Enjoy a Disney Christmas, says ROSS KANIUK.
HEARING my four-year-old daughter Cerys scream would normally fill me with panic.
But on this occasion it was the opposite – her cries were screams of delight as she whizzed around the Cars movie-themed ride at Disneyland Paris with a huge grin.
Shrieks and whoops come thick and fast during our visit to the many attractions of Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios Park next door.
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In fact visitors can even test just who has the loudest scream on a Monsters Inc-based machine, which lights up according to volume.
While other adventure parks serve up fun rides and sights, Disneyland has that extra edge because it brings to life favourite characters from books and films.
It’s the reason why the park is Europe’s busiest attraction.
And right now it’s all the more magi- cal because of the extras created especially for Disney’s “Enchant- ed Christmas” event.
Pass through the turnstiles between now and January 8 and you are confronted by an amazing 80ft Christmas tree adorned with 850 different decorations.
Then stroll down the snow-dusted Main Street to find the striking pink towers of Sleeping Beauty’s giant castle, which takes centre-stage in an amazing night-time Christmas show.
There’s an additional ice-skating stage extravaganza called Mickey’s Winter Wonderland, featuring Minnie, Goofy, and Donald Duck.
And nowhere is the Christmas theme more engrossing than the wintery Santa Claus village, complete with elves and snowmen.
Absolutely every age group is catered for. Disneyland is even the destination of choice for many honeymooners.
The bravest thrill-seekers can try the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, where you leave your stomach behind as your seat plunges 15 floors in an instant.
Then there’s the adrenaline- pumping Space Mountain: Mis- sion 2, a rollercoaster experience in virtual darkness.
For the less daring, a runaway train called Big Thunder Mountain careers up and down tight bends amid desert red rock scenery.
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There’s also a wide choice of restaurants, cinemas, shows, hotels with pools and gyms and a golf course.
The more gentle rides can be enjoyed by all ages, with most based on Disney’s classic animated films.
Take a spin in Mad Hatter Teacups, hop on a boat journey around secret caverns on Pirates Of The Caribbean, or go on rides which immerse you in the worlds of Snow White, Peter Pan, and Pinocchio.
I have to admit two of my favourites were child-friendly.
It’s A Small World takes you through impressive model displays of characters and landmarks from different countries. In complete contrast, the area called Playland has oversized toys, including a towering Buzz Lightyear, to give you that shrinking feeling.
Elsewhere, there are the Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters, which are part video game and part ride. You control your carriage, which spins through 360 degrees, blasting aliens to score points with a laser gun.
But Disneyland’s not just about rides. An Alice In Wonderland-themed labyrinth offers an enchanting maze filled with the story’s characters.
And there’s a host of shows, including the stunt spectacular Moteurs...Action! based on Cars.
In another new feature, girls obsessed with Disney princesses can meet their favourites such as Cinderella for a picture and autograph.
Disney characters appear all day almost everywhere, but the late afternoon parade of amazing floats takes the characters and films to another level.
Huge displays roll past, featuring famous faces and settings from films such as Mary Poppins and The Lion King.
Bringing up the rear is Santa Claus on his sleigh pulled by life-sized reindeer.
By the end of the parade, the towering pink castle which domi- nates the park is shimmering with 60,000 coloured lights against the night sky.
The whole picturesque scene consists of recreations of “real world” and storybook settings, and thousands of cameras clicked away to capture the memory.
In the eyes of the delighted children, it’s their fantasy worlds transformed into reality.
DURING Disney’s Enchanted Christmas, prices for a family of four on a three-day package, including Eurostar travel, two nights at Disney’s Hotel New York and three-day park tickets, start at £1,087.
The same package at Disney’s Hotel Santa Fe starts from £878.
To book, see disneylandparis.com or call 08448 008 111.
Fares for the Eurostar start from £69 standard class return (adult) £49 return (child aged four-11).
Standard Premier travel is from £159 return for adults and £111 return for children.
Children under four travel free (not allocated a seat).
See eurostar.com or call 08432 186 186.
Connecting fares are available from more than 200 UK stations.