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Ho ho ho everyone! Christmas at Disneyland Paris is something to behold. Main Street U.S.A. at Disneyland Park is decked out in gorgeous Christmas decor. Disney Hotels are feeling the festive holiday cheer. Even the Walt Disney Studios entrance area gets some love, as well as La Place de Rémy. This year Disneyland Paris went the extra mile and premiered a brand new holiday parade, new Christmas snacks, shows, and holiday themed meet and greets.
Mickeys Dazzling Christmas Parade
Mickey’s Dazzling Christmas Parade is this years (2021) star. The brand new holiday parade runs multiple performances daily at Disneyland Park. It’s an exclusive to Disneyland Paris and is performed both during daylight hours as well as at night.
Mickey’s Dazzling Christmas Parade is composed of five enormous floats and numerous performers. It’s not often that we get to peak behind the scenes of how these things are made. However, Disneyland Paris recently shared an insightful interview with the talented Tiphaine, who is a Stage Designer Assistant within the Entertainment Creative Department.
The main takeaway from the behind the scenes feature was that the selection of the paint for the floats was a real challenge. By carefully combining varnish and coloured ink, the floats can look beautiful during the light and dark hours. Overall we’re in love with the floats design and the characters featured. The parades song “Shine a Light” works well enough. It’s one of those nice generic parade songs.
What’s pretty neat is that each float is accompanied by its own soundtrack overlay, which adds variation to the score. The overlays were also giving the Disneyland Paris tech teams some trouble. With the soundtrack dropping out, causing some parade cancelations in the first few days.
Our only critique is that, the parades ground characters are a bit repetitive. Yes, there are new characters that pass by after each float. Other than that, it’s a lot of performers dressed in gorgeous glowing abstract snow flake costumes. (Which we loved) However, a bit more variation would be great.
The floats themselves are a different story. Each one is unique and features different characters. We love that they brought back the Gingerbread Mickeys (costume characters) from the previous parade.
It’s tough to pick a favourite float, perhaps the first float that features Mickey on a Polar Express style train with a giant Christmas tree and Pinocchio in the rear. Maybe it’s the closing float that features Santa Clause (face character) on his sleigh with a beautiful Christmas tree inside a giant snow globe. The tree in the globe is a miniature replica of the flagship tree on town square. So theres a neat connection there. In a nod to previous parades, Tinker-bell closes Mickey’s Dazzling Christmas Parade.
Two show stops are also featured in the parade, one on Central Plaza and another on Town Square. The floats and characters stop walking for a bit and perform an extended dance. In the evening Santa also performs a little tree lighting ceremony with a pyro wand.
It’s a really fun parade overall, with some fantastic lighting and gorgeous design. Definitely worth checking out this holiday season at Disneyland Paris.
Holiday DecorDecorations are back at Disneyland Paris!
The parks are looking more jolly than ever. We’re delighted to see past favourites return like the advent calendar in front of the castle as well as the synchronised Christmas garlands on Main Street U.S.A.. The decorations are in excellent shape, especially in Disneyland Park. Main street is covered in lovely figures of the fab five as well as a bunch of lovely Erica plants.
For those of you who don’t know. Disneyland Paris’s horticulture team loves using them during the colder months. They are often dyed to various colours and if you’ve been to the parks during the colder months you’ll likely have seen them. They are also known as heath and heather depending on where you are from.
We would love to see an expansion of the Christmas decor to other parts of Disneyland Park. Like some fun Caribbean inspired decor near Pirates of the Caribbean and some steampunk decorations in Discoveryland. We think the creative team could come up with some really cool holiday decorations. Take Studio 1 in Walt Disney Studios park for example. The creatives did a fabulous job of harnessing that Hollywood glamour kitsch Christmas energy, that integrates itself flawlessly.
La Place de Rémy in front of Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure is another great example. The wintertime food festival, L’Hiver Gourmand, also serves hot and cold treats in that area.
Speaking of expanding Christmas decorations you can now book a decorated Disney Hotel Room at the Newport Bay Club and Hotel New York. Per request, Disneyland Paris will decorate your room with Christmas garlands and a decked out tree. There is an additional charge (of course) €245 for guests staying at Disney’s Newport Bay Club and €300 for guests staying at Disney’s Hotel New York – The Art of Marvel. It’s a one time fee so you’ll only be charged extra once pre-stay, no matter how long you stay.
Even though every Disneyland Paris Hotel features some Christmas decorations in and around the hotel. We wanted to give a shout out to the mid century Christmas decorations in Disney’s Hotel New York – The Art of Marvel. They are quite stylish and have been carefully selected to fit the hotels theme and atmosphere. No traditional red and green Christmas decor in sight. But plenty of metallic baubles and circular shaped decorations in a set of sleek tones.
Holiday Food Offerings
First of all, food still is a bit problematic at Disneyland Paris. Closed restaurants and food carts, or sold out seasonal snacks are not rare. The culinary teams developed a nice selection of seasonal offerings. There’s a special burger and a Christmas gift cake available at Café Hyperion and Restaurant en Coulisse. A cute Christmas beignet with Mickey, Minnie and Christmas decor printed on to it. The same pattern is also featured on Gingerbread trees.
Niels had the chance to try them, they can be purchased as a pair and were delicious! The gingerbread trees are spongy, tasty and topped with a white chocolate print featuring that cute Mickey and Minnie Christmas pattern. Other food carts and kiosks offer a Mickey marshmallow lollipop, salted pretzel with bacon and cheese, pumpkin & chestnut soup, chestnut & mushroom soup with laughing cow cheese, Rudolph’s Kouglof and last but not least the standard (but good) triple chocolate and white chocolate raspberry cookies.
The aforementioned cookies are the ones you can always get from the Cable Car Bake Shop but with the seasonal sprinkles. Disneyland Paris also serves the same cookies during the Halloween season, with Halloween themed sprinkles. Lastly there are vanilla and chocolate Christmas muffins available at several food carts. Again, a standard offering, but now with Christmas themed toppings.
On the buffet side of thing, park goers can enjoy a couple of Christmas season specials as well. Expect to find things like a savory pie, stuffed turkey with chestnuts and einkorn stir-fry. For dessert they offer candy cane yule logs, Christmas tree boulbe, as well as Christmas mini treats (which are small Christmas chocolates). Two Christmas specials are available in the lounges. A giant panettone and nicely themed Christmas shortbread treats.
But that’s not all… over to the table service restaurants: Annette’s Diner in Disney Village offers a special Savoyard burger and a Surf ‘n’ Turf burger, as well as a festive milkshake. The lucky Nugget Saloon in Frontierland offers a Christmas menu. One can also order both the main course and dessert separately. The latter of which is a Rudolph tartlet that looks really cute.
Other table service restaurants offer delightful Minnie Mouse Christmas chocolate mousse and enchanted forest tartlets. We recommend you check the menu of the restaurant you are interested in visiting.
Now if the thought of all those sugary sweets make you thirsty… well let’s talk holiday beverages. Olaf hot chocolate is available at several bars and some restaurants. The same goes for the Grimbergen Christmas edition holiday beer.
Finally, there are two Christmas cocktails! Available in green (Holly Jolly cocktail) and red (Red Santa Cocktail).
The green edition is alcoholic, with rum, orange liquor, blue Curaçao, orange juice and pear nectar.
The red one is a mocktail, so no alcohol. It’s cranberry and raspberry nectar, Apple juice and cinnamon syrup. Both cocktails coke with a lit ice cube. Really neat! We’ve had the cocktails and liked them. But… be ware that the price of cocktails is different from bar to bar.
The more stars the hotel has, the more expensive the cocktail is. Some disney Village bars and restaurants also offer the cocktails. The green one goes from 12,50 till 16 Euros, the red one from 9,50 to 12. We’ve had them at the Skyline bar in Hotel New York and paid the highest amount. Which, especially for a mocktail, is on the high side. But the ambiance is beautiful, and with very stylish Christmas decorations.
First of all we we’re so happy to see Lion King: Rhythms of the Pride Lands stick around for the Christmas season. The show is everything you could hope for in a theme park musical and so mich more. Eric was fortunate enough to check out the Lion King broadway production a few years ago. While the broadway version is more extensive, both shows offer similar if not equal production quality.
Even though Rhythms of the Pride Lands is much shorter, coming in at about 30 minutes, we do get some awesome acrobatics that we don’t get in the broadway version. Come on Cirque du Soleil! It’s a fun, emotional, and aesthetic show. The production is also completely in english, which is excellent for international park goers. The performance is fast paced and is a human based retelling of the story. So it’s to one’s advantage to know the original animated film. A must see when visiting and several steps above the show quality one usually experiences at a theme park.
We also loved the new Frontierland Theater. Disneyland Paris closed it off (from the elements) during the theaters last refurbishment and it’s great to be able to use it in the winter. The sound system, as well as the lighting and the stage tech in general is very impressive. Our only criticism is that we wish Disney would stop using bench seating in it’s theaters. The style of seating is annoying, you can’t lean back and have other peoples knees in your back. Not a comfortable viewing experience. Come on Disney give us more of the comfortable theater seating like the ones over in the Studio- or CinéMagique theater.
Let’s lower the bar a bit and talk about “A Funny Snowy Winter” over in Walt Disney Studios Park (Production Courtyard). The short 6 minute show features Goofy and Donald trying to figure out what Christmas is all about. The format is classic Disneyland Paris with Goofies dialogue in French and Donalds in English. The show features a surprising amount of pyrotechnic effects, which scared the living daylights out of us a few times while waiting in line for “Tower of Terror”. The queue is located right behind the Production Courtyard stage, however you don’t hear any of the music or dialogue. Only the loud explosions, which occur on a regular basis, make their way to the back. Seriously though, the pyro is fun to see and elevates the show a bit. Goofy and Donald stick around for another minute or so after the show for a socially distanced selfie opportunity.
Also quick shout out to the cute holiday selfie opportunities scattered throughout the parks. Get ready to meet Winnieh the Pooh, Stitch, Sandy Claws (a.k.a. Jack Skellington), Mickey, Minnie, Donald and for the first time ever Eyeore. Each character wears their respective Christmas attire.Our last contender is “Let’s Sing Christmas” over in Videopolis (Disneyland Park). A cute 15 minute sing a long show that features a full choir of Christmas carolers, singers, the fab five… and not much else. It’s a simple festive show that we wouldn’t recommend anybody go out of their way for. All of the performers do their best to make the most out of what they are given to work with. It’s nice ambient entertainment. If you happen to grab a burger at Videopolis anyway, you might as well time it to see the show. It’s nice entertainment on the side. Another show that features the classic Disneyland Paris style performance. With some characters speaking in English and others in French. Everyone gets a slice of the vocal cake.
Disney Village Christmas
As previously mentioned, there are several bars and restaurants that offer the Christmas food and beverage specials. The independently operated restaurants usually offer their own seasonal delights.
But there’s even more holiday fun to be had in the Village! The entire area is decked out in Christmas splendor. Disney Village radio also get’s in on the action by playing a lot of Christmas music. The food kiosks, that are always there, are transformed into tiny Christmas huts. The latter of which offer winter specialties like mulled wine.
When the parks close and Disney Village fills up with park goers, the Christmas market feeling kicks in! Don’t forget to check out the Christmas photo opportunity, with a sled. The photo opportunity is located towards the “back” of Disney Village, near Earl of Sandwich.
Overall a successful Christmas season this year. The holidays at Disneyland Paris are a wonderful time to visit since you still get the full park experience, plus Christmas decorations.
Not to mention the weather in Paris fits the theming and if you’re lucky you may even get real snow. That being said, pro tip: wear some thermal undergarments to keep warm, they make a big difference.
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