38 Facts You May Not Have Known About Disneyland Paris
Disneyland Paris is even more magical than you thought.
1. At any time, only a single Mickey is present in the entire park, so that children really get the sense that the character exists and is unique.
2. The Space Mountain at Disneyland Paris is the fastest of the five in operation. It is also the only one that goes upside-down.
3. To propel the Space Mountain cars to 46 mph in two seconds, the ride uses technology like that used in aircraft carriers to propel jet fighters.
4. Main Street uses a trick called forced perspective to create the illusion of a larger space. When you enter the park, the castle seems distant, even though it's only a few hundred feet away. This is caused by the facades of the building along Main Street, which widen out as you move down the street. The opposite is true as well, and when you go down the avenue in the other direction to leave the park, the exit seems closer.
5. If you pick up the old phone inside the New Century Notions Shop, you can overhear conversations between the locals.
6. There's actually a very elaborate soundscape throughout the park. For example, near the ice-cream shop on Main Street, you will hear piano lessons from the first floor. Likewise, if you go near the well in Frontierland, you'll hear the miners' pickaxes down in the mines.
7. On Main Street in Disneyland Paris, as in all Disney parks, you'll find a real barber at work, because Walt Disney wanted to pay tribute to his father, who was a barber himself.
8. The barbershop in Disneyland Paris is decorated with authentic furniture and accessories from a barber in Chicago who was retiring at the time the park was being created.
9. To guide Mickey's parade floats, drivers use cameras that allow them to view their surroundings on monitors.
14. There is a department at Disneyland Paris called "Wildlife" whose job is to deal with the many animals that run wild in the park. For instance, the park is home to many wild rabbits (hundreds are caught and released each year), and once employees even stumbled across a fox hiding inside the Peter Pan ride.
15. The stockpile of costumes at Disneyland Paris is the largest in Europe, with 250,000 garments in stock.
16. In the park's sewing workshop, which creates about 5,000 costumes per year, some dresses require over 200 hours of work .
18. The limousine at the entrance of the Studio Tram Tour: Behind the Magic attraction in the Walt Disney Studios Park is the actual limousine used by Cruella de Vil in the movie102 Dalmatians .
19. The stained-glass windows of Sleeping Beauty's castle were created by master glassmakers using the same techniques that were used during the Middle Ages. The creation of each window took months of work.
20. One of the castle's many stained-glass windows changes appearance by itself: sometimes it shows a rosebud, and at other times two entwined doves.
22. Before establishing itself in Europe, Disney was undecided for a long time between two sites: Marne-la-Vallée in France and the Costa Dorada in Catalonia, Spain. After tough negotiations, the company ultimately chose France, and the Spanish site eventually became home to the theme park Port Aventura.
23. At its opening in 1992, Disneyland Paris had trouble adapting to the local cultural traditions of France and Europe. For example, none of the restaurants served wine, which was quickly corrected. According to Philippe Gas, CEO from 2008 to 2014, the park had to learn to "remain Disney, while integrating with the local culture."
25. If you go near the large marble tomb in the cemetery adjacent to Frontierland's Haunted Manor attraction, you can hear heart beats.
27. To travel, employees use an internal bus service which circulates throughout the park grounds, and makes stops at destinations such as the "Pluto Gate."
28. Similarly, to preserve the magic, characters such as Mickey, Minnie, and Pluto never address visitors, and the actors inside the suits never reveal themselves, even when they're backstage.
30. The architecture of Main Street in Disneyland Paris, was inspired by Walt Disney's hometown of Marceline, Missouri.
31. On Main Street, the huge dome of Harrington's shop has special acoustics, and if two people whisper from far ends of the dome, they can hear one another as though they were standing side by side.
32. The castle at Disneyland Paris is one-of-a-kind. At other Disney parks, the castles take on the appearance of those typically found throughout Europe, but in Paris they might suffer from comparisons with local European architecture. It was decided that the castle at Disneyland Paris would be deliberately fanciful, evoking the imagery of fairy tales instead of historical buildings.
34. The twisted columns that seem to grow naturally out of trees at the base of the castle were inspired by the Church of St. Severin in Paris.
35. The tops of the towers on Sleeping Beauty's castle, as well as the the rooftops of Small World are gilded with 24 carat gold leaf.
36. Everything about the various castles around the world have been carefully planned. For example, the castle at Disneyland Paris was designed using pink hues due to the habitually gray sky in France, while at the Florida park, the castle is gray because the sky is often blue.
37. As in all Disney parks, the castle at Disneyland Paris faces south so visitors can take pictures from Main Street without worrying about lighting at any time of the day.
38. The castle at Disneyland Paris is the only one of all the Disney parks to house a dragon in its vaults. This dragon, which moves and lets out the occasional roar, is the largest animatronic character in the park, measuring over 75 feet long and weighing over 5,500 pounds.