Theme Park of the Week: Disneyland Paris

March 6, 2022, 2:36 PM ·

The Disneyland Paris Resort kicked off its 30th anniversary celebrations today. That makes Disneyland Paris an obvious choice for our Theme Park of the Week.

Disneyland Paris opened April 12, 1992 as EuroDisneyland – The Walt Disney Company’s second theme park outside the United States, after 1983’s Tokyo Disneyland. Disney changed its Magic Kingdom formula for European audiences, most notably allowing the sale of alcohol on a Magic Kingdom park for the first time. But Disney here also replaced its Cinderella Castle with a Sleeping Beauty Castle [Le Chateau de la Belle au Bois Dormant] that evoked the art of Eyvind Earle from the 1959 Disney animated film.

The EuroDisneyland development struggled with financial losses after it opened, with the park dragged down by a surrounding real estate development that did not pan out as Disney and its financial partners had hoped. That made EuroDisneyland an easy target for pundits around the world. But the people who actually visited the park generally loved it.

Eventually, Disney changed the resort’s name to Disneyland Paris to distance it from the wounded EuroDisney brand. And in 2017, Disney completed its takeover of the Euro Disney SCA holding company, brining the Disneyland Paris Resort completely within what is now the Disney Parks Experiences and Products segment of The Walt Disney Company.

Joined by a sister park, Walt Disney Studios, in 2002, Disneyland Paris remains the most-visited theme park in Europe. Its highlights include unique takes on four classic Disney theme park attractions.

  • Phantom Manor is an Old West version of the Haunted Mansion that includes scenes originally designed for Walt Disney World’s cancelled Western River Adventure ride.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean reorders scenes from the Disneyland original and abbreviated Disney World version while plussing the ride with additional effects.
  • Big Thunder Mountain takes Tom Sawyer Island’s place in the middle of the Rivers of America, which extends the ride with tunnels under the river to connect with its station on the Frontierland river bank.
  • Space Mountain is a Vekoma indoor coaster here and Disney’s first with an inversion. Today, it carries a Star Wars theme as Hyperspace Mountain

For its 30th anniversary, Disneyland Paris is celebrating with a new “Disney D-Light” preshow to its Disney Illuminations nighttime spectacular. Drones will form a sparkling “30” in front of the castle accompanied by a new 30th anniversary theme song, “Un monde qui s’illumine.”

Disney D-Light

That “30” looks like something else, too, doesn’t it? Anyone else having old Disney Channel flashbacks?

Also on the schedule are a new character show called “Dream… and Shine Brighter!” will play several times daily in the Central Plaza in front of the castle, where guests also will find an installation of 30 new Disney character-inspired art pieces in 10 themed gardens.

But the biggest addition to the resort this year will come next door at Walt Disney Studios, where Avengers Campus will open this summer.

For tickets to the Disneyland Paris theme parks, please visit our international travel partner’s Disneyland Paris tickets page.

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