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Dark Times at Disneyland Paris: The Spooky Side of European Disney Vacations


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.