THERE are so many historic events which have dominated the landscape of 2012 that it can be easy for some celebrations to get lost in the mix.
While many parents have been focussed on glittering parades and sporting achievements, there is one landmark event that is far more likely to be in your kids’ diaries.
For this year marks the 20th anniversary of the opening of Disneyland Paris, and you can bet Mickey Mouse and friends are planning a truly spectacular birthday party.
Over its 20 years of existence the theme park has had its own rollercoaster of success; before the plans were even formally announced Disney bosses were facing a barrage of criticism, with cultural leaders accusing them of attempting to Americanise French culture.
But by sticking to its unabashed and world-renowned family image Disney eventually proved critics wrong, drawing crowds of happy visitors every year to immerse themselves in its unique magical world.
Today the theme park remains unlike any other in Europe; it’s all-American stylings have made some concession to the host nation of France (most notably in the cuisine, which is no bad thing), but really it is like a universe unto itself, with every care taken to never shatter the illusion for the duration of your stay.
Although there are rollercoasters and other traditional theme-park thrills the park definitely favours the younger visitor, as it immerses everybody in the magical cartoon world of Disney. It’s hard not to feel like you’ve stepped into your own animated movie and soon you’re collecting autographs from Goofy like it’s the most natural thing in the world.
Disney has announced a whole range of anniversary attractions, accompanied by later opening hours throughout the summer, so the party can continue on into the evening. And as night falls one of the most anticipated new shows will begin; using the full scale of the park’s most recognisable landmark, the Sleeping Beauty Castle, visitors will be treated to a breathtaking display of lights, fireworks and fountains, featuring famous faces, from Peter Pan to the Hunchback of Notre-Dame.
With exclusive visits to Mickey Mouse’s dressing room, offering the opportunity for a unique family portrait, and a carefully choreographed 20th anniversary parade taking place daily, it’s clear that this is going to be a birthday to remember.
If you decide to take the kids to meet the mouse this summer then avoid paying over the odds; there are plenty of discount Disneyland Paris tickets to be found online.