Disneyland Paris, sometimes called Eurodisney, is located just outside Paris and is home to two full theme parks. This guide is all about what to see, do, and eat at Disneyland Parc for adults. It’s the classic castle park with most of the iconic Disney rides, so if you’re only doing one day there this is the one to hit. For tips and info about the other park, check out my post on Walt Disney Studios.
Disneyland Park Knows How to Make a First Impression
The entrance to Disneyland Park is truly majestic. Putting the Disneyland Hotel over the entrance was a stroke of genius, and it wasn’t until we were on our way in that I understood why the rooms there were so much more expensive than the other hotels on-site. The design is gorgeous and really keeps the suspense of heading into the park alive by blocking the view of the attractions behind it.
As a lifelong WDW visitor, my first trip to Disneyland California a year previously had been the realization of a goal many years in the making. It was both new and familiar in a fascinating way because so many things looked like the Magic Kingdom I’d known and loved my whole life, but were just different enough to throw me out of my routine and cause me to really appreciate the details. Walking into Disneyland Parc was accompanied by the same sensation. Main Street looked almost like it does in my WDW-based mind, but at the end was a stunning, pink castle.
Disneyland Park’s castle
The castle. It absolutely lived up to my expectations. In fact, the only thing preventing me from declaring it the best out of the three Disney castles I’ve seen so far is my own childhood nostalgia. And a general dislike of the color pink. Like its Disneyland California sister, it’s named after Sleeping Beauty. The French name can be confusing to English speakers – le Chateau de la Belle au Bois Dormant – reminds me of the heroine of Beauty and the Beast, but it’s not.
Regardless of which princess its named after, the gorgeous details on it were incredible, and it only got better when it was lit up at night. I suppose that being located in Europe provided some pressure to make the fairytale castle at Disneyland Paris especially beautiful, and the Imagineers who designed it definitely rose to the challenge.
Disneyland Paris ride highlights
My two favorite Disneyland Paris rides were It’s A Small World and Pirates of the Caribbean. They’re classic Disney parks rides and I thought both of them topped the versions at either of the American parks. Disney World’s Small World, with which I’m most familiar, starts out with a lot of detail and cultural variety in the European room and then sort of slowly fades as you move through the other continents. It felt like the Small World here made more of an effort to acknowledge individual cultures in other parts of the world instead of just tossing a couple dolls out there and calling them African. It even had a whole room for North America with Canadian hockey players and American football players. I was delighted. The final show scene with the kids from all over the world seemed better too. And cleaner.
Pirates of the Caribbean had a much better storyline than the WDW version and is a lot closer to the original in California. Most of the iconic show scenes were close approximations of the Disney World ones I was used to, but there were additional elements that I really liked. We were totally unprepared for there to be a camera on the drop, which got us a great picture of my mom, who hates drops and barely tolerates the one on Pirates, on our first ride.
Hyperspace Mountain was the other ride that stood out to us. We rode it four times during our time at Disneyland Paris. It’s much more intense than either of the American versions and we loved the speed and loops. I didn’t get to experience the Star Wars overlay, but it sounds cool.
Not a ride, but still a cool attraction
The Disneyland Paris castle is home to a dragon that you can visit. Make sure to stop by to see this incredibly detailed dragon animatronic. It might just convince you that it’s real.
Where to eat at Disneyland Paris
The premiere restaurant in Disneyland Park is Auberge de Cendrillon. It’s a character buffet with Disney princesses located in Fantasyland. For Disney World veterans, it’s the equivalent of Cinderella’s Royal Table.
Another richly themed option is Captain Jack’s, located inside of Pirates of the Caribbean in Adventureland. It’s very much like the Blue Bayou at Disneyland California, but now has a heavier pirate theme. The atmosphere is just as magical though.
If you don’t have advance reservations, a good bet is the Plaza Gardens Restaurant. We were able to walk right in and were seated immediately. This likely won’t be the case during the busiest times, but it’s a good start if you want a table service option at the last minute. The buffet was pretty decent by theme park standards, and while the theming isn’t spectacular, we did get a view of the parade passing by while we ate.
Quick service dining at Disneyland Park
Café Hyperion in Discoveryland – that’s the equivalent of Tomorrowland for American park fans – is the largest counter-service restaurant in the park. The food is pretty standard theme park fare, but you can catch a movie or live show while you dine if you time it right.
Restaurant Hakuna Matata has some of my favorite theming out of any of the Disney parks. Located in Adventureland, this counter service restaurant is themed after – you guessed it – The Lion King. The décor looks like it belongs in a safari lodge and you can grab kebabs, salads, and some rice dishes.
The Spectacularly Sparkly Disney Illuminations Show
Disneyland Par’s shining moment is its nightly fireworks spectacular. Slightly silly name aside, do not miss this show if you visit. We lucked into an almost front row spot and had a fantastic view of all of the show elements. I normally prefer to be a bit further away from the castle for fireworks shows, but for this one you want to be as close as you can so you can really appreciate the projections and fountains. My ideal spot is usually right where Main Street widens out to the Hub, but we would have missed out on a lot if we had been that far back. The closer you can get to Sleeping Beauty Castle for the show, the better.
The spectacular combined the best elements of Wishes, World of Color, and the castle projection shows and wove them together with classic movie clips and songs to make a thoroughly enthralling spectacular that I didn’t want to end. Everything from the fountains to the projections to the fireworks was perfect.
Read more about our trip to Disneyland Paris and don’t forget to check out Paris itself!
- Disneyland Paris – Sequoia Lodge
- Disneyland Paris – Disney Village
- Disneyland Paris – Walt Disney Studios
- Fast-Paced Itinerary for 3 Days in Paris
- Is the Paris Museum Pass Worth it?
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