Dating back to the opening of Disneyland in 1955, the theme of exploration has been a driving force in shaping the design of all Disney parks. Disneyland Park in Disneyland Paris (DLP) is no exception, and its Adventureland is a prime example of Imagineers giving guests the tools to create their own story.
One major difference worth noting about this Adventureland is the location on the hub and spoke. Frontierland actually comes first when taking a clockwise route around the park. This led to some confusion on my part on my first full day. Just like the cave on Dagobah, when visiting a Disney park, you find “only what you take with you.” Meaning your preconceived notions influence your perception about what a park is supposed to be like. The entrance to Adventureland takes heavy inspiration from Aladdin. An Agrabah themed facade greets guests as they walk under a unique chandelier (I have no idea how to describe it, so I took a picture) underneath the entrance. Two lit torches next to the sign clue you in as to where and when you are being transported. Something about the architecture and lack of shade just makes you feel hot, I’d call this the “Animal Kingdom Effect.” Of course, it didn’t help that I visited in August, with an average temperature in the 70s.
Pirates of the Caribbean- An Adventureland Staple
This Adventureland is not dead set on one theme. Leaving behind Agrabah, the quintessential Pirates of the Caribbean is found inside of a battle worn Spanish fort. Skull Rock and a pirate ship are found nearby, but not next to the attraction. Another example of expectations and reality being different. While the boat ride remains similar in many ways to the one in Florida, the scenes that are in both are in a different order, and share space with vignettes unique to DLP.
The rearrangement of scenes does little to help the average guest understand the attraction’s story. Older rides have always taken a keen eye and an obsessive mind to truly understand the tale being told. I was pleased that Jack Sparrow was not in this rendition of Pirates. Don’t get me wrong, I love the movies for what they are, but some things are better left unchanged. Plus, it just adds to the confusion many people have that the movies came first.
The Indy Scene
Exclusive to DLP is Indiana Jones and the Temple of Peril. An outdoor roller coaster themed around the seminal film franchise, my dislike of roller coasters was overruled by my yearning to experience everything the park had to offer. With that in mind, my favorite part of this attraction was the queue, which featured a score fitting to an Indy movie, and the design made you feel like were approaching an actual ancient temple. Due to a severe rainstorm (so bad they had everyone get inside) that started halfway through the line, I actually had to walk through it a second time when the attraction was reopened.
As you can probably tell, I like the feeling of exploration DLP‘s Adventureland has. Leave a comment and let me know what area of the Disney parks where you find most exploration most rewarding.
(All photos from the author’s personal collection.)
Zack Kaplan may be situated far away from a Disney Park, but even in the Disney-less wasteland of Massachusetts his passion burns strong. You can talk to him about Disney, video games, or philosophy over on Twitter @SteelDiver