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Re-inventing Christmas, the Disneyland Paris way
DisneyDan  Sunday, October 27, 2013 12:05:08 PM
Hello everyone,

As the Halloween Season draws to a close this week, I can't help but think about Christmas!
This year Jon and I will be at Disneyland Paris just after Christmas itself, for the Christmas Season and New Year's celebrations at the Resort.

We are both really excited to be going back to Disneyland Paris this year for Christmas, as there will be many new things, which only Disneyland Paris offer.

I have been to Disneyland Paris for Christmas Season at least five other years of the past ten, so let's take a look back at some of what has been offered over the year, before we come back to the new offerings this year.

This is a very photo heavy post, so be warned that it may take a while to load all the images below.

For the longest time Disneyland Park had a Christmas addition to its regular day parade, usually just tacked on at the end. This happened during the old Wonderful World of Disney Parade, and the Once Upon a Dream Parade. There was never a Christmas parade, per se. There was a Santa's Sleigh, Toy Soldiers, and more recently Duffy.

Disney's Once Upon a Dream Parade - Dreams of Christmas

Other long running entertainment included the enchanting Mickey's Winter Wonderland show at the Chaparral Theater in Frontierland, and the Tree Lighting Ceremony in Town Square.
Mickey's Winter Wonderland remained unchanged for many, many years, but was a firm fan favourite every holiday season.
The Tree Lighting Ceremony was also incredibly popular, and always starred Mickey and Friends lighting the big Christmas Tree in Town Square. Some aspects of the show changed slightly over the years, but it basically remained the same.

Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony

Tree Lighting Ceremony

Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony

DLP Feb 2009 - Mickey's Winter Wonderland

Mickey's Winter Wonderland

Disneyland Paris also pioneered the beautiful Christmas lights that now adorn the other Disney Castles of the world. Disneyland Park would present a special Castle Lighting show. As with the Tree Lighting, the way in which this was done changed slightly from year to year, but overall the concept remained the same.

DLP Dec 2010 - Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant at Christmas

Character greetings have included Santa Claus, Elves, and of course Mickey and Friends in seasonal costumes at both parks. Other characters in Christmas costumes have included the Winnie the Pooh friends, and Duffy the Disney Bear. Some years back, Belle also used to meet in a pretty red jacket.

DLP Jan 2012 - Santa's Elves have fun in Town Square

Meeting Santa Claus

Santa Goofy

Pere Noel

Meeting Christmas Belle and Beast

Meeting Eeyore

For 21 years, the Christmas Tree in Town Square was the same. Last year they added some 20th Anniversary ornaments to it, but it remained identical otherwise.
Some years ago, the park used to also feature the stunning Lights of Winter (which EPCOT also used to have) along Main Street USA, but these were sadly retired nearly 10 years ago now.
After the lights of winter the Princess Crowns graced the street for a couple of years, but were quite unpopular by all accounts.
Like the other parks, snowfall on Main Street is a regular occurrence, although in Paris, as we have personally experienced, it isn't always just the magical Disney snow that can fall across the park!

DLP Dec 2011 - Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant at Christmas

DLP Dec 2011 - Walking down Main Street USA at Christmas

Phantom Manor in the snow

City Hall in the snow

View down Main Street in the snow

View of Main Street in the snow, from Inventions

In Fantasyland guests used to be able to discover a Christmas market, straight from the world of Beauty and the Beast, 'Belle's Christmas Village'.

Belle's Christmas Village

Belle's Christmas Village

Finally, a staple of the holiday season for some years has been the "it's a small world" overlay, becoming "it's a small world" Celebration during Christmas Season.

"it's a small world" Celebration

"it's a small world" Celebration

"it's a small world" Celebration

Now we fast forward from our trip through the past, to 2012. Last year Disneyland Paris took a giant leap away from previous Christmas offerings.
Mickey's Winter Wonderland did not return, the Princess Crowns were ditched, brand new garlands graced Main Street, there was a new live entertainment offering starring Mickey, and a fantastic new Christmas Cavalcade was launched.

Unfortunately we were unable to attend last year (although we were in California for their Christmas Season, so that was a great substitute!).
That means that this year will be our first year seeing the new offerings, and what's more, there is set to be even more this year than last year! Of course, some old favourites will still be there too.

This year the park has got a brand new Christmas Tree, which is really exciting for me, as I love Christmas Trees! As well as the new Tree, last years there were brand new garlands all along Main Street and giant character snowmen in Central Plaza. This is as well as all the beautiful decorations that find their way throughout the resort, with nearly every restaurant, store being decorated inside and out. The Disneyland Hotel also has a yearly traditional giant gingerbread house.

The Christmas Gingerbread House

The Cavalcade is said to be receiving some extra characters, making it better than last year, and the Tree Lighting Ceremony has been changed again, this time being narrated by Jiminy Cricket and Pinocchio.
Santa and his Elves will still be at the Ranch, snow will still fall on Main Street USA, and "it's a small world" Celebration has been reinstalled.
The Jingle Bell Boys are set to return too. That's a live band that also stars Mickey Mouse showing off his dance moves at the Videopolis in Discoveryland.
I have also heard that Jack Skellington is sticking around after Halloween Season ends, but will be putting on his Sandy Claws outfit! Now that would be really awesome!
One of the biggest things that the park is doing this year is a brand new version of Dreams especially for Christmas!
Disney Dreams! is the most spectacular nighttime show ever created by Disney Imagineering, and for the holidays it'll switch to featuring scenes from the new Disney movie Frozen, a Toy Story Nutcracker tale, and much more!



If all that wasn't enough, there are a few more things that are continuing some Disneyland Paris traditions.
For many years, the Disney Hotels have offered special meals during the holidays, some of which are character ones.
On the 29th December we are planning to attend the Christmas Brunch with the Disney Characters at Inventions, in the Disneyland Hotel, and on New Year's Eve there is a special character dinner at the Hotel New York, which we are also attending.

Usually on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve, the Disneyland Hotel puts on special entertainment too. We really hope that this returns this year also, as we've really enjoyed this in the past. And speaking of New Year, both parks and Lake Disney all will continue their annual New Year's Fireworks. Two years ago we saw them in Disneyland Park, this year we plan to see them on Lake Disney due to our meal at the Hotel New York.

Huey, Dewey and Louie Present The Nutcracker

Mickey and Friends Opening Event with the Mayor of Main Street

Mickey and Friends Opening Event with the Mayor of Main Street

The Disney Princesses Present The Sugar Plum Fairy

Although nothing has been officially been announced as to which characters will be greeting in special Christmas costumes this year, there will be no doubt be some old favourites, and perhaps some new ones!

Finally, as we as the new additions to last year's brand new Cavalcade, the regular day parade's Romance float has been out for refurbishment, and will be returning at the start of the holidays with Anna and Elsa atop it, on a brand new, redesigned Frozen float!

To say that we are really excited is actually an understatement. I think this year is going to be the best Christmas Season at Disneyland Paris for many years. Let's hope they keep adding to it, and keep reinventing themselves, always offering something just as magical, but new and different.

I'm going to leave you now with a load more photos of the Resort at Christmastime. Enjoy!

Dan.

The World of Disney Store

Special Christmas sweet treats at Belle's Christmas Village

Christmas at Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlour

Christmas in Town Square

Christmas plush at La Boutique du Château

"it's a small world" Celebration

Christmas in Town Square

Special Christmas sweet treats at Belle's Christmas Village

"it's a small world" Celebration

Christmas at Fuente del Oro Restaurante

Disney's Santa Claus Village

Sleeping Beauty Castle lit up for Christmas

Pere Noel's Elve's Workshop

Disney's Santa Claus Village
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