5 Classic Disney Rides with Exciting Twists at Disneyland Paris

by | Jul 11, 2023 | Disneyland Paris, Disneyland Park Paris

You’ll find some familiar Disney attractions at every theme park worldwide – but at Disneyland Paris, some of your favorite classic rides offer thrilling twists and changes! Discover how a few staple attractions were changed for this particular park.

Visiting different Disney theme parks means you’ll get the chance to explore new lands, unique theming, and totally different attractions. Yet most Disney parks around the world have something in common: They feature some of the classic attractions you know and love from Disneyland Resort or Walt Disney World, but with some fun changes! And if you’re visiting Disneyland Paris in France, you’ll be able to ride some of your favorite attractions and experience them in all-new ways. At Disneyland Paris, you’ll find that some of your favorite classic rides have twists – and for some rides, those twists are literal!

What can you expect? Below, find out how Disneyland Paris has made thrilling changes and added a few fun differences to five of the most classic Disney rides.

1. Space Mountain (Star Wars: Hyperspace Mountain)

Star Wars Hyperspace Mountain, Disneyland Paris

Photo courtesy of Disney

You’ll find a version of Space Mountain at every Disney theme park except Shanghai Disneyland – and each park has its own individual spin on the high-speed attraction that’ll take you through the sparkling skies of space! At Disneyland Paris, this awesome ride has seen a few different iterations over the years Originally, in 1995, it opened as De la Terre à la Lune (From the Earth to the Moon). And this version of Space Mountain made history as the tallest, fastest version of any Disney park! It also featured three inversions (a sidewinder, a corkscrew, and a cutback) and a portion of the track that ran outside of the mountain structure itself, details that no other Space Mountain offered.

In 2005, Disneyland Paris gave the ride a big update and transformed it into Space Mountain: Mission 2, with new theming and a new launch sequence. Today, however, the ride is different yet again! In celebration of the 25th anniversary of Disneyland Paris, Space Mountain got a Star Wars overlay in May 2017. You can still experience this version, called Star Wars: Hyperspace Mountain, which enlists Guests in the Rebel Alliance, includes a briefing from Admiral Ackbar, and sends you on a thrilling mission to spy on an Imperial Star Destroyer.

When you ride the one-of-a-kind version of Space Mountain at Disneyland Paris, you’ll notice that this attraction is cool for reasons well beyond its Star Wars overlay. The Disneyland Paris version of the ride goes up to 44 mph. That’s a lot faster than the other versions – Walt Disney World’s Space Mountain goes 28 mph, while Space Mountain at Disneyland tops out at 35 mph.

2. Pirates of the Caribbean

Pirates of the Caribbean, Disneyland Paris

Photo courtesy of Disney

Ahoy! Ready for a fun pirate adventure? Well, you’ve come to the right place! Pirates of the Caribbean has been a favorite attraction among Disney fans since it first opened at Disneyland in 1967. Today, you can find this ride at Walt Disney World, Tokyo Disneyland, Shanghai Disneyland, and – you guessed it – Disneyland Paris. When you ride this classic at Disneyland Paris, you’ll notice that it’s quite similar to both versions at the U.S. parks, but with a few twists along the way.

The theming for Pirates of the Caribbean starts off in the ride’s queue. As you make your way to the boats, you walk through a fortress. Along the way, you can see items like cannons (and it’s clear this fortress has seen battle in its days). Once you board your boat and sail past the Blue Lagoon Restaurant, which bears similarities to Disneyland’s famed Blue Bayou, you start climbing upwards via a lift. While you may start bracing yourself for a drop the size of the one on Splash Mountain, you’ll be surprised to know that the drop is actually pretty small. This ride also has a second drop in it that occurs a little later in the ride, but it’s also a small one.

So, what’s the twist? Well, you’ll immediately notice that the order of the Disneyland Paris ride is different than the order at the U.S. parks. In the Paris version of the ride, you start off with the pirates alive and causing mayhem, and you end with scenes of the pirate’s skeletal remains at Dead Man’s Cove. And make sure to keep an eye out for Captain Jack Sparrow!

3. Indiana Jones Adventure (Indiana Jones and the Temple of Peril)

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Peril, Disneyland Paris

Photo courtesy of Disney

You’ll find attractions based on the Indiana Jones film series at Disneyland, Tokyo DisneySea, and Disneyland Paris. But unlike many of the other classic rides on this list, every version of Indiana Jones Adventure – or Indiana Jones et le Temple du Péril, as it’s known at Disneyland Paris – is totally different! Each has its own storyline and references different key moments and icons in the Indiana Jones films. And when you’re visiting Disneyland Paris, you’ll get the chance to board a thrilling runaway mine cart.

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Peril is a wild adventure that races in and out of the jungle ruins of the Temple of Peril. It’s a steel roller coaster with one full loop. Luckily for Indy, there are no snakes (or boulders) in sight on this ride!

4. Big Thunder Mountain

Big Thunder Mountain, Disneyland Paris

Photo courtesy of Disney

Frontierland wouldn’t be complete without Big Thunder Mountain,  and Big Thunder Mountain wouldn’t be complete without Billy the goat. So, when you join the queue for Disneyland Paris’s version of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (which is officially called Big Thunder Mountain, or Le Train de la Mine), you can rest assured that, thankfully, everyone’s favorite dynamite-chomping goat makes an appearance!

If you’re a fan of this classic ride at Walt Disney World, you’ll notice that it’s pretty similar at Disneyland Paris. That’s because the Paris version is primarily based on the Florida version. However, at Disneyland Paris, the ride is uniquely located and sits on an island right in the middle of the Rivers of the Far West (where you’d normally find Tom Sawyer’s Island). And here, Big Thunder Mountain is bigger than any other iteration! In 2016, the ride reopened after a prolonged refurbishment and introduced Guests to some fresh new elements pulled from Disneyland’s version of the ride, like rainbow pools of water, new sound effects, and mapping effects for the blasting scene on the third lift hill. 

What’s it like to ride? Well, it’s pretty similar to other Big Thunder Mountain attractions. However, the ending is a bit different. The last section of the ride plunges riders into a dark cave with a swarm of bats flying above you rather than rolling through a T-Rex skeleton.

5. The Haunted Mansion (Phantom Manor)

Phantom Manor, Disneyland Paris

Photo courtesy of Disney

Who doesn’t love joining the happy haunts of the Haunted Mansion at Walt Disney World or Disneyland? Well, when you visit Disneyland Paris, you can hop onto a totally different version of this classic Disney ride – but be prepared for a totally different storyline and ride experience. While Disneyland Paris’s version of the Haunted Mansion is inspired by the original (and the versions in Orlando and Tokyo), it’s quite a unique experience. In Paris, the attracted is called Phantom Manor. It’s located in Frontierland, where it sits a little higher than the other attractions. That means this ride has great views of Frontierland, especially of Big Thunder Mountain, from the porch of the Victorian-style attraction building. You can even catch a view of the castle from up there! 

You’ll also enjoy a totally different storyline as you ride Phantom Manor. While the versions in Anaheim and Orlando are inspired by the American South and don’t have a single, dedicated storyline, Phantom Manor is actually connected to Big Thunder Mountain. As the story goes, Henry Ravenswood, a Western settler, struck gold in Big Thunder Mountain and built the towering Victorian manor, in which he lived with his wife and daughter. On his daughter’s wedding day, a phantom appeared to seek revenge against her intended husband – and the day took a dark turn. So, when you enter this attraction, you’ll notice it’s haunted by a totally different cast of ghostly folks.

The ride starts out in the stretching room, but you see a picture of a woman with different men along the walls. As the room stretches, she vanishes, and you eventually see the men in deadly situations. Before you get into your buggy, you see a bride – Henry’s daughter – standing alone in her wedding dress, looking out the window. The bride appears throughout different scenes of the ride, too. For example, during the ballroom scene, you see her standing on a balcony above all the dancing ghosts. Phantom Manor’s scenes are pretty creepy, too, because there’s a phantom standing behind the bride, laughing and watching her closely. And the ride gets darker as it progresses, featuring skeletons and the undead.

Oh, and instead of having to watch out for hitch-hiking ghosts getting into your buggy, you might just catch a glimpse of Phantom Manor’s bride sitting in your buggy with you!

To learn more about Disneyland Paris and its rides, keep reading:

Today in Disney History: April 12, 1992: Disneyland Paris Opening Day

New Pixar Updates and More Coming to Disneyland Paris in 2023

Posts by Emily Santana

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Emily has been a Disney fan all her life. Growing up, she enjoyed watching Disney shows and movies (and she still enjoys watching them today!). She also loves to visit the Parks any chance she gets. One of Emily’s favorite things to do at the parks when she’s not on rides or exploring is to go to the stores and check out all the cute merch!
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Authored by
Emily Santana

Emily has been a Disney fan all her life. Growing up, she enjoyed watching Disney shows and movies (and she still enjoys watching them today!). She also loves to visit the Parks any chance she gets. One of Emily’s favorite things to do at the parks when she’s not on rides or exploring is to go to the stores and check out all the cute merch!
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