Disneyland Paris has long been the black sheep of Mickey’s amusement park empire. As it lumbered from one financial issue to the next, Michael Eisner’s European dream has soured into a run-down nightmare.
Of course, it’s not surprising that Disneyland Paris doesn’t compare favorably to its colleagues in Anaheim and Orlando—beacons of American achievement and infectious positivity that infect even the most cynical park-goer—as the French never really wanted the park in the first place. Over 20 years of fighting against this “cultural Chernobyl,” as well as disagreements over working conditions, have left the park with a workforce that is surly and disinterested, and who “ne veux pas retourner chez Mickey”.
You wouldn’t realize that the park had these problems if you watched We Are Disneyland, a new webseries featuring different Cast Members (Disney’s term for employees) talking about their roles at the park.
It’s a PR piece, obviously, so it’s not surprising that the first featured employee, Janis, is enthusiastic to a fault. He talks about bringing the Disney magic to life and “transmitting” it to the kids who come to ride on Autopia.
But the selection of Janis—who was recruited 18 months ago from Athens—is telling. Disneyland Paris dropped its original moniker, Euro Disney, to identify more with “one of the most romantic and exciting cities in the world.” It’s odd that the park would select a worker from another country to be the face of this project. The choice immediately raises a pertinent question: Were the producers unable to find a single French employee to spout the same scripted sentiments, sans smirk?
Screengrab via Disneyland Paris/YouTube