Bad weather, 'Welcome to Strikeland' chants greet visitors
PARIS — The Euro Disney theme park said it would reopen this morning after remaining closed through Sunday due to a freak storm that raged across France killing more than 20 people.
Among those hurt in the storms were six guests staying at the park’s Davy Crockett ranch. A tree fell on their bungalow after being hit by winds that reached peaks of more than 100 mph. Four of the six were released from the hospital after treatment.
The storms capped a rocky weekend for the theme park. Earlier, hundreds of striking workers greeted visitors at the gates of the theme park with chants of “We are badly paid” and “Welcome to Strikeland.”
Although fairly low key, Thursday’s pickets were the first salvo in an industrial dispute threatening to mar the theme park’s end-of-Millennium celebrations, which 45,000 people have booked to attend.
Unions have vowed to disrupt the festivities unless management brings forward pay talks and increases a $115 New Year’s Eve bonus.
Conceding that the ongoing strife was “bad for Disneyland Paris’ image,” Director Philippe Laflandre maintained that “more than 90%” of staff had turned up for work as usual Thursday, despite the strike order.
He predicted the same would apply for New Year’s Eve, and promised: “All visitors who intend to come for the end-of-year celebrations will find the park at their disposal as expected.”