The Disneyland Resort Paris is renowned for its world-class family attractions, many of which can be enjoyed by guests of all ages. Its two theme parks, Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios, are focused on all-round entertainment. Does this mean that hardened thrill-seekers – the type of people that drool over 300-feet-tall roller coasters – should look elsewhere?
Since its 1992 debut, Disneyland Paris’ owners have sought to increase its appeal to such adrenaline junkies. The resort now features a variety of rides that will set pulses racing, but which still retain Disney’s typical attention to detail and storyline. Here are 5 of the very best.
5. Indiana Jones et le Temple du Peril (Disneyland Park)
After Disneyland Paris first opened to the public (back when it was known as “EuroDisney”), it struggled financially. Plans were already in place to open an ambitious land devoted to Indiana Jones. These were simplified to enable a new thrill rides to be added to Disneyland Park’s line-up, with the aim of attracting more teenagers and young adults. The result was Indiana Jones et le Temple du Peril, the first ever Disney roller coaster to feature an inversion.
While it offers a relatively short ride, the Indiana Jones-inspired coaster packs a lot of fun into its circuit. After boarding a mine cart-style vehicle, guests race to the top of the lift hill before plunging through a series of twists and turns. The highlight is a very compact vertical loop, which takes riders by surprise midway through the track.
If you ride: Don’t miss the well-themed queue, which is designed to resemble the base camp of an expedition to a mysterious temple.
4. Crush’s Coaster (Walt Disney Studios)
Added to Walt Disney Studios’ line-up in 2007, Crush’s Coaster is one of few unique attractions at the park. While based around a standard Maurer Söhne spinning roller coaster), it is cleverly located indoors. This allows a storyline based on Finding Nemo to be told, with guests riding along the East Australian Current with the popular Crush character.
While spinning coasters are relatively tame, the darkened setting for the ride means that riders cannot anticipate the twists and turns ahead. This adds immeasurably to the fun of riding, and thrill-seekers will find this a surprisingly enjoyable experience
If you ride: Crush’s Coaster is very popular, but features a very low capacity. Arrive at Walt Disney Studios at least half an hour before the park opens, and rush straight to the ride to avoid a painfully long wait.
3. The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror (Walt Disney Studios)
Based on the original at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror takes the classic freefall drop tower ride and turns it up a notch. The attraction is visible wherever you are in Walt Disney Studios, as it is housed in an enormous, full-scale recreation of a 1930s-era hotel in Hollywood.
Riders queue through a lobby and other areas that are so convincing that it’s hard to believe they are not genuine. They then board an elevator which gets caught up in the mysterious Twilight Zone, resulting in numerous high-speed drops. The real thrill comes from the anticipation – Disney has programmed in multiple drop sequences, so you’re never quite sure when or how far you’re going to plummet.
If you ride: Take a look around in the library area, where the pre-show takes place. The level of detail on display is astonishing.
2. Space Mountain: Mission 2 (Disneyland Park)
When it opened in its original format as Space Mountain: De la Terre à la Lune, this coaster was credited with “saving” the Disneyland Resort Paris by Disney’s CEO. It still draws huge crowds today, and is among the most popular rides at the resort’s first theme park.
Unlike the Space Mountain rides at Disney’s other parks, the Disneyland Paris version is not a tame “wild mouse”-style coaster. Instead, it is a multi-inversion monster, which sees guests blasted towards the outer reaches of space. Like Crush’s Coaster, it takes place in darkness, making each of the twists and turns impossible to predict.
If you ride: Consider wearing extra padding on your shoulders. Space Mountain: Mission 2 received an overhaul in 2005, but is still much rougher than when it first opened.
1. Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster (Walt Disney Studios)
One of few truly great rides to open alongside the rest of Walt Disney Studios in 2002, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster stars ageing rockers Aerosmith. The bizarre storyline, which is based around the band designing a prototype coaster, doesn’t detract from an incredible ride experience.
Guests board limousine-themed vehicles, which are launched from 0 to 57 miles per hour in just 2.8 seconds. Riders will feel like they are in their own music video as they race around the circuit, listening to classic Aerosmith tunes as they traverse its sharp turns and inversions.
If you ride: Ask to ride at the front, even if you have to wait a little longer. The anticipation for the launch is much greater if all you can see in front of you is a darkened tunnel.
The Disneyland Resort Paris doesn’t attempt to rival other European theme parks, such as Europa Park and Alton Towers, when it comes to towering roller coasters and thrill rides. Don’t discount it, though, if you’re looking for thrilling experiences – its two theme parks have plenty to offer besides rides for kids.