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A tour of Disneyland Paris: Main Street USA

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Published: July 23, 2012 at 4:33 PM
This week, we'll be taking a tour through Europe's most popular theme park: Disneyland Paris.

Opened in 1992 as EuroDisneyland, Disneyland Paris occupies 140 acres, making it the largest of the five "Magic Kingdom" parks around the world. (For comparison, Tokyo Disneyland is 115 acres, Florida's Magic Kingdom 107, and the original Disneyland 85 acres. Hong Kong Disneyland is the smallest, expanding to just 68 acres by next year.)

Sleeping Beauty's Castle at Disneyland Paris

Disneyland Paris is easy to get to: We took a free shuttle from our hotel at the Val d'Europe development on the edge of the Disneyland Paris Resort property. But the park itself stands just a few yards away from its own train station, connecting the park to Paris and the rest of Europe via RER (the Paris regional rail line), TGV (France's high-speed "bullet train") and the Eurostar (the Chunnel train, connecting Disneyland Paris to London).

After a quick walk through the airport-style baggage scanners and past semi-automatic-toting French army guards (!), you'll find yourself standing in front of the Paris version of The Disneyland Hotel, which stands above the entryway into Paris' Disneyland Park.

The Disneyland Hotel in Paris

As you walk toward the park, look down. It appears that Disney got some Europeans to pay up for "Walk of Magical Memories" tiles, too.

Disneyland Paris tiles

Contrary to what you might have heard, you don't actually walk through the Disneyland Hotel to get into the park. The hotel straddles the entryway into the park, which is where you'll find the park's ticket booths. But, of course, you bought your tickets in advance, right? :^)

Ticket booths

Once you're past the ticket booths, you'll come out into another small plaza before passing under the Main Street train station on your way into Disneyland Paris' Town Square.

The Main Street train station, celebrating Disneyland Paris' 20th anniversary
Disneyland Paris is celebrating its 20th birthday this year.

Once in Town Square, you'll see Disneyland Paris' City Hall on your left.

Disneyland Paris' City Hall

And here's the view of the rest of the square, to your right. (That's where the park's parade route finishes.)

Town Square

Take a look down Main Street from Town Square, to see Disneyland Paris' Le Chateau de la Belle au Bois Dormant (aka "Sleeping Beauty's Castle").

Main Street USA in Disneyland Paris

For the most part, Disneyland Paris' Main Street is pretty much the same conceptually as those found in the United States, though it is a bit larger, like the rest of the park. The biggest difference between the US Main Streets, though, is Paris' use of arcades on either side of the street.

The Discovery Arcade

You know how, on busy evenings, Disney sometimes opens up backstage routes along either side of Main Street in the Magic Kingdom, to allow the throngs of guests to get out of the park? There's no need for that here. In Paris (as in Tokyo), Disney wised up and created on-stage, themed alternate routes around the Main Street bottleneck. From here, you can get in and out of the back of almost all of Main Street's stores and restaurants.

Speaking of restaurants, we reviewed our experience at Walt's last week, so please take a look at that post, if you haven't yet. But if a fancy, table-service meal isn't your thing, just step directly across Main Street to the Market House Deli, where you'll find a selection of counter-service sandwiches and salads.

Market House Deli

Your other Main Street dining options include:

What? Their Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlour serves Ben & Jerry's?

Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlour

Disney uses period theming to sneak a billboard onto its Paris Main Street.

Main Street Coca-Cola Billboard

And another Main Street billboard might look awfully familiar to anyone who's also visited Tokyo DisneySea.

The United States Steamship Co.

As much as I was disappointed in the cheap feel of the park's younger sibling, Walt Disney Studios Paris, I loved the extensive details to be found on Disneyland Paris' Main Street. Check out this piano in Victoria's.

Antique piano

And don't forget to look up to see the magnificent chandelier inside the Disneyana store on Main Street in Paris.

Disneyana chandelier

By the way, Paris gets a bad rep for inattentive, even rude, service. (I'll write about that in a future post.) But while I found at Disneyland Paris a few of the most indifferent attractions cast members I've ever met, at Disneyana we also met Mily, who impressed me with her friendliness, knowledge and eagerness to help. She might have been the best Disney merchandise cast member I've encountered around the world this year, and that includes visits to Orlando, Anaheim, and Tokyo. So don't believe the bad reputation - there are helpful people in Paris!

Tomorrow, we'll start hitting the parks' attractions with a tour through Disneyland Paris' Frontierland.

Readers' Opinions

From 74.82.68.160 on July 24, 2012 at 3:21 AM
Wow I must admit, this might be the most under rated main street of them all. I can easily see with the billboard pics that the first couple ideas were from the old time chicago (still would of loved to have seen that). Would you say that this is your favorite main street? I'm excited for tomorrows post. Their Frontierland/Thunder Mesa area looks VERY unique. Btw, while you were in Disneyland MK, could you tell the size difference compared to the other kingdoms?
From Dominique Mol on July 24, 2012 at 3:39 AM
Now to be honest I also met some rude cast members in DLRP but I certainly have met a lot of great cast members there as well that do not get enough credit because of the bad apples.

When I first visited Disneyland Anaheim I also was confronted with two rude cast members that stuck with me in my memories.. I guess times are changing and it gets harder and harder to keep all cast members in check.

From Dominique Mol on July 24, 2012 at 8:57 AM
I actually do think the DLRP park has the most impressive main street, the view toards our fairytale castle makes the biggest difference though.. and there are many many small details to be found as in little sound effects from all the 'bussinesses' that are inside the houses, you can hear a dog bark at the detective agency, hear the sounds from a dentist and girls singing at the music school.. also inside of one of the stores there is an old fashion phone where you can eavesdrop into conversations from the 'people' living on mainstreet...

The difference with the original mainstreet in Anaheim however is that that one somehow actually gives you the feeling of walking into an actual small town.. DLRP never gives me that intimate feeling that Disneyland manages so well.. so they both have something going for them.. to me the magic kingdom in Florida is the least atractive in my opinion as far as main street goes..

From Anthony Murphy on July 24, 2012 at 5:06 PM
I think the covered route is for the park in the winter (yes, there is snow at a Disney park!)

As for the Cast members, I found them being excellent or terrible. From what I heard from a Cast Member there, all their good cast members are working at WDW.

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