Disneyland Paris is not what you think it is, but so much more. With up to 16 million visitors each year, it comes in at one of Europe’s most visited tourist attractions.
It’s no wonder so many of us flock to Disneyland Paris, after all it offers a rewarding experience for the whole family, no matter what age. Here are eight things you might not know about Disneyland Paris.
Location, location, location
Why did the team behind Micky Mouse choose Paris to set up shop in Europe? Paris beat off competition from Toulouse, as the location is within a 4-hour driving distance for 68 million people and a 2-hour flight for a further 300 million. For us Irish it will take a little less time at just one 1 hour and 40 minutes on an Aer Lingus flight from Dublin to Charles De Gaulle. At just 20 miles from Paris it is easy to split your time between the rides of Disneyland Paris and the cultural attractions of one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
Get into the swing of things
Probably the best kept secret among Dads booking trips to Disneyland Paris is the 18 and 9 hole golf courses. Three immaculately-kept nines of equal difficulty are a joy to play, lessons are available and the club house and pro shop are top notch too! Whilst the course is Disney-themed it is still of the highest standard and it might just be able to bring out your inner child without having to deal with the roller coasters.
The Force will be with you
More of a Sci-Fi fan? Disneyland Paris also has a Star Wars-themed ride called Star Tours. In addition the purchase of Lucasfilm for $4 billion in 2012 by Disney is set to be included in an upgrade to the theme park to celebrate the 25 anniversary of Disneyland Paris, in 2 years.
Whilst Dad is off playing golf, Disneyland Paris also has a treat for all the mums as well. Disneyland Paris has three spas where Mum can relax and unwind after a day of traipsing for miles with the kids. A quality babysitting service is offered by Disneyland Paris, so you can take time out to recharge your batteries. It is, after all, your holiday too.
Mickey and Minny Mouse are the only mice you’ll find within Disneyland Paris thanks to a population of over 140 cats who roam the site. Disneyland Paris neuters them, feeds them, tends to kittens and their veterinary needs and in return these furry friends keep the whole theme park free of mice…. Well apart from two important mice!
On the 22nd of June 1994 the then US and French Presidents George H. W. Bush and François Mitterrand's eyes met over lunch in Cinderella-themed restaurant L'Auberge de Cendrillon in Fantasyland in Disneyland Paris. It is unknown whether or not Bush had to leave early to save turning into a pumpkin, leaving a glass slipper behind him.
The gardens and plants on the 25-acre site are essential to creating the theme for each zone. When the park was first created hundreds of tonnes of top soil had to be scraped away and replaced with a fertile alternative. Every year 300 of the 35,000 trees are replaced and the diverse ecosystem within the park has to be managed to handle Paris’ hard winters and dry summers. The gardens aim to be as eco-friendly as possible and they attract wildlife such as wild boar and Canadian Geese making a stopover on their way south.
Disneyland Paris has very strict rules on ‘backstaging’. All functional elements to rides and attractions are carefully hidden from view. Make sure to keep an eye out for strategically placed trees and plants that often conceal entrances to maintenance depots and staff areas. Underneath Disneyland Paris is a maze of underground tunnels allowing Mickey and his friends to get to their destination and just appear as if by magic.
Want to make the Disneyland Paris fantasy a reality?
Click here to take your family on a dream holiday to Disneyland Paris? Independent Travel has some fantastic deals with prices starting from €349pp including 3 nights accommodation and Aer Lingus flights.