A Cynic at Disneyland Paris Enchanted Christmas

For many years, I’ve cherished my semi-professional cynic status, as a journalist and a blogger. This is not a blog where you’ll find much in the way of unicorns and sparkles. But some things melt even the most  cynical heart – and being hugged by Donald Duck in a snowy winterland might just be one of them.  

Still, at least I wasn’t photographed doing it, or anything. 

Disney box 1
Yep. It's true. Earlier this month, Flea and I were invited to spend a weekend at Disneyland Paris to experience the Disney Enchanted Christmas. I hugged a duck. And I liked it. 

Because I am a little bit evil, I told Flea we were going to Maths Camp. I made up a song and everything. Flea’s face on Thursday afternoon as her teacher waved her off with a cheery, “Have fun doing hard sums!” was one of the best things I’ve EVER seen. Needless to say, when Flea realised we were really going to Disney – well, she was pretty happy…watch this video to see HOW happy. 

So what was it like?

Well, we loved it. Yes, there are queues, and yes, it’s busy, and yes, I had blisters at the end of the weekend from tramping from one end of the park to another, but…

If you travel by Eurostar from St Pancras, you get dropped off right in the Disney village, which is SO fast and stress-free. It’s perfect. And if you’re also booked into one of the Disney Hotels (we stayed at the New York) then you can be checked in and ready to explore within an hour. Marvellous.

There are shows and performances and parades throughout the day at Disneyland Paris and Flea loved them ALL – even the ones with princesses in. Just out of interest, would it be weird to fancy Flynn Rider? You know, just a little bit?

The parades were exciting and surprisingly heart-warming, and several weeks later Flea can still recite the order the floats appeared in, and what each character was wearing and doing.  The shows combine French and English, which is a bit odd, but you can sort of follow what’s going on.  And even if you don’t, everyone can join in with the 20th rendition of “When You Wish Upon a Star”.

Disney box 3
Disneyland Paris has some amazing rides if you’re a roller coaster fan (and we are) but do measure your kids before you go – several of the bigger rides are restricted to people taller than 1.2m or 1.4m and Flea was too short to ride. Having said that, if you’re looking for rides that will make you scream like a small girl, I can recommend Crush’s Coaster, Thunder Mountain and Star Tours.  

Another highlight was the Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast, which puts you inside your own video game, with a laser gun to shoot targets, and a personal score. I may have got a teeny bit competitive but I feel I should point out that by our fourth go I scored LEVEL FOUR on that one. This means nothing to you, but feel free to be impressed. Perhaps even a little awe-struck.   

Of course, though, the reason to go to Disneyland Paris right now is because it’s Christmas. On our last afternoon in the park, a cameraman asked me if the weekend had been magical. Of course, I couldn’t possibly admit that on camera (I’m Northern, after all) but, you know, I think it was – just a bit.

On the Saturday evening, after the park had closed, we had dinner at the Blue Lagoon restaurant, with the faux river of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride behind us.  After we’d stuffed ourselves on mini cheeseburgers and hot dogs, Flea got to make her own Duffy the Bear, and we headed into the park, where we had a couple of hours exclusive access to some of the best rides.

The park was lit up with lanterns and a billion or so fairy lights making the “snow” sparkle on the ground. There were twinkling lights and Christmas carols playing in the background as we whirled around the carousel, took a spin on It’s a Small World and made ourselves dizzy in the Mad Hatter’s tea cups, spinning round madly to try and see all the lanterns overhead. Flea got a chance to hug Mickey and Minnie, and we took about a thousand photos.  

Then, as the clock ticked towards midnight, we walked hand in hand back up Main Street towards our hotel, and it started to snow (Disney Snow, of course). Flea was mesmerised. She actually used the words, “It’s just like a dream, isn’t it, Mummy?”

And then – at the top of Main Street, sitting in a huge sleigh that seemed to have popped right out of the pages of a story book –  we found Father Christmas, handing out sweets.

I think Flea’s mind was completely and utterly blown.

Disney Box
And that’s why I’d go to Disneyland Enchanted Christmas. Not for the rides, or the t-shirts, or the parades, or any of it. But for the moment when your child looks at the world and all they see is magic.

Disclosure: All our travel, entertainment and accommodation costs were provided by Disney Resorts for the purposes of this review. During Disney's Enchanted Christmas, prices for 2-night, 3-day break including return travel by Eurostar and accommodation at the New York Hotel start at £1,087.20 based on 2 adults, and 2 children aged 3-6. For further information visit www.disneylandparis.com or call 08448 008 111.  

You can see more photos of our trip over on the blog's Facebook page

 

About 

Sally is a full-time blogger and founder of the MAD Blog Awards and the Tots100, a community of almost 5,000 UK parent blogs. She is also a busy single Mum to Flea, the world's coolest seven year old.

Comments

  1. Melissa {Australia} says:

    She is gorgeous! So jealous!!

  2. Wow, that looks amazing. Very magical. My 3 would LOVE it. x

  3. It sounds utterly awesome. I know my kids would love it. But not at £1087.20 for 2 nights! Blimey, that’s a lot.

  4. Aw, thanks!

  5. Magical, indeed.

  6. It is quite a lot, I know, but that includes 4 return Eurostar tickets, four tickets for all 3 days to both Disneyland Park and Disneyland Studios, and it’s one of the more expensive hotel – the same package at one of the cheaper hotels starts at around £800. I think £250 per person is a big spend, but I think for the Christmas period with all the added entertainment, I’d definitely consider it.

  7. TheBoyandMe says:

    Oh my word, that photo of Flea on the bottom panel has me with a lump in my throat. She looks completely enchanted with the world, that is worth any glitzy nonsense. I can’t wait to take The Boy there when he’s a little older, it will be amazing.
    We stayed in Hotel New York for our honeymoon, very nice hotel with a complimentary fruit basket. Good stuff.

  8. cherished by me says:

    Beautiful photos…such a magical thing to do and the photos really capture Flea’s delight. We went at Christmas time many years ago, the children loved it, definitely the best time to go if you can. :)

  9. I’m a cynic where bad value for money is concerned and a little bit *cough* thrifty, otherwise very generous – but I love, love, love Disney!
    HD has done Florida’s Disney World several times with O’Pops and we have all done California DisneyLand a couple of times.
    We love California – how could we not just drop in :o (for a few days)
    As a family we are K’Boo (now 4) her first time was at 1, then 3 yrs. H’Boo (now 12) at 9 then 11 yrs and O’Pops (now 11) has experienced Disney many times.
    I have a disability and O’Pops is in a wheelchair with CP – but we have always had FULL access to the rides and the whole experience is second to none in Family Entertainment. I’d happily write a book on where is good to go for families experiencing disability and Disney would come high on the list.
    The experience is therefore ‘not to be missed’ for ALL families!

  10. Oh you must! It is so magical. I know California DisneyLand – HD knows Florida’s Disney World – he says the ‘Magical Kingdom has all the same rides and layout (but more spaced out there). I think this makes DisneyLand California better for families with small chidren and I’m told DisneyLand Paris is similar in that respect. It really is good value and a magical experience for chidren and adults (however much you see).

  11. Bargain – coming from me, that’s good!

  12. It sounds completely magical. Disney really do this stuff very well.
    I told Catherine once that the castle you see at the start of every Disney film is the Disney castle and that I will take her and her brother to see it one day.
    Now EVERY time she watches a Disney film she says “that’s the Disney castle. You’re going to take me and my brother there when we’re bigger”. I’ll never be able to forget it.
    I draw the line at hugging a duck though…

  13. Wow, I would so love to go to Disney! I remember when Disneyland Paris opened (whenever that was) and being so excited as it meant I’d be more likely to be able to go one day! Then we went and moved 3000 miles away!, never mind maybe still possible one year!

  14. Aaaaah, I keep meaning to do this, before the girls get too big. But if i don’t do it soon, we never will! Not sure 6/7 of us will ever be able to afford it though :(
    Looks lovely- brought a tear to my eye.

  15. Thanks it’s one of my favourites – SUCH a lovely moment.

  16. I agree, the Christmas stuff really added something special, I thought.

  17. I thought the accessibility at Paris was excellent, having taken groups of people with disabilities on holiday before it’s something I tend to look for. As for the trip as a whole, I’d really recommend it.

  18. Ah, there was a heated argument over the weekend because Flea’s Dad told her the same thing – it’s the Disney castle. It’s not. Turns out? It’s Sleeping Beauty’s castle. Flea was corrected by a little girl with better information, apparently.

  19. Ha! It’s worth a trip if you’re ever in Europe, though.

  20. Gosh, yes, it might get expensive – although I know you can do day trips, and combine with a trip to elsewhere in France maybe?

  21. Oh Sally, I love the photograph of you hugging a duck :) Have to say I may just have done something similar with the Maths Camp thing ;) I think Flea looked like she thoroughly enjoyed herself.
    We look forward here to our first family holiday abroad, feel like we are the only family in the world that always pops off to Wales for our holiday R&R ;) Maybe ED could go on our wish list.

  22. Flea’s face is a picture – guess it makes everything worthwhile eh. Big sigh. Never been to Disney/ED … Skig is now ancient (7) so hope to get there one day before life makes him a non-believer! Glad you had a great time duck hugger :)

  23. Midlife Singlemum says:

    What a wonderful weekend. And btw, it’d not wierd to have a bit of a crush on Flynn Rider. It would be weird to have a bit of a crush on Donald Duck.

  24. Ouch this sentence: “The moment when your child looks at the world and all they see is magic”.
    Made me cry.
    xx

  25. It was very, very cute!

  26. Phew. I was only asking hypothetically, though, of course.

  27. Flea’s 6 so not such a big gap – actually another year and she’ll be able to go on all the rides she was just that bit too small for this year. I think 7 would be a fab age to visit.

  28. We’ve been lucky in travelling but we’ve also had fun in Devon and Cornwall, which are our favourite summer hols. But Disneyland is a bit special, I think – definitely worth adding to the wish list!

  29. These are for sure the best surprises for children.
    I have never gone to Disney in Christmas but of course must be the most beautiful time of the year.
    I agree so much with Liska’s comment… that sentence made me cry too.
    Very nice pictures by the way.
    xx

  30. If you want to give your ‘cynical’ tendencies a break, you could try taking Flea to Efteling in Holland ( http://www.efteling.co.uk/EN/EN-Home/thepark.html). The European version of Disneyland, based on European culture & fairy tales (Bros Grimm, etc). I first went there as a very cynical journalist in the early nineties and was completely enchanted. I’ve been back twice since.

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  1. [...] than a polar bear’s toenails – as demonstrated when Flea and I visited last year for Christmas at Disneyland Paris. You just need to plan strategically. Your goals are to MAXIMISE warmth, and MINIMISE queueing in [...]