If you have been to Disneyland, Anaheim, California, you will find much of Disneyland Paris very similar. There is a decidedly "french" flair to the place, but it is similar enough that you feel familiar. It is also just different enough to screw you up, if you are trying to find something...
The first thing you
will notice, once you get into the park, is the fact that the
Disneyland Paris' Sleeping Beauty Castle is MUCH more
impressive than the one at Disneyland, Anaheim. The reason
is simple. France, and the rest of Europe
has REAL castles to compare this to. It had to be
recently renovated their Tomorrowland. They went from the
Chrome/Steel/Concrete of the 1960's to the brass and rivets of the
1850's. They got the idea from Disneyland Paris.
Jules Verne, the 19th century author of speculative fiction, was a
native of France, and they designed Discoveryland to look like it came
from a Verne novel. Two attractions are taken directly
from the works of Verne. Space Mountain comes from his book From the Earth to the Moon, and the Nautilus
exhibit comes from 20,000 leagues
Under the Sea. Videopolis is based on The Island at the
Top of the World, which has a similar feeling to Verne's work.
Here you see the Nautilus, docked next to Space Mountain. The Nautilus is a walk-through exhibit. You go down a flight of stairs, across a gangway and into the Nautilus. You wander through the ship, which is laid out as it was in the Disney film.
with diving suits and moon pool (not shown).
The pipe organ from which Captain Nemo played "Toccata and Fugue".
The main viewport, during the squid attack!
Plaque, with all the particulars.
Space Mountain at Disneyland Paris is infinitely superior to Space Mountain at Disneyland Anaheim for several reasons. First, it is based on the Jules Verne Novel From the Earth to the Moon. Your car is loaded into a cannon and you are "fired" up the outside of the building. You go into a steep dive into the top of the building, and the ride gets more exciting from there. Second, I have nothing against Dickey Dale, but I always thought his tune was a bit out of place in Space Mountain. Disneyland Paris got John Williams to write a symphonic score for their version of the ride. The music is MUCH more appropriate. Third, this Space Mountain has a loop and corkscrew, all inside the building. It is my favorite ride at the park.
Disneyland Paris has no New Orleans Square (It would be redundant). They put the Haunted Mansion in Frontierland instead. It looks like a frontier mansion, with a bit of Norman Bates' house thrown in.
The exterior of the Haunted Mansion.
Disneyland Anaheim's Haunted Mansion originally was supposed to have a story of a bride whose groom was a sea captain who never returns from the sea. She pines away and eventually dies. In Disneyland Anaheim, the only remnants of this story are the bride in the attic, and the weathervane in the form of a ship on the roof. However, this story was fully realized in the Haunted Mansion in Disneyland Paris. The bride is tormented by a scary-looking phantom figure throughout the ride, and the ride is decidedly creepier than the Anaheim version.
The graveyard is
populated by spooky skeletons, most of whom are singing and playing
along with the four
singing busts. "Grim Grinning Ghosts" is still the song, but here
emphasis is more on the grim, and less on the grinning.
They have the Chicken of the Sea ship!!!
In one of the parts of Disneyland Paris that will be confusing to those familiar with Disneyland Anaheim, Captain Hook's Pirate Ship is located next to Tom Sawyer's island, which is not actually an island. You can walk across the island and off the other side without even realizing it was an "island".
There is way too much cool stuff to go into here, but suffice it to say, no matter how familiar you are with Disney parks, you will find some old familiar friends here, as well as enough that is fresh and new to make it as exciting as when you made the pilgrimage with your family when you were a kid.
Oh, yeah... their
castle has a dragon!