Father Christmas may not officially be getting the sleigh out quite yet, but on November 8th, Christmas got under way in Disneyland, Paris. From now until January 6th, there will be all kinds of festive fun at the original European Disneyland, as well as at the Walt Disney Studios and throughout the surrounding Disney Village. The resort's themed hotels, restaurants and park areas - including the Davy Crockett Ranch, the Wild West Hotel Cheyenne, and the fairytale castle - will be entering into the festive spirit with magical decorations, shows and activities and offering all that is brightest and best of this very special season.
The Sleeping Beauty Castle that presides over the park has been transformed into a shimmering ice palace lit by nearly half a million bulbs. Opposite, as if by magic, a huge Christmas tree has sprung up and each evening, at dusk, Mickey and Minnie in person take charge of turning on the tree lights. There's a postbox where each child can post their Christmas wish list and Santa has promised to personally answer each and every one of them when he gets back home from the Toy Workshop which he has set up in the park and opened to visitors.
During the Christmas season, the traditional parade that runs through the park each evening will be led by Santa's sleigh with an escort of wooden soldiers and followed by a magnificent procession of floats that recreate some of the best-loved Disney stories. Every night, just before the park closes, Disney's Fantillusion cavalcade puts the icing on the Christmas cake with a string of illuminated coloured floats parading down Main Street USA, the resort's central street which is decorated in the style of the early twentieth century city that gave birth to Walt Disney himself and which leads to the different thematic areas of the park.
During these few extra special weeks, visitors will also have an opportunity to stroll around the medieval village of the Beauty and the Beast star who has carved a niche in the heart of Fantasyland, the favourite area for the youngest in the family. Nearby, from November 21st, the youngest have a further treat in store with a magical Christmas show from It's a Small World. Here visitors can witness the well-loved singing and dancing of the troupe of dolls that represent all the far-flung corners of the planet - in suitably festive costumes, of course.
The ice show Mickey's Winter Wonderland, featuring Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Pluto, Goofy, Chip and Dale, returns to the stage of the Chaparral Theatre, in Frontierland, with more songs, and stunts and even snowball battles.
What's more, in December, on the 5th, 12th and 19th, Mickey invites you to join him for a Magical Christmas Dinner along with many other of the Disney characters (£60 for adults and £25 for children aged 3 to 11 inclusive; reservation required). And don't forget that at New Year, Disneyland keeps its doors open until 1 am and there will be a magnificent firework display to welcome in 2010 in with a bang.
Tips & suggestions:
Until early March 2010, Disneyland Paris will continue to celebrate "Mickey's Magical Year" which has brought new shows and attractions to the park as well as a couple of good deals for visitors. The best deal for families with young children is the one that allows full access to both parks and free accommodation for children under 7 years in the company of at least one adult per room, staying at any of the seven Disney hotels. There's also an offer of five days - including four nights accommodation and entrance tickets - for the price of four.