WHILE lights ricochet off its glowing towers, Sleeping Beauty’s castle comes alive.
All around him, hundreds of drones light up the night sky while firecrackers and water cannons erupt in a shower of color.
Disneyland Paris is celebrating its 30th anniversary – and it’s going to be a party to remember.
It’s been 15 years since I put on my Mickey Mouse ears at a Disney park.
But now I’m back for another taste of the world-class attractions, performances and hotels, all magically redesigned for the occasion.
Characters have been dressed in sparkling new outfits and the park’s green spaces have been renamed Gardens of Wonder, complete with beautiful statues of Disney’s most iconic characters.
Restaurants and bars are also in action, serving special fare – from fruity gin cocktails to Mickey-shaped pizzas – while new Anniversary Parades see characters descend from their usual floats to get up close and personal with guests and the Boogie zooming down the street alongside a flood of dancers.
Perhaps most importantly, hugs are back.
Covid and mask-wearing rules have all been scrapped, meaning little ones can get plenty of high-fives and cuddles with their favorite characters.
And thankfully, there’s ample opportunity to snap selfies with the likes of Mickey Mouse, the Disney princesses and your Pixar stars, who seem to have missed us as much as we’ve missed them.
Add a pounding soundtrack of Disney hits to all this new fun, and you have the recipe for an atmospheric masterpiece.
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To make the most of what was on offer, I had checked into Disney’s nautical 4H Newport Bay Club, which is a mere ten-minute walk from both parks, putting you right in the middle of the fun and close to all the whirling rides.
If you’re a full-blown adrenaline junkie like me, you’ll definitely want to tackle the big roller coasters – Star Wars: Hyperspace Mountain, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Peril, and Big Thunder Mountain in Disneyland’s Main Park.
Twists and turns aside, who wouldn’t want to imagine themselves as a Jedi fighter pilot, runaway cowboy, or treasure hunter?
In the meantime, families with younger children should look no further than the 4D Ratatouille: L’Aventure Totalement Toquee de Remy.
With a mix of lifelike projections and a chase scene through a huge kitchen, I felt like I’d jumped right into one of the Pixar landscapes.
And just for the anniversary celebrations this summer, a new Avengers Campus is launching at Walt Disney Studios, where young visitors can take on Marvel-style superhero missions.
If you like rides, it’s worth spending a little more for Premier Access, which will ensure you skip the longest lines.
At the 30th anniversary celebrations, however, the attractions are just the tip of the iceberg.
The delicious French food at Bistrot Chez Remy and the smacking dishes I devoured at Cowboy Cookout Barbecue in Frontierland were so much more than your average theme park fare.
But it’s American restaurant Walt’s waiting to be the star of the show.
It will reopen next month for the anniversary, with half a dozen themed dining rooms inspired by Disneyland’s six lands.
Visitors can eat their way through an endless menu. Highlights include corn chowder served with smoked popcorn and pastrami, and a special chili con carne with cheese and tortillas (a favorite of founder Walt Disney himself).
It’s safe to say that Disneyland Paris certainly hasn’t lost its wow factor after all these years. And 30 has never looked so good.
GO: Disneyland Paris
COVID: You must be fully vaccinated to visit France for holiday reasons. Fully pricked travelers are no longer required to take a PCR or lateral flow test prior to departure, but are still required to provide an affidavit (declaration sur l’honneur). British visitors no longer need to fill out any forms or tests when returning to the UK.
ARRIVAL/STAY: A two night stay at Disney’s Sequoia Lodge Hotel is priced from £344 per person, including Eurostar travel from London St Pancras on 3rd May.
Rate is based on a family of four sharing a standard room and includes 3-day Disney Parks admission tickets.
For more information, see disneyholidays.de or call 0800 169 0737.
https://www.thesun.ie/travel/8531698/disneyland-paris-30th-celebrations/ Join in the celebrations of Disneyland Paris’ 30th birthday