On 12th April 1992, a land of magic opened its doors in Europe for the first time – Euro Disney Resort, or, as it is now known, Disneyland Paris! DLP has since expanded to include more attractions, shows, stores and characters than ever before, making its name as one of the most unique, special Disney Parks. So, in celebration of 25 amazing, magical years, I wanted to share my favourite fun facts about Disneyland Paris, as well as my favourite aesthetic photos I’ve managed to capture of this truly gorgeous Disney Park!
DLP’s Disneyland Parc centrepiece is Le Chateau de La Belle Au Bois Dormant- Sleeping Beauty’s Castle. Inside Le Chateau, you’ll find both a glassware and all-year round Christmas boutique, a breathtakingly beautiful gallery upstairs showcasing several stained glass windows, tapestries, statues and props that recount the story of Sleeping Beauty, including the infamous spinning wheel and knights in armour who are indeed asleep and snoring soundly. If you take a photo of these guards with flash, one will turn pink, and the other will turn blue – Flora, Fauna and Merryweather like to leave their magic everywhere! One of the stained glass windows also likes to change appearance by itself – sometimes it’ll show a rosebud, while other times, it’ll show two entwined doves. Each individual window was created using actual medieval techniques and took months of hard work.
Le Chateau is one of a kind as its deliberately designed to be more fanciful and fairytale inspired than the other Disney Park castles. This decision was made by the Imagineers due to the fact that the other Disney Park castles are based on real European castles, therefore they didn’t want DLP’s addition to be confused with its surrounding architectures. The colour pink was chosen to contrast with the usually grey skies of Paris, and the top of each tower is gilded with 24 carat gold leaf for extra sparkle! The castle faces south so guests never have to worry about bad lightning when taking photos in the daytime.
However, a little known secret is that deep under Le Chateau, there is a hidden dungeon, which houses a huge dragon! The dragon is Maleficent in her final form from the movie and she is the largest animatronic of her kind in Europe, measuring over 75 feet long and weighing over 5,500 pounds. If you’re brave enough to venture inside, you’ll find her resting… But not for long, as she roars to life! You can find her by following the path around the side of the castle and the entrance is next to the waterfall, where you’ll find the attractions named plague La Tanière Du Dragon.
Main Street USA is inspired by the real life location of Marceline, Missouri during the early 1900’s. Main Street is authentic in every way, even down to its soundscape! If you listen carefully, you can hear a dentist at work, as well as piano lessons in session next to the ice cream parlour. If you pick up the phone inside the New Century Notions boutique, you can overhear several conversations between the Main Street locals!
Fantasyland has some attractions that are unique to DLP, such as Alice’s Curious Labyrinth! This is a themed walkthrough attraction featuring many of the beloved characters from the movie, with the exception of Alice, as YOU are meant to feel like you’re experiencing the adventure for yourself! If you feel you’re up for the challenge, you can enter the Queen Of Hearts’ maze, which features around 8 dead ends, and the Queen regularly jumping out of the hedges, shouting “off with their heads!“. You can also explore the Queen Of Hearts castle – if you reach the balcony, you’ll find one of my favourite photo locations to get the best photo of the entire Fantasyland!
Other famous attractions in Fantasyland include Peter Pan’s Flight, Mad Hatter’s Teacups, It’s A Small World, Le Carrousel de Lancelot, Les Voyages de Pinocchio, and Blanche-Neige et Les Sept Nains (Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs). If you watch carefully above the entrance of the latter, you’ll catch the Evil Queen open and close the curtains as she spies on you entering! Le Pays Des Contes de Fées is a lesser known attraction as it’s towards the back of Fantasyland. It’s a relaxing boat ride exploring several storybook worlds, including Snow White, The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Beauty & The Beast, Tangled, The Sword In The Stone, Fantasia, and even The Wizard Of Oz. The miniature structures are amongst the most intricate and extravagant inside the entire park!
DLP’s version of Tomorrowland is aptly titled Discoveryland, and is a departure from the other Disney Parks as Discoveryland is a steampunk avant-garde surrealistic dream inspired by the works of 1800’s french novelist Jules Verne, famous author of 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, which later became an early live-action Disney movie. Discoveryland is also the only home of the Les Mystères du Nautilus, an attraction that lets you explore inside Captain Nemo’s infamous submarine from the novel… But beware, there’s a high chance you’ll be approached by a menacing giant squid!
Space Mountain of Discoveryland is the fastest of any of the Disney Parks, features an on-board synchronised soundtrack, and is the only Space Mountain to feature a loop as well as a dramatic launch cannon. It’s currently under refurbishment as the attraction is to become Star Wars Hyperspace Mountain: Rebel Mission, making it the first of its kind to be rebranded with a Star Wars theme! The attraction is so massive it’s unmissable from the skyline… Also, if you look at it from Fantasyland, you’ll notice the two cogs form a very hidden-in-plain-slight hidden Mickey!
Frontierland is home to the riverside Wild West town of Thunder Mesa, with Big Thunder Mountain at it’s centre! This version of Big Thunder Mountain is the only one worldwide to be situated on an island, circled by the boardable boats of Thunder Mesa Riverboat Landing. But one of both Frontierland and the whole park’s most elaborate attractions comes in the ghostly form of Phantom Manor, DLP’s unique version of The Haunted Mansion. Phantom Manor and the whole of Thunder Mesa are connected in a very detailed backstory making the magic more alive than ever as you explore the haunted underworld of this spooky manor on the hill, and this story of the doomed bride is the very one that inspired the live-action movie. After you exit, not only should you “hurry baaaack“, but head into the nearby graveyard and walk up to the large tomb… You may just hear a heartbeat from inside!
Adventureland is home to one of the most beloved swashbuckling Disneyland attractions worldwide – Pirates Of The Caribbean. However, DLP’s version of the ride was the only one not to have included any tie-ins to the blockbuster movie franchise until now, meaning it was the last of the pirate dark boat rides to be enjoyed how Walt himself originally intended it. It is currently under refurbishment and will re-open in July WITH Jack Sparrow and crew aboard!
Adventureland is also full of hidden gems that you can look out for when you explore the beautiful landscape of Adventure Isle, two full scale treasure islands featuring Skull Rock and Hook’s Jolly Roger from Peter Pan, as well as bridges, waterfalls, a lagoon, Spyglass Hill, and the famous La Cabane des Robinson, otherwise known as the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse full of unique furniture, props and inventions for functional island life. If you have a good look, you may just find Carl and Russell from Up enjoying some time by the water. You can also find the shipwrecked makeshift boat of Gepetto very close to the lagoon nearby the Pinocchio themed restaurant Au Chalet De La Marionnette. Don’t forget to also check out Le Passage Enchanté D’Aladdin, a fun walkthrough showcasing miniature animatronic scenes that vibrantly tell the story of Aladdin!
Once you’ve fully explored the delights of Parc Disneyland, make sure you head over to Walt Disney Studios right next door! This park is heavily influenced and inspired by Hollywood movies and gives you the feeling of being on-set a rolling production, especially when entering through the main Studio 1 building. If you arrive at opening time, you’ll witness a special light and sound sequence as the set powers up and you hear the director shout “action“!
To experience the full power of real-life movie special effects, visit both The Studio Tram Tour and Armageddon: Les Effets Speciaux, where you can discover what it feels like to experience first hand a canyon explosion, dragons taking over London, and being stuck on a doomed spaceship! Take a trip into the 5th dimension with The Twilight Zone: Tower Of Terror, based on the hit cult tv series. Tower Of Terror is a masterpiece blend of storytelling, atmosphere, and illusion, where you’ll be sent inside a doomed elevator destined to drop right into The Twilight Zone at miraculous speeds! Other highlights of this park include The Rock N Roller Coaster, Crush’s Coaster, Toy Story Playland, and the brilliant Ratatouille: The Adventure which only first opened a few years ago – all of which are perfect for thrill-seekers!
The real centrepiece of Disney Magic within Walt Disney Studios is the Art Of Disney Animation studio. This 20 minute tour features interactive showrooms, including the birth of famous animation techniques, a Disney Classics Theatre where you’ll watch the best of Disney’s work throughout the years, a Drawn To Animation show with a live-host alongside Mulan’s lovable feisty dragon Mushu, and finally, a large room with a tonne of animation stations, where you can learn hidden facts about your favourite Disney characters, and even learn how to drawn them just like the real animators do! This attraction is also currently a great spot for meet n greets; Belle is currently situated in the final room, but as of July, Moana will be making her return to meet guests!
That’s all for now! For those of you who were lucky enough to join in the celebrations at Disneyland Paris, I hope you all had the most magical time! For the rest, I hope this article made you even more excited to book a trip soon!