As a special part of our stay in the Paris area this spring, we got to spend 2.5 days over at Disneyland Paris. Our Marriott accommodations were just a 10-15 minute shuttle/bus ride from the train station, which happens to be literally at the front entrance of the Resort. It made for an easy and convenient play day with the kids! We had been to Disneyland Paris 10 years ago before kids, and I actually went 20 years ago when I was in high school – visiting for the 5 year, 15 year, and now 25 year anniversaries! 🙂 It’s been fun to watch the park grow in popularity, expand, and come into its own as a true Disney Vacation Destination.
Home is never far away for a Disneylander 😉
Overall, I rank Disneyland Paris Park as my number 3 across all Disney parks I have visited. For those wondering, my rankings go in order: Disneyland Park California (the Original), Animal Kingdom in WDW, Disneyland Paris, Epcot WDW, Disney California Adventure, Magic Kingdom – WDW, and a tie for Disney Studios Paris and Hollywood Studios in WDW. That being said, both of the last two are getting huge expansions, including Star Wars Land, and it’s obvious that Toy Story area and Ratatouille (a fantastic attraction, one of the best newere Disney ones I’ve seen) have really helped out Walt Disney Studios Paris. Now, we are dying more than ever to get to Tokyo, as well as Hong Kong/Shanghai some day!
The dragon beneath the castle is so incredibly cool
In any case, I love the beauty and theming of Disneyland Paris itself. It seems that Imagineers really got to go free here making magic, and seeing all of the classic Disney attractions in “newer” form with a European flair is really fun. I absolutely love Pirates of the Caribbean here (hey, they actually speak French!) with very lifelike animatronics and some added story from the USA versions. The only thing I actually don’t like as well is the use of electronic CG fire, vs the classic “fake” fire in California actually has a warmer and more authentic look! I also love Alice’s Curious Labyrinth , which was the favorite for my kids over there – such a fun and chill family activity to do – as well as Sleeping Beauty’s Castle itself, better known as Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant . It’s a beautiful castle, complete with stained glass windows that are such a classic feature in European castles, large without the stark and more gaudy factor of the one in Magic Kingdom – and the sleeping dragon underneath is so super cool! Space Mountain is another hit unique to DL Paris with upside down loops and newer technology not unlike the soon to be Incredicoaster in California, though we decided we like the original version better than Hyperspace Mountain here. Big Thunder Mountain is fantastic with actually going UNDER the water at high speed to get out to the ride on its own island – definitely our favorite version of the 3 we’ve seen so far! Sadly, Phantom Manor was down this trip, but we have really enjoyed that in the past as well with its fantastic theming and ambience.
Beautiful stained glass even extends to Disneyland castles!
The fun maze through Alice’s journey is a unique and fun part of Disneyland Paris
When it comes to Disney Studios, as I said there is a lot lacking here in terms of a disjointed theme (or lack thereof) and attractions thrown together to make for some entertainment. It’s definitely grown from when it first opened, and the Pixar areas have given it a lot of flair (though they stand out from the original movie theme of the park). Rockn’ Rollercoaster is definitely not as good here as in Florida, with an oddly different storyline and disconnected queue. Our kids did really enjoy the Toy Story Play area, especially the Slinky Dog Coaster, so I’m sure they will feel just as great about Toy Story Land in WDW! The highlight attraction of this park is undoubtedly Ratatouille, which uses some awesome technology to make you feel like you’re “floating” as a rat throughout scenes in the movie. Very excited this is coming to Epcot in the future!
It’s fun to pose and chat with this guy!
A fun ride with Remy!
There are now a number of Resort Hotels and an awesome Disney Village in the Disneyland Paris area, including the Disneyland Hotel that is right inside the park itself. We didn’t get to tour them, but we did walk around a bit in the rain and there’s plenty to explore! This area has grown immensely and continues to do so as a hot vacation destination in Europe – the excitement and enthusiasm of the Guests was truly infectious and magical! We are excited for the future of Disneyland Paris after its rocky start 25 years ago, and we will definitely be back!