In the last of our series looking at the differences between Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom and Disneyland Resort Paris’ Disneyland Park, we’ll look at Tomorrowland and Discoveryland.
Both lands are roughly the same size and in the same location in each park, and are built around a futuristic theme.
The newest addition to Disneyland’s Discoveryland is Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast, a very similar attraction to Magic Kingdom’s Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin which has been resident at the park for over 10 years now. Both rides follow similar storylines, with the aim being the same – shoot as many targets as possible with your laser gun to score points. The main difference between the rides is the fact that the laser gun on Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin is fixed to the front of the ‘space-cruiser,’ whereas on Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast the gun isn’t fixed down and can be handheld making it easier to shoot at targets. Both rides are great fun and suitable for all members of the family.
The Magic Kingdom’s Astro Orbiter goes under the name of Orbitron Machines Volantes at the French park. Essentially the same ride, with the only real difference being that Orbitron is on ground level and there’s no need to go up in an elevator to reach the ride as you do for Astro Orbiter.
Kids will enjoy riding in the small gas/petrol powered cars on Autopia at DLRP and Tomorrowland Indy Speedway at WDW. The mini race cars which run on tracks each seat up to two guests, but are more suited to kids than adults who may find them a bit cramped. Apart from being more or less the same ride, a disappointing similarity is the long wait times due to the popularity of the attraction and the slow loading times.
A headliner in both parks, Space Mountain has a more up to date version at Disneyland Park, in the form of Space Mountain: Mission 2. Magic Kingdom’s Space Mountain is entirely inside in complete darkness, whereas Space Mountain: Mission 2 is launched from outside and makes use of a number of lighting and visual effects to enhance to story. Guests on the Paris coaster can also enjoy two inversions and a partial inversion, after being launched at speeds of up to 42mph, much faster than the Orlando version which only reaches maximum speeds of 28mph.
Those guests at WDW who aren’t brave enough to venture into Space Mountain can get a quick peak by riding the Tomorrowland Transit Authority, a slow moving mass-transit vehicle that also goes through a part of Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin on its journey around Tomorrowland. No such similar attraction exists at DLRP.
Guests familar with visiting the Orlando Parks may be surprised to see “Honey I Shrunk the Audience!” in Disneyland Park at Paris. The identical attraction has it’s home at WDW’s Epcot theme park rather than Magic Kingdom, although it’s equally suited to it’s home here in this futuristic land.
Stitch’s Great Escape occupies the space formerly taken up by ‘ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter’ in Tomorrowland. Making good use of Audio-Animatronic technology, guests are strapped into their seats while pandemonium breaks loose all around when Stitch escapes and goes on the rampage. The attraction can be a bit scary to kids (and even some adults) so Discoveryland visitors may be relieved to know it’s not on the map at DLRP.
Another attraction at Disneyland Park that can be found at WDW, but not Magic Kingdom is Star Tours. The simulator ride can be found at Disney’s Hollywood Studios Park in Florida, but in Discoveryland at DLRP. Again, it’s the same ride, same story, same film, both in need of an update!
Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor is the newest attraction to arrive in Tomorrowland, and although there’s no similar attraction at Disneyland Park’s Discoveryland, the attraction is very similar and uses the same technology as the new Stitch Live at neighboring Walt Disney Studios park. The characters are different but the premise is the same with the main character singling out two unsuspecting guests from the audience to poke fun at.
Unique to WDW and rarely open these days is Carousel of Progress, an old attraction that traces the development of technological progression in the daily lives of Americans. Although somewhat dated it remains a favorite of many park goers but only opens during peak season.
A minor attraction, unique to DLRP is Les Mystères du Nautilus, a simple walkthrough tour where guests can see Captain Nemo’s Nautilus submarine from “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.”
Now closed with no word on if or when it will be returning is the Legend of the Lion King show, which had residence in the Videopolis Theatre in DLRP’s Discoveryland. A broadway style production of the Lion King that was always popular, it’s rumored to have been cancelled due to the large costs of staging each performance in comparison to the limited number of guests who could fit into the theatre. Nowhere near as good as WDW’s Festival of the Lion King Show at Animal Kingdom, it was still worth watching and it will be a shame if it’s not brought back in a new location at sometime in the future.
And there concludes our look at two parks, thousands of miles apart, but similar in many ways.
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