Disneyland Paris

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Is Disneyland Paris Worth a Visit?

For families, traveling to Europe is no easy feat. Besides the cost of travel – flights, food, hotels – there’s also the sheer work of planning and managing logistics. Before you spend your hard earned money and vacation time on a trip to Disneyland Paris, it’s my job to provide you with realistic expectations.


The Weather

If you’re used to visiting Disneyland in sunny Southern California, you might not be prepared for the constant June Gloom that is Paris. It will most likely rain during your trip unless you’re planning on visiting in the summer when it’s hot and crowded. It’s also really cold, so unless you’ve grown up on the east coast pack all the warm clothing you own.

We visited the park at the end of April. Besides the fact that I was cold and we had a light rain the whole day, we really enjoyed ourselves because the park was empty. The wait times were 5 to 10 minutes on every attraction.

Paris Disneyland Space Mountain

The Rides

If you’ve grown up going to Disneyland or Walt Disney World you may not be impressed by the amount of attractions offered at Disneyland Paris and the adjacent Walt Disney Studio Park. You may also be disappointed by the way they chose to re-imagine rides like Indiana Jones, Pirates of the Caribbean, and the Haunted Mansion. While there aren’t as many attractions at these parks, there are a few gems that you can’t miss.

Both of my favorite rides were located at the Walt Disney Studios Park. The park is much smaller than CA Adventure or Disney’s Hollywood Studios Park, but it offers Ratatouille: The Adventure and Crush’s Coaster. On Ratatouille: The Adventure guests get some “perspective” and join Remy as he attempts to navigate the busy kitchen at Gusteau’s. On Crush’s Coaster guests feel what it’s like to be one with the current. The coaster is high speed, and feels like no other ride you’ve ever been on.


The Castle

Sleeping Beauty’s Castle in Paris is majestic, and unique. It’s the only castle where guests can walk along the outside and take in great views of the park. Unlike the walk through in Anaheim, the walk through in Paris is open aired, and is adorned with “set” pieces instead of graphic scenes. The castle also featured a waterfall that leads into small pools that are used for the water show at night. Arguably the best part of the castle is the dragon layer underneath, where guests can come face to face with Maleficent in dragon form.

One of the biggest drawbacks to the park is it’s early close time. Not only does the park close much earlier than its U.S. counterparts, they also begin to close attractions more than an hour before park closing in order to prepare for the fireworks show. While the fireworks show is impressive, and features a “world of color” like water show, I would have appreciated the ability to ride attractions closer to park closing. Make sure to get in all your rides in time.


The Lands

In Disneyland there’s Adventure Land, Frontier Land, Fantasy Land and Tomorrow Land. The Magic Kingdom Park offers up New Fantasy Land and a small Philadelphia in addition to the original staples. At Disneyland Paris guests can take in the original lands, but don’t expect to find tiki statues or Dole whip in Adventure Land. For Paris, Disney used Aladdin as inspiration. The entrance to Adventure Land is inspired by Agrabah, and features a “marketplace” themed Middle Eastern restaurant. There’s also an Aladdin walk through featuring scenes from the 90’s animation classic.

Unlike U.S. Tomorrow Land themes, Paris’ Tomorrow Land was inspired by Jules Verne classics. The Space Mountain Mission 2 Ride is nothing like the original, but is very similar to the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster. There’s also a walk-through experience where guests can walk through a submarine and come face to face with a mysterious beast.

Frontier Land is huge in Paris, which might have something to do with Europe’s infatuation with cowboys and the Wild West. Even the Haunted Mansion has been inspired by the Old West. Guests of the Paris Haunted Mansion will be surprised by just how much scarier/creeper this version is. The ride tells the story of a bride who lost her parents and her groom just before her wedding day. The grounds have been neglected, but you can still take in a great view of Thunder Mountain Railroad from it’s porch.


The Food

When I walked inside the bakery on Main Street I expected to see some pretty Parisian desserts. Not so much. The displays were filled with donuts, muffins, brownies, and chocolate chip cookies. I’d say we offer better desserts here in Disneyland. They do offer crepes at multiple quick service locations throughout the park. Sit down restaurants are numerous at this park, the best being the Blue Lagoon restaurant inside the Pirates of the Caribbean ride.

Is Disneyland Paris worth a trip across the pond? I’d say yes if you’re a die hard Disney fan. If you’re traveling to Paris with your kids, it’s worth the quick train ride over to experience the park. It may not be worth it otherwise, especially with Shanghai Disneyland opening up next month.

Have you been to Disneyland Paris? What was your favorite or least favorite part about your trip? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.


Michelle McKinley is a journalist and digital marketer from Los Angeles, CA. She earned her Journalism degree from Pepperdine University, and has been writing for the web since 2003. She’s a life-long Disney fan who travels and writes about her experiences for fun.

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