Located in Marne-la-Vallée, Disneyland Paris – the only Disney park in Europe – opened in April 1992. It comprises two parks: Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios Park.
The more traditional of the two parks is styled after Disneyland Resort California, but on a smaller scale. There are ‘lands’ you can explore, including the well-known Adventureland and Main Street USA. For local tweaks, check out Discoveryland, featuring attractions with nods to famous Europeans.
Spaceship attraction Orbitron (above), for instance, is inspired by Leonardo da Vinci’s work, while the walk-through seafaring attraction Les Mystères du Nautilus (below) is based on Jules Verne’s novel 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea.
The Sleeping Beauty Castle, located in the centre of the park, houses a fascinating exhibit that retells the classic story of Sleeping Beauty – the walk-through exhibit will take you past stained-glass windows and tapestries on the second floor of the building. Beneath the castle is La Tanière du Dragon (a dragon’s lair), wherein lies a huge dragon figure designed to resemble the ‘real’ dragons in European folklore rather than the animated dragons in Disney movies.
Paris is, of course, the city of love, and Disneyland is a popular date spot. Auberge de Cendrillon (above) offers a fairy-tale dining experience that both adults and children will love. After a warm welcome from Cinderella’s mice friends Suzy and Perla, guests are taken to romantic booths in a majestic medieval banquet hall.
Feel like royalty as you feast on its chicken supreme with morel mushroom sauce and Aligot potatoes, and finish off with Cinderella’s Dessert or a platter of French cheeses. Take it easy after all that food with a ride on the Disneyland Railroad, which connects all the themed lands.
A cheeky little bisou (French for ‘kiss’) with a loved one can be shared under a spectacular display of fireworks at the close of the night, with Disney imagery projected against splashes of colour in the sky (above).
Walt Disney Studios Park
Walt Disney Studios Park is all about the movies. Disney Studio 1 is a covered Hollywood-themed walkway with shops and restaurants, transporting guests to La-La Land (it’s also a good place to take shelter from the unpredictable Parisian weather).
The rides here aren’t bad too. Ratatouille: The Adventure (above), which was launched in 2014, provides a 4-D chase experience that we highly recommend. Fans of the movie should also visit Bistrot Chez Rémy to sample some of France’s finest cuisine with a Ratatouille twist, along with some superb cheeses.
Interesting titbit: the limousine at the entrance of Studio Tram Tour: Behind The Magic is the actual ride used by Cruella de Vil (Glenn Close) in 102 Dalmatians.
Overall, while some have commented that both parks are somewhat small, they manage to pack plenty into their spaces and there is definitely enough activities to fill an entire day. Together, they provide a unique and distinctly Parisian Disney experience.
For tickets, hours and directions, visit www.disneylandparis.com.
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This article was originally published by Singapore Press Holdings.