EXCLUSIVE Interview: Mathias Dugoujon From Disneyland Paris

I am always on the lookout for Cast Members to interview. As a BIG Disneyland a Paris fan I want to know what it is like to work behind the scenes.

It has been a while since the last interview I posted so to mark our return I managed to secure an interview with Mathias Dugoujon from the Corporate Communications department at Disneyland Paris.

What is your current role at Disneyland Paris (DLP)?

As a communication specialist, I work on different tasks at the Corporate Communications department. My main priorities remain the creation of content and community management on both the Disneyland Paris YouTube channel and our Corporate Twitter accounts, where we have almost 50 000 followers, but I also overview the communication with the Disneyland Paris fansites & community (and other bloggers), both online and offline with dedicated events. The launch of “Ratatouille : the Adventure” was a good example on that : from hard hat tours to a big press event, the public opening and other corporate events.

Now we also manage a Digital Magazine, “Disneyland Paris News”, with our most up-to-date news. Obviously, its creation took a large part of my time recently, and I’ll work regularly with the team to update its content.

What is a “typical” day working at DLP like for you?

Honestly, I am permanently connected on the internet and social media, to read about our guests and fans’ opinion. But while this is important for us, as we value their comments, a big part of my day is dedicated to managing our social tools and creating multimedia content with the help of other departments. I also work regularly on future communication events for fans, and deal with each of their “media” requests (such as questions, pictures or interview needs). As our company is very diversified, and we have so many things going on at the Resort, so is our daily job : never the same.

There are so many social media accounts and websites dedicated to DLP, how do you keep track of them all?

Well, we use some dedicated tools that help us to keep an eye on what is being said about Disneyland Paris on the web. But I also spend a lot of time on websites and forums, to read and analyze the posts and comments. It’s really important to understand the fans, how they think and react, what matters to them. That’s why we are in direct contact with several dozen websites, and that we regularly meet with them. Nothing replaces a face-to-face dialogue, where we can express our points of views and explain things.

How big a role do you think social media plays with the promotion of DLP?

Obviously social media is globally very important for us, as it’s the easiest way to reach those who have an affinity for Disneyland Paris and share the magic with them. The key though is to understand our different audiences and give them the right content, wether they are fans, casual guests, journalists, Cast Members… even our Business Solutions or Human Resources teams, which are both very active on social media, target different people and “promote” Disneyland Paris differently, in ways that they couldn’t really do before. So it’s very exciting and challenging.

Before social media became so popular what was the best way DLP communicated with its fans/followers?

The company used different tools targeting different people (from Annual Passholders to Shareholders) and we had some early social tests (like a blog created for the 15th anniversary), but no department was truly dedicated to the fan or web community in the long term. We didn’t meet with fansites, or help them writing stories. But even today, we know it’s just the beginning, as fans always expect more from us !

At different times of the year DLP invites small selections of fan site/social media owners into the park for press events. Why is this important to DLP and how do you see this developing in the future?

It’s important because we know more and more guests learn from Disneyland Paris on fansites and forums. The reign of the all-professional press and official advertising is over. So treating fan bloggers as medias is a real step we took in the last three years. I try to invite recurring and new websites at each event (it’s a challenge as there are many, with new ones created almost every week) : for our latest Ratatouille event, we invited 50 fans from all over Europe. It’s not just about popularity, it’s also a way to recognize and thank the fans for their hard work. I know that every fan would dream to visit our backstage, or meet with our Imagineers or attend a press event, but in the end, the few that can come will share the experience on the web. We try to accommodate larger groups as well when we can, that’s why we created some historical conferences such as the one with Imagineer Tony Baxter in 2012 or on “It’s a Small World” this year.

What is your favourite attraction at Disneyland Paris and why?

I would say Pirates of the Caribbean because it embodies all that I like about Disney : it’s a big, immersive and innovative attraction, full of details and a memorable music (and I love Adventureland as a whole, it’s so exotic!). Although I must say I am very fond of “Ratatouille : The Adventure” right now, as it feels so new J

What is the best tip you could give us when visiting Disneyland Paris?

Stop tweeting and enjoy the atmosphere! 😉 Seriously, I am not sure I’d have any tips that fans don’t already know. However, what I personally like to do is take the time to explore the parks and all their details, sometimes without even riding some attractions.

Do you have any secrets/rare info that you are able to share with us about Disneyland Paris?

It’s a difficult question because fans know so much about our Resort and its history. So I would advise you to find a remaining copy of the “Disneyland Paris : 20 Years of Dreams” book, that I had the great pleasure to collaborate on. I tried to cram so many trivia and details in it with the author, especially for the fans.

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