…and yes they are actually different!
When David surprised me with a trip to Paris for our anniversary, he threw in a visit to Disneyland Paris. We had such an awesome time. In fact, David actually turned into a little boy; and, literally took more photos in Disneyland Paris than he did of Paris itself.
So what’s the difference between Disneyland Resort in Anaheim and Disneyland Paris?
Well, for one, the entrance.
When you ignore the rather creepy looking Mickey face
The Disneyland Hotel actually makes a beautiful grand entrance to Disneyland
Step inside and the aisles showing the potential long lines are absolutely shocking. This shot below was just one half of the HUGE area where you wait in line for tickets.
No Walt Disney quote gateway but you are greeted by the sorcerer Mickey
And Mickey speaks in French!…which made him so much more fun to listen to (French is such a BEAUTIFUL language)
You’ve still got tons of strollers by which you hope not to get run over
They’ve still got the FASTPASS option
And there’s always something still under construction
But Main Street is SO much more spacious
Taller, wider, grander
They’ve even got a bigger Gibson Girl store (although the ice cream is really just Ben & Jerry’s)
The parades though, honestly, were painful to watch – much less entertaining versions of the ones in Disneyland Resort.
And something wrong happened to Simba’s hair
But, OH, one of the best things about Disneyland Paris is the gorgeous castle. It’s magnificent (it doesn’t hurt that they have nearby inspirations like Versailles)
It’s Sleeping Beauty’s castle (but better…and…in French).
Complete with an underground cave and dragon
And tall magnificent structures and stained glass windows (how the castle should be in Anaheim, really)
Oh and MUCH better Disney princess costumes that were better quality and look more like the ones in the movie rather than like the blingy, rather inaccurate princess costumes they have in Anaheim. By the way, they came in sizes that actually fit me. The benefit of being petite. …I swear I didn’t buy one though…as much as the little girl trapped inside me wanted one.
Disneyland Paris has only five parks: Adventureland, Frontierland, Main Street USA, Discoveryland (which is basically Tomorrowland) and Fantasyland.
It’s a Small World is there! It’s much smaller and, disappointingly, had several broken dolls that weren’t dancing with audio issues (some rooms where the vocals were way too quiet). The colors are beautiful on the outside but it was much less grand than the one in Anaheim.
We were sad to see Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride turned into a restaurant named Toad Hall here.
Rather than the ride, Alice in Wonderland was commemorated with Alice’s Curious Labyrinth, a giant maze, which was fun to wander through…’til we realized how long it was.
David made the most of it by hiding at every corner he could to pop out and scare me. …That’s my man.
But it was great when we reached the end, to see this mini-castle and go up top to view the whole park.
Ah the BEST part of Adventureland, hands down, was the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction, the entrance of which was much more fun to wait in line through. It was complete with dark halls (almost too dark, by the way, you might trip so watch your step), enclosed caves, prisons and dramatic lighting that really help create the mood before you enter in. The ride itself was not in the same order than in Anaheim and had a few extra scenes. But that order, by far, made much more sense and made the ride enjoyable. The drops in the ride were timed perfectly to match nearby explosions to create a more dramatic effect.
Oh, Indiana Jones. A sad disappointment (at least for us, and especially for David because Indiana is his FAVORITE ride in Disneyland).
While it looked like a neat roller coaster, it wasn’t anything special for us. It couldn’t compare to the much more entertaining storyline in Anaheim. Note: Watch your glasses. Mine actually fell off during the loop. Thank God I caught it in time.
Still, it was fun to see a different interpretation of the ride.
There was a fun little walkway (like Sleeping Beauty in the castle in Anaheim) dedicated to Aladdin
Where you can view Mr. Cave of Wonders himself.
Big Thunder Mountain was a BLAST! It was faster, longer, and 1/3 of the time you were in pitch black darkness.
We…really couldn’t help ourselves here.
The Haunted Mansion in Anaheim is known as the Phantom Manor in Paris. Much more elaborate and creepy than Anaheim’s. David had loads of fun photographing this site.
discoveryland (pretty much like the Tomorrowland in Anaheim)
The classic rides could be found here like Star Tours and my personal favorite of Tomorrowland:
BUT there’s this AWESOME restaurant that I wish they’d open up in Anaheim! We noticed their restaurants were better themed in Paris with spots like Pizza Planet and even a Remy’s Kitchen modeled after Ratatouille.
They even had the classic Autopia
Which was longer
David’s sweet ride
We regretted waiting in line for this ride as soon as we got on. It was such a bumpy, not-fun-to-be-on ride and course. David, especially, was so disappointed.
THE BEST RIDE in Disneyland Paris. If you have to ride just ONE, ride Space Mountain.
This ride is as Space Mountain should be. We knew it would be good because, as we got closer and closer, the screams inside got louder…and louder. High speed. Exhilarating.
Park #2 in Disneyland Paris: Walt Disney Studios (what would be the equivalent to our California Adventure in Disneyland Resort)
The entrance here was also grander, more spacious (may be why they’re updating California Adventure to be more like). The park was dedicated to a Hollywood feel.
It too had an Art of Animation building (my favorite spot in California Adventure), but was so much more disappointing here. If you have NOT seen the Art of Animation building in California Adventure, you’re missing out on a beautiful building and fun experience (we’re actually shooting a wedding there in January and we’re SO excited).
It was one large room of activities and was adjoined next to a store. But this was pretty much it.
There were some classic rides that were exactly the same as ours in CA.
Their kids Cars ride, as only Disney can do
It even had a Studio Tram Tour, which was basically the same as Universal Studios excluding King Kong, of course
But hey at least they threw a ton of water at you to make up for that
Instead of Bug’s Land, it was Toy Story Playland
When we saw the giant Buzz, we were excited to see what else they came up with
But when you compare it to Bug’s Land, it was disappointing. The rides were very similar except they were with a Toy Story spin…and the most exciting part was walking through the line for this ride.
This is there Toon Town. Well, okay, they turned into a Toon Studio for shows.
But my personal favorite ride in Walt Disney Studios was Crush’s Coaster which was Anaheim’s Space Mountain meets Roger Rabbit (the way the Finding Nemo ride should have been).
David’s favorite: The Rock ‘N Roller Coaster by Aerosmith. Yes, it really had a video and memorabilia of Aerosmith inside the ride. According to David, this was the best roller coaster in the park.
They had a few shows you could check out.
Armageddon, which was basically Backdraft from Universal Studios.
This one was DEFINITELY worth checking out. Truly, a stunt show spectacular with tips of how they do awesome car tricks in films
Complete with a visit from Lightning McQueen, which was a cute surprise.
Disneyland wouldn’t be complete without its own Downtown Disney, known in Paris as Disney Village: shops and restaurants galore.
So what ultimately was the difference between Disneyland Resort and Disneyland Paris?
Disneyland Paris Strengths: Its emphasis on more thrilling rides, the magnificent castle, better themed restaurants, and the wide spaciousness that made it much more comfortable to walk through. We were just disappointed that the park was not as well maintained as in Anaheim.
Ultimately, the Disneyland Resort still holds our ultimate loyalty with its dedication to creating a much more magical experience with better lighting, cleanliness, and quality through and through.
True to all things Disney, Disneyland Paris is still a great place to play princess
For us, it was the perfect way to end our time in Paris
Surrounded by some of our childhood friends
- Need ideas for engagement or wedding photos? Read our post: Why Disneyland is the RADDEST Spot for Engagement Photos here.
- View our other Disneyland tips (places to eat and games to play) here.
- View more on our trip in Paris here.
- What’d you think of the post? Let us know below!