Christmas at Disneyland Paris is all about the decorations, Christmas parades, unique shows and traditional tree lighting; every detail is orchestrated for a unique experience and a great time!
Disney in Paris | ©Zino Scheers
Christmas at Disneyland Paris is a serious affair. It is so serious that it begins as early as November with the installation of the first decorations and the first performances, and in December the program is equal parts overwhelming, magical and moving.
Disneyland Paris is considered one of the greatest attractions on the continent. The reason is simple: apart from the rides and attractions, everything about this place is designed to evoke emotions so that you fall in love with the charm and want to come back again and again. Of course , it is the perfect place if you are traveling to Paris with children, because even though adults have a lot of fun at Disneyland, the innocence of children adds a special touch to everything.
1. New Year's Eve party at Disneyland Paris
Every year on New Year's Eve, Disneyland Paris organizes an exceptional party with numerous activities, parades, shows and a big fireworks display!
The program of New Year's Eve festivities begins at 19.00 o'clock, but I recommend to arrive at 17 at the latest.00 o'clock to be in the park to enjoy the start of the party. A DJ entertains the evening and various characters from the Magic World of Disney invite you to dance with their shows. In addition, Disney Park restaurants offer special menus for New Year's Eve.
Tip: Demand for this party is high, so book early, buy your Disneyland Paris tickets and get there as early as possible.
2. Admire the festive decorations and colors of the park
During the Christmas season, Disneyland Paris is wrapped in the magic of Christmas. A 24-meter glittering tree welcomes you right in the marketplace, the main nave is decorated with Christmas lights that show you the way to Sleeping Beauty's castle. Several times a day, and as soon as you least expect it, it snows on Main Street USA.
As you get deeper into the park, you'll notice Christmas decorations and details everywhere: the roofs of the stores, the colors on the rides, the characters' clothing and more, making this one of the best times to visit Disneyland.
3. Take a tour to meet the Disney characters and Santa Claus
Early in the morning your favorite Disney characters walk through the park and you can take photos with them. The funniest thing? They are all dressed 100% for Christmas. Even Jack Skeleton from "The Nightmare Before Christmas" shows his typical Santa costume with fake beard.
However, the most famous Christmas character at Disneyland is undoubtedly Santa Claus, who can be found in the "Meet Mickey Mouse" house every day until Christmas Eve. Meeting Santa Claus is one of the best things to do at Christmas in Disneyland. Be sure to get your picture taken with his fabulous sleigh parked at the entrance gate.
4. Try the special Christmas menu in the restaurants of the park
Disneyland Park's restaurants and snack bars keep the festive spirit alive with special menus, whether table service or take-out. Whether it's delicious hot drinks, seasonal dishes, gingerbread, burgers in Christmas colors or desserts decorated for Christmas, every detail has been thought of to contribute to the visual experience. Some interesting alternatives are:
For Fast Food:
5. Enjoy the enchanted waltz of the Disney princess
The Royal Sparkling Winter Waltz is probably the shortest show at Disneyland Paris: during the Christmas season, but still recommended. It lasts 15 minutes and takes place on the open-air plaza right next to Sleeping Beauty Castle. The stage is beautifully decorated with colorful Christmas trees and the princesses and their princes dance a romantic waltz.
Tip: This is the best opportunity to see the princesses up close and personal. The show is usually repeated 2-3 times a day, depending on the seasonal program. It is advisable to familiarize yourself with the Disney parks schedules, arrive early and secure a good spot for the shows.
6. Don't miss Mickey's Christmas Big Band
Here you can enjoy the Christmas concert of Mickey Mouse and his friends performing with a live big band. Originally based at the Videopolis Theater, the famous show moved to the Animagique Theater at Walt Disney Studios Park several years ago.
Two important details of this show are worth mentioning: Mickey Mouse 's fabulous drumming and the "French touch" evident in the show's choreography. Songs in the repertoire include live versions of: White Christmas, Father Christmas is Coming to Town, Here Comes Father Christmas, A Holly Jolly Christmas and Frosty The Snowman.
7. Rediscover the attraction of "Its a small world"
The mythical attraction It's a small world is a must on a Disneyland tour. It is one of the best attractions in Disneyland Paris and is located in Fantasyland. The ride consists of a leisurely boat ride on a waterway and features more than 300 animatronic puppets whose traditional costumes represent cultures from around the world.
At Disney Christmas, this attraction is reinvented with beautiful Christmas decorations and new colors. So if you've seen it before, it's time for another visit.
8. Enjoy a meal and Christmas carols at Café Hyperion
Plan your lunch itinerary for a day at Café Hyperion and enjoy lunch in conjunction with a caroling event. Particularly charming is the screen above the stage that displays the lyrics to the songs throughout the show, allowing the audience to sing along with the cast and Disney characters.
This Christmas show is usually performed four times a day, twice in the morning and twice in the evening. If you don't want to eat in the café, you can enjoy the carol singing in a special area in front of the stage.
9. Discover the French side of Disney at L'Hiver Gourmand
Every year during the winter season, Place de Rémy hosts L'Hiver Gourmand, a Christmas gourmet market honoring Parisian gastronomy.
I recommend a stroll through Place de Rémy at dusk, when the Christmas decorations unfold their glory of lights. The décor is different from the rest of the park, as it evokes a neater but equally vibrant French style.
The food stalls are housed in small, elegant red chalets. Whether it's gingerbread, old-fashioned hot chocolate cider, mulled wine, Disney champagne, sweet pancakes, French crepes or nut soup, you'll have enough belly to try it all!
10. Do your Christmas shopping at Disneyland
Disneyland's festively decorated stores and boutiques are the perfect place to get your Christmas gifts. My favorite thing about visiting Disneyland is that the souvenirs you find in the stores are really long lasting. So when you give a gift, not only do you get something nice, you get a gift that will last a long time.
Disneyland has two stores with Christmas decorations: the Boutique du Château and Merlin l'Enchanteur – the Christmas balls with Mickey Mouse ears are really cute!
11. Don't miss the Christmas parade or the cavalcade
One of the highlights of any visit to Disneyland is the parade of floats. During the holidays, this event is renamed " Mickey and his Sparkling Christmas Parade ", and the most famous characters from the Disney world ride on five large, beautifully decorated floats.
The parade is not to be missed: Mickey's float with his friends, the Disney princesses' float, Tinker Bell's float and, of course, Santa's float in his sleigh. The Christmas parade will take place twice during the winter season. My favorite is definitely the daytime version, where the floats are spectacularly lit up.
12. Participation in the Christmas tree lighting ceremony
Another iconic moment of Disneyland Paris at Christmas time is the Christmas tree lighting ceremony. The spectacle has become a tradition and is one of the most eagerly anticipated events for fans who come every year for the holidays.
With a height of 24 meters, the tree stands in the town square throughout the Christmas season, providing plenty of space for the many visitors to the festivities. Mickey, Minnie, Santa Claus and other characters will sing Christmas carols under the night sky and bring the giant Christmas tree to life to close the show.
13. End a magical evening with the Disney Illuminations show
The show that closes a magical day at Disney is known as DisneyIlluminations. It lasts about 20 minutes and takes place every day in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle.
On the facade of the castle, all kinds of stories from The Little Mermaid to Frozen and Finding Nemo to Star Wars and Pirates of the Caribbean are brought to life through a play of lights and sounds, water jets and amazing pyrotechnic effects.
At Christmas, beautiful messages of peace and love can be seen at the end of the show. When the fireworks are over, be sure to wait a few more minutes for the surprise to arrive.
14. Tour Disney Village and its Christmas decorations.
At the end of your day at Disneyland, take a moment to stroll through Disney Village. It's a square full of boutiques and restaurants, located right in front of Disneyland, where you can also find spectacular Christmas decorations. Winter time is the best time to enjoy the Village, as the parks close a little earlier during this time.
Christmas at Disneyland Paris: crowds of people
During the Christmas vacations, despite the winter cold, the number of tourists at Disneyland Paris is still high. However, if you follow these tips for visiting Disneyland, you can better plan your vacation and avoid excessive crowds as much as possible. In the month of december the influx of visitors is as follows:
- In the first two weeks of the month, before the 20. December, the crowds are at their lowest and you can enjoy the full program of Christmas performances. The only exception in this period are the weekends (Friday, Saturday and Sunday), when the number of visitors increases significantly.
- From the 20. December through New Year's Day, the flow of people is overwhelming every day of the week.
If you are visiting Disneyland Paris in December and have flexibility in your schedule, choose the first fortnight of the month and try to go between Monday and Thursday.