So, you don’t like Disney, huh?
Well, that’s okay. There’s no judgement here. Even though we love Disney here at ThisGirlEats (obviously!), we also know that it’s not necessarily your cup of tea and not everyone gets that magical Disney feeling.
If you aren’t really a Disney fan and yet somehow find yourself being roped into a trip to Disneyland Paris – perhaps it’s a special holiday for the kids or a loved one is begging you to go – it doesn’t have to be a total wipe-out for you.
You don’t have stand next to characters posing with a cheesy grin or wear Mickey Mouse ears around the park all day if you don’t want to. There are plenty of other ways to enjoy Disneyland Paris without feeling like you’re trapped inside the Disney bubble!
Rides and attractions
If you strip away all the characters and movie references, at heart Disneyland Paris is just like any other theme park when it comes to rides and attractions. If you’re usually a bit of a thrill-seeker then the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, Star Wars Hyperspace Mountain, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Peril and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith are really fun, exhilarating rides involving big drops and inversions.
If you aren’t quite ready for white-knuckle rides, there are plenty of other great attractions in the parks. Many of these are Disney themed, like Peter Pan’s Flight or Ratatouille: The Adventure, but Big Thunder Mountain and Crush’s Coaster are awesome mid-level coasters that don’t rely too much on those Disney references. I’d also recommend Star Tours: The Adventures Continue, Phantom Manor, Pirates of the Caribbean, Orbitron and Toy Soldiers Parachute Drop as fun, tamer rides that aren’t too cutesy, if that’s not really your thing.
You can also find some walkthrough attractions like Alice’s Curious Labyrinth, La Cabane des Robinson (Swiss Family Treehouse) and Les Mysteres du Nautilis (Captain Nemo’s Nautilis) that are interesting, entertaining and can be enjoyed for what they are, with or without the Disney themes.
Maybe you think that you won’t enjoy Disneyland Paris because of the theming. It’s true that most of the parks are, obviously, full of references to Disney movies and most visitors really love that – but not everyone. However, when you get to the park you might find that some of the theming throughout Disneyland Paris is actually really cool.
So, you don’t love the classics like Beauty and the Beast or even more modern favourites like Frozen – that’s fine! But maybe you’re a fan of Star Wars, Marvel movies, the Indiana Jones franchise, old TV shows (love you Twilight Zone!), western movies or Hollywood blockbusters – the themes here go WAY beyond Disney!
And if you’ve got a keen eye you’re sure to appreciate the amount of detail that goes into every inch of the parks, from the traditional American stylings of Main Street to the pirate caves mapped out through Adventureland and the incredible nighttime show projected onto the castle. You might not be into Disney yourself, but it’s hard not to be impressed by the world they’ve created inside those gates.
If you don’t fancy the rides and aren’t really all that excited by the decor, then retail therapy is absolutely an option at Disneyland Paris.
Of course the shops in the park sell an awful lot of Disney merchandise (and Star Wars and Marvel too!) but you’ll also find some unique shopping experiences throughout the park that could interest you. You can purchase jewellery, crystal and glass ornaments, sweets, kitchenware and even Christmas decorations – yep, that’s open all year round!
If these stores still have too much Disney going on for you, venture out into Disney Village where you’ll find a Lego Store, an art gallery and even some of the restaurants – Rainforest Cafe and Planet Hollywood – have their own merchandise shops too.
Don’t forget that you’re in Paris (well, just outside, but you know what I mean) so much of the merchandise will be souvenirs of the city, not just Disneyland.
Shows and events
Alright, so the parade and the nighttime shows are awesome and definitely worth watching, but they are pretty Disney heavy so might not appeal to you. But that’s okay, because Disneyland Paris puts on plenty of other events in the year for everyone to enjoy.
We’ve had Season of the Force which saw an incredible Star Wars projection show, Jedi training classes and stormtroopers patrol the parks, and this year’s Marvel Season of Super Heroes put on multiple indoor and outdoor stunt shows every day. Also coming up this summer is the Lion King & Jungle Festival, which promises a musical show inspired by Broadway and outdoor African drumming sessions.
Don’t forget the holidays! Disneyland Paris really goes to town for Christmas and Halloween, so if these are your favourite times of the year then you won’t be disappointed with how the parks pull them off.
If you’re not visiting during any special “season”, Walt Disney Studios Park also hosts the Moteurs … Action! Stunt Show Spectacular each day, which is a great stunt show incorporating various vehicles and a few death-defying moments which would wow just about anyone!