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TO DISNEY ..AND BEYOND; From Buzz and his Toy Story pals to Beauty and the Beast's Belle... two Paris theme parks let you live out your fairytale fantasies.

Byline: JAMES TUTE

MY daughter Emily's smile said it all - she'd remember this moment for a very, very long time.

After countless readings of the storybook and dozens of viewings of the film, there she was hugging, posing for photos and talking dresses with her favourite princess of all, Cinderella.

We - me, my wife Rebecca and Emily, f i ve - were in the Fantasyland zone at Disneyland Paris experiencing what Disney does best: bring children's favourite fairytales to life. So we'd watched Belle (of Beauty and the Beast fame) waltz around Sleeping Beauty's Castle, ridden the Dumbo the Flying Elephant ride and got lost in Alice i n Wo n d e r l a n d ' s labyrinth.

Every so often Mickey, Minnie, Donald or one of the other Disney stars would appear for a meet and greet with their starstruck little fans, or roll past on the all stars express train.

I think Emily could happily spend a week or two among the princes and princesses of Fantasyland, with its gentle rides and "any colour you like as long as it's pink" theme.

But there are three more areas to explore, each created with the same imagination and attention to detail. You can walk between them or, if little legs are getting tired, take the Disneyland Railroad train, which runs around the perimeter of the park.

Frontierland is the Wild West zone where adrenaline addicts should head straight for the gold mine-themed rollercoaster, Big Thunder Mountain.

Adventureland is all pirate ships, derring-do and Indiana Jones, while the futuristic Discoveryland features Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast, where kids and big kids get to ride through space shooting their Toy Story hero's enemies.

And speaking of Buzz... Right next door to the sprawling Disneyland Park is the equally sprawling Walt Disney Studios Park, with loads of film-themed rides and attractions - including, as of last month, the new Toy Story Playland zone.

It is designed to make you feel as though you've been shrunk to the size of a toy and are wandering around the garden where the boy in the films, Andy, goes to play.

The area is scattered with wittilydesigned, supersize details - a giant "rubber" ball, Andy's 10m-long footprints and enormous Christmas tree lights strung across the path.

My favourite feature was the fringe of excess plastic round the human-sized toy soldiers - just like the cheaply- moulded ones I played with as a boy. After being greeted at the entrance by Buzz "To infinity and beyond!" Lightyear, thrill-seekers will probably head straight for RC Racer, a gravitydefying, toy car-themed ride.

And thankfully I'd had a couple of hours to digest lunch when I had a go - otherwise hanging face down 25m up in the air would have been more spills than thrills.

Anyway, it's great fun and cleverly designed to look as though it was created by Andy tipping out his toy box and throwing together some racing car track and other bits and pieces.

The Toy S o l d i e r s Parachute D r o p i s a n o t h e r h i g h -r i s e attraction, but much less s t o m a c h -churning than RC Racer.

The area around it is designed to look like a toy soldier army base, with those green soldiers, Toy Story's Rex. Right: Emily meets Cinderella & (above right) with Mum & Dad plastic jeeps, huts and, er, a baby monitor (well, how do you think toy soldiers pass on orders?). You're strapped into a seat below a "parachute" which lifts 27m into the air, hangs there for a few seconds while you admire the view then falls to the ground, before being l i f t e d a n d dropped again... and again... and again. Finally the Slinky Dog Zigzag Spin is a gentle circular ride ideal for little ones who don't quite meet the height (or bravery) limit of the other two.

Toy Story Playland is in Walt Disney Studios' Toon Studio zone, which also features the Animagique puppet show and rides based on the Cars and Finding Nemo films. The Production Courtyard zone includes the not-for-the-fainthearted Twilight Zone Tower of Terror while in the Backlot you can loop-theloop to the sound of Aerosmith on the Rock 'n' Roller Coaster.

What's the deal?

Disneyland and Walt Disney Studios tickets start at pounds 48 for adults and pounds 41 for children (underthrees go free). See www.disneylandparis.com or call 08448 008 111.

Get 40 per cent off theme park ticket and hotel deals booked by November 30. Children under seven go free.

Eurostar runs direct to Disneyland from London St Pancras and Ashford International in Kent. Returns from pounds 69 for adults, pounds 44 for children, under-fours travel free. Call 0843 218 6186.

Survival guide

FOLLOW these tips to get the most out of a Disneyland visit...

Get there early and buy tickets in advance to save on queueing.

Pick your must-see rides and attractions before you go then grab a map so you don't waste time wandering around aimlessly.

Food and drink is pricey - have a big breakfast before you go and fill bottles at water fountains.

CAPTION(S):

Toy Story's Rex. Right: Emily meets Cinderella & (above right) with Mum & Dad James meets Buzz in the new Toy Story area Big Thunder Mountain rollercoaster
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Sep 12, 2010
Words:898
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