she got a job in the costume workroom of ATV, the television company, at Elstree Studios. She won an Emmy award for the costumes on the 1975 television series, Edward the Seventh in a career that has included working with big names from Tom Jones to Kermit the Frog — to, of course, Mickey.
She joined Disneyland Paris in 1992 as designer and manager of creative costuming for animations and entertainment. Since then she’s created hundreds of costumes for the resort’s parades, shows and characters and done everything from dress stilt-walkers to create walking carpets for the Aladdin parade.
Costume design is a specialised career and Ms LeCash advises those wanting to follow in her footsteps to enrol in a costume design course. “A broad knowledge of costume — anything from period costume down to the latest entertainment shows — is essential. You also need to have an eye for modern fashion. What’s more, you need to know how a costume needs to be cut, because you have to calculate the amount of fabric you’re going to need and know how the fabric is going to react … It’s incredibly interesting for someone like me who’s into costumes.”
Source: The Times

Disneyland Paris Cowboy Wins Golden Globe Award

Ex Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show Cowboy Ryan Bingham has won the 2009 ‘Best Original Song’ Golden Globe award for The Weary Kind (The Theme From Crazy Heart) which he wrote with T Bone Burnett.

Ryan played the role of Cowboy for a few months several years ago in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show (La Legende de Buffalo Bill) and remains good friends with several members of the cast, especially Lucas, who helped him get the job.