10 amazing attractions for adults at Disneyland Paris

Photo by gautier22
Photo by gautier22

10 amazing attractions for adults at Disneyland Paris

by Courtney Woodruff
Stripes Europe

I wasn’t prepared for the way I felt when I walked through the gates of Disneyland Paris with my husband and our children for the first time. Instantly overcome with waves of childlike joy and nostalgia, I giggled with embarrassment as I wiped tears from my eyes. I couldn’t help myself; the regal horse-drawn streetcars, the colorful, old-fashioned storefronts of Main Street U.S.A., the pearly-pink towers of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle rising up in the distance — it all looked just as I’d imagined it would. At 30 years old, this was the first time I’d ever set foot in a Disney theme park, and I couldn’t wait to pick out my inaugural pair of mouse ears.

In the words of Walt Disney, “Growing old is mandatory, but growing up is optional.” Whether you’re in Paris for a family vacation or off on a couples-only romantic getaway, you’ll love these 10 awesome attractions for adults at the happiest place in Europe.

1. Get spoiled at the spa.

Before you head to the park for a day of childlike frivolity, slough off the stress and responsibilities of adulthood by indulging in a relaxing massage, facial or pedicure at Disneyland Hotel’s Celestia Spa. If you’re traveling with little ones, you can even request a special “My First Spa” package or have them join you for a “Child-Parent Tandem” treatment.

2. Browse the boutiques.

Gone are the days when you had to beg Mom and Dad to spring for another one of those irresistible souvenirs. All grown up now, you’ll want to leave plenty of room in your budget for splurging on gifts and personal mementos in the many boutiques. Here, you’ll find something you won’t be able to find anywhere else — classic Disney designs permeated with posh Parisian fashion.

3. Dine like Disney royalty.

As “Beauty and the Beast’s” charming Lumière points out in his unforgettable performance of “Be Our Guest,” “this is France, and the dinner here is never second best!” When your jaunts around the park leave you starving, delight in a three-course meal with Cinderella and friends at her gourmet French restaurant, Auberge de Cendrillon. The meal is capped off with a special, slipper-shaped dessert you won’t want to leave behind, but the highlight of the event is sure to be the entertainment provided by the special guests who stop by for a visit. Be sure to get a photo of the gilded, pumpkin-shaped carriage parked out front before you go.

4. Show up for the shows.

Disney pulls out all the stops for its many performances held throughout the day. The parades, concerts, plays and light shows are truly unforgettable. With seasonal themes, you may never catch the same one twice, even if you come back later in the year. Don’t be afraid to sing along to all of your childhood favorites. You won’t be the only one — and you just might be surprised to find out how many words you actually remember.

5. Stay up late for the after-parties.

Just because the fireworks have fizzled out doesn’t mean the fun is over. When the park gates have closed for the evening, head to Disney Village for a little latenight excitement. Catch a concert at Billy Bob’s Country Western Saloon, enjoy a cold brew at the laid-back Sports Bar, see a movie at Gaumont Cinema Complex or enjoy the tasty food and beverages that accompany the entertainment at Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. If you feel like getting footloose between cocktails, head to Planet Hollywood, where happy hour drink specials are served after 10 p.m.

6. Experience unique thrills.

In addition to tasty French cuisine, Parisian fashion and unmistakable European flair, you should check out all of the rides that are exclusive to Disneyland Paris. Favorites include Crush’s Coaster and Ratatouille: The Adventure. Both use a blend of breathtaking technology and classic thrill techniques to take you on unforgettable journeys through modern Disney stories. Lines are long for a reason. Take advantage of the free FastPass kiosks wherever available to ensure you make the most of your time at the park.

7. Reminisce on classic Disney rides.

If you find yourself feeling sentimental, get in line for one of the prototypical Disney attractions. You will feel like a kid again as you float around the globe in It’s a Small World, soar over Neverland in Peter Pan’s Flight or ride in a mine cart through eerie scenes from Snow White. Disneyland Paris even boasts a classic version of Star Tours that has recently been renovated as part of the park’s 25th anniversary restoration project.

8. Revel in the romance.

In the City of Love, Disney magic is infused with romance. Whether you are a new couple or have been married for years, sparks will fly as you channel Disney’s time-honored pair, Mickey and Minnie, in the streets of Paris. If you can, brave the crowds, snuggle up in the shadows of Sleeping Beauty’s castle, and stay until park closing, when amour abounds as the nightly “Disney Dreams” spectacle illuminates the night sky with a magnificent light show and fireworks display.

9. Work up a sweat.

If you still have energy after your adventures in the park, consider booking a tee time at Golf Disneyland or set up a match at one of the tennis courts offered at Disney’s Hotel New York and Disney’s Davy Crockett Ranch. Adults will also appreciate the selection of state-of-the-art fitness centers available at many of the park’s partner hotels.

10. Go behind the scenes.

For those who have “been there, done that” and have come back for more, Disneyland Paris offers several unique opportunities to see the park from a brand new perspective. Go behind the scenes on the guided Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios Tours, and find out what evils lurk in the Tower of Terror on a special excursion before the park opens. VIP tours, which include reservations for restaurants and shows, unlimited FastPass access and special seating for the parade and fireworks spectacular, are available on a limited basis, as well.

Just in case you’re still wondering — you’re never too old to visit the House of Mouse. Remember what Walt Disney once said: “Laughter is timeless, imagination has no age, and dreams are forever.”

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