As I put up my Christmas decorations on the first of these merry days in December, I’m already brimming with that warm festive feeling that you just want to share with everyone. Surrounded by the twinkle of fairy lights and little bundles of red and green, my thoughts turn to my most recent trip enjoyed with one of my favourite people and someone I look forward to celebrating the wintery season with, my sister. This trip was an absolute cracker with a daily dose of 360 degree loops, as well as fairytale sparkle topped off with mulled wine and mickey mouse shaped biscuit that made it impossible not to get wrapped up in festive spirit. And so here for you are some of my top reasons why visiting Disneyland Paris at Christmas will make your time there even more magical.
The parades at Disney are daily extravanganza’s of music, colour and dancing Disney characters and the Christmas parades are even better. Exploding onto the streets of Fantasyland performers don their Christmassy best and dance their way down the visitor-lined streets into Main Street U.S.A. alongside beautiful floats of gingerbread houses and giant toy boxes, giving everyone the chance to see those all-time favourite characters. Watching the faces of the children light up at the sights of their cartoon heroes and villains is an absolute joy and have a camera at the ready for some spectacular shots of Santa’s sleigh to finish the show! As well as the Christmas parades, the Frozen sing-a-long show and Mickey’s Big Brass Band are also popular options and do not miss a chance to see the Disney Illuminations show at the end of each Disneyland day. It is an unforgettable experience!
I loved seeing the Disney characters walking through the parks, signing autographs and posing for photos with guests. Watching a santa-suited Goofy greet the dainty Daisy Duck with a hug and then go skipping off together down the street was one of those make-believe moments of the trip. Although watching Jafar make my sister jump out of her skin by sneaking up beside her was pretty funny too! The costumed keepers are 100% committed to their Disney characters and it shows, in the best possible way.
Characters are present throughout the park at designated times each day and the Princess Pavilion provides an opportunity for everyone to have a photo with one of the beautiful Disney princesses. Having narrowly missed out on the Halloween celebrations, imagine our surprise when we saw this Sandyclaws character posing with visitors. Even adults can get excited about having a photo with an old favourite and we were no exception!
Disney do Christmas like nowhere else and the decorations throughout the parks add a fantastic extra glow to the pretty surroundings. Imagine this….you enter the park under the famous Disneyland Hotel and the twinkling Tinkerbell sign signalling the 25 year anniversary of the park, to see a magnificant 60ft Christmas tree standing proud in the town square, glittering with toys and silver-blue lights and surrounded by its own fir tree forest with Disney bauble characters. You walk in awe past the tree full of excitement to see what lies ahead, to find Main Street U.S.A’s beautiful colonial-style shops lit up in matching colours with twinkling fairy lights as jingling bells and Christmas music play. The waft of bakery goodness fills the air as you pause to take in the scenery, watching guests admire the shop windows and pose for photos along the pretty shopping parade with sparkling garlands linking the shops overhead. It really is a festive feast for the senses. At the end of the street, the parks beckon crowned by the fairytale jewel of Sleeping Beauty’s castle and looking back up the street to the glistening tree and see the faux snow drifting down for the first time, you realise the hours spent and thought that Disney have put in to making every visitor’s trip something very special.
The shops you find in Main Street and dotted around the parks offer a variety of Disney gifts, treats, keepsakes and clothing all year round. At Christmas some of these are transformed into havens of seasonal treasure selling decorations and collectibles. The shops around the Castle offer some truly unique gift-ideas in the form of glass, crystal and personalised pieces with the cased rose from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast and glass wands being very popular gifts here. The House of the Three Fairies has a plethora of baubles, decorative figures and sweet treats, perfect for your Christmas tree, alongside a nearby store full of costumes to turn your little ones into Disney Princesses or Pirates. All three parts of Disneyland Paris have their own range of gifts as well as some central favourites, with options on offer changing a little every day. If you spy the perfect present for a loved one, don’t wait too long to buy it. It might not be there tomorrow!
Spending time at Disneyland Paris is like taking a step into a much-loved memory. Every sight and sound reminds me of the cartoon movies that I loved throughout my childhood and still do as an adult. The atmosphere in the Christmas season only adds to the experience and you can see its wonderful effects on every person in the park. Groups of visitors sing along to the Carols playing, jigging up and down as they wait for a parade about to begin. Children and adults stand on the drawbridge with mouths open gazing up at the vision of the castle above them. Guests converse and laugh with Disney characters before pulling the silliest of poses for a picture. Add to this, the storybook scenery, the rides, the foodie goodies, the shows, the fireworks, and you can see what brings guests back here again and again. Disneyland Paris is magical at any time of year, but for Christmas fans like me, being here at the launch of the winter season was something really very special.
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