Updated: Dec 6, 2020
Let me preface this by saying I do love Disney, but would never consider myself to be a Disney expert, (I’ve only been to Disney twice – once at age five, then again in Paris) so I apologize for any inaccuracies – this writing is completely my observation, and therefore might not be entirely accurate, and second: I did go to Disneyland in California but don’t remember much at all, therefore I consider Disneyland Paris to be my first real Disney experience.
And it was great.
This was a day trip during a 21st birthday trip to Paris during the middle of May 2016. As a bonus, tickets to Disneyland Paris were about $58 for the day, so a bargain if you compare that with the prices of Disney tickets in the US! It definitely made sense to go, even if just for the bragging rights – a lot of people have been to Disney World, but how many do you know that have been to Disneyland Paris?
Disneyland Paris shares quite a few similarities to Disneyland in California, or at least as far as I can tell. The park is split up into five different lands – Main Street USA, Fantasyland, Frontierland, Adventureland, Discoveryland. There were several attractions that were closed in the park due to renovations for the upcoming 25th anniversary, but this did not stop us from having a great time! Overall, I think this was a great first Disney experience because the park is a bit smaller than the park in California, and it seemed that mid-May is not peak season there, meaning that the lines weren’t that long. 15 minute wait for Space Mountain? I’ll take it! The short lines also meant that I got to ride all of the rides once by 2 pm, then had the rest of the day to go back to ride and see things a second time (or a third. or a fourth). I’m looking at you, It’s a Small World.
Main Street USA
Main Street USA is the first thing you see when you enter the park, and where most of the shopping can be found. I would assume that Main Street USA is quite similar in all of the Disney parks. There are also quite a few dining options here. Main Street USA is where everyone goes to watch the fireworks show at the end of the day – which was incredible! Conveniently, the shops here stay open later than the rides so you can get some last-minute shopping done one your way out of the park!
This was the first stop, and it didn’t take too much time due to the fact that a lot of the rides here were closed for renovations (this meant no Big Thunder Mountain, sadly). First official Disney ride: Phantom Manor, Paris’s version of the Haunted Mansion! As someone who was a huge Oregon Trail player as a child, I also loved the wild west theme in Frontierland.
This one was so much fun – it’s part safari, part Agrabah, part pirate stronghold. They definitely did a great job on the scenery and decorations in Adventureland, and it felt like it was more than one land. Pirates of the Caribbean was one of the highlights of the park. The queue through the underground passage smells like sea air, and I would have loved to have eaten at Captain Jack’s restaurant that overlooks the ride – maybe someday when I’m not on a student budget! The beginning of the ride is so well done – it actually feels like you are on a boat in a bay at night.
The look of pure concentration on the Astroblasters
Very futuristic and science-themed – think Jules Verne/20,000 Leagues under the Sea. Space Mountain is in Discoveryland, and shockingly, the line was only about 10 minutes long. It was one of the best roller coasters I’ve ever been on, and the short line meant that we rode it multiple times. Space Mountain in Paris is also the only Space Mountain ride that goes upside down. One of my new favorite Disney rides is here – Buzz Lightyear’s Astroblasters. Half video game, half ride, 100% fun. You sit in carts with laser guns attached to the front, and your goal is to hit the targets and get the highest score. Definitely brought out my competitive side!
Both my favorite and the largest land at Disneyland Paris. This land has all the classic Disney rides – Dumbo, It’s A Small World (my personal favorite – I rode it three times and sang along the whole time. No shame.), the carousel, and the teacups, to name a few. The whole land really lives up to its name – you feel like you’re in the middle of a fairy tale land. I really enjoyed the Storybook Land Canal Boats, a boat ride through the miniaturized lands of all the famous fairy tales. Strangely enough, this ride also had one of the longest wait times of the day at about 30 minutes. We had dinner in Fantasyland at Au Chalet de la Marionnette. a fast food service restaurant with sausages, chicken, and burgers. The price wasn’t bad for Disney – about €12 for fries, a sausage, and a drink.
Overall, I had a great time at Disneyland Paris! Bathrooms and water fountains were plentiful, and the weather was beautiful. The short lines definitely helped the experience as well – I took so many pictures, but they sadly seem to have gone missing somehow. Hopefully, they’re hiding on a thumb drive, but I’m sorry for the lack of good pictures in this post.