If you only have a single day at Disneyland Paris, it is virtually impossible to see everything (we recommend spending at least 2-3 days at the park and neighbouring Walt Disney Studios). If you simply can’t spare, or afford, any more time exploring it, though, we’ve listed below the key rides and attractions that you shouldn’t miss.
We’ve divided the recommendations by age group, since some riders are universally popular and others are clearly targeted at a particular demographic.
Essential rides for guests aged 8 and over:
Some younger guests will be able to hand these attractions, but almost everybody over the age of 8 will love these Disney classics:
- Big Thunder Mountain – it may be relatively tame for a roller coaster, but this ride features some of the best theming of any ride in the world. It’s also long (featuring 3 separate lift hills), and offers incredible views over the rest of Frontierland. Experience it in at least twice – once in the light, and once in the dark.
- Pirates of the Caribbean – the Disneyland Paris version of one of the most famous dark rides ever created is arguably the best at any Disney park. Even better, it offers a refuge from overly hot or rainy weather and the queues move quickly.
- Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast – packed with neat references to the Toy Story movies, this laser gun game is also highly addictive.
- Peter Pan’s Flight – the experience of soaring over London and Neverland in an enchanted pirate ship remains awe-inspiring, decades after Walt Disney first envisioned it.
- Phantom Manor – Disneyland Paris’ take on the Haunted Mansion isn’t quite as good as those at Disneyland and Walt Disney World, but it’s still one of the best dark rides in Europe.
- Star Tours – it may be in desperate need of an upgrade, but the simulator ride based on the Star Wars universe still features one of the best queue areas of any ride ever created.
Essential rides for adults and teenagers:
After disappointing early attendance, Disneyland Paris installed two roller coasters that are like magnets for thrill-seeking guests:
- Space Mountain: Mission 2 – vastly different from the Space Mountains at other Disney parks, this is a launched, multi-inversion coaster that is enhanced greatly by taking in place in the dark. Be warned, though, that it is now very rough.
- Indiana Jones et le Temple du Péril – Disney’s first roller coaster to feature an inversion is overly short and often criticised. It features an impressive queue line and some neat theming, though, and the ride itself is more fun than some give it credit for.
Essential rides for young children:
Walt Disney was careful to ensure that every ride at Disneyland could be enjoyed by adults with their children, and the same philosophy applies at Disneyland Paris. However, the rides below can probably be bypassed by adults, but should be high on the list for those with younger kids:
- Dumbo the Flying Elephant – its low capacity may result in painfully long queues, but kids will demand to fly into the skies with Dumbo. Make this your first stop when the park opens.
- Disneyland Railroad – it’s a simple fact that most children are fascinated by trains. A miniature railroad that offers views of the magical lands at Disneyland Paris, therefore, will inspire delight among tiny railway enthusiasts.
- It’s a Small World – adults will either love it or hate it, but most kids will beam as they float around scenes of singing children from all over the world.
- Le Pays de Contes de Fées – the “other” boat ride in Fantasyland is often overlooked (and frequently closed during the off-season), but kids will enjoy spotting their favourite characters in its miniature recreations of famous Disney movie scenes.
- Les Voyages de Pinocchio – adults will probably prefer the scarier Blanche-Neige et les Sept Nains (Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs) next door, but Pinocchio offers the safest dark ride experience for young children in Fantasyland.
What are your favourites?
What do you think are the best rides and attractions at Disneyland Paris? Let us know by adding your own ratings and reviews.