Christmas at Disneyland Paris runs from early November to early January, and features holiday entertainment, beautiful decorations, a Christmas parade, and seasonal food! This post offers tips for visiting France in these winter months to make the most of the yuletide season at Walt Disney Studios Park, the hotels, Disney Village, and Disneyland Paris.
Before we get to the rest of the details and our report on Disneyland Paris at Christmas, we recommend checking out our Disneyland Paris Trip Planning Guide (no matter what time of year you’re visiting). Disneyland Paris at Christmas is much like Magic Kingdom or Disneyland in California, but with its own twists. One big one is the weather! Christmas at Disneyland Paris has weather you’d actually associate with winter, and a real snowfall in late November or December is not uncommon.
This post has been updated with new photos and information for Christmas at Disneyland Paris, but it’s worth noting that these photos are from our previous visits to Disneyland Paris at Christmas, and not this year (obviously, as the holiday season is still several months away). We’re hoping to head back to France for Christmas 2020, and will update with no photos and a report once we do. For now, here’s what we know about the holiday season at Walt Disney Studios Park and Parc Disneyland…
Walt Disney Studios Park hosts its holiday celebration with Mickey’s Christmas Big Band and #SURPRISEMICKEY. These two live shows are relatively recent additions, and have garnered rave reviews from guests. (It’s unclear whether Goofy’s Incredible Christmas projection show will return for Christmas–it doesn’t appear so.)
The main draw at WDSP is in Animagique Theater, which is host to the jazz rhythms of Mickey’s Christmas Big Band. This live show is in keeping with a traditional musical, and pays homage to winter’s melodies featuring Disney Characters. The show features a big band orchestra, fast-paced tap dance acts, and a drum solo by Mickey Mouse.
The premise of this reminds us of Big Band Beat at Tokyo DisneySea (an exceptional show). We’ve only caught video of bits and pieces of the show, as we’re trying to avoid full spoilers in the hopes that we’ll catch it on our (hopeful!) Christmas 2018 trip to Disneyland Paris.
The #SURPRISEMICKEY show will return to the Production Courtyard stage at the foot of The Hollywood Tower Hotel. To celebrate Christmas in the best way possible, Minnie and friends will have some new surprises in store for guests.
Over at Disneyland Paris, there’s Mickey’s Magical Christmas Lights, the nightly tree lighting ceremony. At nightfall, guests can witness the enchanting Christmas tree lighting ceremony with Mickey, Minnie, and Santa Claus. Together, they will light up the spectacular twenty-four-meter-tall tree in the middle of Main Street, U.S.A.
Another highlight is in Videopolis, the Let’s Sing Christmas show features memorable Christmas tunes, together with Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, and singers. Every weekend, choirs will perform on the Videopolis stage.
Before we go any further, let’s set the mood. No, I’m not going to dictate that you turn down the lights, pour a cup of eggnog, and light the fireplace.
I do think it would “enhance” your enjoyment of the rest of this post if you read and viewed it while listening to the greatest Disney theme park Christmas song known to mankind: Chante, c’est Noël.
This song is the unofficial theme song of Christmas at Disneyland Paris. It was once (apparently) played during a Christmas parade at Disneyland Paris. Then it was played at the close of the previous Christmas tree lighting ceremony. Now, I think it’s just played back in Santa Claus Village at Cottonwood Creek Ranch. Why it’s no longer prominent is beyond me, because it rocks.
Earlier in the day, there is a decent amount of other Christmas entertainment. Disney’s Christmas Parade is the other “big” thing done for Christmas in Disneyland Paris, and it has gotten longer each year, and is now arguably a cavalcade or short parade, depending upon who you ask.
It’s cute for what it is, but it does not come close to comparing to Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade or even A Christmas Fantasy parade, both of which are fairly old. It’s probably still a few years of additions away from being a serious Christmas parade.
There are two showings of the parade per day. Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Goofy will open the procession of magical, colorful floats.
After them, you’ll see Winnie the Pooh and Friends, Chip & Dale, the Three Little Pigs, and many other characters. Of course, Santa will end Disney’s Christmas Parade on a high note from his sleigh!
Speaking of characters, there are a variety that meet in their holiday finery, including Thumper, Miss Bunny, Stitch, Duffy, and select Princesses in Town Square and locations throughout the park. While we like character meet & greets, the lines for these tend to be long, so we usually skip them.
You can enjoy a wintery wonderland in a holiday lodge that’s home to Santa Claus and Mickey Mouse. This is the perfect opportunity for guests of all ages to drop off their Christmas letter to Santa and capture the moment.
Phantom Manor does not receive a Nightmare Before Christmas overlay like the other Haunted Mansion attractions, and Disneyland Paris no longer does it’s a small world holiday or celebration. (In other words, there are no Christmas attraction overlays at Disneyland Paris.)
Disneyland Paris’ lands are decked out for Christmas. In general, these decorations are more subdued than their US counterparts, with a notable exception: the restaurants. Holy cow! Seemingly every single restaurant had uniquely decorated Christmas trees, and its fair share of on-theme decorations.
Much like the other Disney theme parks, Main Street is the most decorated of any land in Disneyland Paris. Beyond the Christmas tree and Sleeping Beauty Castle icicle lights, there are strands of garland strung from one side of the street to the other, and many shop windows feature beautiful Christmas displays.
The rest of Disneyland Paris Resort gets in the Christmas mood, but not to the same extent. Walt Disney Studios Park has been doing more and more for Christmas, but it still doesn’t compare with the holidays on Main Street, USA.
The hotels also put up Christmas decorations, with Disneyland Hotel being the highlight. Sequoia Lodge is also pretty good, and that hotel “feels” more like a Christmas-y place. The rest of the hotels and the Disney Village had Christmas decorations up, but nothing really noteworthy.
Overall, a Disneyland Paris Christmas is definitely something worth experiencing. It’s not as extravagant as what you’ll find in Disneyland or Walt Disney World, but the incredible standard substance of the park compensates for that. There are a handful great seasonal shows and the decorations are wonderful, but it would be nice for the parade to ‘grow’ at a faster rate.
Regardless, we really enjoy Disneyland Paris at Christmas, and I would say it’s the perfect time for an American to visit Disneyland Paris for the first time (as long as you don’t mind the cold weather). Nothing is missing from the park as a result of the Christmas season (like Haunted Mansion is “missing” from Disneyland), and there are a number of Christmas enhancements that are icing on the cake!
For the basics of planning a visit to Disneyland Paris, check out our Disneyland Paris Trip Planning Guide. Want to see more photos or read about Disneyland Paris in agonizing detail? Check out our Disneyland Paris Trip Report!
Have you ever experienced Disneyland Paris at Christmas? Are you interested in visiting at Christmas now? Your comments are half the fun, so please share any questions or feedback about Disneyland Paris at Christmas that you have in the comments!