An Enchanted Christmas: Join Disneyland Paris' Festive Celebrations
If you think you know all about the magic of Disney, think again – you've not seen anything until you have been to Disneyland Paris at Christmas time.
The park marked its 20th anniversary this year, and Disney has gone all out to celebrate with an extra touch of sparkle to its 2012 festive proceedings, creating a truly magical atmosphere all the family will cherish memories of forever.
So here is AOL Travel's guide to making the most out of your Christmas adventure at one of the world's most enchanting attractions.
Reach Mickey in less than three hours
With a direct service straight into Disneyland Paris from London's St Pancras station, a hassle-free journey on the Eurostar means you can be hanging with Mickey in under three hours. And with prices starting from £69 for adults and £49 for children aged four to 11 (both standard class return), it's one of the cheapest options too. You will also appreciate the extra luggage allowance compared to flying – ideal for bringing all those Christmas souvenirs home.
Hotels right in the middle of the magic
After arriving at Marne-La-Vallee Eurostar station, you are within minutes of the park and its seven on-site hotels. Most with their own theme, you can enjoy the cosy, winter cabin feel of the Sequoia Lodge, or live it up like a true Manhattan dweller in Hotel New York. The hotels do vary in price, but all are comfortable and the perfect retreat after a long day on your feet.
Get in the festive spirit
Not only does Disney really go all out on the Christmas decorations, it even manages to make it snow on Main Street USA in Disneyland Park every day! A 24 metre high tree takes pride of place at the top of the street, acting as the centrepiece for the seasonal celebrations. Every night Mickey, Minnie and friends invites one child to help them light the illuminations in an all-singing, all-dancing ceremony that will have you feeling instantly festive.
New for 2012 is the Christmas Calavade, which is the star on top of the festive celebrations. Running several times a day in the main park, the yuletide parade sees Santa ride around on his sleigh surrounded by his elves and other toys that have come to life, set against Disney's charming Christmas soundtrack. What's more, Mickey and Minnie will take their places on the splendidly decorated float, joining the party to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas.
Disneyland Park vs Walt Disney Studios
If you like your rides bigger and scarier, set off on an adrenaline-fuelled intergalactic adventure on Space Mountain: Mission 2 or experience the thrills of a rootin' tootin' rollercoaster on Thunder Mountain.
Every day in the late afternoon, all the characters will unite for the world famous parade. Re-choreographed for the 20th anniversary, Disney Magic on Parade is a fantastic new carnival which sees the characters flying out from their unforgettable stories in a blaze of light, colour, music and magic gliding through the park's party atmosphere, before Mickey and friends shine in a spectacular finale.
While most families will probably want to stay within the main Disneyland Park, bigger kids among your party may want to venture off into Walt Disney Studios where thrill seekers will really get their fix. Enter the Twilight zone as you take a terrifying 13 floor plunge on The Tower Of Terror ride, or experience hair raising twists and turns set to Aerosmith's greatest hits on Rock n' Rollercoaster.
Look out for...
The gift shop prices. With a beautiful range of Christmas gifts and decorations which have been especially designed for the 20th anniversary available in every park shop, you'll easily find those spare Euros disappearing.
The food inside the park can also be slightly on the pricey side, so make sure you try and get the most for your money by heading to one of the lunchtime buffets.
DO NOT miss Disney Dreams!
Whatever you do, ensure you see the special 20th anniversary Disney Dreams show. Taking place in front of the majestic Sleeping Beauty Castle, this night-time spectacular takes place every night once the sun goes down and the Christmas lights go on.
Join Peter Pan as he weaves his way between timeless Disney stories in a wonderful combination of magic, emotions and sensational special effects. It features state-of-the-art techniques to project images on the castle and 30-foot high water screens that act as giant canvases and uses splendid fountains and breath-taking firework effects set to the most cherished songs from the Disney soundtrack.
TV's Jonathan Ross commented that he cried after seeing the show for the first time, so expect to be well and truly wowed!
During Disney's Enchanted Christmas from 9th November 2012 – 6th January 2013, prices for a two-night three-day package including return travel with Eurostar in December 2012 start from £1280.80 for a family of two adults and two children (aged 0-6 years). The price includes return travel with Eurostar, two nights' accommodation with continental at Disney's Hotel New York and three day hopper tickets for the Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios Park and is based on two adults sharing. Guests can also take advantage of our Magical Winter Offer where kids under 12 go free (terms and conditions apply, visit the website for details.)
For more information about a family break to Disneyland Paris this Christmas, call direct on 08448 008 111 or visit disneylandparis.com.