Disney Legend Jim Cora Dies at Age 83

Disney Legend, who began his Disney career at Disneyland in 1957 as a part-time attractions host polishing 3D glasses at the Mickey Mouse Club Theater and retired 43 years later as chairman of Disney International, passed away on March 21st at the age of 83.

Cora’s influence at the company was vast,  stretching around the globe from Disneyland to Walt Disney World, Tokyo Disneyland and Disneyland Paris, so much so that it took multiple windows dedicated in his honor on Main Street U.S.A. to capture all of his contributions.

According to the Orange County Register, Cora credited his rapid rise to company founder Walt Disney who set his career path in motion with a promotion into a training and development role. The boss sent the teenager over to the Disneyland administration building to find Disney University founder Van Arsdale France with the admonition: “Tell him Walt sent you. I think he may have something for you.”

Chairman, Disney Parks, Experiences and Products and former Disneyland resort president Josh D’Amaro called Cora one of the company’s last connections to Walt Disney.

Very few people have a Disney legacy that reaches as far and wide as Jim Cora,” D’Amaro said in a statement. “His dedication to bringing Disney magic to people around the world was only matched by the passion he exuded throughout his career and for the many years that followed. I always loved hearing Jim’s thoughts about our business. He was one of our last connections to Walt Disney and he will be missed dearly.

In 1971, Cora instituted the “Disney Way of Leadership” program at the Magic Kingdom with the opening of Walt Disney World.

Prior to the 1983 opening of Tokyo Disneyland, Cora was named managing director of operations for the that theme park.  He was then promoted to vice president of Walt Disney Productions Japan, overseeing Disney’s operational and design standards.

After Tokyo Disneyland, Cora was put in charge of master planning and site research for Euro Disneyland, which would later became known as Disneyland Paris.

In the 1990’s, Cora was responsible for the creative direction of Tokyo DisneySea. He retired as chairman of Disney International in 2001. Cora was named a Disney Legend in 2005.

Disney’s Tom Wolber to Return to Disney Cruise Line

Tom Wolber is leaving his role as president of Disneyland Paris’ management company to become senior vice president of operations for Disney Cruise Line.

Wolber will join the company’s Celebration-based cruise line division later this year, after he helps with the transition for the new president of Euro Disney S.A.S.

Wolber will oversee the recently announced expansion of the fleet, from four ships to six. Wolber replaces Anthony Connelly, who moved to the Imagineering division in January.

Disney announced in 2014 it had appointed Wolber president of Disneyland Paris’ management company, Euro Disney S.A.S. Wolber had previously been senior vice president of Walt Disney World resort and transportation operations for just a few months, overseeing Disney World’s 18 resort hotels and the property’s transportation network in a newly created position.

From the Orlando Sentinel

Disneyland Paris to Remain Closed Through Tuesday

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Disneyland Paris is closed to the public in a highly unusual move because of a string of attacks targeting a stadium, concert hall and cafes in Paris.

Today Disneyland Paris said that its two theme parks near the French capital will remain closed through and including Tuesday after the  attacks on Friday night that killed 129 people based on latest estimates.

On Saturday, the company had said it wouldn’t open for the day. On Sunday, its web site featured a quote from Euro Disney president Tom Wolber, saying: “We mourn those lost to the horrific attacks in Paris. We pray for the injured and we hold them all in our hearts. As part of France’s three-day national mourning period, Disneyland Paris will remain closed through Tuesday 17 November 2015.”

Some 14 million people visited Disneyland Paris last year.

France has deployed 1,500 extra troops around Paris and is tightening its borders because of Friday’s attacks.

Many of Paris’s top tourist attractions closed Saturday, including the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre Museum and the Disneyland theme park east of the capital. Some 3,000 troops were deployed to help restore order and reassure a frightened populace.

 

Walt Disney Company Bails Out Euro Disney as Visitor Numbers Fall

Mickey - DLP

Walt Disney Co. has come to the rescue of its loss-making subsidiary Euro Disney with a 1 billion-euro ($1.3 billion) funding deal that could give the U.S. group total control over Europe’s biggest tourist attraction.

The deal announced Monday includes a rights issue and debt restructuring that will inject 420 million euros in cash into the Euro Disney group and eliminate 600 million euros of its debt owed to Walt Disney via an equity swap.

Euro Disney is currently 40 percent owned by Walt Disney Co. and 10 percent by Saudi prince Alwaleed bin Talal.

Twenty miles east of Paris, the resort has struggled amid the economic downturn in Europe, with attendances down by 700,000 to 800,000 visitors at just over 14 million visitors in the last year. At the same time its total debt of 1.75 billion euros, which is owed to Walt Disney, has hampered its ability to invest in upgrades to the park.

The company said it estimates that revenue for the year just ended on Sept. 30 fell by up to 3 percent to 1.27 billion euros, while earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization dipped to 110-120 million euros from 144 million and net losses rose to between 110-120 million euros from 78 million.

“This proposal to recapitalise the Euro Disney Group is essential to improve our financial health and enable us to continue making investments in the resort that enhance the guest experience,” company president Tom Wolber said in a statement.

Under the plan, shareholders are to be offered nine new shares for every one held for 1 euro a share, raising 351 million euros. The company said the rights offer price represented a 20 percent discount to Friday’s closing price, adjusted for the issuance of the new shares.

In addition, shareholders will have the option to buy some of the shares issued in the debt conversion at 1.25 euros a share to avoid diluting their stakes. The company’s debt will fall to 998 million euros, taking the company’s balance sheet from a negative equity position of around 200 million euros at the end of September to positive equity of 800 million.

Depending on shareholder uptake of the rights issue and debt swap, the company said there was a small chance that the listed entity could be removed from the stock market.

Shares in Euro Disney were down more than 11 percent as investors digested the changes.

“The objective of this operation is to strengthen Euro Disney, not to de-list it from the stock market,” Finance Director Mark Stead told Reuters.

“Everything has been done to help convince shareholders to support the operation and subscribe to the capital increase so as to accompany Walt Disney in developing the company.”

Stead said that the level of Walt Disney’s holding in Euro Disney after the capital increase and debt restructuring will be determined by how many other shareholders take up the share offers.

Alwaleed bin Talal has not yet decided whether to subscribe to the share capital increase.

“I spoke to the Prince this morning, he welcomed the transaction but he hasn’t yet taken a stand on which way he wants to go. He’ll be coming back to us in about a week’s time,” Stead said.

Euro Disney had a market capitalization of 137 million euros at Friday’s close. After the share sale and debt restructuring, the market capitalization of Euro Disney will be roughly 980 million euros, said a company spokesman.

Euro Disney expects to complete the share sale and debt restructuring in the first half of next year.