This guest article comes from our friend Ash, who is a big Disney and Disney Parks fan, as well as being a Ghostbuster in his spare time.
Now I know what you’re thinking, “Here we go again, another biased silly list. This won’t change my mind” or “These lists don’t help. Disney is great wherever you are!” or even maybe “Are you off your rocker?! Walt Disney World is 5 times the size of Disneyland Paris! Disneyland Paris will never match up to Walt Disney World”.
Whatever you’re thinking, hear me out. I strongly believe that Disneyland Paris cannot be compared with Walt Disney World or in fact, any Disney park be compared to any other Disney park for that matter. It’s unjust, nonsensical and clouds judgement whenever a person visits any of these magical places. However, I’m sure you would agree with me that Disneyland Paris gets a bad rap a lot of the time. Some things deservedly I admit, however a LOT of things undeservedly and 9/10 times they are from some of the ‘Walt Disney World camp’ who, whenever Disneyland Paris is mentioned, turn up their nose in snobbery and unfairly criticise Disneyland Paris.
I don’t mind if someone prefers Walt Disney World over Disneyland Paris. It would be pretty pathetic for me to get upset over preferences. Each to their own. However when you see Disneyland Paris get slammed and doesn’t get the respect that it deserves, it can be very frustrating. This article isn’t here to change anyone’s mind, it’s basically here to put things into perspective. To make the anti Disneyland Paris brigade loosen up a little and to get away from the ‘underdog’ label Disneyland Paris has.
Now, Walt Disney World was the very first Disney resort I visited when I was young. I loved it there and it had so much of an impact on me that I decided to join the company working at The Disney Store (when I was older obviously) and eventually hopped on a flight and worked at Walt Disney World myself for a year!
However, I was made to ask one of the most difficult questions I have ever encountered which was, “Which is your favourite Disney park & resort?” I had to think about it long and hard. Eventually and honestly, I picked Disneyland Paris. Why? Well I’ve been to Disneyland Paris many more times than I have been to Walt Disney World, with my first trip in 2000, my relationship with the place has only become stronger over the years visiting there.
Additionally there are a lot of firsts in Disneyland Paris as opposed to Walt Disney World. It was the destination of my honeymoon and my wife’s first visit to a Disney park (she’s now hooked!), it is my kids’ first Disney experience as well, my son’s first birthday there, and I’m sure many other firsts that haven’t come to mind.
Whenever I go to Walt Disney World, Disneyland or any other Disney Park, I feel like I am going on holiday (an awesome one, no doubt!) however whenever I go to Disneyland Paris, it’s a home away from home, which has a much deeper sentimental meaning to me.
It goes without saying this list is of course, subjective. I’m sure a lot of people will disagree with this list. However I’ve found what I have listed in particular are generally ‘universally’ agreed with fans of Disneyland Paris who have been to its american counterparts, like myself.
So here it is. The top ten things Disneyland Paris is better for than Walt Disney World;
I can remember reading a book about imagineering and Marty Skalr mentioned that although they went over budget in the construction of Disneyland Paris, the park has hardly been touched since it was first opened just over 20 years ago and that “they got it right the first time.” – and it shows. If I had to describe Disneyland Paris in two words, it’s ‘Everything speaks!’
I have no doubt that one of the KEY factors of Disneyland Paris is the aesthetics of the park. It is absolutely beautiful and breathtaking. The attention the detail, the colours used in each area, the lighting in each attraction at night are just simply second to none. Main Street, U.S.A., La Place de Rémy, Frontierland and the Castle (which has it’s own section) are gems of this park, that have me in awe every time I visit.
Being the 4th park created does have it’s advantages and one of them are the choice of rides. In a nutshell, Disneyland Paris is just a collection of all the most popular, awesome and family-orientated rides in 2 parks (with the exception of a few, e.g. Splash mountain, Soarin’, etc). However from what we miss of Splash Mountain, Disneyland Paris make up for in Crush’s Coaster.
Buzz Lightyear’s Laser Blast, Big Thunder Mountain, Space Mountain, Pirates of the Caribbean and last but not least Ratatouille: The Adventure, are far superior in Disneyland Paris. Granted, the last one isn’t in Walt Disney World, but it shows Disneyland Paris can provide E-Ticket attractions which it’s American counterparts don’t have.
This will only apply to certain people due to their geographical locations, but I like the fact that Disneyland Paris is only 2 hours 40 minutes away from me on the Eurostar – the train that goes under the English channel from London to France. I’m an impatient person as it is and just waiting to get off flights absolutely torments me. Not because I’m scared of them, but just travelling on a plane is an exhausting ordeal as it is. A film, a quick nap and arriving at the magic suits me just fine!
In fact, when Disney were planning on where to place Euro Disney (the original name), it was between Spain and France. The reason they went with France was due to an extra 80 million people who could access France much easier than its Mediterranean neighbour. As of now, Disneyland Paris is the highest visited European tourist destination. So they did something right…
Maybe a controversial one, but I think the food is absolutely sublime at Disneyland Paris. You can tell the French really take pride in their food & drink. I’m not picky with food but I am a foodie and this is a very important point to me. Such restaurants like California Grill, Walt’s, Auberge de Cendrillon are very exquisite. Even the less pricey, counter services are not bad. Hakuna Matata, located in Adventureland, is testament to that.
Notice I only stated Dreams! and not shows and parades. Choice of shows and parades is something Walt Disney World are definitely better for. However if a person was to come to Disneyland Paris and for some reason, Dreams! was the ONLY thing they saw, that would be enough. I don’t think I could ever give this amazing show enough credit. This award-winning show is a display of projected animation, music, lasers, synchronised fountains and fire, that will keep you mesmorised throughout. It will make you laugh, gasp with awe, give you goosebumps and may even make you shed a tear. It’s surprising how much emotion it can get out of you in 30 minutes. It’s a very clever show indeed and certainly not one to be missed whenever visiting Disneyland Paris. Definitely a plus against Wishes at Walt Disney World.
Another plus I believe is on Disneyland Paris’ side. I think the music in Disneyland Paris is far better. I always find myself listening to music tracks specifically from Disneyland Paris more than any other park. Dancin’ (A Catchy Rhythm)’ , ‘Vive La Vie’, ‘It’s Halloween-lo-ween’ and most recently ‘Spring Fever’ and ‘Magic Everywhere’ are fantastic tracks that never fail to uplift you whilst listening to them.
This is a funny one because many people mention that Disneyland Paris is far too expensive for what it provides and that “with a extra £2,000, they can go to Walt Disney World”. I hate to think what they’re paying to visit Disneyland Paris, because I never spend more than £1,000 for my accommodation & travel at Disneyland Paris. Ever. That’s including my family.
The Disneyland Paris website itself always provides a plethora of different deals to entice guests to keep coming over including their ‘2 days 2 nights free’ deal (on limited periods only) which are very popular. I managed to stay at the Seqouia lodge hotel with my family for a week at the price of £398 – with breakfast and park tickets included. That’s a phenomenal price.
Even if you find the onsite hotels dear, you can stay at the Disney recommended offsite hotels which are usually cheap as chips and still great places to stay. You don’t get tickets, but depending on how long you go for, it maybe even cheaper to get an annual pass which entitles you to discounts and many other perks! It’s actually no wonder Disneyland Paris aren’t making any profit and are currently in debt. Yet to say it is too expensive, I can only assume they’re looking in the wrong places.
This is a newbie as Disneyland Paris have just started implementing this within the last 2 years, however to my knowledge, although Walt Disney World celebrate notable holidays (e.g. Independence Day, Thanksgiving etc.) they don’t have seasonal themes and festivals as a recurring culture. Now I go to Disneyland Paris quite often and I like that every time I go I know that no matter when I go, there will be added magic happening in addition to the growing number of attractions in both parks. I also like that there’s a theming around the park. You have Swing Into Spring, Summer, Halloween and Christmas, as well as other notable dates such as St.Patrick’s Day and Valentine’s Day celebrated annually.
Parc Disneyland in Disneyland Paris is the biggest main park of them all, which is a big plus. Many people say that you can see it all in one day, but I disagree. You most probably could see a lot of it in one day, but I very much doubt you would see it all, never mind ride on a lot of the attractions. There is so much to see in the park and generally when it is rushed, a lot of details & smaller attractions are overlooked. I say a good 2-3 solid days would have you appreciating the finer things the park has to offer, help you soak in the atmosphere and ride on everything you want to go on without worrying about time restraints.
La Chateau de la Belle au Bois Dormant (Sleeping Beauty’s Castle)
One of the biggest pluses on the list. Sleeping Beauty’s Castle in Disneyland Paris is just simply breathtaking. In my honest opinion, I believe this is the best castle out of all of the parks without a doubt. It’s no surprise, in Europe, there are many castles (unlike the States), so the imagineers had to think of a way to create a castle with an authentic look balanced with the fantasy realm that is within the Disney parks. To say they’ve achieved this is an understatement.
The waterfall at the side of the castle, the glow of the castle at night, the view from the balcony are all contributions to what make this the no 1 castle. Another unique selling point about Sleeping Beauty’s Castle at Disneyland Paris is you can explore within the castle, read the story of Sleeping Beauty whilst admiring the stained glass windows, pictures and props that compliment the story. Also there is the dragon within the caves of the castle. It was the biggest animatronic at the time it was released and it is still very popular today. I’ve heard of Americans making trips to Disneyland Paris just to see it.
So there you have it. The list of the top ten things DLP are better than WDW for.
I’m sure many of you can pick ten things Walt Disney World is better than Disneyland Paris for and you know what, that’s fine. The fact of the matter is, anyone who is a Disney fan won’t think any Disney park is rubbish, pants, or other names I’ve heard Disneyland Paris called. The same imagineers that designed and built Disneyland and Walt Disney World also designed and built Disneyland Paris. I understand people have preferences and that’s fine, however we really need to be careful before we start bashing different Disney parks. There are pros and cons to EVERY park. Let’s just get along and all give each park the respect it deserves.
So, do you think Ash is right? leave a comment and let us know what bits you agree with and which bits you disagree with, and maybe add your own.