With Halloween almost upon us, I thought I would reflect back on the intentionally creepy parts of Disneyland Paris. Like any great Disney resort, there are many horrors to behold, be it a dilapidated house filled with ghosts or a burger that costs €30 because it has foie gras on it. With that in mind, each of the two parks at Disneyland Resort Paris (DLP) contain a highly memorable creepy attraction.

The Walt Disney Studios Park at DLP, is home to its own iteration of The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. Like its counterparts in the states, guests are greeted with an introduction video from a look alike Rod Serling, who tells the story of the Hollywood Tower Hotel. As you are probably aware, something goes horribly wrong at this hotel, and now you are going to witness for yourself the true terrors of the most run down hotel on Disney property.

As part of my ongoing Disneyland Paris theme, I endeavored to ride many classic Disney attractions for the first time on a continent other than where they first premiered; however, I was rather antsy about the Tower of Terror, due to my fear of thrill rides. Thankfully my casual fandom of the Twilight Zone, and the FastPass I had gotten, made me decide to go against my better judgment and experience it anyways. Thankfully, I had a good time. The queue area of Tower of Terror was most certainly the most well themed of any attraction I experienced. The Cast Members, excuse me bellhops, all acted the part – the one loading the elevator giving me one of the most disturbing stare downs of my entire life.

Tower of Terror was most certainly the most enjoyable thrill ride in DLP. While it certainly wasn’t as “scary” as the TV movie of the same name, it was a great way to end my time touring the Walt Disney Studios Park.

Of course, that wasn’t the only spooky sight at Disneyland Paris Resort. No Disney vacation is complete without a visit to the Haunted Mansion. However, in order for the name to make sense to a wide variety languages, there is no Haunted Mansion at DLP, instead there is the Phantom Manor.

20150819_211245The Phantom Manor is a much creepier rendition of the Haunted Mansion. While classic elements like the ballroom scene and the singing busts are still present, the attraction’s tone is significantly darker. Like many Disney attractions, the story of Phantom Manor requires more than one ride through to fully comprehend. Phantom Manor focused heavily on a bride throughout the ride, with a tragic story of loss and self-knocking doors.

The highlight of this version was most certainly its scene of a wild-west town. Accompanied by a beautifully orchestrated version of Grim Grinning Ghosts. While you may think the wild west is a strange place to be represented in a Haunted Mansion-type attraction, Phantom Manor is located on a hill in Frontierland, and was a safe distance away from Frozen Summer Fun. The wild west valley town represented had some of the best effects of the ride, including a game of poker being played with cards floating in the air controlled by presumably invisible spirits.

My trip to DLP was filled with fun sights, and I still have much more to share. Feel free to ask me any questions you may have, wheter you are planning a trip there or not. I guarantee an answer, and maybe I’ll even give away candy!*

*There will not be any candy.

(Photos from the author’s personal collection.)

Zack Kaplan is like Burt in Mary Poppins. Not only is he a “zack” of all trades, master of none, but he also can do some pretty awful British accents. You can follow him on Twitter @OfMickeyandMen or reach him at zack@ofmickeyandmen.com. No death certificate required.







5 thoughts on “Dark Times at Disneyland Paris: The Spooky Side of European Disney Vacations”

  1. Paige says:

    Hi Zack! I’m enjoying your posts on Disneyland Paris. We’ll be headed there with our two young boys over Thanksgiving. Any dining tips to share? Specifically, any restaurants that might be good for a Thanksgiving meal? Thank you!

  2. Connie says:

    Hi Zack….from one huge Disney fan to another….great post about Tower of Terror!!

  3. Zack Kaplan says:

    @Paige I’m not sure you are going to find a traditional American Thanksgiving type meal. If you are just looking for a nice place to eat, Walt’s is widely considered the best place on property, it is very expensive. You can find the menus for all the restaurants at DLP online of course. Reservations is recommended, which will require you to call (international rates apply ) This is a great website to check out for information on dining http://www.dlpguide.com/planning/dining/restaurant-reservations/

    @Connie Thanks!

  4. John says:

    Thanks for the blog articles, Zack!

    I have a few questions since I have never been there before but will be going next year.

    1. Is three days enough for the 2 parks? This looks a little bit like Disneyland + DCA and three days is (barely) enough for that location.
    2. Resorts – other than location, is there a whole lot of difference in them? It’s really hard to tell from the online site.
    3. What are the must see/must do activities and experiences?

    Thanks for any insight!

  5. Zack Kaplan says:

    Hey John thanks for the questions, I’ll try to give you good answers.
    1. It truly depends on how much you want to do there. My trip included three days traveling into Paris, but I spent more than 5 days, and there is still some things I didn’t get to do. Of course I really enjoy taking in the scenery and just exploring. So to me there was a lot of value in just walking around and taking pictures. If you are just looking to ride the big attractions, you can get a lot done in three full days. Disneyland Park needs more than two days to see it all, while Walt Disney Studios has a lot less too do. Big rides like Tower of Terror and Ratatouille the Adventure need time allotted to them for long waits. Also do yourself a favor and skip the Studio tour, as that was the one attraction I felt was completely awful.

    2. As for the hotels themselves, each of them had different themes, and Disneyland Hotel had the benefit of being right next to the parks. I stayed off property, as the prices for the Disney hotels can be beyond expensive especially paired with all the other costs of international travel. However be aware you get what you pay for. The hotel I stayed at was serviceable (air-conditioning and comfy beds) but I wouldn’t recommend it for example.

    3. Phantom Manor, this was one of two attractions I rode twice. Walt Disney Studios’s Ratatouille the Adventure. Beyond that, exploring is the best thing you can do if you have the time, navigating a new Disney Park, especially Disneyland Park, can be overwhelming, especially with large crowds.