Favourite land: Discoveryland

Take a trip into the future with Disneyland Paris’s very own tribute to the future! This land is completely unique to Disneyland Paris – you won’t find it in any other Disney park. Gone is the look ahead to the future, instead we look to the past and views of the future from the past. Discoveryland pays tribute to visionaries such as Jules Verne and H.G. Wells and features a beautiful steampunk design.

Discoveryland: The most beautiful land?

Discoveryland isn’t traditionally ‘beautiful’; it has no trees or flowers, instead it has grey rock formations. That is no bad thing however. The idea of a land inside of a Disney park is to immerse a guest into a story. The story in Discoveryland is best created by rock formations and fountains, and so in that sense Discoveryland is a near-perfect land. It is at night when Discoveryland really comes to life, the futuristic landscape becomes luminous in a golden glow which makes this land an extremely pleasant place to be when night falls. The stars of this land are the attractions themselves – where other lands focus on landscaping to enhance their aesthetics, Discoveryland has rides that are the aesthetic element – Space Mountain at night is pure eye-candy.

Space Mountain in Discoveryland Disneyland Paris
Space Mountain in Discoveryland Disneyland Paris

Restaurants

Discoveryland has two eateries. The first, Café Hyperion is Europe’s biggest fast food restaurant. It serves a range of burger-type fast food much of which is now based on the hugely popular Star Wars films. This is ideal as the adjoining Videopolis is the home of the Jedi Training Academy. The giant airship outside greets guests to a wonderful themed ordering area. Cast members wear Captain outfits to complete the effect.

Cafe Hyperion in Discoveryland at DIsneyland Paris
Cafe Hyperion in Discoveryland at DIsneyland Paris

Pizza Planet is a restaurant which is seldom open at present. This eatery is an all you can eat buffet – the cheapest in the result – specialising in Pizza. The restaurant seems to suffer an identity crisis and whats more doubles rather brilliantly as a bland canteen outlet. Having said that, the restaurant has clear potential and the idea of a Pizza Planet is one to pursue. Additionally, the pizza is actually rather good.

Boutiques

Much like restaurants, Discoveryland is home to two boutiques: Star Traders and ConstellationsStar Traders is currently closed, however for the purpose of this article it is open as the shop will re-open in a new form next year. Star Traders is the number one Star Wars store in Europe. It sells a wide range of Star Wars merchandise a number of items are exclusive to Disneyland Paris. When it reopens, Star Traders may well have a new name and will be situated at the exit of Star Tours – the current building will be used for a Star Wars meet and greet.

Constellations is a store that is situated at the exit of the Buzz Lightyear attraction. The store has been there since the resort opening in 1992 – and still features a window display from that era too, the only store in the resort still to do so. It sells a range of merchandise from across the Disney brands with a focus on those that link to the Discoveryland themes.

Characters

If you like characters, it is quite unlikely that Discoveryland is your first calling point. In fact, here character meets are rather rare. There is a chance that you may bump into a Star Wars character or two, maybe some of the VIP characters (Mickey, Minnie etc.). But this is not overly common.

This, of course, will change in 2017 when a Star Wars meet and greet is scheduled to open in the former Star Traders building.

Rides

It is undeniable that Discoveryland has a whole host of amazing rides! The centre-piece of the land is Space Mountain, this beautiful attraction is at the very heart of the land and is visible all around the land and the resort. The steampunk designed attraction opened in 1995 and focused on the Jules Verne novel De terre à la lune. This was changed in 2005 to become Space Mountain: Mission 2. This is the overlay to the attraction that remains to this day.

Star Tours is a favourite of the Disneyland Paris community. When it closed down in March 2016 – to become Star Tours: The Adventures Continue, which will open in March 2017 – an event was held to commemorate the occasion. This, for many, was a reason to come to Disneyland Paris in itself. An attraction that one could never find boring or uninteresting, the first flight of Captain RX will be fondly remembered.

StarTours in Discoveryland Disneyland Paris
StarTours in Discoveryland Disneyland Paris

Buzz Lightyear Lazer Blast opened in 2006 and replaced the extremely popular Le Visionairum attraction. This family favourite permits guests to be recruited by Star Command and to defeat the evil emperor Zurg once and for all. This is a fun and interactive ride whose game elements allow for an easy repeat ride as they try to top their previous best score.

Conclusion

Discoveryland is a very different type of land to the others in Disneyland Paris. It feels much more concrete than the other lands, but this is part of its story. The attraction line up is solid, but there are some elements missing from the land such as a table service restaurant.

Positives

  • Good ride lineup
  • Excellent landscaping

Negatives

  • Lack of character meet and greet opportunities.
  • Lack of diverse restaurant options.

Favourite Land: Advenutreland

Adventureland is our portal to a new world, a world of oriental adventure. Where swashbuckling pirates meet explorers, and is a land for everyone to explore at their own leisure. Indeed, this is one of the most beautiful, picturesque lands in Disneyland Paris and really does deserve exploration. Where else in Europe can you be in a moroccan-style bazaar and then seconds later be in a jungle paradise?

Adventureland: The most beautiful land?

Most people will enter Adventureland for the first time through the giant bazaar. Whilst this is rather generic in its design, it also resembles something straight out of Aladdin. But the real beauty begins before you even get that far! As you leave Central Plaza, you are immediately immersed in a tropical setting. Make sure you gaze over to the castle, and don’t miss the unique photo opportunity of the Castle in a dessert setting.

Advenureland Disneyland Paris
Adventureland offers amazing vistas such as this.

Make sure you look up as you walk through the bazaar, the beautiful lighting above you was a gift from the Moroccan government for the grand opening of the park. After the bazaar, the entire land seems to open up before you in its all its lush green glory. That initial vista is breathtaking, lush green trees surrounded by a small river. Just to the right, one can see Skull Rock and Captain Hook’s Galleon. The water surrounding the land truly is something to behold. The land is such a wonderful blend of multiple regions, and it fits together seamlessly. It often feels that Adventureland is the only land you can get lost in, not just metaphorically but also physically.

Restaurants

Adventureland is the king of the food stands – they are everywhere! But there are also several beautiful restaurants dotted around the land.

Blue Lagoon is a highlight of Disneyland Paris and should be on every fans bucket list. There is nothing that can compare to dining within the Pirates of the Caribbean atmosphere. The restaurant specialises in seafood and Caribbean cuisine. It is one of the best places to sit and relax and take in a good meal in Disneyland Paris.

Restaurant Hakuna Matata serves a Moroccan style cuisine. Whilst many fans know it for the Hakuna Fries (and why not? They are tasty!), the real star dish is the beef in African Sauce dish. It is both the cheapest on the menu, and the most unique. The restaurant plays Lion King music in a mud-hut style setting with two wings named after Timon and Pumbaa.

Colonel Hathis at Disneyland Paris
Colonel Hathis at Disneyland Paris

The old Explorers Club restaurant is now Colonel Hathi’s Pizza Outpost, what is has lost in classification it maintains in style. Since Disneyland Paris does not have an Enchanted Tiki Room, this is our version. There are plenty of Tiki room influences in here, but the real star is the wonderful decor inside the restaurant and the enjoyable outside seating area in summer. This has become a favourite place to come and have a mid-afternoon soft drink.

An honorable mention here for Agrabah Café which serves a wide range of middle-eastern inspired cuisine.

Shops

As diverse as the land, there really is something for everybody in Adventureland. The standout store in Adventureland, and possibly the entire Disneyland Park, is La Girafe Curieuse. This store, located in the Aventureland Bazaar area of the land, is a safari themed boutique selling a range of fun and interesting merchandise. Perhaps the funniest elements of the store are the giraffe inside the store and the awesome jeep outside the front. Keep an eye out for these!

Just after you have taken in the thrill of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, make sure to check out Le Coffre du Captain. Here you can purchase all your favourite pirate merchandise in a caribbean-style setting. It makes for a fun and interesting ride exit as guests often find themselves looking for their ride photograph on the screens.

Temple Traders Boutique is one of the two Indiana Jones boutiques in the land. Here, you will find one of the largest Indiana Jones merchandise collections in Europe. Keep a special eye out for the special Mickey Mouse Indiana Jones cross over pieces, they are a unique souvenir from your time at Disneyland Paris.

Characters

Advntureland is a fantastic place to meet characters in Disneyland Paris. Peter Pan and friends will often make an appearance by the Skull Rock which provides guests with a wonderful Neverland backdrop. Captain Jack makes frequent appearances in Adventureland near the giant pirate ship and the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction.

Characters from The Jungle Book and The Lion King are meetable within the land, as are Mickey and Minnie in a special adventurer costume.

Rides

The standout of the land, and the entire park, is the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction. This attraction is a true Disney classic. It is one of the longest attractions in the park and features that classic Yo Ho song. there is nothing like taking a short cruise on this ride. It is a staple of the Disneyland Paris experience and it is impossible to imagine a trip to Paris without taking in the experience.

Whilst not a “ride”, one must mention Adventure Isle once again. The scale of this walkable adventure is immense and takes up a large part of the land. Just walking this area alone could take you an hour or so and so it is important to consider it as an attraction.

The Indiana Jones ride at Disneyland Paris
The Indiana Jones ride at Disneyland Paris

Finally, Indiana Jones et le temple du Péril is a rollercoaster situated at the back of Adventureland. This attraction is difficult to get to, but is certainly worth having a walk towards to see the theme of the area. Even if you are like me and won’t ride it, there is something to be gained from walking through the queue.

Overview

Adventureland is a joy to spend time in. It is the most pleasant land to take a stroll through. It is the most perfect mid-afternoon lazy break, and for those reasons you should consider Adventureland to be your favourite land.

Positives

  • Beautiful landscaping
  • Fantastic Rides
  • Enjoyable experiences.

Negatives

  • Too few rides
  • No Jungle Cruise

Favourite Land: Main Street USA

Main Street USA is the entrance to Disneyland Park, the first and last place that you will experience in any trip to most visited theme park in Europe. The street is themed to the turn of the twentieth century, and offers a range of experiences that change with the season, as well as dining and shopping experiences that are unparalleled with anywhere else in Europe!

Main Street USA: The most beautiful land?

The first thing you’ll notice about Main Street USA is how urban it feels. This is our avenue to escape reality, as we wander further down the street we get closer and closer to the four fantasy lands of Disneyland Paris. The contrast between one end of the street with a train station – a symbol of nineteenth century modernity – and the other with a fairy tale castle sets up beautifully the experiences that are to follow. The street is aligned with architecture that cannot really be seen anywhere else in Europe and the ragtime sounds of Main Street lift the atmosphere from the moment you walk through the gates. There isn’t overly much in the way of greenery in the land, but it was not designed to be that way, this is an urban experience, a transfer from reality to fantasy.

Main Street Disneyland Paris
Main Street USA is framed at one end by the Castle, and the other by Main Street Station

Restaurants

Main Street USA affords guests to eat full meals or simply a snack in a wonderful themed environment. One of the highlights of the land is Casey’s Corner, a hot dog restaurant with a seating area outside with views of the Sleeping Beauty Castle. Market House Deli is a sandwich and light food restaurant which provides seating in and outdoors in a magical environment. The Cable Car Bakeshop sells specialty cakes and snacks with a decor of old cable car photos and diagrams. This is one of the best places to take a mid-afternoon break in Disneyland Park.

Plaza Gardens is a buffet-style restaurant which has recently been refurbished to provide better quality food to its guests. Many seats in the dining area also offer a view of the castle.

Finally, the fine dining option of Disneyland Park is Walt’s: An American Restaurant. This restaurant offers American cuisine with a French twist and boasts dining rooms themed to each of the five lands in Disneyland Paris.

Cable Car Bakeshop Main Street Disneyland Paris
Cable Car Bakeshop on Main Street USA is the best place to get baked goodies!

Shops

In the interests of keeping this article short, some of the shops along Main Street USA will be omitted. Main Street USA offers the biggest and best ranges of merchandise in the entire resort. Plus, this area has the added bonus of being open for a short while after park closing in order to allow you to make those last-minute purchases.

The Emporium is the biggest store in Disneyland Park. The store sells a range of merchandise including clothing, plush toys, pin badges and stationary. Harringtons is one of the most beautiful stores on Main Street USA, specializing in collectibles. The giant dome in the middle of the store means that shopping for some of the finest items that Disneyland Paris sells takes place in one of the finest environments.

Other shops in Main Street USA include Flora’s Boutique, Boardwalk Candy Palace, Ribbons and Bows, Storybook Store, Main Street Motors, Lilly’s Boutique and Dapper Dan’s.

Main Street Disneyland Paris Boardwalk Candy
Boardwalk Candy is one of the many themed stores in Disneyland Paris

Characters

Main Street USA gives guests the opportunity to meet plenty of characters. During Extra Magic Hours, characters are readily available in a range of locations, each offering a wonderful photo-friendly back drop. During the rest of the day, characters appear at scheduled times at pre-arranged meet locations.

Main Street is also a focal point for the daily entertainment options such as Disney Magic on Parade and various seasonal entertainment offerings.

Duffy Disneyland Paris
Duffy was once a staple of the Boarding House Meet and Greets on Main Street USA

Rides

Not much to see here, there is the Main Street Station, the central point for the Disneyland Railroad and the first thing you will see after passing through the turnstiles. There are also the Main Street vehicles providing for a fun way to pass up and down the street.

Main Street Disneyland Paris
Guests can ride authentic cars on Main Street USA

Overview

What Main Street USA lacks in rides, it more than makes up for with atmosphere. Main Street USA is one of the best places to relax and enjoy any day in Disneyland Paris.

Main Street Disneyland Paris Dusk
Main Street USA at Dusk

Positives

  • Beautiful architecture
  • Immersive environments
  • Beautiful shops and restaurants

Negatives

  • Lack of rides

Favourite Land: Frontierland

Step back in time whilst at Disneyland Paris with a trip into the old far-west United States. Disneyland is a product of America, and America’s Gold Rush is one of the country’s richest moments in history. Frontierland at Disneyland Paris takes the American vision of this land and improves upon it by adding one of the deepest and best stories available at any Disney Park. But is it your favourite land in Disneyland Park?

Frontierland: The most beautiful land?

The vistas in Frontierland at Disneyland Paris are among the most breathtaking in any theme park in the world. Who can forget emerging from the Grand Canyon tunnel on the Disneyland Railroad and seeing the Rivers of the Far West before us with Big Thunder Mountain sitting in the middle? The entrance to the land is a wonderful Cowboy fort waiting to be explored by cowboys both young and old. The buildings all look very authentic, stepping into Frontierland feels very much like one has stepped back in time. As evening hits, the dim lighting only adds to the environment.

Frontierland Disneyland Paris
The Rivers of the Far West in Frontierland

Shops

Frontierland only has two shops within the land, but both shops offer an exceptional range in a themed environment. The first of these is the Pueblo Trading Post, this store is located in an isolated corner close to the Cowboy Cookout Barbecue restaurant and is only open on weekends and for special occasions. However, the shop is home to some of the most passionate Cast Members you will ever find on all things collectible. The shop specializes in pin badges and often attracts the most passionate traders you will find anywhere. The shop also sells a range of Vinylmation.

Secondly, the Thunder Mesa Mercantile is the place for all you Frontierland souvenirs. This store is especially useful for the Nightmare before Christmas and Phantom Manor ranges of merchandise. The store is themed as a Western town store and is a delight to shop in thanks to its spacious layout and friendly Cast Members.

Pueblo Trading Post in Frontierland Disneyland Paris
The Pueblo Trading Post

Restaurants

Frontierland is one of, if not the, best places to eat in the entire resort. The price points and range of food is very strong, but more importantly specialist food options are present here.

The Fuente del Oro restaurant offers a Mexican food option including Tacos, Burritos and Fajitas. These are the kind of food options that Disneyland Paris fans have wanted for years – and they’ve been sitting right under their noses. The Cowboy Cookout Barbecue is another themed restaurant in Frontierland which sells a range of tex-mex style cuisine – and relies heavily on Barbecue sauce!

The Lucky Nugget Saloon is a one-of-a-kind restaurant in Frontierland, its quick table service cuisine in a western saloon bar. It is one of the best themed restaurants in Disneyland Paris and has recently been upgraded to include fun puppet shows whilst you eat. The food is of a high quality as well, meaning this is the complete entertainment and dining experience.

For those wanting a refined option, the Silver Spur Steakhouse is a table-service restaurant near the Phantom Manor attraction, this offers primarily steak dishes and has an open-kitchen – something that is unique within Disneyland Paris – meaning you can see the chefs cooking your food!

Lucky Nugget in Frontierland Disneyland Paris
The Lucky Nugget Saloon in Disneyland Paris

Characters

Frontierland does not offer an abundance of characters, but does offer a Tiana and Naveen meet-and-greet which has proven to be well-liked and offers the rare chance to have a guaranteed chance to meet a princess of your choosing. At Halloween and Christmas you can meet Jack Skellington and Sally, something that other Disney resorts envy Paris for!

The Cowboy Cookout area often sees a random range of meet-and-greet characters meaning you never know who you’ll meet if you time it right. Finally, the Chaparal Theatre provides a chance for guests to see their favourite characters in shows such as The Forest of Enchantment and Frozen Sing-a-long.

Pluto in Frontierland Disneyland Paris
A Pluto Meet and Greet in Frontierland

Rides

Frontierland has some of the most fantastically themed rides of the entire resort including Big Thunder Mountain and Phantom Manor. Paris’s version of Big Thunder Mountain is regarded as the best in the world; it is faster and longer than any other resort and boasts that it is situated on its own island in the Rivers of the Far West. The Phantom Manor attraction takes the Haunted Mansion, which is found in the United States Disney Resorts, and alters it for a European audience. Most Disneyland Paris fans love the attraction, and most US-based Disney fans at the least have a strong desire to try the ride.

Molly Brown in Frontierland Disneyland Paris
The Molly Brown, part of Thunder Mesa Riverboat Landing

Overview

Frontierland at Disneyland Paris is perhaps the best version of the land anywhere in the world. It offers fantastic shopping and dining and classic Disneyland Paris attractions that are an object of envy for other Disney resorts.

Positives

  • Some of the best rides anywhere in the world.
  • A wide range of dining styles and tastes.
  • A strong story linking everything together.

Negatives

  • Lack of shopping outlets.
  • Requires more meet-and-greet locations.

Favourite Land: Fantasyland

Fantasyland, the place where childhood fantasies come to life. Behind the Sleeping Beauty castle lies a land of enchantment and fairy tales. It is here that one can soar over London; take a cruise around the world; take flight aboard a flying elephant and get lost in Wonderland. But is it the best land in Disneyland Paris?

Fantasyland: The most beautiful land?

Fantasyland takes its inspiration from different European looks. Immediately upon exiting the Château de la belle au bois dormant, we find ourselves in a German-looking area. Moving around, we find a beautiful small river meandering through the land with willow trees around Peter Pan’s Flight. This adds to the make-believe atmosphere of the land, the Disney imagineers and gardening teams have created a dreamscape for us all to play in and allow us to relax in a fun and beautiful environment. As we move around the land, we see character topiaries surrounding the Mad Hatter’s Tea Cups attraction. The “it’s a small world” façade, adds a colourful and playful charm to an area that takes its influence from a more Italian perspective. The area loops used in Fantasyland also make for an enjoyable listen. In the area directly behind the castle, the carousel loop provides a whimsical charm to the area and towards the rear of the land, the Italian loop provides a fun and head-bopping soundtrack.

Fantasyland Disneyland Paris
Fantasyland in Disneyland Paris is a dreamscape.

Shops

Fantasyland is home to a few stores, but each of these has been designed to a level of outstanding beauty. Inside the Castle is situated the imaginatively-named La boutique du Château [The Castle Store] offering Disneyland Paris Christmas merchandise. The shop is simple, but festive, in themeing and the inclusion of Christmas in a fanciful environment is a stroke of genius. The other shop inside the Castle is Merlin l’Enchanteur, this store specializes in high-end collectible merchandise such as crystalised glassware. Within this store, Cast Members can be viewed at work creating these works of art. Other noteworthy stores located within Fantasyland include La Chaumière des Sept Nains, this store includes a beautiful recreation of the Dwarfs cottage and sells a variety of Princess merchandise. Finally, Sir Mickey’s Boutique offers one of the widest ranges plush toys in the entire resort in a menagerie environment. Shopping in Fantasyland is nothing but a pleasure and is one of the strongest elements of the land.

Castle Shop Disneyland Paris
La boutique du Château in Disneyland Paris

Restaurants

One of the biggest considerations of any Disneyland Paris trip is where to eat. Luckily, Fantasyland provides an option to suit all budgets and tastes. Au Chalet de la Marionette serves a range of German-inspired food options in a Pinocchio Bavarian atmosphere. The Bavarian Hot Dog is a fan favourite with its delicious taste and Currywurst sauce. Toad Hall is a thoroughly British affair serving Fish and Chips in a regal setting. The Pizzeria Bella Notte is inspired by the film The Lady and the Tramp, Italian food is on the menu here with an Italian, romantic atmosphere. For those looking for more refined dining, the Auberge de Cendrillon is the perfect setting to eat high-quality French food whilst meeting your favourite Disney prince and princesses.

Fantasyland certainly does offer guests the best of all kinds of dining options which will suit a range of Disneyland Paris guest.

Pizzeria Bella Notte in Disneyland Paris
The Pizzeria Bella Notte in Fantasyland is a romantic, Italian setting.

Characters

Naturally, when one thinks of a fairytale kingdom, we expect to see our favourite Disney characters. This is also true in Fantasyland. Here guests can meet the Disney princesses daily in their own special location: The Princess Pavilion. Mickey Mouse himself will also meet guests daily backstage at his own theatre. Other themed character meet locations include the exit to Alice’s Curious Labyrinth where the characters from the classic film Alice in Wonderland regularly meet. Characters from the Winnie the Pooh series are also frequently found in this land. Fantasyland sees random meets with great Disney characters, meaning you never know who you may see around each corner!

Rides

The rides in Fantasyland are very family orientated. This means that the land is a fun playground for Children of all ages. Here, guests find Disney classics such as Peter Pan’s Flight; Mad Hatter’s Tea Cups and Dumbo: The Flying Elephant. These rides, or variations of, exist in all of the Disney resorts around the world. Disneyland Paris’s Fantasyland also offers some unique elements such as the Alice’s Curious Labyrinth and its version of Storybook Canals which features the Cave of Wonders and Beast’s Castle. Many of the rides here are such Disney classics that a trip would not be complete without taking in many of them.

Beast's Castle Disneyland Paris
The Storybook Canalboat attraction feature’s Beast’s Castle

Overview

Fantasyland allows guests to lose themselves in a fantasy for the length of time that they find themselves in the land. It is a land that offers a lot to each type of guest and has a good range and variety of things to do.

The Positives

  • Excellent Character Meets.
  • Good range of food options.
  • Rides that are considered Disney Classics.
  • Enchanting Boutiques.

The negatives

  • No thrill rides, however this would not fit the environment.
  • It would be nice to have a mid-budget food option.
  • Whilst the boutiques are a delight, there is perhaps not as big of a range as there could be within the stores.

Do let me know what you love about Fantasyland either in the comments below, or on social media!