Which are the Disneyland Paris Top 10 Rides? The absolute must experience Disneyland Paris rides? Since its grand opening on 12 April 1992 the huge variety of rides and attractions in Disneyland Paris continues to grow. Any recent visitor can sympathise with the difficulty of compiling a ‘must-experience’ or best of Disneyland Paris rides list from such an incredible and diverse choice.
Of course everyone has their own favorites. And I am bound to miss some. But here is my own personal list of Disneyland Paris Top 10 Rides.
Big Thunder Mountain
One of the most family friendly roller coasters (for anyone over 40”), Big Thunder Mountain is one of the most popular rides in the Disneyland Park. It was built around a large rock island in the middle of the lake in Frontierland.
Seated in a six-person carts, the rider journeys on a replica late 1800s train through a delightfully recreated Wild West mining town.
At the start of the ride the train enters a dimly lit and musty tunnel, filled with the sound of bats and heavy machinery. The train then begins its first slow incline as it emerges clinking from the darkness to begin its run.
Traveling at a maximum of 30 mph and lasting for four minutes, the most excitement from Big Thunder Mountain is not it’s speed. As with so many of the Disney rides, it’s appeal is the excellent theme and attention to detail. The vehicle twists,turns, drops and rises in and out of tunnels and mountain landscape.
Wooden structures and industrial mechanisms characteristic of the era in which it is set are the constant theme. Skunks, raccoons, donkeys and other native animals can be spotted amongst cactus, foliage and curious desert rockformations. Riders hold on to their seats as they enounter an earthquake while surrounded by a number of barrels of TNT!
As one of the most popular rides for children and adults at Disneyland Paris, the lines can be long. At the busiest of times (usually around early to mid-afternoon) visitors can expect to be waiting over 45 minutes. Get a Fast Pass if you can. The wait in the standby line is worth experiencing at least once though. Guests in this line slowly make their way to the Big Thunder Mountain station through a recreation of the mining town.
Through a genius mix of moderate speed, exciting track layout and intricately designed scenery, Big Thunder Mountain provides entertainment and thrills for guests of almost any age and taste in attractions. It is deservedly amongst the most enjoyed and essential experiences in Disneyland Paris. A definite must do ride.
It’s A Small World
It’s a Small World at Disneyland Paris is located in Fantasyland inside a large, very brightly coloured building with childlike design. This classic Disney ride is one of the best known of all the Disney theme park attractions.
Dubbed ‘The Happiest Cruise That Ever Sailed’ by Walt Disney himself, 24 guests take their seats on a boat journey through a cute and entertaining performance of over 300 dolls representing different countries around the world.
For 15 minutes the boat travels through elaborate displays of Europe, Asia, Africa, North and South America, the South Seas, and the Artic/ North regions with incredible attention to detail to the landscape and buildings. The song ‘Its’ a Small World’ is played
throughout, often changing languages to correspond with the region in which you are travelling through. The characters engage cheerfully in their daily activities as guests observe the various different customs of other areas of the world.
A simple ride with a simple message of harmony throughout the world. Not to everyone’s taste and certainly you will never be able to get that theme song out of your head, but it is a Disney classic which really is worth seeing.
It is certainly worth a visit for anyone with small children, although that is not to say that adults can’t enjoy it too! The fact that often you may only be waiting around 20 minutes in the line is another good reason to give it a try.
Space Mountain: Mission 2
For those visitors with a taste for high speed roller coasters (and who meet the height requirement of 52”) Space Mountain Mission 2 has to be on their high priority list. Space Mountain towers high above the centre of Discoveryland.
Originally themed around the Jules Verne novel From the Earth to the Moon, the roller coaster travels at speeds up to 47 mph. The cannon in which 24 riders are blasted to the top of the giant dome can be heard across the Disneyland Paris Park!
The Disneyland Paris version of Space Mountain is almost universally agreed upon to be the best version of this Disney Mountain in all of the theme parks worldwide.
After a heart pounding wait for blast off, the roller coaster is catapulted to the top of a 141 foot cannon before plunging deep into a 2.3 minute experience of space travel. Twisting, turning, corkscrewing and looping through the darkness, the train weaves at high
speed around planets and stars of amazing colours and textures, dodging a huge asteroid and eventually slowing up at the grinning face of the moon.
It was the first rollercoaster to feature on board music, the speakers in the back drowning out the noises of the track and the screams of fellow passengers making for an even more epic experience! The original Space Mountain in Disney World only got this feature in it’s 2009 refurbishment.
Space Mountain Mission II is a Fast Pass ride, so anyone who can grab one to dodge the 45-60 minute queues should do so! A thrilling, colourful, brief, yet memorable experience for anyone who dares step aboard!
Pirates of the Caribbean
Located in Adventureland, Pirates of the Caribbean is an indoor log flume attraction through a vast world of 18-19th century style pirate life. This has always been a popular ride and is even more so now since the success of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies.
Guests embark from a musty and eerily lit cave on a boat with around 15 other passengers. They sail into a highly detailed complex of settings,including the shore of a tropical island, treasure loaded caves, and a prison sheltering captured pirates. Their journey features three water drops, sending the riders plummeting into the next scene.
The most exhilarating part of the attraction has to be the display of the pirate invasion of a small village. The boat slowly winds through a fantastic spectacle of cannon blasts from the pirate vessel, gunfights and sabre duels from the resisting
population, crew members swinging from the ship to harass and pillage the locals. Buildings and home ares set ablaze by the invaders. The roar of cannons, the cracking of pistols, and cries from pirates and locals are heard. Water sprays up on either side of the boat as ammunition fails to meet its target and narrowly misses the riders. The flume proceeds to the next exhibit, where the victorious occupiers and villagers alike sing ‘A Pirates Life For Me’ amid the destruction and flames.
Although the queue can become very large very quickly (Fast Pass is available however), the decorations inside the line are well worth seeing. While waiting visitors slowly make their way through a system of dim candle-lit narrow tunnels of rock,
encountering jail cells of the old pirate age, until finally emerging into a larger cave with the docking bay at the bottom.
Although flashing lights, loud noises and relatively large drops may alarm the smallest of children, the Pirates of the Caribbean provides a highly authentic and entertaining experience with an unbelievable attention to detail that isn’t to be missed! For
anyone not wanting to participate, the Blue Lagoon restaurant overlooks the gentle and tranquil shoreline of the island at the beginning of the ride.
Rock n Roller Coaster
Rock and Roller Coaster arrived at Disneyland with the construction of the Walt Disney Studios Park at Disneyland Paris in 2002. Drawing its theme from one of the most influential and volatile rock bands in history Aerosmith, it is the fastest high speed
roller coaster at the resort. Rock n Roller Coaster debuted in Disney’s Hollywood Studios and is a huge success there.
During the 3 and a half minute pre-show featuring Steven Tyler, Joe Perry and fellow Aerosmith band mates, the story is that the band is late for a concert and are preparing for a rapid drive to the venue.
The pre-show takes place as the riders wait to get on the ride. Guest walk through the studio halls elaborately decorated with golden records and music displays of equipment signed by rock legends. A big screen shows Aerosmith coming to the end of a recording
session and being informed that they must hurry to their next gig. Steven Tyler invites the audience along and the final stage of the queue begins. For anyone who enjoys rock and guitar music, the artefacts and accessories on show on the way to the ride itself are a big highlight.
24 riders clamber into a Limousine style train and are catapulted from the station, conquering 0-60mph in just 2.8 seconds before plunging into a dark, relentlessly fast and twisting experience.
The Limo navigates through a dazzling display of bright and colourful lights, performing 3 inversions and loops over 1.037 metres of track. The thrill lasts for around 1 minute and 22 seconds. The Limo climbs to heights of 80 feet (though the speed of the limo and darkness of the environment make it hardly noticeable).At the end of the journey riders disembark on a red carpet having successfully made it on time!
The presence of five speakers in each Limo compartment definitely enhances the roller coaster experience. Aerosmith tracks are played in each ride vehicle creating an even greater rock and roll feel. By drowning out the sounds of the tracks and of any screaming passengers, Rock n’ Roller Coaster is a fully immersive experience.
Although Rock n’ Roller Coaster is considered to be one of Disneyland Paris’ ‘extreme’ rides, many guests who have experienced it say how it is much smoother, less jerky and less uncomfortable than other roller coasters. Watch out for the catapult at the beginning of the ride. It is at this point that the souvenir photo catches the twists and distortions of your best (or worst) roller coaster face… so watch out!
Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast
Discoveryland’s Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast is one to be enjoyed by the whole family, particularly the children. Based on the movie Toy Story, the attraction expands on the existing storyline and background of Buzz Lightyear. The rider (or Star Command Recruit) enters an inter-galactic conflict to help Buzz Lightyear in the fight against the evil Emperor Zurg and his minions.
Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast is relatively new ride which opened in late 2006. Riders climb into a pod for 2 or 3 armed with a laser gun, and prepare to be taken to the fight. As the pod emerges into the first room, the recruit must do their best to shoot as many targets scattered around the armies of ‘little green men’ as they can in order to rack up the best score possible. The pod can be spun around so you can get the best aim at your target.
The scores are tallied up at the end of the 4 minute 25 second battle to compare with your friends, family, and other riders. Yes it gets a little competetive! And the more you ride the more you get to know how to score the most points. Hint. Don’t aim for the round targets.
The scenery and environment within the ride is nothing less than amazing; Disney’s unfailing attention to detail again successfully creates the illusion that the participant has been reduced to the size of an action figure! It also utilises some impressive visual
technology. A giant model of Buzz Lightyear in the entrance has computer animation projected onto his face to give a more convincing image than most of the physical recreations of characters at Disneyland Paris. The ingenuity of the Buzz Lightyear ride makes it suitable for all age and height groups. It is one of the most fun rides in Disneyland Paris.
Disney Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror is a 200 foot tall thrill ride that those with weak stomachs should probably avoid! Based on the television show ‘The Twilight Zone’, riders are ushered into an elevator style compartment containing long benches across the width of the lift. A Hotel Assistant then closes the doors and the experience begins.
As a pre-show tells the legend of the Hollywood Tower of Terror as the elevator slowly gains height. Riders are told a haunting narrative of the spooky tale of disaster. The spirits of the 1939 disaster victims appear, only to be struck away in a flash of electricity. Once the audience has heard of the details of that fateful night they catch a brief view of the Walt Disney Studios
Park from around 170 feet.
Suddenly guests are handed over to the forces of gravity in a chest tightening drop. But it isn’t over yet as there are more drops to come!
Tower of Terror has one of the most amazingly themed lines in Disneyland Paris. The attention to detail is just stunning. Visitors queue up in the lobby, elaborately decorated in the style of an expensive and glorious depression era hotel. However abandoned luggage, cobwebs, flickering lamp lights all create a dark and chilling presence that fuels the tension and apprehension. The longer you wait for a place on the Tower of Terror, the more likely any nervous guest will be to think again and opt out!
The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror brought a highly unique ride experience to Disneyland Paris’ already extensive arsenal. Parents should be wary of taking any small children on this ride – both the preshow and the actual drop down the tower may not be well received by the very young! But for the older children and adults it can be great fun, especially as a mirror on the wall of the elevator allows you to witness the never-failing hilarity of fellow rider’s facial expressions! An excellent addition to the Disneyland Paris parks that certainly deserves its title as the ‘centrepiece’ of the new Walt Disney Studios.
Peter Pan’s Flight
Based on one of Walt Disney’s most loved stories, Peter Pan’s Flight brings the tale to life! Guest climb aboard a miniature Galleon and are whisked away through the most magical scenes. Flying high above the bright and dazzling lights of London at night as seen on the way to Neverland, visiting Michael, John and Wendy in their room alongside Peter Pan. Swooping in on Captain Hooks pirates aboard their ship, and gliding through the home of the Lost Boys and the Native Indians.
There is no wonder that this ride is one of the most popular with the younger children. The darkness of the rooms are warmly lit by incredibly colourful displays of the scenery and characters. The moving headlights of cars, the architecture and street lights
during the flight over London is particularly captivating.
The experience is all chronological, drifting through from the children and Peter’s first meeting to the fight with Captain Hook and his fate in the jaws of the infamous crocodile! The characters are brought to life while the sounds, voices and music
of the film are played during the flight.
The only downside to the ride is that for a 3 minute experience the queue can be in excess of an hour! This ride is both popular and loads slowly – always a recipe for a long wait in line. But the wait is worth it. Small children are guaranteed to love it, and adults can’t help but be drawn in. While the fast and more furious rides may take the spotlight for most visitors, the true spirit of Disney is invoked through Peter Pan’s Flight. Truly a classic Disney experience.
Indian Jones and the Temple of Peril
Set amongst the jungle environment of Adventureland, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Peril is themed around the George Lucas film ‘Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom’. Up to 12 riders of 54” and above buckle into a mine-cart train and prepare for their
own high speed adventure as experienced by Harrison Ford and his companions in the ruins of the Temple.
Reaching speeds of up to 47 mph, the mine-cart dips, turns and weaves through the broken and worn down brick work of the ancient structure. Flaming torches, stone creatures and lush jungle vegetation dominate the scenery, flashing past as the train rises
and plunges through 1.968 feet of track, including a quick loop in the centre. The jerkiness and noise of the minecart as it races relentlessly through the course makes for a highly convincing and authentic experience. The quality of architecture really makes the rider feel a part of a dated and lost civilisation.
The theming in the line is excellent. Expeditionary vehicles and equipment can be spotted amongst thick jungle vegetation. The heat from the flaming torches can be felt as you stand at the foot of remarkably crafted stone animals on the outer structures of the attraction.
For roller coaster enthusiasts it is 1:30 minutes of thrill and is a must-experience. From 1st April 2000-27th November 2004, the ride was even reversed so that the mine cart ran backwards – a pity that this feature is now long gone.
For those not keen on high speed roller coasters it should probably be avoided, but that is not to say that the scenery and atmosphere cannot be enjoyed. The Jungle River Cruise can often be spotted through the bamboo on the water, and a gift shop
can be accessed separately to the ride. Indiana Jones is a perfect addition to the eerie, ‘unmapped’ and exotic feel of Adventureland.
Opened on 9th June 2007 in the Walt Disney Studios as part of the Toon Studio place-making and expansion project, Crush’s Coaster is a medium-speed spinning roller coaster. The attraction gets its name from the ‘Finding Nemo’ star, Crush the animated Sea Turtle. It is inspired by his East Australian current-surfing antics as seen in the movie. Up to four guests climb into a turtle shell and prepare to embark with Nemo and Crush’s son on a tour of the Finding Nemo ocean.
For the most part the ride runs indoors but unlike most standard models of roller coaster, the mechanics of the train allow the seating compartment to rotate independently of the wheels. As the train runs along the rail the strapped in back-to-back riders are
whirling and spinning, the angle of their view ever changing.
The nature of the coasters surroundings makes this an excellent idea. Crush’s coaster has been elaborately and carefully decorated with great focus being dedicated to the passenger’s visual experience. Beautiful displays of glowing jellyfish, brightly coloured
reefs and luminous creatures of the deep, Bruce and his ‘fish-friendly’ sharks, and many more characters of the movie. Flashing and flowing lights are featured to give an effective underwater illusion.
The ride uses new Digital Video Projection technology to bring some of the movie’s most loved characters to life. All the while the voices of your animated tour guides are heard. While the indoor displays are certainly the highlight of the ride,the train emerges from the darkness and runs along a short stretch of track in the open air before diving back inside.
Queue times for this ride can be very large to say the least – due to the relatively small vehicle capacity and the popularity of the new attraction amongst all age groups,
You can expect to wait up to and sometimes in excess of an hour, and since the ride only lasts for 1:55 minutes many may question whether it is actually worth they wait. It is! The combination of the rotating shell design and the extensive detail that has gone into the displays is another work of genius. The Crush Coaster is calm enough (no inversions and medium speed) for small children to enjoy their experience alongside their favourite characters. The sheer beauty of the surroundings cannot help but leave the parents and adults captivated with Disneyland Paris’ most recent project!
So there it is. My own personal Top 10 Disneyland Rides list. Which are your favorites? And which have I missed out?
All Photos Courtesy of lorenjavier