First amusement park in Europe with 15 million visitors per year, Disneyland Paris is also the favorite theme park of the French, ahead of Puy du Fou and Futuroscope . Located in the town of Marne-la-Vallée to the east of Paris, this park offers visitors a unique and magical experience through the Disney universe. Opened in 1992, the construction of the Disneyland Paris park required more than four years of work. Since then, this theme park has become the favorite tourist destination of Europeans. In this article, we will take a look at the construction of the park, while stopping at its best attractions. Finally, we will give you some advice and tips for organizing your stay or your weekend at Disneyland Paris.
The construction of the Disneyland Paris park
Following the success of the parks established by the Walt Disney Company in California, Florida and Japan, a European park project was considered in the early 1980s. In 1984, the Americans discreetly got closer to the French, so that the latter would think about setting up a European Disney park in France. In 1985, the French presented 3 site proposals to the Americans; the first in Ardèche, the second in the Var and the third east of Paris. The Marne-la-Vallée site located in Seine-et-Marne was chosen for its significant potential in terms of surface area and logistics (near the Rungis market) and work on the park began in 1988. To be fully validated, the park project must have been completed on 1,800 hectares by the year 2000 and have generated at least 30,000 jobs. At the end of the 1980s, the French proposed to “Europeanize the park” by giving it the name of Euro Disney, in order to attract a European clientele. The opening of the park takes place on April 12, 1992 and the complex includes, in addition to the park, hotels and an area composed of shops and restaurants called Festival Disney, renamed in 1996, Disney village. The Euro Disney amusement park was finally renamed Disneyland Paris in October 1994.
Disneyland Paris theme parks
In 1999, the construction of a new theme park, called Walt Disney Studios, was scheduled for spring 2002. Also at this time, the site was renamed Disneyland Resort Paris and the first theme park was renamed Disneyland Park. The Walt Disney Studios park is located south of the first park and hosts about ten attractions mainly consisting of shows. But when it opened, this second park did not attract visitors and Disney had to face major financial problems. In 2007, changes were made to the Walt Disney Studios park and the animation zone gave way to Toon Studio and its famous attractions Cruch’s Coaster, Cars and Tower of Terror. In 2010, a section called Toy’s Story Playland with 3 new attractions and a shop was created. In 2018, Disney announced that it wanted to double the surface area of the Walt Disney Studios park with the establishment of 3 new areas around the universes of Marvel, Starwars and Frozen. The opening of the Avengers Campus (Marvel universe) is scheduled for the summer of 2022 and the total opening of the 3 areas by 2025.
The best attractions of Disneyland Paris
The attractions of the Disney park are numerous and mainly grouped in the following areas:
- Frontier Land
The best Disney Park attractions are:
- Pirate of the Caribbean : located in the Adventureland zone, this little boat trip immerses visitors in the heart of a puppet decor, on the theme of pirates and the famous captain Jack Sparrow.
- Indiana Jones (the temple of peril) : take a seat aboard a wagon and relive the mythical scene of the famous adventurer in this sensational attraction.
- Star Tour : this attraction in the form of a dynamic cinema will make you relive the adventures of the famous Star Wars heroes created by George Lucas.
- Space Mountain (hyperspace mountain) : Disneyland Paris’ flagship attraction, Space Mountain is a roller coaster that simulates being launched aboard a space shuttle.
- The dolls’ house : this attraction animated by 280 dolls takes children and adults on a world tour through 26 countries, and in a magical universe.
- Peter Pan : this is one of the favorite attractions of the little ones: with Peter Pan, you fly over London aboard a Galleon, in the direction of the imaginary country.
- Big Mountain (the mine train) : board a cart launched at full speed for a sensational journey to the heart of a ghost mining town.
- Phantom Manor (the haunted mansion): visit this atypical dilapidated house where ghosts and spirits await you in every corner.
The top attractions at Walt Disney Studios Park include:
- The Tower of Terror: Opened in 2007, this attraction simulates the fall of an elevator in a 13-storey building. Chills guaranteed!
- Crush coaster : this attraction taken from the Finding Nemo plunges visitors into the depths of the ocean and to the port of Sidney.
- 4-wheel Cars Rallye : this attraction, accessible to all ages, invites you to board small vehicles to cross the town of Radiator Springs.
- Ratatouille : this attraction launched in 2014 is a 4D projection that gives the illusion of being Rémy’s size and offers a unique experience in the Parisian kitchens of chef Gusteau.
- Toy Soldiers Parachute Drop : recruited by the sergeant, you must board the tower for a parachute jump from a height of 25 meters!
- RC Racer : This sensational attraction simulates the vertiginous ascents and descents of a racing car on a U-shaped circuit.
Also note that Disneyland Paris offers multiple shows for all ages, ranging from magic to nighttime shows with parades, fireworks and illuminations.
Organize your stay at Disneyland Paris
The park is open year-round, but hours and attractions vary seasonally. Spring and fall are generally the best times to visit, as the weather is milder and there are fewer visitors. In order to make the most of your stay, Disneyland Paris offers hotel + ticket packages. These packages offer multiple advantages, such as unlimited access to the 2 parks and outside opening hours. The standby pass package significantly reduces queue times and offers premium access to the most popular attractions. Here is the list of Disney hotels to organize your stay:
- The Disneyland Hotel : this 5-star palace offers a unique experience. Currently closed for work, it will soon welcome its customers around the “royal” theme inspired by the greatest Disney classics.
- Disney’s Hotel New York : this 4-star hotel is decorated in the colors of the Marvel universe and its superheroes. A swimming pool, spa, gym and shops are available to hotel guests.
- Disney’s Newport Bay Club : located on the shores of Lake Disney, this 4-star hotel displays a decor inspired by New England and its nautical atmosphere.
- Disney’s Sequoia Lodge : Inspired by American national parks, this 3-star hotel welcomes you in a cozy and comfortable atmosphere.
- Disney’s Hotel Cheyenne : This 3-star hotel welcomes you in a Far West atmosphere with rooms decorated on the theme of Toy Story.
- Disney’s Hotel Santa Fé: this 2-star hotel welcomes its guests in an atmosphere reminiscent of New Mexico and Route 66. The decoration of the rooms is inspired by the movie “Cars”.
- Disney’s Davy Crockett Ranch : surrounded by nature, small bungalows welcome you for a 100% pampering experience.
The Disneyland Paris amusement park in figures
- The Disney park covers 50 hectares and has 40 attractions, 31 restaurants and 35 shops.
- The Walt Disney Studios park covers 25 hectares and has 11 attractions, 6 restaurants and 8 shops.
- Vegetation is everywhere at Disneyland Paris: 35,000 trees, 1 million flowers, 130 gardeners.
- The 7 hotels in the park and the 8 partner hotels have 8,500 rooms.
- For professionals, Disneyland Paris provides 2 convention centers, 3 conference rooms and 95 meeting rooms.
- Disney Village is the largest center dedicated to entertainment in the Ile-de France region with 15 restaurants, 9 shops and 15 cinemas.
- In 2022, the Disneyland Paris park will celebrate its 30th anniversary and 350 million visitors have walked the paths of the park since its opening in April 1992.
Tickets, prices, reservations, additional information are available on the Disneyland Paris website www.disneylandparis.com/fr-fr/