EXCLUSIVE: Strikers ruin British families' Disneyland Paris holidays
EXCLUSIVE: French strikers ruin British families’ Disneyland Paris holidays after militant staff halt shows and over-run the venue to demand more pay
- Children left in tears after militant staff stopped fireworks display and parade
- Sophie Cattermole and her family were among those caught up in the chaos
Striking French workers have been accused of ‘ruining the magic of Disney’ for British parents who have spent thousands of pounds to give their children a dream family holiday to Disneyland Paris.
Children were left in tears at the resort last night after militant staff stopped a fireworks display at the Sleeping Beauty Castle – and cancelled the flagship ‘Stars On Parade’.
Parents say their dream holidays have been ruined by a series of wildcat demonstrations that caused havoc across the amusement park outside the French capital.
Among those left furious was Sophie Cattermole and her husband Josh who had brought their daughters Tilly, five, and Vivi, two.
Sophie, 34, from Kent, told MailOnline: ‘We are livid. Our children are not getting the full experience we expected and paid a lot of money for. We saved up for this holiday for months, we were really looking forward to it, but now it’s been ruined. Everyone is saying that the Disney magic has been cancelled.’
Video posted on social media showed striking members of staff parading through the Disneyland Paris theme park carrying banners
Sophie and her family had their day spoilt yesterday when flag-waving strikers overran the venue throughout yesterday to demand higher pay and better conditions with further protests expected next week.
Shocking footage also showed staff fighting security guards before storming into the Walt Disney Studios.
Park officials had to close the guest relations office, known as the City Hall, after it was inundated by furious parents complaining about the fireworks fiasco.
And families were woken up in the night by the sound of noisy protests and police helicopters surrounding the on-site hotels.
One Twitter user posted a video of hundreds gathered at night. He wrote: ‘Right now…no final show. A real lack of respect for visitors.’
More than 1,000 Disneyland Paris staff took place in the demonstrations yesterday, the fifth day of action in their month-long protest for better pay and conditions.
Staff are demanding a £172-a-month pay rise and double-time for working on Sundays. They are also asking for an increased mileage allowance for the commute to the site in Marne-la-Vallee, which is 20 miles west of Paris.
Cast members claim Disneyland Paris President Natacha Rafalski is refusing to negotiate until the scheduled review in August.
Last night the park echoed with the sound of booing and children crying when officials announced the much-hyped 11pm fireworks display would not go ahead.
Sophie explained: ‘Disneyland cancelled the 11pm fireworks display five minutes before it was due to start.
Pictured: Strikers at Disneyland Paris parade through the park. Militant staff stopped a fireworks display at the Sleeping Beauty Castle – and cancelled the flagship ‘Stars On Parade’
More than 1,000 Disneyland Paris staff took place in the demonstrations yesterday, the fifth day of action in their month-long protest for better pay and conditions
Flag-waving strikers overran the venue throughout yesterday to demand higher pay and better conditions with further protests expected next week
‘Officials announced that it had been cancelled because protesters were in standing in front of the Sleeping Beauty Castle in the way of the fireworks.
‘Everyone got really angry because parents had kept their children up late to watch the show and then it was cancelled right at the last minute.
‘Disneyland then had to close City Hall, their guest relations, because too many people were trying to get in to complain.
‘And then we were woken up at 2am by the sound of cheering and shouting by the protesters who were marching around outside our hotel.’
The Cattermoles spent £3,000 on the four-day trip, which is their family holiday. But Disney failed to give them any warning that the protests were taking place.
During the protest, militant staff stopped a fireworks display at the Sleeping Beauty Castle
A twitter user posted a video of hundreds who had gathered outside the castle. He wrote: ‘This is a logical consequence when all possibility of negotiation is cut off. Support for the strikers of @DisneylandParis for whom it must not be easy to live every basic day, but moreover in such circumstances’
Sophie continued: ‘It’s our first time to Disneyland so it’s a real shame.
‘We came because the girls are both Disney mad. This is our family holiday.
‘We were hoping to see it all – parades, characters and fireworks.
‘But we have not seen a full parade as yet. Only a reduced parade.
‘We have not seen Stars on Parade, that’s the main show at 5.30pm. That has not been on.
‘My eldest is asking about why she can’t see the main parade. She asks why some of the rides are not on.
‘She asked about the fireworks and we said they were broken.
‘Luckily she is five years old and doesn’t understand.
‘The characters that are showing up are brilliant. But its half the experience.
‘We are hoping for a peaceful day today but who knows?’
MailOnline have contacted Disneyland Paris for a statement about the protests.
An automated reply stated: ‘Our press officers will get back to you as soon as possible. Wishing you a nice day.’
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