Legacy Content

Christmas at Disneyland Paris
Page 1 of 14

by Lee MacDonald
December 26, 2001
A look at Christmas Time at Disneyland Paris

The Beginnings of Christmas at Disneyland Paris
The race for survival at Disneyland Paris began as early as September 1992. The park had basked in the glory of its first peak season that had been a resounding success from guests, if not from the French media. The Resort’s management had sat back and watched the guests plough through the turnstiles throughout the hot summer months, but their short term aspirations were about to be hit by a bolt of reality. As September arrived and the autumn quickly descended on the Ile de France, the number of visitors quickly dwindled as children across Europe went back to school. Most European countries have few National holidays during the winter months in the progress towards Christmas and EuroDisneyland was overstaffed and underutilised in these off peak months.

Luckily, the management quickly realised that the hook for attracting people back to the Resort was seasonality. This is more evident at Disneyland Paris today than at any of the other Disney resorts except for the exception of Tokyo Disneyland which shares a similar climate portfolio throughout the year with blistering summers and freezing winters. The instigation of a Halloween and Christmas season brought guests back to the resort with a combination of unique shows and Land makeovers and a spate of special offers and off peak reductions. Without Thanksgiving as a peak season buffer between Halloween and Christmas, the Resort now finishes its Halloween season by immediately converting into a Christmas Wonderland by the first week in November. By 1994, Disneyland Paris had finally capitalised on the tremendous possibilities that the winter months offered.

That brings up to Christmas 2001. Each year, the resort attempts to create a slightly altered vision of a Disney Christmas in order to attract repeat guests, particularly the local Annual Passholders who would travel to Marne la Vallee for the new makeover. This year, Disneyland Paris had pulled out all the stops for a truly magical experience.

  • This Page
    The Beginnings of Christmas at Disneyland Paris
    Main Street U.S.A., Tower Square and Castle Hub - Page 1
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    Main Street U.S.A., Tower Square and Castle Hub - Page 2
  • Page 3
    Main Street U.S.A., Tower Square and Castle Hub - Page 3
  • Page 4
    Main Street U.S.A., Tower Square and Castle Hub - Page 4
  • Page 5
    Mickey's Christmas Parade ("The Nutcracker") - Page 1
  • Page 6
    Mickey's Christmas Parade ("The Nutcracker") - Page 2
  • Page 7
    Nighttime on Main Street U.S.A. - Page 1
  • Page 8
    Nighttime on Main Street U.S.A. - Page 2
  • Page 9
    Christmas Main Street Electrical Parade
    Castle Stage
    Character Greetings
  • Page 10
    it’s a small world holiday
    Le Noel De Mickey
  • Page 11
    Mickey's Winter Wonderland
  • Page 12
    Other Christmas Pictures - Page 1
  • Page 13
    Other Christmas Pictures - Page 2
  • Page 14
    And Finally........Walt Disney Studios Paris
    Discuss It
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The view of the Lights of Winter and the Castle
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Main Street U.S.A., Tower Square and Castle Hub - Page 1
As with all of the Magic Kingdoms, the equivalent of Main Street U.S.A. is the centrepiece of the entire Christmas celebration and at Disneyland Paris, this is no exception. Guests arriving at the park walk under the Main Street U.S.A. train station and enter Town Square with its towering tree tapering off to a beautiful star that dwarfs every building surrounding it. The tree sits immediately in front of the Town Square gazebo, staring down Main Street U.S.A. towards the twisting pink spires of Sleeping Beauty Castle.

The piece de resistance of the Christmas celebration at Disneyland Paris is the magnificent Lights of Winter. The increased scale of the Parisian Main Street with its widened avenues and increased length allowed the Imagineers to install a white framework of steel that provides a series of arches towering above guests to the roofline of Main Street’s residences with twinkling fairy lights adorning the intricate flourishes at the apex of each arch. Visitors to EPCOT Center during the Holidays Around the World celebration would feel right at home under the glowing bulbs of the Lights of Winter. The last arch is barely at the limits of the Main Street merchants and gives way to the Central Plaza, which this year offers a slightly different take on a Disney Christmas.

Taking it cue from the additions that Tokyo Disneyland adorns its hub, the crew at DLP have installed five new Christmas trees, each different to its neighbour. Unfortunately, the hub at DLP is not the same size as its Japanese counterpart and therefore space is of a premium, but the vision is still beautiful. DLP does not possess a "Partners" statute at the heart of its courtyard and the bedding that is usually in this location has given way to a towering tree that is shaped like Sleeping Beauty Castle with upward shoots giving way to matching spires. The shape of the tree is almost a perfect recreation of the Castle itself, albeit shorter and smaller in scale. The tree is a perfect juxtaposition to that of the standard mock fir that features in Town Square. The tree is hollow to the core and allows guests to walk through to the other side. Inside the tree, an Enchanted Forest has been created with twinkling stars and even a few Disney friends in the form of Bambi and his forest friends are hidden in the tree. The tree itself has a snow machine that pillows out tiny white flakes onto the guests entering the tree.

Surrounding the Enchanted Forest are four equal segments that compose the outer ring of the hub and usually feature flowering beds and small manicured trees. During the Christmas season, these plants have given way to rather more unusual botanical surprises. Mickey &Minnie, Pluto, Goofy and Chip ‘n’ Dale have each been given an identical tree in which to decorate according to their own "tastes". The result is a humourous take that reveals much about each character’s personality! The pictures themselves tell their own tale!

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A view up the stunning Christmas Tree
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A whole host of gifts decorate the area under the  tree
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Behind the Gazebo on Main Street U.S.A. towers the park's Christmas fir
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