McDonald’s employees take industrial action at Disneyland Paris

Workers and union members have held a protest at the McDonald’s restaurant in the Disney Village at Disneyland Paris to demand higher wages and an end to the use of tax havens by multinational corporations.

About 100 people, many waving red union flags, gathered peacefully for the protest on Thursday.


The workers are demanding a monthly minimum wage for fast food workers of €1,800 / £1,430.

CGT union representatives also evoked anger at revelations of offshore accounts and suspected tax dodging by companies.

McDonald’s France said in a statement that it “deplores” the protest and hopes for peaceful dialogue. It said the company has reached about 100 labor agreements with unions in the Paris region since 2008, but didn’t provide details on wage negotiations.

Protester Amel Ketfi said they want “1,800 euros, which is a minimum for a decent living, in order to pay its rent and eat. It is a minimum for all of us, not only fast food employees.”


In the U.S., protesters calling for pay of $15 an hour are expected to hold demonstrations at McDonald’s stores around the country Thursday. McDonald’s said it gives American workers access to a program that helps them with education and is raising starting wages.

Source: The Daily Mail

Catherine Powell named Président of Euro Disney S.A.S replacing Tom Wolber


Euro Disney S.C.A. today announced the nomination of Catherine Powell to the position of Président of Euro Disney S.A.S., the management company of both Euro Disney S.C.A., the holding company, and Euro Disney Associés S.C.A., the operator of Disneyland® Paris.

Catherine Powell will replace  Tom Wolber, who will return to the United States to take on operational responsibilities of the Disney Cruise Line.

“We are thrilled to welcome Catherine to Disneyland Paris,” said Karl Holz, president of New Vacation Operations and Disney Cruise Line. “Catherine has held a variety of senior leadership roles throughout the world for Disney, including in Australia and Europe, and has proven to be an exceptional leader who has the versatility and experience needed to lead the continued success of Disneyland Paris.”

Powell replaces Tom Wolber, who will return to the United States to take on operational responsibilities of Disney Cruise Line at a critical time for that business. Disney recently announced it is adding two additional ships to the Disney Cruise Line fleet. “Tom’s knowledge of shipbuilding is unparalleled, as he previously oversaw a number of complex expansion projects including the successful launches of the Disney cruise ships the Disney Wonder, Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy.

We are grateful for his many contributions in Paris and are anxious to have him back at the Cruise Line to oversee our latest expansion,” said Holz. “On behalf of my fellow Supervisory Board members, I would like to thank Tom for his thoughtful leadership of Euro Disney and his dedication to the resort, its Cast Members and all of the Guests who have visited Disneyland Paris,” said Virginie Calmels, chairman of Euro Disney Supervisory Board. “We are excited to welcome Catherine back to Europe and especially to Euro Disney and look forward to her continued success in her new role.”

Catherine Powell will begin her new assignment in July 2016. In the meantime, Tom and Catherine will transition the responsibilities to ensure continued commitment to the company’s long-term strategic priorities.


British expat Catherine who studied at Oxford University currently serves as the company’s Managing Director for Australia and New Zealand and has more than 12 years of experience in global roles throughout Europe, the Middle East and Asia. In her most recent role, she has been responsible for leading all of Disney’s business divisions, overseeing global franchises, and expanding existing and new business in the region.

Powell previously led the Media Distribution division of The Walt Disney Company in Europe, Middle East and Africa. Previously, she served as Disney Media Distribution’s senior vice president, Sales – UK, Ireland, Nordic, Benelux and Israel; and prior to that, the executive director – Sales, UK and Ireland. Before joining Disney, Catherine worked for BBC Worldwide for seven years, where she held various senior TV sales roles across territories including Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Germany and Spain/Portugal.

Powell is a Disney veteran who as Senior Vice President and General manager of Disney Media Distribution for The Walt Disney Company EMEA,  pioneered a single Walt Disney Company approach to delivering content across platforms.

She set pan-regional strategies for Disney’s branded channels, content and digital distribution for movies, television programming, games, music, e-books and apps. The company said Powell has a deep understanding of all of the Walt Disney Company’s brands, including Disney*Pixar, ABC Studios, Marvel and Disney.

As Managing Director for The Walt Disney Company in Australia and New Zealand, Catherine Powell reported to the Chairman of Walt Disney International, a company with revenues of $45 billion. She is responsible for driving the company’s strategy, coordinating and leading all company business divisions, overseeing global franchises, expanding existing businesses and seeking out new business opportunities.

In her time with Disney, Catherine has been at the forefront of change. She has promoted implementation of the company’s digital strategy and ensured Disney has kept pace with the latest technical developments. Catherine understands where the media and entertainment industry is now, where it is headed and the critical intersection of content and creativity with technology and platforms.

Catherine has demonstrated consistent leadership throughout her career, rising quickly through the ranks at the BBC and The Walt Disney Company. She started at the BBC as a sales executive and, within six years was leading Sales in the Middle East and Eastern Europe, including the development of local productions within the region. Catherine then moved to Disney, leading Sales in the UK and Eire before moving on to become General Manager, Media Distribution, for the region.

Catherine has mentored many women at all stages of their careers. Half of her direct reports are women, with many of those running major commercial areas for the company. Catherine is a member of the  CEO Forum in Austrailia and regularly speaks at women-focused events in the country.

Archaeological Excavations are underway behind the Walt Disney Studios Park.

French fan site ED92 are reporting that archaeological excavations are underway behind the Walt Disney Studios Park.

These photos were published on the ED92 Facebook page.

The work is being carried out in the area earmarked for extension of the WDS Park.

The archaeological excavations are required before any future construction.   

Source: ED92

Tom Staggs To Leave TWDC Putting Succession Into Doubt

Dateline and the New York Times is reporting that Disney  Chief Operating Officer Tom Staggs, the heir apparent to Chief Executive Officer Bob Iger, will leave the Walt Disney Company on May 6 but remain special advisor for the remainder of the fiscal year that ends in September 2016.

Disney had given no reason for the change, and its announcement doesn’t say what Staggs will do next. His contract was due to expire at the end of June 2018. Disney shares are down 1.7% in post market trading after the news.

TWDC says that the board will “broaden the scope of its succession planning process to identify and evaluate a robust slate of candidates for consideration” when Iger’s contract expires in two years.

There was no outward sign that the company had a problem with Staggs’ performance. He made $20 million in compensation for the fiscal year that ended in early October. But it appears that board members would not guarantee his eventual promotion to CEO.

Mr. Staggs also lacked the support of some Disney shareholders, including Isaac Perlmutter, the strong-willed chief executive of Marvel Entertainment. 

Although Staggs is well known and liked on Wall Street, some believe that Iger’s successor should have more experience in its core entertainment businesses — especially television. Staggs has been at Disney for 26 years, mostly handling deals and finance.

Disney shares are down nearly 17% since late November as investors became concerned about the loss of subscribers at its main cash cow: ESPN.

Staggs won the No. 2 job in February 2015, beating CFO Jay Rasulo. Staggs’ star rose at Disney in 2009 when he swapped jobs with Rasulo, who then oversaw the theme parks. That gave him a chance to run one of the company’s most important operations.

“Tom has been a great friend and trusted colleague for more than 20 years,” Iger says. “He’s made important contributions to this company, earning wide respect across the organization for his achievements and personal integrity. I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished together, immensely grateful for the privilege of working with him, and confident that he will be enormously successful in whatever opportunity he chooses.”

Staggs returned the compliment, saying that it has been “a great experience to work with Bob during this dynamic era of unprecedented growth and transformation. I remain grateful for that opportunity, and I’m confident that Disney’s future will be just as exciting as its legendary past.”

Source: Dateline / New York Times

Disneyland Paris technician dies in the Phantom Manor


A Disneyland Paris employee died Saturday (2 April 2016) between 8am and 9am in The Phantom Manor attraction shortly before the opening of the park to the public.

The maintenance officer, who was repairing  a faulty light fixture, was found by colleagues. His death was confirmed 10 hours later.

The cause of the technicians death appears to be accidental electrocution according to preliminary results of the ongoing investigation.

The man who was 45 years-old  had been employed at Disneyland Paris since 2002.  A union source said the technician was “very appreciated by his colleagues”.

The Phantom Manor attraction remains closed while the police investigation is ongoing to determine the exact circumstances of the technicians death.

Source: Le Parisien

Backstage at The Hyperion Gazette podcast


Last month we interviewed Disneyland Paris fan  and  DLP Hot Seat  host  Mitchell, and I received some very good feedback to that article, so we are starting an occasional Backstage series where once a month we will interview a member of the Disneyland Paris community.

So joining us this week in the Salon Mickey Lounge is Isaac Pevy host of The Hyperion Gazette podcast. Isaac is 21-years-old and is a freelance graphic and web designer who lives  near Ashford in Kent  which is handy for the Eurostar.  He  is a massive Disney and Star Wars fan, so when in 2012 The Walt Disney Company bought Lusasfilm and the Star Wars franchise it was  perfect for him .

Q: How long have you been a fan of Disneyland Paris?

I’ve been a fan for as long as I can remember. My Dad was always a big Disney fan and went to Euro Disney when it opened back in ’92. We went several times when I was very little, but then had a bit of a hiatus until 2012. Since then, I’ve been back over 10 times.

Q: When did you first visit Disneyland Paris and how often do you go?

I think the first time must have been when  was in 1998, when I was three. Now I try to make at least one visit a year, but usually end up going two or three times.

Q: Are you an Annual Pass holder?

I have been for a couple of years, but my pass ran out in February! I plan on renewing it next time I head over there, though.

Q: Are you a Euro Disney Shareholder?

I’m not. I got here a bit late to make holding shares worth the money really, other than to say that “I own a part of Disneyland”, which would be pretty cool.

Q: Have you visited any other Disney parks around the world?

Unfortunately not. California looks like it might be happening towards the end of the year though, which is VERY exciting.


Q: How did you come up with the idea of starting the Hyperion Gazette podcast?

I’ve been wanting to start a podcast for a long time. A really long time. But I’ve never really had a unique idea, and I didn’t want to rehash what others were doing. Then one day I found myself just telling people about various parts of Disney history and they found it interesting. So I thought why not record this and release it.

There are so many podcasts about these days that listening to them all is tricky, so I thought I’d go for a short bite-size format that packs in some cool trivia information. Just something that makes you go “huh. How interesting”. At least, I hope that’s what my listeners think!

Q: Do you have a favourite episode so far?

I’m extremely critical of my own work. Considering basically all my podcasts have just been me I don’t really ever listen to one and think “this is brilliant”. But I really enjoyed working with Mitchell from the Disneyland Paris Hot Seat to produce my Tsum Tsum episode, and the Oscars one was good fun to do.

My latest one on Discovery Island though I think is possibly my favourite, though. It felt like uncovering something hidden, and doing some detective work, something I’d like to do more of in future.

Q: Do you find it difficult to produce a weekly podcast?

Short answer: yes. It’s difficult to find time to research and produce a podcast to the quality I’m happy with each week if I’m honest. But – as a listener myself I appreciate a weekly podcast, so it’s something I’m going to continue to try to do. I’ve had a few hiccups on the way, with various things in my life happening meaning I have to put the podcast on hold for a week or so, but things are starting to stabilise in that sense so the weekly format is going nowhere.

Q: How can people listen to your podcast?

It’s available everywhere! iTunes, Stitcher, Soundcloud are the big ones though I suppose. I’m working on a website for the podcast too (a little exclusive for you) so that’ll be another place people can find us.


You can find the Hyperion Gazette on  Twitter @HyperionGazette and listen to the podcast via:

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