AS lights bounce from its glowing turrets, Sleeping Beauty’s castle bursts into life.
Around it, hundreds of drones illuminate the night sky as fireworks and water cannons erupt in a shower of colour.
Disneyland Paris is celebrating its 30th anniversary — and this will be a party to remember.
It has been 15 years since I donned my Mickey Mouse ears at a Disney park.
But now I’m back for another taste of the world-class attractions, performances and hotels, all of which are magically reimagined for the occasion.
Characters have been decked out in glittering new outfits and the park’s green spaces rebranded as the Gardens of Wonder, complete with gorgeous statues of Disney’s most celebrated figures.
Restaurants and bars are also in on the action, serving special menu items — from fruity gin cocktails to Mickey- shaped pizzas — while new anniversary parades see the characters climb down from their usual floats to get up close and personal with guests, boogieing down the street alongside a flurry of dancers.
Perhaps most importantly of all, the hugs are back.
Covid and mask-wearing rules have all been scrapped, meaning little ones can get in plenty of high-fives and cuddles with their favourite characters.
And fortunately there are ample opportunities to grab selfies with the likes of Mickey Mouse, the Disney Princesses and your Pixar stars, who seem to have missed us as much we have missed them.
Add in a booming soundtrack of Disney hits to all this new fun and you’ve got the recipe for an atmospheric masterpiece.
To best take advantage of all that’s on offer, I had checked into Disney’s nautical 4H Newport Bay Club, which is just a ten-minute walk from both the parks and puts you right in the centre of the fun and close to all the whirling rides.
If you are a full-blown adrenaline junkie, like me, you’ll definitely want to tackle the big rollercoasters — Star Wars: Hyperspace Mountain, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Peril, and Big Thunder Mountain in the main Disneyland park.
Twists and turns aside, who doesn’t want to imagine themselves as a Jedi fighter pilot, runaway cowboy or a treasure hunter?
Meanwhile, families with younger children should look no further than the 4D Ratatouille: L’Aventure Totalement Toquee de Remy.
With a mixture of lifelike projections and a chase through a giant kitchen, I felt like I had jumped straight into one of the Pixar landscapes.
And launching specially for the anniversary celebrations this summer will be a new Avengers Campus in the Walt Disney Studios, where young visitors will get to tackle Marvel-style superhero missions.
If you are big on rides, it is worth shelling out a little bit more for Premier Access, which will make sure you skip the longest queues.
When it comes to the 30th anniversary festivities, though, the attractions are just the tip of the iceberg.
The delicious French food at Bistrot Chez Remy and the lip-smacking dishes I wolfed down at Cowboy Cookout Barbecue in Frontierland were so much more than your average theme- park fare.
But it’s the American restaurant Walt’s that is waiting to be star of the show.
It reopens next month for the anniversary, with half a dozen themed dining rooms inspired by the six lands of Disneyland.
Visitors will be able to eat their way through an endless menu. Highlights are corn chowder served with smoked popcorn and pastrami, as well as a special chili con carne with cheese and tortillas (a favourite of founder Walt Disney himself).
It’s safe to say that after all these years, Disneyland Paris has certainly not lost its wow factor. And 30 has never looked so good.
GO: Disneyland Paris
COVID: You must be fully vaccinated to visit France for holiday reasons. Fully jabbed travellers no longer need to take a PCR or lateral flow test before departure, but they must still provide a sworn statement (declaration sur l’honneur). British visitors no longer need to fill in any forms or tests on return to the UK.
GETTING/STAYING THERE: A two-night stay at Disney’s Sequoia Lodge hotel is from £344pp, including Eurostar travel from London St Pancras on May 3.
Price is based on a family of four sharing a standard room and includes three-day tickets to Disney Parks.
For more information, see disneyholidays.co.uk or call 0800 169 0737.