No one does Christmas quite like Disney and if you haven’t experienced the festive season at one of their parks you have really missed something! Not only do you get the brilliant decorations and a unique atmosphere, there are also special festive attractions to enjoy. The best news of all is that Christmas is an extended season at Disney so you can experience all the fun and cheer in the build-up to the big day and take advantage of some great deals at the park.
If you want to visit over the Christmas holiday itself be prepared to pay inflated prices and to find the parks rammed to the gunnels with people. The rest of December, however, is generally quiet in the parks with some outstanding packages for accommodation and tickets available. Last year I grabbed a three night stay at the Sequoia Lodge Hotel with entrance tickets for four days included and paid only £180. This was based on four in people to a room but represented exceptional value. At peak times I would have expected to pay four times this price and to spend most of my days in a queue.
The Parks were pleasantly quiet in December despite the extra benefits on offer and the only rides which developed lengthy lines were Great Thunder Mountain Railway in the Disneyland Park and, inevitably, Crush’s Coaster in the Studios Park. What is it about that ride? It is not Disney’s finest achievement by any means and yet there is always an epic queue!
The big downside of travelling to Disney in the Winter months is the scheduled maintenance which can mean that certain attractions are closed. On my Christmas visit it was the Rock ’N’ Roller Coaster which was shut. Ride operation can also be affected by cold weather. On this occasion temperatures were reasonable and there were no disruptions, but the year before was a totally different story. I visited in February with snow on the ground and the thermometer registering -10 degrees. Some of the rides were not operational until the afternoon but it was a miracle they were running at all!
Cold Weather is a distinct possibility during December so dress in layers and be prepared to get a bit chilly waiting for the parades and the grand finale, Dreams. The cold does lend a festive atmosphere to the parks which are profusely decorated with beautiful lights, baubles and artificial Christmas trees. The highlight of the decorative scheme is an enormous tree just inside the entrance where you can enjoy the ceremonial lighting each evening as the sun sets.
The usual Disney parade is complimented by a festive parade periodically throughout the day. I was full of admiration for the cast who performed with enthusiasm when they must have been extremely cold! The parks are particularly attractive in the evening darkness with fairy lights twinkling everywhere and a general feeling of good will about the place.
I would thoroughly recommend a December visit to Disneyland Paris. There are some great prices on offer, the parks are pretty quiet and there are extra parades and wonderful decorations to enjoy. Most of the rides are indoors and so the weather is not too intrusive even on a bad day and there is a really special atmosphere at this time of year.
Article by Sally Stacey