My articles so far, in which I have compared the two Disneylands closest to my heart (California and Paris), have focused on individual attractions found in Fantasyland. This month, after previewing what I shall be writing for the site in the future, I shall be looking at any aspect of Fantasyland which does not fit into any of my other articles (past or future).
As well as the attractions covered in previous articles, the two Fantasylands feature versions of King Arthur Carrousel and The Sword in the Stone Ceremony (both of which I shall cover next month), as well as It's A Small World which I will write about in a later article. I also intend to write about the shops and theaters found in the Land at some point – then, in the long run, I aim to start comparing attractions found in other lands.
Both versions of the Land feature Railroad Stations, although (as of 1993) the Anaheim park officially considers that particular stop as being part of Mickey's Toontown. I will be comparing the versions of the Disneyland Railroad later in a special two-part article later in the year.
There is no equivalent to Matterhorn Bobsleds in Paris; nor is there a Mr. Toad's Wild Ride although France does have a Toad Hall Restaurant. The exteriors to both are remarkably similar, although the Ride has the Latin phrase "Toadi Acceleratio Semper Absurda" over the entrance ("Speeding with Toad is Always Absurd"), whereas the Restaurant in Paris goes for "No Consumus Froglegus" ("No Eating of Frogs Legs").
Both the Ride and the Restaurant feature a Library scene, complete with comically titled books and a suit of armor. In Paris, though, the latter is more humorously designed, looking more like one Toad himself might wear.
The Ride and the Restaurant also both feature chandeliered ceilings, famous paintings adapted to feature Toad's face and faux stained glass windows.
Whereas California's Fantasyland has only two eateries (Troubador Tavern and Village Haus) France's has seven in addition to the above Toad themed chippie: L'Arbre Enchanté, L'Auberge de Cendrillon, Au Chalet de la Marionnette, Fantasia Gelati, March Hare Refreshments, The Old Mill, and Pizzeria Bella Notte.
Au Chalet de la Marionette, March Hare Refreshments and Village Haus have been covered in previous articles, but with regards to the others
L'Arbre Enchanté, which translates as The Magic Tree, has no current equivalent in Disneyland, although based on name, design and sponsor (Minute Maid) it is very similar to The Enchanted Grove in Florida's Fantasyland.
Nonetheless, Anaheim's Troubador Tavern was, prior to being Troubador Treats called The Enchanted Cottage. The menu was much more extensive than the French version and the room was better air conditioned.
Fantasia Gelati and Pizzeria Bella Notte are both Italian themed and also have no equivalent in California; they sit next to each other in the Mediterranean Section of the Land (opposite It's A Small World). The former sells ice cream and is designed to invoke the Pastoral Symphony section from Fantasia. The latter is based on Lady and The Tramp, with columns shaped like Joe and Tony, and tiles in the walls taken from the mural designed by Mary Blair which used to reside in California's Tomorrowland.
The Old Mill, based on the eponymous structure in the first Disney cartoon to feature a multiplane camera, serves snacks and is often closed. The sails occasionally rotate, unlike the Ferris wheel at the back,
Les Pirouettes du Vieux Moulin (which translates as The Pirouettes of The Old Mill), which was the first attraction at Disneyland Paris to close. Ironically, although The Old Mill was in existence since opening day, the ride was the first attraction to open after the official opening day.
L'Auberge de Cendrillon (The Cinderella Inn) is the most expensive of the restaurants in Fantasyland, and also the only one with character dining. In many ways, the theming is similar to Cinderella's Royal Table, as found in Cinderella Castle in Walt Disney World.
Around the corner from L'Auberge de Cendrillon is an equivalent to the Rags to Riches Fountain, as found in Florida.
I am aware that there are many more elements which can be compared between the Fantasylands. Examples include the floor design (currently concrete in California vs the paving stones in France which are said to be "from the best manufacturer in Europe"), and the meet and greet areas (Anaheim's Pixie Hollow and Paris's Le Théâtre du Château). However, as I write this article, I realize how much more like the Florida Fantasyland the Paris one is than the Anaheim version.
Although I couldn't say which of the Fantasylands I prefer, I believe that the differences make the parks what they are, with the Paris one being the more "European" of the two, whilst the California one is a lot less cynical and embraces the magic more.
Hugh is a former Cast Member, who now lives in London. He is currently writing a Mouse Tales style book about Disneyland Paris for Bonaventure Press.
Hugh Allison Can Be Contacted at:
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