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.
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”.
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.
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.