Pirates and fairies will also feature at this year's Sunderland Illuminations and Festival of Light, which will unveil a host of traditional Disney favourites, such as Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck and Goofy, to shine alongside dinosaurs, pirates and characters from the movie Frozen at the annual extravaganza.

The event will see the seafront lit up with an exciting display of traditional lights and also welcome back the big wheel and fairground on the Cliffe Park site, which will operate every night from October 5 to November 5, from 5pm-10pm.

Tickets go on sale online today for the "Festival of Light" in Roker Park, which also runs from October 5 to November 5, and open between 5pm-10pm from Thursday to Sunday and all week during school half term. The new installations will complement the annual favourites, such as the Alice in Wonderland characters.

Event organisers, Sunderland City Council, has also struck up a partnership with the Sunderland Empire, to become official "Festival of Light" ticket sponsors, which means anyone buying tickets online for the Festival of Light , will receive a discount when booking Jack and the Beanstalk pantomime tickets at the Empire.

Councillor John Kelly, Portfolio Holder for Public Health, Wellness and Culture, said: "The illuminations and Festival of Light are mainstays of the Sunderland events calendar, which bring tens of thousands of people into the city and to our beautiful seafront.

"Every year we challenge ourselves to do them better than the year before, and I think residents and visitors alike will get a real kick out of what we have planned for this year."

Like 2016, visitors will be required to pay a small fee of £1 online booking or £2 at the gate to access Roker Park - however, for ticket entry , the Empire will deduct £1 from the cost of a pantomime ticket, in effect meaning anyone planning to see Jack and the Beanstalk will gain access to The Festival of Light for free, with all information on the website.

Ben Phillips, General Manager from the Sunderland Empire, said: "Like the Sunderland Illuminations, our annual pantomime is part of what winter in the city is all about for many people. It seemed to make perfect sense to partner up and work as a team to showcase the city to as many people as possible.

"We appreciate that money is tight for many families as we approach Christmas, so this sponsorship deal means that anyone buying Illuminations tickets online, will get that money back when they buy tickets for the panto...and hopefully help ensure they have a spectacular Sunderland festive season."

People can find out more information about the event  and to book tickets online by visiting the See It, Do It website at: www.seeitdoitsunderland.co.uk/illuminations

"With the Sunderland Illuminations, Festival of Light and the plans being finalised for the city centre, the people and businesses of Sunderland are going to deliver fantastic run-up to the festive season," added Councillor Kelly.

"I'd like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who is involved in organising the illuminations, our sponsors and the residents of the seafront."