Disneyland Paris is set to have fewer Guests than first thought this holiday season. In the wake of growing concerns over the spread of the Omicron COVID-19 variant, France has put bold restrictions in place in order to curb the rapid transmission of the virus.
With new holiday entertainment like Mickey’s Dazzling Christmas Parade and Disney characters decked out in their festive best, the Christmas season has well and truly launched at Disneyland Park, Walt Disney Studios Park, and Disney Village. It’s looking like Disneyland Paris is set for a busy few years with the debut of Disney Parks’ second Avengers Campus opening next year, as well as their 30th-anniversary celebrations beginning March 6, 2021. However, for selected Guests wanting to visit the Parks over the holiday season, the continued growth rate of the latest coronavirus variant has scuppered plans.
From Saturday 18, 2021, France will ban travel to and from the United Kingdom, leaving a channel open for essential travel only. This move from the French authorities comes as a response to the spread of the Omicron variant in the UK which recorded almost 79,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases yesterday (15 December) and a further 88,000 today (16 December) — the highest daily numbers since the pandemic began.
The travel guidelines now coming from the UK government is the following:
From Saturday 18 December, all those wishing to travel from the UK to France, regardless of vaccination status, will need to meet criteria defined by the French authorities that the travel is essential. French nationals, as well as residents in France, are exempt. The full list of what constitutes essential travel is on the French Government website (in French).
All travellers must present a negative PCR or antigen test result taken within 24 hours pre-departure. All arrivals from the UK must self-isolate for 48 hours in France, after which time a negative PCR or antigen test is required to exit self-isolation. See Entry requirements.
While the new restrictions are in reaction to the UK government’s remarks that the winter season will most likely see a “tidal wave” of Omicron infections, the move from the French authorities has been panned by some. Sky News reports how ferry company, Brittany Ferries, said the measures were a “hammer blow to our Christmas season,” before adding:
“In the context of an Omicron variant that is passing through the French population as it is in the UK, further border controls seem as unnecessary as they are unwelcome,”
The report goes on to highlight more concerns from the ferry industry which provides substantial travel between the two nations:
Niall Walsh, chief operating officer of ticket booking website Direct Ferries, said his company was taking calls from “distraught UK customers who are desperate to either cancel or bring their bookings forward”.
He added that the action by France was a “disappointing and we believe unnecessary decision which will keep many people apart again this year for the holiday”.
The Delta variant of COVID-19 is still the predominant strain in France and their reasoning for banning UK travel was described as:
“In response to the extremely rapid spread of the Omicron variant in the UK, the government is reinstating compelling reasons for travel to and from the UK, and strengthening the requirement for testing on departure and arrival.”
As for Disneyland Paris, this measure of course affects the Disney theme park, leaving Guests with pre-booked holiday vacations distraught over having to cancel their Christmas plans. It is not yet known how long the restrictions will remain in place but if this “tidal wave” comes to be, it could be for longer than imagined.
For Guests able to visit Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios Park, face masks are still mandatory — in fact, the Parks recently lowered the age for mandatory face-covering wearing to ages six and up. As for domestic Disney Parks, it has been revealed that Orange County — home to Walt Disney World in Central Florida — is the hotspot for the Omicron variant.
While UK Guests will seemingly leave a hole in Disneyland Paris tourism, those who are able to visit the Disney Park can still experience all the attractions like Big Thunder Mountain, Star Tours: The Adventure Continues, Ratatouille: The Adventure, Phantom Manor, and this Parks’ Space Mountain attraction — Star Wars Hyperspace Mountain. For even quicker access to fan-favorite rides, Guests can use the Disney Premier Access service to buy speedy entry — in addition to their Disneyland Paris ticket — to the attractions of their choice.
Have these new restrictions affected your plans? Let us know in the comments down below!