Disneyland Paris’ Main Street at Christmas
We recently spent a few days at Disneyland Resort Paris, and were absolutely blown away by the resort–mostly due to its Disneyland park, which is currently celebrating both Christmas and its 20th anniversary. While Disneyland Paris still suffers from many of its problems that have been documented over the last several years, we were surprised to find in it a sterling example of theme park design, brilliant storytelling, and quality substantive attraction experiences. From the most beautiful Main Street of any of the three Disneyland-style parks we have visited to the most stunning castle (and an equally stunning dragon below the Castle) to excellent lands in Frontierland, Adventureland, Fantasyland, and Discoveryland, we were shocked at how much we loved Disneyland Paris. Some nagging maintenance issues and its restaurants prevent it from dethroning Disneyland as my favorite Disney theme park (keeping in mind we have yet to visit Tokyo Disney Resort and Hong Kong Disneyland), but it’s a close second. I’ll have more on this in the weeks to come, but suffice to say, Disneyland Paris really impressed us.
Christmas in Disneyland Paris was much like Christmas in the Magic Kingdom or Disneyland, with lands similarly decorated. Disneyland Paris was definitely more restrained in its decorations than its two United States counterparts, although it was no slouch in the decorations department. The highlight for me was this song played during the Christmas tree lighting ceremony, which is my new favorite “Disney” Christmas song. Load it and listen before reading on…
Obviously a big part of the Disney experience for me is photography, and a huge part of that fun is nighttime photography. I can say without a doubt that Disneyland Paris’ Main Street is now my favorite land of any park to photograph at night. The level of detail on this Main Street is extraordinary, and the cumulative effect of these details is a street that wows guests–at least the ones paying attention. The brick pavers, the billboards, the stories of the shopkeepers all add up to create a land that is incredibly intriguing and quite different from the Main Streets in the United States. The experience of standing on Main Street all alone at night as that whimsical castle looms in the distance is almost chill-inducing. While I love Cinderella Castle and Sleeping Beauty Castle, neither of them exude the spirit of the Disney theme parks quite like Le ChÃ¢teau de la Belle au Bois Dormant (Sleeping Beauty Castle, but we’ll be calling it Le ChÃ¢teau de la Belle au Bois Dormant for the sake of differentiation and invoking a bit of French pretentiousness ;)).
Of course, this whole experience was likely amplified by experiencing this scene at Christmas. This photo doesn’t even begin to do it justice, but hopefully it gives you a bit of a feel for what Main Street is like in Disneyland Paris at Christmas-time!
Technical details: shot with a Nikon D600 with a Nikon 24-120mm f/4 VR Lens. See our guide for more photography equipment recommendations.
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Wow, that looks brilliant. First time in many, many years that Disneyland Paris has a real festive decoration again on Main Street. No comparison to the Princess Poles they had the years before. You were lucky to experience this – and capture it like this. Just amazing! Can’t wait to go there in about 3 weeks. BTW, Chante C’est Noel makes a wonderful ring tone during this time of year 😉
Disneyland Paris is gorgeous. I have been to Tokyo Disneyland– and while it is amazing ( the service is incredible!!)– Disneyland Paris is stunning. I still love the original Disneyland– my “home” park– though. I hope to get to Hong Kong next year!
By the way– DisneySea is beyond amazing…
Tokyo Disney Resort is our next stop, mainly for Tokyo DisneySea. I cannot wait to visit that park!
That is beautiful. Thank you for sharing it with us. Luckily I have been there myself a few times, but never long enough to *really* appreciate it like it deserves. I’m curious to find out what time of day you took this picture? I can’t wait to go back and see the new “Dreams” show.
It’s great reading your impressions on my favorite Disney Park. Even though I love the parks in America (never been to Tokyo and Kong Kong), Disneyland Paris feels very special to me and I love that place. Of course I am aware of its problems, but I think the greatness of its design overcomes the negative things. I couldn’t agre more about Main Street and the castle. They are stunning. I particulary love the arcades. Another thing I love is going through Disneyland Hotel to get into the park. I think it is awesome.
Looking forward to reading more about your trip to DLP. Thanks for sharing!
It’s ironic that some of the problems Disneyland Paris has faced over the years stem directly from all the money poured into its initial construction. Had it been built on the cheap like the Studios next door, it probably never would have had so many subsequent issues.
But as is plainly clear from the Studios, building a park on the cheap isn’t the most pragmatic strategy!
Now THAT’S what I’m talking about! I can’t WAIT to go back there again some day during the holidays. That park is just so freaking gorgeous. Wonderful shot Tom! Can’t wait to see the rest!
Thanks. It would be a big tradeoff for you. Yes, it looks gorgeous during the holidays, but you’re pretty much guaranteed not to see any of those glorious sunsets/sunrises that you love so much!
WOW!!!! This is amazing! I’m glad to read you two enjoyed Disneyland Paris, we’ve been wanting to go for quite some time now but I’ve read some negative reviews therefore put it off, however seeing you give it such positive feedback reignites my interest in going!
Holy cow! Stunning doesn’t seem to do this picture justice! It is unbelievably gorgeous!
Great write up Tom. Glad you enjoyed your visit to DL Paris. I’d like to go back, since I think we hit it at a bad time. Several of the major attractions were closed, lots of construction was occurring and much of the resort was in disrepair. I look forward to hearing more of your review knowing it will encourage me to go back sooner rather than later.
p.s. anyone reading this you MUST view this picture large. It is stunning!
Larry, in reading both what you and Bill McIntosh wrote, I think you guys visited as Disneyland Paris was in the process of receiving a bit of a facelift for the 20th Anniversary. I’ve read/seen of the many maintenance issues, and a lot of those have been resolved. There are still some lingering issues (mostly at the hotels and with burnt out lights), but overall, the Disneyland park looked GREAT.