Sunday, July 21Royal Holloway's offical student publication, est. 1986

Magic on Parade

*Disclaimer: this article contains magic*

Walt Disney is one of the most influential figures of an individual’s childhood and their dreams. Everyone has his or her favourite film and accompanying songs, and the princess they all wanted to be (for the record I wanted to be Belle – did you see her library?!). Disney is gender and age inclusive. Which is why the week before Christmas I saw myself and three friends head off to Disneyland Paris to celebrate our 21st birthdays in style. This trip had been in operation since October, and to say we were excited was an understatement – even though three of us had been before. From the moment we arrived and saw our Cars themed hotel we turned into excitable children, bouncing up and down, admiring the bedding, lights, wallpaper and even the bathroom mirror.

For those of you who haven’t been, here is a very quick run-down of what the Park and Studios consist of. The Park contains five different lands: Main Street USA (shops and cafes), Fantasyland (where you will find princesses), Adventureland (think pirates and jungles), Frontierland (American Wild West) and Discoveryland (more space-agey: here lies ‘Space Mountain’). The Studios take you backstage, behind the magic, to show how different elements of the films are made. It’s more geared towards older children and adults, with rides such as ‘Tower of Terror’ and ‘RocknRoller Coaster’; however, do not underestimate the appeal of ‘Crusher’s Coaster’.

For me, the magic of Disneyland Paris is not the rides but the detail that goes into making everyone and everything feel special – the feeling that you really are in Neverland, seeing children’s faces light up when they meet their favourite character, or marvelling in the delights and wonders of the Parade and evening light show. Although I had been before, it was even more magical going at Christmas, walking down Main Street USA towards Sleeping Beauty’s Castle just as it started to snow. With the magic of Christmas and Disney all around, you couldn’t help but smile.
Although we may be getting older, Disney keeps us young at heart, and is a reminder that ‘when you wish upon a star’ your dreams can still come true.

Article: Victoria Timms

Photograph: Laura Mason