As the Tsum Tsums and I are currently in France, I thought I’d share with our readers my experience going to Disneyland Paris for the first time, along with a few tips and tricks if you’re planning your own vacation to this European Disney park.
The Marne-la-Valee Chessy train station leads right to the entrance gates of Disneyland Paris, with their own “petit” version of Downtown Disney to the left and the Disneyland Hotel to the right. The Disneyland Hotel, with its beautiful pink facade, also serves as an entry way to the main park. Within this park resides my favorite Disney Castle, which is based on illustrations found in fairytale books, instead of a real castle, since Europeans are used to seeing real castles throughout daily life. In fact, Disneyland’s original castle is based on the Neuschwanstein Castle which is located in Germany, not too far from Paris.
One of the best parts about this fairytale castle is that a dragon lives in the the dungeon below it!! But no worries, it’s not Maleficent, this dragon seems pretty friendly. This has got to be one of my favorite audio animatronics as well, he moves so realistically, his eyes glow, and his nostrils even breathe out smoke!
On the other side of the castle is the most whimsical Fantasyland there is. It really felt like walking through some of Mary Blair’s concept art for the film Alice in Wonderland! Something I’ve been wanting to see for a long time is Alice’s Curious Labyrinth, which holds this park’s SECOND castle, belonging to the Queen of Hearts.
The most thrilling ride worth visiting in this park is Indiana Jones and the Temple of Peril, an inversion rollercoaster found in Adventureland. Also within this land is a wonderful version of Pirates of the Caribbean, a huge ship out front marks the entrance, and it’s the only version of this ride that hasn’t added in characters from the movie franchise, like Captain Jack Sparrow.
If you’re traveling with little ones and the rides mentioned above seem like they’d be too much for them, then I’d also skip Phantom Manor in Frontierland, Disneyland Paris’ version of the Haunted Mansion. Personally, I’m used to Disney’s idea of “scary” being silly, singing ghosts, but its Parisian counterpart actually creeped me out a bit, as it follows the story of a bride being murdered by an evil phantom who then sends the ride’s guests to an old western Hell where everyone is a deteriorating zombie… I dunno, maybe I’m just a sheltered American kid…
The most unique land in the entire park would have to be Tomorrowland, which is actually called Discoveryland here. Instead of going with the futuristic feel in this park, Imagineer, Tony Baxter designed a steampunk type world based on the novels of Jules Verne. For example, in this Space Mountain you are not launched, you are “catapulted” into the cosmos for a thrilling ride! Here, you can also take a tour of Captain Nemo’s Nautilus from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.
Our day in Disneyland Paris was cut a little short due to the fact that we were not at all prepared for the weather. When visiting Disney we’re used to it being warm, but this is the first Disney park I’ve been to where I’ve experienced snow, REAL SNOW! Not the stuff they use during the Christmas Fireworks show in California and Florida. So if you’re planning on visiting this park yourself, I’d say a good last minute tip would be to bring layers, as well as gloves, a hat, and maybe even an umbrella.
Stay tuned for more Disney travel tips from yours truly!