Guide Sections:

Main Street USA
Walt Disney Studios
Disney Village
The Ugly
Overall Impressions


Disneyland Paris Links:

Disneyland Paris Hotel Reviews:
Disneyland Hotel
Disney's Hotel Cheyenne
Disney's Hotel New York
Disney's Hotel Santa Fe
Disney's Newport Bay Club
Disney's Sequoia Lodge

Recommended Reading:

Take the Kids: Paris & Disneyland Resort, Paris, 3rd Edition.

A wonderful guide to the parks, with a focus on kid-friendly attractions. One of the few books in English.



Comparing Disneyland Paris to Disneyland in California

I've been to the original Disneyland Park about fifteen times in the past decade. My wife and I honeymooned at Walt Disney World in 1995 and in the summer of 2005 we visited Disneyland Resort Paris. This page compares Disneyland Paris to the original Disneyland Park (and to a lesser extent the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World).

We encountered very few American's at the park formerly known as EuroDisney. Out intent is to provide information for experienced Disneyland fans who are thinking about visiting.

Note that when we refer to "Disneyland" we mean Walt's original park in Anaheim. We'll use "Disneyland Park Paris" to refer to the park in Europe.

Getting There

Disneyland Resort Paris is located near Paris and the Charles de Gaulle Airport. There are direct shuttle buses (12 euro) to and from the resort and airport. For those starting with some time in central Paris, there is a train line that runs directly to the Disneyland Resort. The resort consists of two theme parks and several hotels with varying price structures.

Disneyland Park Paris

This park is similar to the other Magic Kingdoms, and is significantly larger than Disneyland in California. The walkways are wider and more picturesque, and there are many different paths between the lands. The selection of attractions is very good, though there are fewer E-Tickets compared to Disneyland.

Main Street USA

The Good

In addition to a wider Main Street, there are covered arcade walkways behind the stores. These are effective for staying out of the rain or just making a quicker cut-through to the Hub. In a rare feat in a Disney park, beer is available at Casey's Corner, but only when purchased with a meal. The hot dogs here are great.

The parades were okay. We liked the Wishes fireworks show and the Wonderful World of Disney Parade. Disney's Fantillusion parade was less effective though we appreciated the cast member who kept the crowd entertained while we waited.

The Bad

Main Street itself is similar to that at Disneyland, except that it is shorter and has fewer varieties of goods for sale. City Hall looks nice but instead of the Opera House there is a transportation building that doesn't look as elegant. The hub doesn't contain the Partners statue of Walt and Mickey (it's over at the Walt Disney Studios).

The Disneyland Railroad has a nice looking station, and the ride does include the Grand Canyon as you enter Frontierland. But that was really the main highlight, with far less to see than the Disneyland version. Also, for some reason you could only board the train in Main Street, which made for longer lines.

City Hall Main Street Station

Fantillusion Parade Cast Member Entertains Waiting Crowd


The Good

Scary Phantom ManorMuch larger than at Disneyland and featuring a much better version of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. The train goes underneath the river and careens around an island in the middle. This version is more intense and longer.

The Phantom Manor (i.e. Haunted Mansion) begins similarly to the California version but with a larger emphasis on the bride. The last scene really plays up the Frontierland theme with a western town and lots of skeletons. The cast members did a great job scaring people while entering the Manor.

The entrance fort features a Legends of the Wild West history tour and makes for some nice exploration.

The Bad

The riverboats weren't running, for no apparent reason. Most of the rest of Frontierland isn't very exciting: a petting zoo, a small Pochahontas-themed play area, and the Railroad station that wasn't open (passengers could exit but not board the train here). We didn't attend the ill-themed but apparently very good Tarzan Encounter show.

Critter Country? Not to be found. No Splash Mountain.

Big Thunder Mountain Open Range in Frontierland Pochahontas-themed Play Area


The Good

Indiana Jones and the Temple of PerilThis land features Pirates of the Caribbean, which is on par with the Disneyland version. Purists will bemoan that some of the scenes are in a different order (you go up on the waterfall at the beginning of the ride, not the end) but for the most part this is the same excellent ride. The que is much better themed and The Disneyland Railroad drives through this ride, though it would be hard to spot from the boats. The Blue Lagoon restaurant is inside this building too.

Indiana Jones and Temple of Peril is a well-themed roller coaster. While not as elaborate as the Indy ride in California, we thought the "mine car" theming worked well and we really liked the short but exciting coaster ride. The ride is a little jerky for some tastes.

Adventure Isle is a hoot. It features a series of caves, the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse, Skull Rock, and more. It essentially performs a similar function to Tom Sawyer's Island at Disneyland. We are Adventureland nuts and we really liked this, and it's a great place to explore when the rest of the park is crowded. There's a pirate-themed play area for the kids as well.

The Bad:

Several restaurants in this area of the park were closed, and the various trails and paths can be confusing (this could be a plus for some). There's lots of space for attractions that seem missing: Jungle Cruise anyone?

New Orleans Square? Not to be found.

Adventure Isle Adventure Isle Map


The Good

DumboLet's start with the big weenie: Sleeping Beauty Castle is amazing! Photos can give you a taste but it seriously dwarfs the one in California. There are numerous walkways, including an upper-level walkthrough and a lower-level dungeon featuring a dragon!

The Le Pays des Contes de Fees (i.e. Storybookland) boats load faster because there is no cast member riding along (which language would they speak?). This ride is longer and more detailed than the California version, though we found the inclusion of Oz an odd choice. The Casey Jr. train goes faster and takes steeper banks than the original, making it a little bit more "roller coaster-ish."

Alice's Curious Labyrinth is a neat attraction. Lots of fun for the kids and well-themed to the movie. The rest of the dark rides are similar to their California counterparts, though we thought the Snow White ride was much better. The Tea Cups spin fast, like they used to in California, and Dumbo is an effective clone. Peter Pan has some additional lighting effects near the end of the ride.

There's a nice amphitheater setting for a Winnie the Pooh show near the castle, which doubles as a great place to watch the parades.

The Bad

It's a Small World is nice, and we appreciated seeing an American scene. Unbelievably, the song is a bit more charming in French! But, the sets here are really plain and bare compared to the Disneyland version. Definitely not on par. Also worse by comparison was the slowly rotating Carousel.

Some will miss the Alice in Wonderland dark ride, though we felt the labyrinth was a nice substitution. The railroad station was closed here, like it was in the other lands. Like the rest of the park, there are lots of water barriers between areas of Fantasyland, meaning you must traverse them to get from Point A to Point B; even without kids this was sometimes tricky.

Mickey's Toon Town? Not to be found.

Front of Castle Castle from Adventureland Dragon in Castle

Alice's Curious Labrynith Fantasyland Water It's a Small World

Discoveryland (Paris' Tomorrowland)

The Good

Let's begin with the attraction you can't miss (because it sits right in the middle of the land): Space Mountain Mission 2 is outstanding! It is well-themed like the rest of the Discoveryland in a Jules Verne setting, canon-launching the rockets into space. Inside, the ride has outstanding (and recently upgraded) effects, and the track takes you into several loops (or, "inversion" for the coaster snobs). Able to go upside down was a big treat. One of the ride operators noticed our Disney's California Adventure shirt and asked if we had visited that park. He said that it was his second-favorite park after Universal's Islands of Adventure. (As an aside, we're fans of DCA but even we wouldn't rate it higher than any of the Magic Kingdoms, or EPCOT, or... Not sure how this cast member was coming up with his criteria.)

The Astro Orbitor is a clone of the version at Disneyland (or, actually, the Disneyland version is a clone of this one). We like this ride a lot. Under construction was a version of the Buzz Lightyear ride, which we think will be a nice addition. The Jules Verne-themed Nautilis walk-through was atmospheric and interesting, though it had limited operating hours.

The Bad:

We didn't ride Autopia because it opened late at 11:00 and the lines were super long. Star Tours is the same as in California, though the lines were shorter because they have six ride vehicles instead of four. Unfortunately, the Star Wars theme doesn't work as well in Discoveryland.

There is a Videopolois theatre here, but it was showing the Festival of the Lion King. This made for bad theming. We also don't like the layout of this land, which forces you to circumnavigate Space Mountain to get around. We didn't attend Honey I Shrunk the Audience, though I understand it is the same as in California.

We didn't spend much time in this land. It made us miss Innoventions, the Monorail, and Peoplemover. There's a cut-through to Fantasyland but it was closed after the parades started. The railroad station was generally closed here as well.

Discoveryland and Space Mountain

Walt Disney Studios

Walt Disney Studios is located right next to Disneyland Park, about a three minute walk away. The park is similar in theme to the Disney-MGM Studios at Walt Disney World.

The Good

We like several attractions at this park. The Rock 'n' Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith was a great thrill, as was the Moteurs... Action stunt show. The stunt show really is breathtaking and there is great audience participation. The bleachers held 3,000 guests and the stands were filled!

We were charmed by the Cinemagique attraction, featuring Martin Short and Julie Delpy, that was one of the best tributes to cinema that we've ever seen. It also features some interactive Disney magic. The Flying Carpets Over Agrabah were a fun ride as was the Virtual Space Mountain at the Walt Disney Television Studios. The Art of Disney Animation is similar to the attraction at Disney's California Adventure; we know this isn't universally loved but we like it.

We also liked the Disney Studio 1 shopping and dining complex that functions as a sort-of Main Street for this park. We didn't attend Armageddon but have heard good things.

The Bad

What's worse than a small movie-themed park? How about the fact that it isn't a real working studio. The "backlot" tour featured sets from various movie and television shows. Not actual sets, mind you, but just recreated for the tour. Worse, these recreated sets were for "memorable" movies such as Dinotopia, Reign of Fire, and Dinosaur.

This park is so small it makes Disney's California Adventure seem huge in comparison. We experienced most of the attractions in less than half a day.

The restaurant options here are fewer and far less interesting than at Disney-MGM. Rumors indicate The Tower of Terror will be built here in the near-future.

Walt Disney Studios Stunt Show

Hotels of the Disneyland Paris Resort

There are several Disney hotels, all within walking distance of the Disney Village and the theme parks. They vary in price and facilities, so there's sure to be one that will work for any budget. Overall, you'll find a better and nicer variety of Disney hotels here than you will at Disneyland.

The Good

Our Room in the Yosemite Hunting LodgeHow would you like to wake up and look out your hotel window to see Main Street USA and Sleeping Beauty Castle? At the Disneyland Hotel, you can. But it isn't cheap. This Victorian-styled hotel is extremely expensive but it is right at the entrance to the park.

Several mid-price hotels rim Lake Disney. We stayed at the Sequoia Lodge which is generally on-par with the Grand Californian at Disneyland and the Wilderness Lodge at Walt Disney World (though it lacks an impressive lobby). We stayed in one of the two-story "hunting lodges" and felt like we were out in the wilds of the Sierras or Rockies. This was a big plus for us, and helped us feel extra relaxed at the hotel. The pool was nice too, featuring both indoor and outdoor sections and a great waterslide. The Newport Bay Club and Hotel New York are well-themed hotels in this price-range as well, though they are a bit more expensive than the Sequoia Lodge.

We liked the low-priced Hotel Cheyenne, which felt like an old Western town. This hotel is further away, especially from the Disney Village, but is still within walking distance from the parks. There is lots of "open range" for little cowpokes to run around in and they even have pony rides!

The Bad

The southwest themed Hotel Santa Fe is inexpensive but felt "cheap" and is significantly less themed than the other hotels (unless you love cement and rocks). It was also the hotel furthest from the parks.

Sequoia Lodge Entrance to Hunting Lodge

Hotel Santa Fe Hotel Cheyenne

Newport Bay Club and Lake Disney

Disney Village

The Disney Village is a dining and entertainment complex similar to Downtown Disney at Disneyland. There are Disney-themed shopping stores, but no other types of stores to shop in. The focus is on about ten restaurants and on entertainment such as Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show.

The Good

There are several interesting restaurants here. We ate at the well-themed King Ludwig's Castle. The food was a tad expensive and service was slow but we did appreciate the medieval atmosphere. Also available are Anette's Diner, Billy Bob's Country & Western Saloon, Cafe Mickey, Lee's Snacks, McDonald's, Planet Hollywood, Rainforest Cafe, Sandwitches New York Style, and The Steakhouse.

There is a stage here that often features live entertainment. Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show seems popular and well-reviewed, though we didn't attend. There's also a mechanical bull and other small entertainment options. Just past the Village, Lake Disney becons with a variety of activities. These range from a balloon ride on PanoraMagique, to arcades, paddleboat rentrals, and more. There is a disco and a live concert venue that was running an ABBA tribute show.

The Bad

The Disney Village isn't very big and the shopping is limited. Prices seem high even by Disney standards. The Rainforest Cafe building is not themed to any large degree (compared to the awesome pyramid at Downtown Disney in Anaheim). Planet Hollywood seemed hip ten years ago, but not anymore.

The Ugly

Disneyland Paris is a great resort but our experience was significantly impacted by several factors.


People can and do smoke everywhere. And not just a little either! They smoke in the lines for rides, and whip out cigarettes the minute they get off. They throw the butts everywhere. Walt Disney died of lung cancer and even he didn't allow smoking in the park! I know Europeans smoke more than Americans (especially Californians) but Disney should have held out on this one.

Two Smokers at the Castle

Personal Space

Street SweepersIt's a stereotype that Europeans have had body odor and guess what, it's true! Not everyone mind you, but far and away more than you'll ever encounter in America. Not fun while waiting in line (especially the indoor ques that can get warm like Space Mountain). It's especially troublesome when they crowd up against you or don't move out of your way when you say "excuse me."

There were lots more folks stopping and reading the maps here, compared to the sophisticated audience in California. That was okay, but if you're going to stop it should be done on the side rather than in the middle of the walkways!

Lastly, this park was dirty. I think the good folks at Disney try to keep up but the guests threw trash everywhere. We even saw electric street sweepers being run in the middle of the day, something you never see in California. While waiting for the evening parade, folks took it upon themselves to cross the barriers and stand on the grass and flowers in the hub! These people did not respect the "House of Mouse" that they were visiting.

Overall Impressions Compared to Disneyland California


  • Adventure Isle (compared to Tom Sawyer's Island)
  • Big Thunder Mountain
  • Casey Jr.
  • Hotels of the Disneyland Paris Resort
  • Nautilis Sub (until 2007 when the subs return to Disneyland)
  • Sleeping Beauty's Castle
  • Snow White
  • Space Mountain
  • Storybookland
  • Tea Cups

Different but still on Par:

  • Alice's Curious Labyrinth
  • Autopia
  • Main Street USA
  • Peter Pan
  • Pirates of the Caribbean
  • Phantom Manor
  • Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse


  • Dumbo
  • Honey, I Shrunk the Audience
  • Pinocchio
  • Star Tours


  • Carousel
  • Disneyland Railroad
  • Disney Village (compared to Downtown Disney)
  • Indiana Jones
  • It's a Small World
  • Parades and Fireworks (compared to 50th anniversary editions, on par with previous ones)
  • Walt Disney Studios (compared to Disney's California Adventure)

Missing in Action:

  • Critter Country
  • Innoventions
  • Jungle Cruise
  • Matterhorn
  • Monorail
  • New Orleans Square
  • Splash Mountain
  • Tiki Room
  • Toon Town


We think hardcore Disney theme park fans will love Disneyland Paris. Yes, it's expensive to go to Europe but if you can afford it Disneyland Paris does offer a host of fun, interesting, and exciting experiences. As long as you're aware of some of the downsides we think you'll have a great time.

Opinions expressed are the personal opinions of Kevin Crossman. Comments can be sent to



All images and text appearing on these pages are copyright 2005 by Kevin Crossman, all rights reserved, unless otherwise noted.
Reproduction or retransmission of this material in any form is prohibited without expressed written permission.

This page last modified on Friday, May 18, 2007