Originally, I was going to include both Walt Disney Studios and Disneyland Paris in the same post, but it got incredibly long and it was just better to separate them. I do recommend reading the previous post first and you can find that by clicking here. Otherwise, let’s get started with this entry.
At Disneyland Paris, there are five different lands — Main Street USA, Frontierland, Adventureland, Fantasyland, and Discoveryland.
Attraction type: Dark ride // Location: Frontierland
The Phantom Manor is Paris’ version of the Haunted Mansion and there are actually some significant differences between the two. The Phantom Manor focuses on the story of a murderous bride, a character that only appears 1 and 1/8 times (let me know if you get that joke) in the Anaheim ride. There are also less ghosts and more skeletons, which actually makes it a lot creepier. I still like the original more.
I wanted to go on Big Thunder Mountain next, but it would have taken about thirty minutes to wait in line, so I just got a fast pass instead. The next land over was Adventureland and I really wanted to check the Indiana Jones ride because it is my favorite ride at Disneyland. Unfortunately, it was undergoing some renovations, so I continued on through Adventure Isle to Pirates of the Caribbean.
PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN
Attraction type: Dark ride // Location: Adventureland
Several of the key scenes in the Disneyland ride are replicated here, though they appear in a different order. While Disneyland’s ride has incorporated Jack Sparrow and other elements of the Pirates movie series throughout, that is all missing in the Disneyland Paris ride. Another difference that I noticed was in the scene when the pirates are ransacking the city. At Disneyland, they used to have a pirate chasing after a woman in a circle. They changed this to have the woman chasing after the pirate with a rolling pin, I believe because the previous scene was a little too…rapey. Disneyland Paris still has the man chasing after the woman.
BIG THUNDER MOUNTAIN
Attraction type: Roller coaster // Location: Frontierland
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is one of my favorite rides at Disneyland. This version was fun too, but I prefer Disneyland’s more. Nothing else too noteworthy to mention here.
After getting off Big Thunder Mountain, I was planning on getting something to snack on since I hadn’t eaten since breakfast. I was actually looking to get an actual meal, but I got distracted during my search because the park’s parade was about to start and I wanted to check it out. I ended up just getting a candy apple instead and found a spot among the crowd.
DISNEY MAGIC ON PARADE!
Attraction type: Parade // Location: Main Street USA
I really liked the floats that they used in this parade. Each one represented two different movies — one taking up the front half and one creatively taking up the back half of the float. There were characters from Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, Frozen, Tangled, Pinocchio, Toy Story, Winnie the Pooh, Cinderella, and more.
MEET MICKEY MOUSE
Attraction type: Character Meet-and-Greet // Location: Fantasyland
After the parade, I headed to Fantasyland and went straight to see Mickey Mouse. It was a little awkward standing in line to take a picture with him when the only other people in line were families with kids, but I reasoned that it wasn’t a big deal and I wouldn’t let that discourage me.
ALICE’S CURIOUS LABYRINTH
Attraction type: Hedge maze // Location: Fantasyland
Alice’s Curious Labyrinth is a hedge maze through the world of Wonderland, where many of its characters, including the Dodo, Caterpillar, Cheshire Cat, and Queen of Hearts, make an appearance. It’s kind of fun to try and figure your way out since there are a few dead ends. All in all, it’s pretty charming, but I’m okay with this being a Disneyland Paris-only attraction.
There were a lot of other rides in Fantasyland, but most appeared to be similar to what you would find at Disneyland so I passed. I did want to see how Paris’ version of “it’s a small world” was, but like Indy, it was closed for renovations. I headed to Discoveryland instead, which is this park’s version of Tomorrowland.
SPACE MOUNTAIN: MISSION 2
Attraction type: Roller coaster // Location: Discoveryland
Oi. Space Mountain at Disneyland is a really fun ride, but Space Mountain at Disneyland Paris is just…awful. It is much more rickety than the original and even if you try to keep your head back and in place, it stills ends up bouncing around everywhere. The experience reminded me of being on the Ghostrider roller coaster at Knott’s Berry Farm, which is probably the roller coaster that I hate the most. No bueno.
Attraction type: Motion simulator // Location: Discoveryland
Star Tours was replaced by its sequel, Star Tours – The Adventures Continue, at Disneyland, Tokyo Disneyland, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Disneyland Paris still has the original format which, unlike the sequel, does not include any 3D features. Even though the 3D effect can get dizzying, it is a little weird riding the ride without it. That will all get resolved by 2017 as the ride is scheduled to close and get updated to its newer version next year.
BUZZ LIGHTYEAR LASER BLAST
Attraction type: // Location: Discoveryland
I think this ride is exactly the same as Disneyland, except that you don’t get to send yourself a free picture at the end and Disneyland’s version is known as Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters. You still shoot targets while you try and defeat Zurg. I got enough points to be crowned Pilote Interplanétaire (though I probably could get to Éclaireur Spatial status if I had another chance).
By the time I exited the Buzz Lightyear ride, there was only about half-an-hour left until the park closed with the fireworks show. Since I still hadn’t had anything really filling since breakfast, I went to find something more heartier to eat than the candy apple I had earlier. I ended up just getting a cheddar and bacon hot dog from one of the shops on Main Street. It was pretty good.
DISNEY DREAMS FIREWORKS SHOW
Attraction type: Fireworks // Location: Main Street USA
Disney Dreams doesn’t quite have the extravagance of Disneyland’s fireworks (I don’t remember there being any of the huge bursting fireworks), but it is still a good finale for a day at the park. In fact, it actually reminds me more of Disneyland’s Fantasmic since it also incorporates a lot of water and projection effects. The show paid homage to Beauty and the Beast and Ratatouille, two films set in France, but I really appreciated that they included a section from The Hunchback of Notre Dame, since it is such an underrated movie that really doesn’t get that much representation in the parks. Quasimodo even sings in French!
As I mentioned earlier, the park clears out pretty quickly compared to Disneyland, but nearby is Disney Village, an area that is a little similar to Disneyland’s Downtown Disney District. There, you can find a World of Disney store with a good amount of Paris-specific souvenirs, including, for some reason, American flag mugs and Mickey and Minnie plush toys with Union Jack bows and shoes.
The train station is is right by Disney Village as well, so it’s an easy trip back.
Disneyland Paris was a fun alternative to the usual museums and historical sites that I saw a lot of in Europe and I’m glad that I took a day just to have a good time at an amusement park. Once I got to my bed, I knocked out. I needed to wake up early enough to pack and get breakfast since it was time to leave Paris and move on to the third city of my trip.