Must-Do Attractions at Disneyland Paris

Disneyland Paris

In our last post, we discussed what you need to know before booking a trip to Disneyland Resort in Paris. In this post, we’re going to go a little bit deeper and tell you about the “must-do” attractions at Disneyland Paris’s two parks: Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios Park. We experienced just about every attraction that was open, some of them more than once. So, we hope this list helps you out when deciding what to do during your visit to Disney’s European park. Please note, though, that I only included our favorite rides. We enjoyed everything we did, so not being on this list doesn’t mean we didn’t enjoy it.

In no particular order, here are our favorite attractions at Disneyland Paris.

1. Phantom Manor

best attractions at Disneyland Paris

Phantom Manor, one of the best attractions at Disneyland Paris

This attraction, located in the Frontierland section of Disneyland Park, is similar to the Haunted Mansion attractions in Florida and California. If you’ve visited either of the American attractions, you’ll recognize some scenes, like the Ballroom and Seance Room. However, there are more differences than similarities, which is what made this ride so exciting for us.

Phantom Manor is a lot spookier than the Haunted Mansion rides. There are a lot more skeletons, rotting corpses, and scary images. It does not have the lighthearted, “Grim Grinning Ghosts” feel of the American rides. So, even though there is no height limit for this ride, it might not be a good choice for the very young or easily frightened. It is exquisitely detailed and highly entertaining, though, so try to ride it if you can. It was hands-down our favorite of all the rides in both parks.

Bonus Tip: Phantom Manor does not offer Fastpass. We suggest getting a Fastpass for Big Thunder Mountain railroad before getting in line for this ride.

2. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

Big Thunder Mountain

Big Thunder Mountain

Just like Phantom Manor, this attraction is also located in the Frontierland section of Disneyland Park. It, too, has counterparts in Florida and California. While there are a lot of similarities between the Paris and U.S. versions of these rides, we think the Paris version is much better.

This roller coaster ride was just thrilling enough without being too scary. It’s a little faster and more intense than the U.S. attractions, and there is a decent, though not vomit-inducing, drop at the end. I’m not a fan of the really intense coasters, like Expedition Everest, but I handled this one just fine. Bella, who’s a little more adventurous with rides, absolutely loved it.

The theming was also excellent. The ride slows down at points, allowing you to take in scenes of bats, rainbow pools, and unruly goats. These touches made it feel like we were really on a runaway train and not just some random roller coaster.

There is a height limit for this ride of 102 cm/40 inches, so not all kids can ride. It does offer Fastpass, though. We suggest riding this first thing after rope-drop or getting a Fastpass to come back later.

Bonus Tip: This ride goes so fast that it sometimes doesn’t run in the rain because the wet tracks make it go dangerously fast. If it’s rainy, don’t get in line since it can close at any time.

3. Le Pays des Conte de Fees

attractions at Disneyland Paris

Beauty and the Beast Scene from Les Pays de Contes de Fee

The name means “The Land of Fairy Tales” in French, and is similar to the Storybook Canal attraction at Disneyland in California. It is located in the Fantasyland section of the Disneyland Park.

This relaxing ride takes you on a boat ride past miniature scenes from Disney stories, like Beauty and the Beast and Tangled. There is also a scene from The Wizard of Oz, which I found interesting, since it’s not a Disney movie. I recommend this ride because it’s great for the whole family. There are no height restrictions, and the material is suitable for all ages. We also both enjoyed all the richly detailed fairy tale scenes. Despite being a slow ride, we were not bored as there was so much to see.

Bonus Tip: This ride often closes earlier than the rest of the park, so be sure to check its closing time and ride before it closes. I’ve heard it also closes completely on really slow days, but it was open all days we were there.

4. Les Mysteres du Nautilus

attractions at Disneyland Paris

Nautilus (and Hyperspace Mountain) are in the background

Disneyland Paris has several walk-through exhibits, making it a bit different from its U.S. cousins. This attraction, located in the Discoveryland section of Disneyland Park, is one of these. Though they don’t offer the thrills of the rides, you would be making a mistake if you ignored these exhibits.

I found this walk-through to be one of the best in the parks. It is modeled after Jules Verne’s classic story, 20,ooo Leagues Under the Sea, and it is so detailed that it feels like you really are on the Nautilus, the submarine in the story. In one of the six rooms in this attraction, you even encounter a disturbingly life-like giant squid attacking the Nautilus. The effects and attention to detail make this an attraction you should not miss. There’s also rarely a line!

Bonus Tip: Save this attraction for the early afternoon, when the park is busiest and you need a break from the crowds. This exhibit is also great to visit when it gets really hot or cold outside.

5. Mickey and the Magician

This show is currently playing at the Animagique Theater at the Walt Disney Studios Park. It is exclusive to the Paris theme parks, and it usually only runs on limited engagements. Thus, it might not be playing when you visit. But if it is, don’t miss it. It is one of the best Disney park shows I’ve ever seen.

I won’t go into the whole plot, except to say that Mickey, who is working for a magician, goes through several adventures with some of your favorite Disney characters in his quest to become a magician himself. The show, which is almost 30 minutes long, features quite a few songs from popular Disney movies, including Frozen and Beauty and the Beast. Honestly, I could write a whole post about this show, it was that good.

Be aware that parts of the show are in French, though there is plenty of English, too. But even the French parts are easy to follow, and it was pretty cool to hear Mickey speaking another language.

Bonus Tip: Arrive early to secure a spot for this show, since it’s pretty popular. When we saw it, they started cutting off the line about 20 minutes before the show began because it had reached capacity. I suggest getting in line at least 30 minutes before show time.

6. Ratatouille: The Adventure

attractions at Disneyland Paris

La Place de Remy, where the Ratatouille ride is located

This ride is located in its own mini-land inside the Walt Disney Studios Park. It’s also one of the exclusive attractions at Disneyland Paris: you won’t find this one at any of the other parks.

Ratatouille is a dark ride, like The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh or Under the Sea at Disney World. This one is unique, though, in that it doesn’t follow a track. This allows it your ride vehicle to move freely and spin, which adds a little extra thrill. It’s also a 3-D attraction, so you’ll have to wear the provided glasses to fully experience it.

The ride’s concept is that you are shrunk down to rat size as you follow Remy the rat through his kitchen exploits. You run under tables, get swatted by a broom, and ride on a dining cart, all while dodging Skinner, the movie’s villain. There’s also the obligatory splash of water and integrated smells that seem to go along with all 3-D attractions these days. Also note that much of the language was French, but you can still easily figure out what is going on if you don’t speak the language.

There are no height restrictions on this ride, so the whole family can enjoy it. If you have motion sickness, however, you might want to give it a pass (I got a little queasy). I also wouldn’t suggest it for infants or smaller toddlers, but you can use the rider switch service if you still want to ride.

Bonus Tip: This ride offers Fastpass, and you’ll want to get one for this popular attraction. Single rider lines here are often very short, too, if you don’t mind splitting your party up to ride.

7. La Taniere du Dragon

This is another walk-through at the Disneyland Park. It’s situated in a “cave” underneath the castle, which, to me, makes Disneyland Paris’ Sleeping Beauty Castle the best of them all.

Both the dragon and the cave are truly stunning in their detail. The dragon, who has been defeated and chained beneath the castle, is quite large (over 80 feet long!) and is about as realistic as a mythical creature could be. It doesn’t just sit there, either; it’s animatronic! It sniffs the air, looks around, breathes smoke, and appears to fall asleep. You can almost feel its sense of defeat at being chained forever in a dungeon. This attraction is a fine example of the Disney “magic” that makes their theme parks so immersive and special.

Bonus Tip: Though it’s not terrifying, smaller, easily frightened children might not appreciate the realism of this attraction. Fortunately, it’s pretty easy to get in and out of the cave should someone become scared.

8. Disney Illuminations

Many Disney theme parks have nighttime shows, and the Paris Disneyland Park is no exception. Illuminations is a new show for the park’s 25th anniversary, having only just debuted in March of 2017. It’s a bit different from the castle shows we’re used to because it didn’t feature many fireworks. It did have some really awesome projection effects on the castle, though, along with lasers and some water effects.

During the show, you see characters and scenes from many Disney movies projected onto the castle in amazing ways. There’s even a portion that features the new live-action Beauty and the Beast movie. But the best part of the show was the Star Wars sequence. I’m not even a fan of that franchise, but I was amazed at this part of the show. I won’t spoil it for you, though, by describing it all.

The one drawback to the show is that much of it is centered on the castle projections. So, if you don’t have a good view of the castle you’re going to miss a lot. It’s utterly fantastic, though, if you can see everything. Find an unobstructed view at least 45 minutes before the show begins and stay put.

Bonus Tip: The show only takes place after dark, which can come pretty late in the summer (after 10pm when we were there.) This means you’ll have to stay up late in the warmer months if you want to see it. The day you plan to see this show would be a good one for a mid-day nap or break in your hotel room.

Other Attractions at Disneyland Paris that We Didn’t Try

For various reasons, we did not ride the following attractions at Disneyland Paris. Thus, we could not honestly review them.

Crush’s Coaster– dark ride/roller coaster that spins; lines were 90 minutes+ every time we walked by and there is no Fastpass, so we passed on this one; also, I wasn’t too hip on riding a spinning ride

Star Wars Hyperspace Mountain- this one has 3 inversions, and we were told it’s pretty intense; we decided to skip it since we’re not thrill junkies; Fastpass is available for this one, though

Star Tours: we have this one at home in Florida; since it’s just a simulator, we decided to skip it in favor of something different

Pirates of the Caribbean: closed during our visit

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Peril: Bella wanted to ride, but she was under the 55 inch height limit; maybe next time

An Exciting Announcement

Bella, my nine-year-old daughter who is often featured in my posts, is now writing her own posts for We’ll Do It Our Way. She will be providing an honest kid’s eye view of the places we visit. This way, when planning for your family adventures, you can hear from an actual kid what they think and what they enjoyed. Sometimes, we adults think we know what kids like, only to find out we are wrong. I really hope that her perspective helps improve your family trips. You can read her very first article, which complements this one, here.




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