Disneyland first started out in Anaheim, California and was based on the imagination of Walt Disney, the creator of Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy and friends. This multi-million dollar enterprise soon expanded its parks and resorts to Orlando, Florida; Hong Kong, China; Tokyo, Japan; and Paris, France. Built in 1992, the Disneyland Paris park cost $ 4.4 billion dollars and is the biggest theme park in all of Europe. Walt Disney Productions say they chose France because of its close proximity to Germany and London, as well as the fact that the Channel Tunnel high-speed rail line was opening in 1993 to bring even more passengers to their gates.
Despite its current success of $ 37.7 million in profit, 86% occupancy and 12 million visitors each year, Euro Disney in Paris got off to a rough start. Initially, the Disney crew believed that Europeans were ready to immerse themselves into a “totally American experience.” After all, the Disney movies sold better in Europe than they did in the U.S., and Hong Kong Disney was outperforming Disneyland in Anaheim. However, they had to make some changes to accommodate a multicultural audience. Now they sell espresso at refreshment stands, wine and beer with lunch and hand out park maps in six different languages. Currently the Disney strategy is to expand beyond the French market to attract other European visitors (40% of all tourists come from France) and to encourage people to stay at the parks and resorts longer, since the average stay is only about 2 days, compared to 4 to 5 in other parks.
Disneyland, Paris rides are fashioned after many of the American parks’ rides. In Disneyland Paris, visitors will have access to several different “lands” all within the same park: Discoveryland, Frontierland and Adventureland. Space Mountain 2 recently opened in Discoveryland as a high-speed, fast-moving coaster. Also nearby, guests can find the Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast, which is a shoot-em-up arcade-style game for kids, and Star Tours, a “Star Wars” simulation ride. In Frontierland, families will find the quick Big Thunder Mountain Railroad roller coaster and the creepy Phantom Manor haunted house. Adventureland houses one of the best-known Disney rides — the Pirates of the Caribbean and also the new Indiana Jones and the Temple of Peril ride. Over at the other park, Walt Disney Studios, visitors will find intense thrills at the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, the Aerosmith Rock N’ Roller Coaster and Crush’s Coaster.
There are numerous ways to get to Disney hotels in Paris. From Charles de Gaulle International Airport, one can hop aboard a high-speed train from Terminal 2 and arrive in Disney within just 10 minutes. From the Orly Airport, guests will need to take three trains: the Orlyval train to Antony, the RER B train to Chatelet-Les-Halles and the RER A4 train to Marne-la-Vallee Chessy.There are also direct bus routes from either airport for 13 to 17 per person. The best times to visit are on weekdays outside of public holidays and traditional school vacations. The least-crowded months are from September to October and May to June. Since the French weather can be iffy, June will probably offer the most pleasant climate.
For extended stays, there is a 2 Day Park Hopper (47.50 to 56 per day) and 3 Day Park Hopper passes (39.33 to 46.33 per day). The three day pass is naturally the most economical option. Of course, Disney makes all their money on the resort stays. Yet Disney offers a great system to book accommodations and park tickets together for a discounted rate, so interested travelers should first consult www.disneylandparis.com.