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Disneyland Paris At Christmas - Ten Things I Missed in 2020

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This time last year Disneyland Paris announced they were to remain closed over the Christmas period. When I read Disney's announcement of the closure it brought tears to my eyes as this time of year is usually when we are preparing to head to Paris for a Disney break and it's sad that last year we couldn't go. Disneyland Paris at Christmas time has become a little bit of a tradition and I then got more upset thinking of all the things I will miss because we were unable to go. 

Disneyland Paris at Christmas Time


Watching Big and Little J's face when we tell them we are going to Disney that night
John and I are very good at keeping secrets and we manage to make it right up till before the journey to the airport before we tell the boys we are going. We usually get an early evening flight so we always have the suitcases packed and in the car, pick them up from school for a quick change of clothes and head to the airport. Their faces are priceless even though we usually go every year they never know when so are always surprised. 

Arriving At The Hotel
Again we usually keep the hotel a secret until we are almost there. We have stayed in all the hotels over the years and I love watching them guess which one we are staying in based on little clues we give them. I love walking through the hotel doors knowing we all wake up in Disney the next day.

Disneyland Paris at Christmas Time

Disneyland Paris at Christmas Time


Walking down Main Street from the Christmas tree to the Castle. 
The Tree and Castle take my breath away every year. Seeing the tree as you enter the Disneyland Park never gets old, it's my favourite. I love walking down Main Street with the castle in the distance, Christmas decorations all around and the Christmas songs playing. It's just the best feeling ever. 

Disneyland Paris at Christmas Time

Disneyland Paris at Christmas Time


Planning Our Days
Christmas time at Disneyland Paris is fairly quiet compared to other times of the year so we usually head there for 3 full days and that is more than enough time to do everything we want to. I don't usually plan the days beforehand however we usually spend a day in each park and then do half a day in each park on the last day. I love watching little J as he gets out the park maps and starts planning where we are heading to first and what rides to go on. 

Our Little Thrillseeker
Although he is only eight little J has been riding some of the bigger rides in theme parks for a few years now as he is very tall for his age so is over the minimum height required. Every year he chooses a new ride and is more than happy to push himself out of his comfort zone. Although a family ride his first thrill coaster at Disneyland Paris was Big Thunder Mountain, then he moved on to Crushes Coaster and last year it was RC. I think last year he would have chose Indiana Jones Coaster or Tower of Terror. 

big thunder mountain at night time


Big Thunder Mountain In The Dark
This has been one of our favourite things to do at Disneyland Paris for as long as I can remember. There comes a time in the late evening where Frontierland goes completely quiet. Big Thunder has almost no queue so we keep going round and round riding again and again and it's just one of those small things that we do and it makes us happy.

frozen show at Disneyland Paris


Meeting the Characters in their Christmas clothes
Like all the other seasons the Characters dress in their best for the Christmas season and we love meeting Christmas Winnie, Christmas Stitch and a personal favourite Christmas Jack Skellington. Again the queues are always pretty quiet so we never have a problem meeting them and I find they spend lots of time with the boys than they do at other times in the year. 

disneyland paris christmas parade


Choosing A Christmas Decoration
Our Christmas tree is filled with Disneyland Paris decorations that we have bought over the years. Some have the year on, others don't. It will be really sad not adding a Disneyland Paris Christmas decoration to the tree this year. 

Watching The Tree Lighting Ceremony
Every evening Mickey and Friends gather at the bottom of the huge Christmas tree and put on a show for everyone which ends in the whole of Main Street going dark whilst we then watch the tree light up as Christmas carols play in the background

Spending Time Together
Although over the past two years we have spent more time together as a family than usual it is always nice to spend quality time together especially on holiday away from screens and distractions. It's nice to chat, laugh and watch the boys enjoy the magic of Disney together.

disneyland paris christmas parade


Disneyland Paris is so magical especially at Christmas time and there are so many more things that I missed last year but I know it's was best to stay safe. This year we are hoping to visit at Christmas time for the first time in two years and I cannot 

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Halloween Events At Merlin Attractions

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Halloween is almost here and there are so many events happening close to us. However as we are Merlin Pass Holders we usually try and visit as many of the Merlin attractions as possible to experience their spooky events. Here's what in store for 2021

boy at Legoland Windosr


Where?
 Legoland, Windsor
What?
Brick or Treat
When?
14th -31st October
How Much?
Tickets start at £39
What Can We Expect?
Lord Vampyre is throwing the ultimate Halloween party and would like to invite all little monsters and their families to the Legoland Windsor Resort for his favourite time of the year, Halloween! Lord Vampyre promises to make this years Brick or Treat event the most spook-tacular event of the year.

With many fun Halloween activities for you to dig your fangs into, including my very own Haunted House Monster Party Ride and NEW for 2021 Harbour Show, Lord Vampyre’s Creepy Crypt Trail, Monster Rocker’s fang-tastic Pumpkin Trail, costume competitions and so much more – plus all of our rides including the brand new land Legoland Mythica - World of Mythical Creatures, live shows and attractions, it’s a frightfully fun day out for all the family.

Photo credit and for more information visit Legoland Windsor Resort


a group of people looking frightened


Where?
Thorpe Park
What?
Fright Nights 
When?
8th - 10th then then 15th -31st October
How Much?
Tickets start at £39
What Can We Expect?
Prepare yourself as Fright Nights at Thorpe Park returns for another year. Fright Nights are not for the faint hearted as you will be scared senseless at the UK’s premier Halloween event. Ride Europe’s most thrilling coasters in the dead of night before taking on live action scare experiences. 

The Fright Nights event is recommended for guests age 13+ and certain Merlin passes are excluded so a ticket would be required and can be purchased at a discounted rate. 

Photo credit and for more information visit Thorpe Park


a ride at Chessington


Where?
Chessington World Of Adventures
What?
Howl 'O' Ween
When?
16th -31st October
How Much?
Tickets start at £34
What Can We Expect?
The mischievous Wild Witches of Adventure Point have conjured up a devilish spell this Howl’o’ween and brought back to life spooktacular characters across the Resort. With lots of tricks and plenty of treats, watch your step as you explore the lands, because you’ll likely encounter all kinds of delightfully ghastly creatures around every corner. Maybe you will bump in to the vile villagers, plunderous pirates, ferocious pharaohs or barbaric bandits. 

Make sure you check out the Legends of The wild witches show, the curse catchers and the forgotten forest. All included in your admission. 

Photo credit and for more information visit Chessington World Of Adventures 

Scarefest sign


Where?
Alton Towers
What?
Scarefest
When?
8th - 10th October then the 15th -31st October
How Much?
Tickets start at £39
What Can We Expect?
Open until 9pm each day guests can face head-spinning, hair-raising rides and attractions in darkness including Wicker Man and the Alton Towers Dungeon! If that’s not scary enough, 4 multi-award winning, terrifying mazes are set to return. In addition, older families will be able to enjoy the brand-new Trick o’ Treat Town, an interactive walkthrough a special town where every day is Halloween and as well as treats, there are tricks aplenty.

Returning for 2021 is the free attraction ‘Garden Lights Walk: Whispering Souls’, where the gardens come to life in a whole new spooktacular.

Younger families can enjoy live shows including the CBeebies Monster Ball and the Freaky Fun Zone characters and shows.  There really is something for all the family to enjoy.

Scare mazes and Trick O'Treat town are an additional cost.

Photo credit and for more information visit Alton Towers

If you are a Merlin Pass Holder then you can also visit Legoland Discovery Centre in both Manchester and Birmingham and Sealife centre across the country to enjoy their Halloween events. Please check the individuals centres for up to date information. 


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Celebrating Oktoberfest At Alton Towers

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Alton Towers have 5 events this year starting with Mardi Gras that took place in the Summer. At the moment Alton Towers has been transformed into the German festival Oktoberfest. The festival will take place till 3rd October so there is still time to visit this weekend. 

Oktoberfest sign


What to expect at Alton Towers Oktoberfest
For those not familiar with the festival, Oktoberfest. Oktoberfest, annual festival in Munich, Germany, is held over a two-week period and ending on the first Sunday in October. The festival originated on October 12, 1810, in celebration of the marriage of the crown prince of Bavaria, who later became King Louis I, to Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen.

Alton Towers bring the fun of the festival to the resort offering delicious food, live entertainment and of course, beer.

Oktoberfest at Alton Towers


oktoberfest sign for Alton Towers

When you enter Alton Towers you will be greeted with German music, blue and white decorations and the smell of delicious food in the background.

brownie and cream


If you head to the front lawn you will see a huge Oktoberfest entrance leading to a variety of food stalls including churros, brownies and marshmallows.

man and woman having a stein of lager


You will see the Wunder Bar to the left of the stage which has a range of German beers on offer. You can choose to purchase a pint at the bar or head to the souvenir stall first and purchase a stein glass. Then you can head back to the Wunder Bar where they will fill up your stein which averages about 2 and a half pints. 

Tables at Oktoberfest at Alton Towers


There are plenty of picnic benches on the front lawn where you can sit and enjoy your beer and snacks or you can sit upstairs in the Wunder Bar however seating is very limited to just a few tables. 

Live entertainment stage at Oktoberfest Alton Towers


The live entertainment stage which has been a permanent fixture over the past few months has a variety of  entertainment including german dancing which was a crowd favourite. 

Oktoberfest stage at Alton Towers


If you are familiar with the resort you can head to the Bierkellar which is situated in the courtyard in Mutiny Bay. Undercover seating options are available here with live entertainment throughout the day. 

As well as enjoying the German fun you can also enjoy all your favourite rides up to 7pm

Oktoberfest is included in your ticket price so is no extra cost to you. 

Head to the resort before the 3rd October for your chance to join in all the fun. 

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Visiting Disneyland Paris During Halloween Season

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This post has been updated for 2021 including all the attractions for the 2021 Halloween Festival. 

Halloween season is lots of fun and even more special if you are heading to Disneyland Paris. We really enjoyed visiting during Halloween and there are lots of tricks and treats to enjoy at the hotels and the parks to keep you busy. If you are planning a trip this Halloween season then I've gathered some information to make the most of your visit. 

Happy Halloween Sign at Disneyland Paris

Disney's Halloween festival is back in 2021 and begins on the 1st October right up until 7th November. 

Disneyland Park

I'm Walking Right Down The Middle Of Main Street, USA
From the moment you head in to the park you will be greeted with pumpkins and Halloween decorations as they line the streets with tricks and treats ready to pop up anywhere to give you a spooky surprise.

Main Street is one of our favourite places to take photographs as it is always decorated perfectly for the Halloween season. There will be lots of Mickey pumpkins, ghosts and ghouls ready to be snapped. 

The decorations and music at Disneyland Paris really add to your whole experience and they do it so well.

Disneyland Paris



Pumpkin at Disneyland Paris
Maleficent at Disneyland Paris
Spot A Villain
Halloween brings out the villains and you will definitely spot a few of your favourites. Halloween season is the only time you can spot some of the villains so you won't want to miss them.

Maleficent will be lurking around Sleeping Beauty's Castle so make sure you check out Fantasyland.

If you fancy seeing Captain Hook head to Adventureland and look out for the Jolly Roger.

Make sure you have your phones ready for a villain selfie. 

pumpkins at Disneyland Paris

Jack Skellington at Disneyland Paris
Spooky Selfies
Spotting your favourite character in their Halloween costume is such a good feeling. Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy and Goofy will be ready to have a selfie with you.

Little boy with Mickey at Disneyland Paris



Hollywood Studios

Who's Lurking At Hollywood Studios?
From 1 October, evil villains and other mischievous characters are invading Studio Theatre for your goosebump-inducing pleasure. A screamingly good time awaits those courageous enough to spend time in the presence of these rebellious rapscallions.

tower of terror at  Disneyland Paris


The Tower Of Terror
Welcome to the dusty remnants of the once-glamourous Hollywood Tower Hotel. Going up? Hop inside the service elevator and discover the surprises that lie on the upper floors - we’re sure you’ll fall quickly for this old Hotel’s quirky charms. Oh, and make sure you strap in, you never know what can happen in a rickety old lift.

As well as all the spooky shenanigans you can enjoy all your favourite rides. 

Opening times and ride closures are updated on the Disneyland Paris website under plan your visit so make sure you check that out before your visit so you can plan your days. 

disneyland paris



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Covid Rules For Travelling To France

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When we decided to visit Disneyland Paris for the first time since the pandemic began we knew that there would be a lot of research to be done on making sure we followed all the Covid rules for travelling, regulations and protocols. Our safety is obviously important and we wanted to make sure we travelled as safely as possible and compliantly. There are lots of covid rules for travelling to France but after much research we had a very safe and stress free trip.

a plane wing above the clouds


The main things to consider for travelling abroad this Summer and into Autumn are the status and rules of both the country you want to visit from the UK's perspective and how the country you want to visit considers the UK from the same point of view. We wanted to visit France so the two important things would be the status of France from UK - Currently Amber, and the status of the UK from France - Currently Amber. This could be different if the country you are visiting considers the UK higher risk - which would make travelling back to the UK possibly more difficult. The traffic light system for the countries can also change at any point so it is very important to keep an eye on the gov.uk website for travel updates. 

The Covid Rules For Travelling To France From The UK
Firstly we checked the rules on visiting France - what did we need to do before travelling and whilst at the Airport.  We are all fully Vaccinated against Covid-19 with the exception of Little J who is under the age for vaccination. In order to travel to France we only needed to be able to prove our vaccination status through the NHS app - using the travel section, and complete a 'sworn' statement available on the French governments website, bringing this with us after printing and signing. 

At the UK airport we needed to wear face coverings and present our NHS vaccination evidence at check in only.  Everything else was as it would usually be in the airport. No changes to security or boarding times at all. 

Flying From The UK To France
While on the plane, we flew with Air France. A face covering is to be worn at all times. They insisted on the medical face masks, the standard low cost face coverings that you can buy in most places. If you boarded we a mask that wasn't the medical face mask they did provide you with one. 

Air France also provided us with a questionnaire, which asked us where we would be staying, how to contact us and how long we would be staying for. This was similar to the 'sworn statement' which we actually didn't have to show to anyone in the end. 

There was no onboard service such as snacks and drinks. 

Arriving In France
At Paris CDG airport - we only needed to show our passports to get through security and then it was just a case of collecting cases as usual - all with your face covering still in place. 

In France
During our stay we found that all restaurants, and to actually get in to Disneyland Paris required evidence of either full vaccination or a negative PCR test taken within the previous 48 hours. They call it a health pass in France but it is just your covid passport status which can be found on your NHS app.
 
Masks are needed at all times except when eating. 

Travelling To The UK From France
Coming home to the UK is a little more complex but once you know what you need to do its easy enough. 

Firstly you need to obtain a negative Test within the 48 hours before your flight home. Either an Antigenic test or a PCR test is acceptable - the Antigenic is cheaper and quicker with results within 15 minutes.

We prebooked our tests using the link from the Disneyland Paris website - it was a simple process, however we found that the costs changed depending on the time you want your test taken.  We took out at 9.30 am and the cost for three tests (as Little J doesn't need one to travel) was just on 50 Euros. If we wanted them half an hour later - the cost doubled! 

You then need to complete the UK Passenger Locator Form found on the UK Government website. This can only be completed within the 48 hours before you travel home so you have to remember to do it!  Once you have completed the form - one for each traveller (for this one Little J was included on my form as a travelling minor) you can download it to your phone or device as you will need to show it at the airport. 

At the Airport in France you will need to show your proof of negative PCR or Antigenic Test and your completed Passenger Locator Form, along with proof of vaccination if asked for it.  We didn't actually have to provide anything except passports and boarding passes until a few minutes before boarding and at this point they are keen to get everyone on the plane so being prepared with your results and forms is essential. 

Finally as France is currently on the UK Amber list you need to have a full PCR test within 48 hours of arrival back in the UK. This can be booked at one of many testing centres, even at the airport, or we chose to have tests posted to us which we could complete ourselves and drop off at a local drop off point - our results came back the next morning after drop off. 

We had a great time visiting Disneyland Paris and once we knew what we needed to do the inconvenience of testing and form filling didn't really give us any problems, it's something I think we will need to get used to if we want to travel again for the foreseeable future. 

Please do remember to check the most up to date travel information as unfortunately it can change at any time, even when you are abroad. 

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Staying At The Drayton Manor Hotel

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We recently planned a trip to Drayton Manor and with it being over two hours drive from home we decided to extend our trip and stay at the Drayton Manor hotel. It was the first time we have stayed at the hotel and we would definitely stay again. If you are planning a trip to Drayton Manor here is what you can expect if you stay over at the Drayton Manor Hotel.

Drayton Manor Hotel Exterior


The Drayton Manor Hotel, Tamworth, Staffordshire, B78 3TW
The Drayton Manor Hotel is just a few minutes walk to the main entrance to the Drayton Manor Theme Park. Drayton Manor Theme Park is home to over 100 rides and attractions including a 15 acre zoo and Thomas Land. 

Although Drayton Manor is probably best known for Thomas Land the hotel hasn't really picked up on this apart from a very small Thomas and Friends gift shop and a small carousel moving display in the reception area.

Triple Room at Drayton Manor Hotel

Bathroom at Drayton Manor Hotel

Bathroom at Drayton Manor Hotel


Rooms
The hotel has a variety of bedrooms to meet all needs including

Thomas and Friends Themed Room
Rooms are spacious and include a double bed and Thomas theme bunk beds. Adults can relax in front of their own TV, whilst the children watch a DVD in theirs. 

Family Room
Family rooms are spacious enough for two adults and two children or a maximum of three adults. Each room has a double bed and a sofa bed.

Family Deluxe Room
Family Deluxe Rooms have 2 double beds giving you extra space for the little ones. 

Presidential Room
A separate staircase leads up to the Presidential Room which offers a queen size bed and lounge area. 

Executive Room
An Executive room can accommodate two adults and one child when adding a single bed or cot.

Accessible Room
A spacious room with all areas accessible by wheelchair. 

Triple Room
The Triple room can accommodate two adults in single beds and one child in a pull out trundle bed.

We stayed in a Triple room and you if you want to take a look click our triple room tour at Drayton Manor hotel

Stay and Play
The Drayton Manor Hotel offer a Stay and Play package. The package includes a stay in one of the rooms at the hotel, a full english breakfast and tickets for Drayton Manor Theme Park for each member of your party.

reception at drayton manor


Meetings
One of the reasons I think the hotel hasn't gone for a Thomas and Friends decor throughout is that the hotel is very popular for meetings, conferences and events. There was an event on while we stayed and it was very popular. 

fish and chips

pizza and chips


Restaurant and Bar
The Parklands Restaurant and Bar offers a wide variety of meals including steaks, grills, pastas and risotto. They do offer a children's menu too.

If the restaurant and bar isn't for you then you can head to the park for Fish N Chips or Safari Pizza and Pasta with both restaurants staying open till 7:30pm after rides close. All you need to do is show your room card. You can also order Fish N Chips to your room. 

Arcade at the Drayton Manor Hotel

Arcade at the Drayton Manor Hotel

Arcade at the Drayton Manor Hotel

outside seating area Drayton Manor Hotel

gift shop at Drayton manor hotel


Anything Else?
There is a small arcade on the ground floor close to reception. It has a selection of games and machines for the chance to win.

The Thomas and Friends Gift Shop is also situated close to reception and is stocked with lots of Thomas  goodies. 

Outside at the back of the hotel is an outside patio with a selection of table and chairs.

There is also a small woodland play area for children. 

There are plenty of car parking spaces situated at the front of the hotel and an overflow to the side. 

If booking a Stay and Play trip you can use your tickets on the day of your arrival or on your departure day, the choice is yours. 

There is no pool, gym, sauna or steam room at the hotel which is a shame as I think this would be a great addition. 

When leaving the hotel on foot you can follow the yellow path marked PE (park entrance) this will take you to the back of the theme park within a few minutes. 

We booked our room quite late so there where limited rooms available. We chose a triple room which suited our needs. We did think we would be able to push two of the single beds together however this wasn't possible as there was a nightstand between the beds which was fixed to the wall. 

The rooms all come with tv, free wifi, toiletries and tea making facilities. 

Our room had an interconnecting door. I am not sure how many rooms are available with this choice but if required I would contact the hotel directly as I did not see an option when booking.  

If you would like to see our full room tour video you can see it here. Like I said earlier we stayed in a triple room however I think the room size, layout and features in the room are all very similar unless staying in the Presidential or Executive room. 

Would We Stay Again?
If the price was right we would definitely use the Stay and Play offer again when visiting Drayton Manor. Although the hotel is situated just 5 minutes away from the park, it was the school holidays and there was an event taking place it was extremely quiet. 

The rooms were spacious and breakfast set us up for the day with a full english available, cereals, croissants and fruit.

The Theme Park has a great mixture of rides and attractions and makes for a great day out. 

To find out more information about the hotel and to check out the special offers visit The Drayton Manor Hotel website.

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Visiting Disneyland Paris After July 21st 2021

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Travel is so uncertain at the moment. There is so much information to read and rules to follow. I'm sure this won't put most people off but if you have a trip to Disneyland Paris booked or looking to book one this Summer then there are new guidelines to follow after July 21st 2021. The France government have confirmed that everyone who enters Disneyland Paris after this date must have a health pass. 

disneyland paris castle


What Is A Health Pass?
A Health Pass must be presented in either digital or paper form confirming one of the following...

- You are fully vaccinated
- You can confirm a negative PCR result within the last 48 hours
- You have had COVID-19 and the result of a positive RT-PCR or Antigen test confirms you had Covid and that a period of time of at least 11 days and less than 6 months has passed since the test result was obtained (considered as a recovery certificate).

If you are fully vaccinated I would recommend downloading the NHS app which once registered will update your Covid Passport.

Who Needs To Show A Health Pass?
Every adult over the age of 18 will need to show their health pass. This will change after the 30th August when everyone over the age of 12 will be required to show a valid health pass before entry is permitted.

I assume this means that the focus will shift over the next 6 weeks to ensure all those 12 and over will be offered a vaccine. 

Keeping Your Health Pass Up To Date If Staying Longer Than 48hrs.
If you are not fully vaccinated you will need to prove a negative PCR to gain entry in to the resort. A negative result is only valid for 48hrs so if your stay is longer then you will need to retake a PCR test. 

disney village at Disneyland Paris


Where Can I Get A PCR Test At Disneyland Paris?
A testing centre is in operation within the Disney Village and is open 8am-8pm.

What List Is France On?
France is currently on the Amber list for those returning to the UK. However the Amber rules for France are different. You must quarantine for 10 days after you arrive back to the UK either in your home or other accommodation. 

little boy meeting Buzz Lightyear


Safety Measures Within Disneyland Paris
The rules for wearing face masks are unchanged in France. Face masks are to be worn by all guests aged 6 and over. They must be worn at all times except when eating. 

Downloading the official Disneyland Paris mobile app is a must for your stay. Guests will need to reserve a Standby Pass via the app in order to be able to join the queue for some of the most popular attractions during a specific allocated time slot.​ This will be available during certain times of the day. This will be to ensure waiting lines do not get overcrowded. 

Clear ground markings are in place within the waiting lines at all of attractions within the park to help maintain the correct social distancing. Please do remember that social distancing is still in force in France. 

Hand sanitisers are available at the entrance and exit of each attraction. 

Children's playgrounds and traditional meet and greets are temporarily unavailable. There will be chances to capture photo memories with some of your favourite Disney, Pixar, Star Wars and Marvel characters using the designated selfie spots. Unfortunately close interactions including hugs are suspended. I am sure Disney have done their best to try and make the experience as magical as possible. 

disney ears in at hollywood studios


Unfortunately things can change at a moments notice with regards to travel and safety measures so it is important to make sure that before you travel you check the government website for up to date information as well as Disneyland Paris

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Comments - I love reading your opinions and thoughts - Have you visited Disneyland Paris since it reopened? How was your trip?

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