49 International Disney Park Differences Only Hard Core Fans Will Notice
If you”re a Disney fan, you”ve undoubtedly made the pilgrimage to Disneyland or Walt Disney World at some point in your life. Upon opening Disneyland (the original Disney park in Anaheim, CA) in 1955, the wildly successful mass-media corporation became a staple in more than just family movies — its theme park topped the bucket lists of travelers worldwide. Disney mania couldn”t be contained when parks eventually opened in Florida, Japan, France, and Hong Kong. Today, there is construction on a sixth park: Shanghai Disney. While every Disney park maintains a similar atmosphere, the magic feeling at each location is totally unique. Take a look at the features that make each Disney resort special, and then decide for yourself which is truly the “happiest place on earth.”
Tokyo Disneyland has the distinction of being the first international Disney resort and is the third most visited theme park (behind Orlando and Anaheim) in the world.
You won”t believe some of the fun traits that are unique to this Japanese park:
As can be expected in another country, the food at Tokyo Disney is different than snacks available in the other parks. Popcorn is a major favorite, and there are many unique flavors offered: caramel, sea salt, cappuccino, black pepper, soda, and soy sauce with butter are just a few.
The Tower of Terror ride at Tokyo Disney goes by a different name, “Hotel Hightower,” and looks different from the original US version.
Cinderella”s castle in Tokyo is extremely similar to its counterpart in Florida, aside from small architectural divergences (like shinier turrets and different stones) that stick out to hardcore fans. Based on this view alone, normal visitors might not even see the difference!
Main Street is covered by glass at Tokyo Disneyland, allowing visitors to enjoy the magic even during bad weather.
In addition to Tokyo Disneyland, there is a second park: Tokyo DisneySea. The most expensive theme park ever constructed, DisneySea features water shows and a delightful boardwalk area for visitors. While other Disney parks offer water shows, the extravagant ones at DisneySea captivate audiences daily with boats and pyrotechnics.
DisneySea includes a boardwalk area that resembles Venetian waterways, setting it apart from the California-themed boardwalk in Anaheim and the Jersey Shore-themed one in Orlando.
While many of the park”s features look identical to the original Disneyland, there are some small differences. For example, the location of Club 33 (an extremely exclusive dining room in the Disney parks) is above the Blue Bayou restaurant in Anaheim but has a different hidden location in Tokyo.
Other uniquely Japanese favorites offered to Tokyo Disneyland visitors include steamed dessert buns, shaped into characters and cartoon objects.
Japanese audiences are particularly crazy about Lilo & Stitch, so Stitch is incorporated into Tokyo Disney more than at other parks.
The friendly cast members in Tokyo often don uniforms that are unique to that resort, like this colorfully striped ensemble. We dare you not to smile when surrounded by such bright hues!
The second international Disney park was built in Paris in 1992. Sometimes called “Eurodisney,” the park has enchanted European visitors by combining classic Disney magic with distinctive French features.
There are plenty of unique aspects of Disneyland Paris thanks to the strong cultural pride in France. Check them out:
Sleeping Beauty”s castle at Disneyland Paris has distinctly European features that set it apart from other Disney castles. In addition, it sits atop a small hill and is surrounded by cartoonishly trimmed trees.
Intricate Disney landscaping is found throughout every resort, but the Paris park displays blooms to match its pink building facades. Even the Mickey Mouse flower bed is pink!
Because the movie is set in Paris, Ratatouille is particularly popular with French audiences. The movie has a full ride and a themed restaurant within Eurodisney, while no other Disney park lets you taste Remy the rat”s cooking.
Disneyland Paris contains a huge McDonald”s restaurant for hungry guests, while the burger chain only exists between parks at other resort locations.
The architecture throughout Eurodisney”s Fantasyland resembles the buildings in Beauty and the Beast, another French-based Disney film.
One of Eurodisney”s unique attractions is Videopolis, which contains a theater and restaurant with some seriously steampunk vibes.
While the other international Disney parks display signs in English with small translations beneath, Eurodisney has many signs exclusively written in French.
Instead of Tom Sawyer”s Island (an attraction at the US Disney parks), Paris Disneyland offers a steamboat ride and island devoted to European greats, such as Leonardo da Vinci.
The Haunted Mansion at Disneyland Paris is unique from any of the other Disney offerings, designed to resemble a spooky Victorian manor.
Opened in 2005, Hong Kong Disneyland is the smallest Disney park. Its design incorporates feng shui elements, creating a soothing atmosphere at the magical resort.
This park may be small, but it”s not short on special features. See what sets it apart:
The surrounding landscape of Hong Kong Disneyland lends it a different look from any other Disney park, with a scenic, hilly landscape behind the picturesque castle. Also, rather than Sleeping Beauty”s, the park features Cinderella”s castle.
Dubbed “Mystic Manor” at Hong Kong Disneyland, the Haunted Mansion attraction is totally unique from other parks” respective versions of the ride. Instead of a scary facade, this ride is charming and bright.
The culinary offerings at Hong Kong Disneyland are distinctly Chinese, ranging from noodle dishes to barbecue.
A tasty treat unique to Hong Kong Disneyland is character dim sum, which includes steamed dumplings shaped like Disney characters.
Noodles are a major food staple in Hong Kong, even within Disneyland.
The signs at Disney in Hong Kong are written first in English, with a Cantonese translation beneath.
Asian elements can be found throughout Hong Kong Disneyland, from unique architecture styles to symbolic water — which represents good fortune — flowing throughout the theme park.
Unlike the Mad Tea Party ride at the parks with better weather, there is rain-cover over the spinning dishes in Hong Kong.
The Disney parks in Orlando and Paris also have rain-covers, but because Hong Kong is the most newly constructed of the bunch, it appears the most modern.
Hong Kong Disneyland offers an attraction called The Fantasy Gardens, which exists purely for meeting and taking photos with Disney characters. Each major character has a unique pagoda for signing autographs and meeting guests.
The largest Disney resort is located in Orlando, FL, and actually contains six unique parks: Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom, Typhoon Lagoon, and Blizzard Beach. Like Hong Kong, the castle featured in Orlando”s Magic Kingdom is based on Cinderella, but at this park it”s surrounded by a moat.
This theme park is the largest, so you know it”s got tons of unique features! Find out what they are:
Within Cinderella”s castle at WDW, there is a luxurious suite designed for the princess herself. While you can”t make reservations for the room, Disney sometimes surprises guests with a one night stay! Celebrities like Katy Perry, Neil Patrick Harris, and Nick Jonas have stayed in the Cinderella Suite, but nonfamous guests get lucky on occasion.
Disney World has 30 separate hotels for visitors to choose from, including the brightly lit Dolphin Hotel shown above. The Orlando resort has more lodging than any other Disney property in the world.
Orlando is the only Disney resort that offers parks where visitors can swim. Typhoon Lagoon is a water park at Walt Disney World with a tropical shipwreck theme. The cool water is a great escape for visitors to escape Orlando”s humid climate!
Blizzard Beach is Disney World”s other water park, inspired by Winter snowstorms. This park offers more extreme water-based attractions than Typhoon Lagoon, including tall water slides.
The Animal Kingdom park at Disney World Orlando offers visitors the chance to encounter their favorite animals up close and is styled in a way reminiscent of The Lion King. No other Disney park includes a safari with live animals!
Perhaps the spookiest of any Disney Haunted Mansion, the Orlando attraction is large and impressively creepy.
The Epcot park is extremely unique because it has a cultural theme that transports visitors around the world. There are different park areas for different countries, and the food available within Epcot is international and delicious.
Disney World hosts a weekend of marathon races for athletic Disney fans, running through all the resort”s parks and finishing with a Mickey Mouse medal. Sign us up!
The original Disney park, Disneyland is located in Anaheim, CA. Opened in 1955, this is the location that started it all!
Too see why the oldies are goodies, check out these fun things that make the original park unique:
In the original Pirates of the Caribbean ride, there is a real human skull! Look for it above the bed in the treasure room.
The Disneyland Resort has two parks: Disneyland and California Adventure. California Adventure celebrates the state, even including a ride called Soarin” Over California to give visitors a bird”s-eye view of California”s main attractions.
The original Disneyland is known for its themed days, such as Dapper Day. On this day every year, visitors don their fanciest clothes for fun in the park, often participating in “disneybounding” — dressing as modern versions of their favorite film characters.
Another themed day at the California Disneyland is Bats Day, when the park encourages goth dress and large gatherings of gothic Disney fans.
Because it”s the original Disney park, Disneyland has a lot of historical touches. The bench inside Great Moments With Mr. Lincoln is the actual bench where Walt Disney came up with the idea for Disneyland!
While celebs are free to visit any Disney park, due to its proximity to Hollywood, they are frequently sighted at the original Anaheim location. There are celeb-sighting Instagram and Twitter accounts for any visitors hoping to spy their favorite famous Disney fans.
Decades ago, Disneyland combatted a rat problem by releasing cats into the park at night. Even today, cats remain in the park to silently serve . . . and they”ve got quite a fan following! If you can”t make it out to California, follow the frisky Disneyland cats on Instagram to get to know Lucian, Chloe, Bernice, and Francisco (who is shown above).
The Haunted Mansion ride at Disneyland transforms into a The Nightmare Before Christmas-themed attraction for Halloween and has inspired other Disney parks to do the same. The mansion in the Anaheim resort is styled after an ancient southern estate, setting it apart from other takes on the spooky ride.
California Adventure has a boardwalk that boasts a large ferris wheel and a giant roller coaster, and there is a light show (World of Color) shown on the park”s water at night. Because it”s based on famous California boardwalks, this part of the park is unlike any other Disney attraction.
Disneyland”s Sleeping Beauty castle is an iconic sight, greeting every visitor who enters Disneyland. While smaller than any other resort”s castle, this is the most famous.
The newest addition to Disney”s worldwide resort collection is a Disney park in Shanghai, China. Set to open in 2015, the park”s opening team is currently training in the art of Disney magic.
Experts believe that this will be the most unique Disney park yet. See why:
A look at newly hired cast members for the Shanghai Disney park. Shanghai Disney is anticipated to be the most individualized park on the Disney roster — during a preview event, the park even had Mickey and Minnie dressed in customary Chinese garments!
At the 2011 D23 Expo (the largest Disney fan event in the world!), a few sneak-peek models were shown to curious attendees. The Shanghai park will be the first to include an entirely pirate-themed land called Treasure Cove. Fans of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride and film franchise will love this exciting area of the park!
Other unique features of the Shanghai resort will include a Tron light-cycle show and a Toy Story hotel.