Theme Park of the Day: Legoland California

Vote of the week: Where's your dream overseas Disney destination?

August 30, 2013, 2:58 PM · This weekend's Labor Day holiday marks the unofficial end to summer travel season in the United States, and, for some, a last-chance holiday getaway before settling down to another year of school, or getting back to work.

But Theme Park Insider readers never stop thinking and dreaming about vacations. So let's mark this latest holiday weekend by thinking about even more ambitious travel plans. This weekend, let's talk about the Walt Disney Company's travel destinations outside the continental United States.

We've got five option from which you can choose. Of course, we're happy to include readers from around the world here on Theme Park Insider, so one of these might be a local option for you. Don't feel like you can't select it if that's still the one from among these five destinations you'd most want to visit.

Here are our five options, along with the case for each.


Aulani — You won't find a theme park at Disney Vacation Club's Oahu resort, but you probably won't care, 'cause you're in Hawaii. You will find the Disney characters in residence, fine dining and Disney entertainment, and sitting on the beach in Hawaii might be one the better attractions in the world, anyway. Blue skies, soft air, warm ocean waves. And no passport required for U.S. residents, as you've not left the country.

Phantom Manor

Disneyland Paris — Disney's largest Magic Kingdom offers several unique takes on classic Disney attractions, including a Pirates of the Caribbean with an entirely different narrative and no Johnny Depp to be found. Phantom Manor riffs on the Haunted Mansion to add elements from Marc Davis' Western River Expedition. Space Mountain goes upside-down. There's a dragon under the castle. And before Be Our Guest started serving wine with dinner, Paris was the one and only Magic Kingdom where you could get your drink on. (Let's just ignore the Studios park, shall we?)

Mystic Manor

Hong Kong Disneyland — Mystic Manor. Okay, there's more than Mystic Manor at Disney's newest theme park, but really, this year's winner of the Theme Park Insider Award as the world's best new attraction might just be enough to carry Hong Kong to the win in this week's vote. If you're looking for more, though, Grizzly Gulch was one of the two runners-up this year for the same award, and Hong Kong is the home of Disney's only not-so-"not-so-scary" (read: actually scary) Halloween event.

Shanghai Disneyland

Shanghai Disneyland — Okay, we're going to have to fire up the time machine for this one, as the park isn't due to open for another couple of years. But if you need a few years to save for a overseas dream trip, Shanghai's got to be in the mix for Disney fans. The Chinese park will take Paris' title as Disney's largest Magic Kingdom, with a completely new take on that classic theme park design, not to mention Disney's largest-ever centerpiece castle.

Tokyo DisneySea

Tokyo Disney — The world's best theme park, Tokyo DisneySea. Theme Park Insider's top-rated theme park attraction, Journey to the Center of the Earth. Pooh's Hunny Hunt at Tokyo Disneyland. Awesome service. And every flavor of popcorn imaginable.

Campaign for your favorite, in the comments. And have a wonderful weekend, wherever you are!

Replies (8)

August 30, 2013 at 10:08 PM · Oh my goodness, Be Our Guests in MK serves alcohol, the world is coming to an end, the sky is falling, adults will be throwing up on Dumbo, Walt would never....blah, blah, blah. Remember that completely pointless, waste of wind argument. Funny how there's been not one account of belligerent behavior that was clearly attributed to the consumption of alcohol at this restaurant since it has opened, on this website. We now return you to our regularly scheduled program of complaining how long it takes to build a "C/D" level roller coaster in the middle of New Fantasy Land...Thank you ;o)
August 30, 2013 at 10:11 PM · Wouldn't be surprised to see Tokyo Disneyland win by a landslide. Your overwhelmingly positive reviews of the two Tokyo parks make it seem like a foregone conclusion.

Personally, I can't see making a trip overseas with a focus to visit a theme park, even a Disney one. I think a trip overseas should be made because you want to visit that area for all it has to offer, and make the Disney park a side trip (or highlight) while you are there.

August 30, 2013 at 11:09 PM · Well, maybe if the coaster construction crew hadn't been spending so much of its time getting liquored up at Be Our Guest, the ride would be done by now!

Thank you, tip your waitress, I'll be here all week.

August 31, 2013 at 12:19 AM · Why, thank you, Phil B., for a completely off-topic rant. Just to add to the off-topicity (?), does the word "tradition" mean anything to you?
August 31, 2013 at 1:51 AM · Touche Mr. Niles :o)

As written by Mr. Niles:
"....And before Be Our Guest started serving wine with dinner, Paris was the one and only Magic Kingdom where you could get your drink on."

I prefer "mostly" off-topic as opposed to "completely" off topic, given the above quote taken directly from the author of this article leaving a crack open in the door for me to sneak in a jab. But you're quite welcome, and the word tradition has proven to mean nothing in this instance as absolutely zero calamity has befallen Magic Kingdom or it's guests by loosening up the reigns for this one dining experience.

Clearly Mr. Niles understood the intended sarcasm and volleyed a comment back quite nicely. As a result my waitress for the night was well taken care of. Danke Shoen.

August 31, 2013 at 7:38 AM · I agree with the writer that said when vacationing overseas I would not be visiting a theme park.(Aulani not considered since it's not a park) But, if I was in the Tokyo area, I'd probably make an exception and visit Disney Seas for a day or two. None of the other choices would even cross my mind. And I would never even set foot in mainland China. I have many business associates that have had to go there for business and everyone of them absolutely hated the time they spent in the country and would never go there for any other reason.
September 2, 2013 at 7:41 AM · Disney studios Paris is definetely at the top list.
September 2, 2013 at 7:41 AM · Dying to visit Tokyo disney(Tokyo disneysea especially)
But ill probably end up at Paris first, and for the reason your all discussing here. I'm much more likely to go to Europe for a vacation to go to Rome and Paris and be like "hey whole were here lets visit Paris disney) that spending probably over 10k to ly go to Tokyo to visit disney. If I'm ever I'm Tokyo for anything, work, leisure, went on the wrong airplane by accident, my first trip off the plane would definetely be disneysea

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