Here’s something that’s hard to believe (but true): in less than three hours’ time, you could be at the gates of Disneyland Paris, looking up at the bright blue turrets of Sleeping Beauty Castle. The Eurostar zips directly from London to this magical park, and there are heaps of gorgeous on-site Disney hotels to stay in, which means that it’s perfect for a spur-of-the-moment holiday with your mates. You’re never too old to visit Disneyland Paris, and in fact, there’s one huge advantage of visiting as an adult: you don’t need to visit during school holidays.
Think about it, Disney devotees – by planning your holiday off-peak, it’s likely that there will be fewer people at the park, which means a more leisurely experience (and more rides!). Plus, off-peak prices are lower for park admission and accommodation, so you’ll have more cash to spend on other fun things like shopping in the Disney Village and dining at luxe restaurants with much-loved characters.
It’s enough to make you want to erupt into song and dance. But before you go, make sure you take note of the things you want to do the most. We’ll get you started with our hit-list of the five must-do activities at Disneyland Paris.
1. The Disney Illuminations nightly fireworks show
When the sun sets over Disneyland Paris, prepare to be blown away by a fireworks show like no other. Make sure you score a sweet spot close to Sleeping Beauty Castle, because at when the park closes, it will become the centrepiece of a dazzling special effects show. Clusters of colours explode, flames and water dance in front of projections, which tell the stories of some of your favourite Disney stories. There is seriously nothing else like it.
2. It’s a Small World
Sometimes, the classics are the best. For the Disney experience, make sure you hop on a cute little boat and set sail on a whimsical tour across the world. Of course, this is Disney’s world, which means that children from across the globe live in perfect harmony (and in perfectly glittery, well-lit little worlds). We can always dream.
No doubt you’ve heard of Space Mountain: the famous, stomach-dropping ride in near-darkness. It’s undergone a recent ‘Star Wars’ takeover, which means that you’ll blast off on a mission from the Rebel Alliance, in a frenzy of green and red blaster fire to the stirring ‘Star Wars’ score. It’s super intense, in the best possible way.
4. Mickey and the Magician
If you only do one thing in Walt Disney Studios Park, make sure it’s this. Over in Toon Studio, Mickey and his mates get together every day to perform a massive stage show – and it’s an epic celebration of all your favourite Disney films, running until September 30. Your inner child will go wild for highlights from ‘Beauty and the Beast’, ‘Aladdin’ and ‘The Lion King’ (don’t pretend you don’t still listen to ‘Circle of Life’ regularly). Plus, there’s just something so special about seeing Mickey in real life. We can’t explain it, so it must be magic…
Imagine the most out-there, over-the-top street parade you’ve ever seen – then double it. Main Street, U.S.A. (the huge street that runs up to the castle of Disneyland Park) is visited daily by a show stopping selection of Disney characters, from the ‘Toy Story’ gang to your friends from ‘Frozen’. It’s like your entire childhood is having a party, and you’re invited.