Catherine Powell’s parting thoughts as she leaves Disney.

Catherine Powell, Former President, Disney Parks Western Region (Walt Disney World, Disneyland Resort and Disneyland Paris) and former President of Euro Disney S.C.A. published her final thoughts on leaving The Walt Disney Company on her LinkedIn account yesterday.

Parting thoughts as I leave Disney…

Today is my last day at Disney after 15 and a half years, during which time I have had the amazing opportunity to work across multiple businesses, in all corners of the world and with incredible people.

I leave with several beliefs I think make a good leader and, intuitively, a great team;

  1. View your career path as a series of stepping stones rather than a ladder to climb. Career moves seen as stepping stones teach versatility and can lead to new and often greater opportunities which may not have been immediately visible. Curiosity will help you choose different paths.
  2. Have courage. A courageous leader will foster loyalty, leading teams through changes with optimism and inspiration. You cant disrupt or transform without courage. Courage to believe in yourself to make the right decisions, even if there is a risk of failure.
  3. Be authentic. Authenticity creates trust. Teams will believe in and trust a leader they think is being true to themselves.
  4. Embrace vulnerability. Vulnerability is like a super power; it gives you incredible strength and confidence to face, own and eventually conquer adversity. I believe courage and authenticity can only truly exist in someone who is able to be vulnerable.
  5. Enjoy and encourage the success of others. A confident leader shares success. And if you can extend this to your colleagues also, then all boats will rise.
  6. Seek change. Disrupting the status quo is about looking for ways to embrace or finesse future opportunities for growth or even to survive. A useful step to change is to start asking “why?” And keep on asking why until the answer is immutable.
  7. Believe that ideas can, and should, come from everyone and anyone. Create a truly diverse environment in which everyone can contribute and so be their best self. Diversity will thrive under leaders who seek new thoughts and perspectives everywhere they look.

Apparently Walt Disney himself said “You may not realise it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in world for you”! I cant say gratitude was front of mind when it happened. But some weeks after learning I was leaving Disney, I can reflect with immense appreciation on the opportunities and experiences afforded to me and my family. And most importantly on the chance to meet and work with so many incredible people who have lifted me up over the past 15 years to make me a much better version of myself.

As I make my jump to yet another stepping stone, I am excited and curious about what this next chapter might have in store. Maybe Walt was right, and this will be the best thing in world for me!

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.

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”.