Looking for hidden gems around Disneyland Paris? This guide dishes out on all sorts of wonderful little secrets you don’t want to miss!
Over the years, a lot of things have changed in my life. For one, I’ve begun complaining about joint pain. For another, I find it increasingly intolerable to be around “youths”…. and from time to time, I’m even convinced I might be experiencing early-onset menopause.
BUT, no matter how many years pass by, and how quickly I evolve into an angry grandma, one childish thing about me will simply never change: I’ll always be down for a jaunt to Disneyland Paris.
Disneyland Paris is, after all, the park I’ve frequented most in my life. 5 years ago, I braved my 1st visit in an obnoxious red polka dot skirt that I spent an entire day in Paris shopping for. 2 years later, I celebrated my birthday there, trampling countless ~ actual ~ kids, and of course, most recently, last month I returned, boyfriend in tow, as we bulldozed through mobs of children to take selfies with Goofy.
And as I’ve grown older (though not any more mature), what I’ve begun to really appreciate about Disneyland Paris is its relentless attention to detail. Every visit, I’ve uncovered something new, which is an excuse I will now hold onto when people judge me for going again as a full-grown childless adult.
Here’s the most magical thing about Disneyland Paris: it is filled to the brim with awesome hidden gems, stories and secrets. And this past visit, I was smart enough to make sure I wrote everything down.
So, if you want to make sure you don’t miss anything, or simply want to dazzle your fellow park dwellers with terrifyingly specific Disney knowledge, here are some of my favourite hidden gems and secrets from Disneyland Paris. Enjoy!
Fun hidden gems on Disneyland Paris’ Main Street USA
The wonderful hidden gems start as soon as you walk into the park. Thanks to its abundance of unique shops and buildings, I’m sure it won’t surprise you that Main Street USA is crawling with incredible little secrets to discover. Here are some of my favourites:
1. Say hi to an old Tigger Audio Animatronic
The Disneyland Paris Storybook Store (located next to the City Hall along Main Street USA) is a charming yet frequently missed boutique perched near the entrance of Disneyland Park.
And if you’re a pathological stationary hoarder like I am, trust me when I say this shop will ruin you.
Inside, you’ll find all sorts of wonderful goodies including Disney themed notebooks and pens, along with Disney books in a variety of languages. My personal favourite touch however is the old school Tigger Audio Animatronic which now sits as a decorative welcome piece to the shop. While you’re in here, don’t forget to look up – you’ll see all sorts of adorable studious versions of your favourite Disney characters.
PS: Bonus points if you can spot the adorable mouse, Jaq, from Cinderella. He’s pretty well hidden!
2. Admire a vintage map of Disneyland Paris from the 90s
Another hidden gem of the Storybook Store, tucked away in the back of the shop literally next to the employee door, is a framed Disneyland Paris map from the 90s! Kind of fun to see how the park has changed over the years (but not actually by too much). Can you spot your favourite attraction?
3. Discover the hidden historical secrets of the Disneyland Paris City Hall
The City Hall at Disneyland Paris is a common go-to for guests in need of some kind of help, but even if you aren’t in need of an annual pass bump-up, or attempting to flag down your lost spawn, the City Hall has quite a few historical treasures to delight any Disney fan.
For instance, at the front entrance, you’ll be able to find Walt Disney’s Legion of Honour medal, framed and displayed with the official decree.
And inside, you’ll also find the original concept art for Disneyland Paris (then known as Euro Disney).
4. Listen for all the very detailed additions to the soundscape
As many visitors often say, the beauty of Disneyland Paris is really in the details, and I wholeheartedly agree.
Disneyland Park really is planned to perfection, not only visually, but in the soundscape throughout the park as well. Particularly on Main Street USA, if you keep your ears open, you’ll hear all sorts of surprising and delightful audio details that turn shuffling down this main drag into a fun magical activity in itself.
Above Victoria’s Home Style Restaurant, you can hear a man brushing his teeth and messing with the taps in his bathroom.
If you see the sign for Piano Lessons, keep your ears open and you might just hear an aspiring pianist working their way through the keys.
Next to the Discovery Arcade, look for the neighbourhood dentist and relish in the sounds of the drills… and the fact that you’re at Disney and not the dentist right now.
5. Celebrate Christmas year round at the Ribbons and Bows Hat Shop / Bixby Brothers Shop
While the Christmas store located in the Disneyland Paris castle (La Boutique du Château) is far from a secret, there is a lesser known Disney-themed Christmas shop tucked away on Main Street USA, right next to the entrance of the Discovery Arcade. Just look for the Ribbons and Bows Hat Shop (or the Bixby Brothers Shop) and step inside to uncover a magical Christmas wonderland… where you’ll be making it snow dollar bills.
6. Check out the fun mirrors inside Disney & Co
I always love popping into Disney & Co anytime I’m at Disneyland Paris. With its adorable vintage feel, it’s easily one of my favourite shops on Main Street USA.
On my most recent trip though, I noticed something I’d never seen before… this shop has wonky fun mirrors!
… How do I look?
7. Admire the beautiful and magical dome at Harrington’s
Harrington’s Fine China and Porcelains is THE Disney shop to visit if you’re feeling especially bougie and want to fill your home with all sorts of Disney-themed fanciness.
Regardless of whether you want to lug a crystal Mickey home or not, you should definitely take the time to pop into this shop because its dome ceiling is absolutely stunning. Supposedly, it also has magical acoustic properties, and if two people stand at opposite ends of the dome and whisper, they can still hear each other crystal clear as if they were side by side. I didn’t get to test this because I stumbled into this shop feeling spendey and alone, so one of you will have to test it and let me know!
8. Find the faces of famous inventors in the dome of the Emporium
As the largest shop at Disneyland Paris, odds are you’ll end up inside Main Street USA’s Emporium at some point. As always with Disneyland Paris though, don’t forget to look up! One ceiling decoration is especially lovely – a stained glass tribute to famous inventors including Nikola Tesla, Alexander Graham Bell and Henry Ford. Walt Disney was a big admirer of inventors, so this is a fitting tribute.
9. Get an actual haircut at Dapper Dan’s
Tucked away in a corner of Disneyland Paris’ busy Emporium shop, you’ll find the entrance to Dapper Dan’s, an actual barber shop decorated with authentic pieces from an actual Chicago barber (who was apparently closing up shop as Disneyland Paris was being built).
Think this is bizarre? There’s actually a very sweet reason: Walt Disney’s father was a barber himself.
10. Step back in time to the inauguration of the Statue of Liberty
The Statue of Liberty plays a starring (and unsubtle) role in Disneyland Paris’ Liberty Arcade, but those who pass by quickly may easily miss the hidden passageway behind the Statue of Liberty tableau. Concealed behind some red velvet curtains is a darkened passage which houses a scene from the statue’s inauguration, complete with figures and fireworks!
It’s a small attraction that won’t take more than a minute to see, but it’s a cool secretive detour missed by many.
Fun hidden gems in Disneyland Paris’ Fantasyland
Ah, Fantasyland… land of princesses and dreams. The Fantasyland in Disneyland Paris is a lovely place to explore after walking down Main Street USA, and it’s filled with quite a few fun Easter eggs as well. Here are a few to look out for:
11. Visit the only Disney Castle dragon in the world
While I admit this should be filed under the “worst kept secrets” category, it’s nonetheless something that many first timers miss (like me, my first 2 visits) so I figured I should include it.
If you didn’t know already, lurking underneath Disneyland Paris’ Sleeping Beauty Castle Is a animatronic dragon, making this castle the only one of all the Disney parks to have its own dragon! You can access it by following a path to the left of the castle – just look for a sign that reads “La Tanière du Dragon”.
12. Listen for the guards having a snooze at the castle
Seeing as how Disneyland Paris is home to the Sleeping Beauty Castle, it only makes sense that the castle also has sleeping guards.
So, when you’re exploring the inside of the Sleeping Beauty Castle in the upper floor, see if you can hear the gentle snoring coming from the guards (whose sleepy eyes are luckily concealed under their armour).
13. Spot the golden snails
One of the great things about Disneyland Paris is the amount of sweet but subtle nods to the park’s Frenchness, and what better addition to the parkscape than a heaping portion of escargot?
Yup, if you look closely at the golden spires of the Disneyland Paris Sleeping Beauty Castle, you’ll see little protrusions which are actually snails! Legend has it they’re up there running away from a French chef…
14. Find the Hidden Mickey at It’s a Small World
Hidden mickeys are a well-known Disney parks secret, but if you haven’t heard of them yet, let me clue you in: scattered around Disney parks around the world are hidden Mickey Mouse shapes which are thoughtfully and sneakily embedded into the park’s decor.
While they are deceptively difficult to spot at first, I’ll help you warm up with an easy one: see if you can spot the Mickey shaped gears at the It’s A Small World in Disneyland Paris!
15. Stake out the perfect princess-spotting perch
Meeting the famous Disney princesses at Disneyland Paris can be a lengthy and time-consuming affair, but what if I told you there was a special spot where you can see various princesses and characters without a long line-up?
I first caught onto this secret spot on my first Disneyland Paris visit. After seeing the 2 hour wait time for the Princess Pavilion, I began dejectedly walking away from Fantasyland when lo and behold – Snow White herself emerged from the pavilion and started walking off (I assume to the break room, to dodge hardcore stalkers like me). I realized then that I had found a mini loophole in seeing characters and princesses – just catch them as they catch their “commutes” through the park.
Since that first visit, I’ve read a few different articles touting the virtues of this hidden spot, including this article which says that it’s a favourite for many UK holidaymakers eager to see a large quantity of characters in a short time span, all without the long wait.
To access this hidden spot, walk through the castle into Fantasyland and turn right. You’ll pass a gate (and Cinderella’s carriage). Then, look for another gate/fence and this is the spot commonly used as a getaway and entrance for characters.
16. Grab a snack from a stall inspired by an old school Disney Cartoon
It’s quite easy to assume that the old wooden windmill in Fantasyland is simply a whimsical architectural addition (after all, the park is filled with those), but did you know “the Old Mill” (as the stand is called) is actually an old school Disney cartoon from the 30s? I was pretty mindblown when I learned that – I think it shows to the huge depth of detail that went into the planning of this park!
Anyways, if it tickles your fancy, stop by the Old Mill… or at the very least take keep an eye out for the hidden Mickey located nearby 😉
17. Admire the changing faces of Mr Toad
The Toad Hall Restaurant is one of the many food options available on site at Disneyland Paris, but a quirky hidden secret is concealed behind the walls of this stately English manor dishing out classics like fish and chips: the portraits of Mr. Toad inside are both hilariously narcissistic and wonderful!
So, if you are interested in taking a look at paintings of Mr Toad as Vincent Van Gogh or as the famous Mona Lisa, be sure to take a step inside. It’s a counter service restaurant anyway, so no need to feel awkward about coming in just for a peek.
PS: While here, you might want to take a look at the restaurant’s sassy Latin slogan: “No Consumus Froglagus”, perhaps a dig at the French who consume frog legs as a delicacy?
Fun hidden gems in Disneyland Paris’ Discoveryland
Discoveryland has seen quite a few changes at Disneyland Paris over the years, with the addition of a few Star Wars attractions and possibly more to come, but regardless of the changes, one thing that remains consistent is that Jules Verne inspired charm. Here are some of my favourite hidden spots and secrets around Discoveryland:
18. Spot WALL-E and EVE
I often consider WALL-E to be an underrated Disney character who doesn’t get nearly as much love as he should around the parks. Imagine my surprise when I found some cute WALL-E and EVE representation in Discoveryland, tucked away outside of Videopolis!
Be sure to stop by and give them some love.
19. Build your own droid or lightsaber
While Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge hasn’t yet made its way over to Disneyland Paris, there are still quite a few Star Wars inspired attractions that are starting to take hold, including Star Tours and the Star Wars Hyperspace Mountain. While these rides are certainly no secret, one wonderful hidden gem that you’ll find inside the Star Wars themed gift shops (like Star Traders) is the ability to build your own souvenir droid or lightsaber, an easy-to-miss feature of the park.
Like all other things Disney, the prices are fairly steep, but checking these little stations out is a must visit for any Star Wars geek!
20. Check out a very cool vending machine inside the Videopolis
I know what you’re thinking: how can a vending machine be considered a hidden gem?
Well, one of my favourite things about Disneyland Paris is the attention to detail, so I was thrilled to discover this very on-theme vending machine located inside Videopolis, just outside of the line-up area for Cafe Hyperion. I guess you can say I’m easily impressed.
21. Say hi to the Mon Calamari at Star Tours
“IT’S A TRAP!”
Except, no, this time it’s not! While waiting in line for Star Tours, there are all sorts of delightful little details for you to gawk at, but one that’s very easy to miss are the Mon Calamari up there in the control room. Be sure to look up every so often while you’re waiting in line and see if you can spot them! If you’re a weird cult follower of Admiral Akbar (as I am), this will be an unexpected surprise that will take your mind off the long line-up.
Fun hidden gems in Disneyland Paris’ Adventureland
Adventureland at Disneyland Paris is home to a lot of famous DLP attractions, including Pirates of the Caribbean and the Indiana Jones ride. Being the epicentre of adventure at the park, you might expect this land to have some secrets up its sleeve too… Well you’re right! Here are some fun secret spots to discover in Adventureland.
22. See Russell and Mr. Fredricksen from Up
Up is one of my favourite Pixar movies of all time, so seeing some representation from Russell and Mr. Fredricksen in Adventureland was a happy surprise for me. You’ll find them enjoying the scenery by the water at Adventure Isle. The best way to scope a close-up peek though is from the Swiss Family Treehouse, which has some binoculars in the upper level that you can use to get a close-up look at the scene!
23. Take a peek at the treehouse from below
Everybody knows about the Swiss Family Treehouse at Disneyland Paris, but did you know that there are actually some caverns and caves to explore beneath the treehouse in “Le Ventre de la Terre”?
So, if getting caught in a tangle of dark tree roots and tunnels while awkwardly grazing against strangers is your idea of fun, be sure to take some time to get lost here. You might even stumble upon some hidden treasure…!
24. Find the hidden treasure in Adventure Isle
Adventure Isle is a fun place to get lost at Disneyland Paris, and for those who have zero fear of the dark, I recommend mucking around for a while in search of the secret glittering treasure that lurks within one of the caverns. Full disclosure? I have zero sense of direction and so ended up going in circles and aimlessly ramming into people so I have not yet, to date, found this mystical treasure, although I have been assured that it does in fact exist.
25. Walk through Aladdin’s Enchanted Passage
The Moroccan/Arabian inspired bits of Adventure Isle are my favourite, and in my opinion, Aladdin’s Enchanted Passage is one of the most underrated walkthrough attractions in the entire park. Not only is visiting this part of Adventureland like being transported to Morocco, this little attraction showcases various scenes from Aladdin (one of my favourite Disney movies ever) in cool showcase windows. Definitely worth a quick stop, because lots of people miss it!
Fun hidden gems in Disneyland Paris’ Frontierland
Fancy a trip to the Wild Wild West? The Frontierland at Disneyland Paris is incredibly unique thanks to its elaborate backstory and attention to detail. Here are some of my favourite secrets of this fun land:
26. Learn the story of Frontierland
I’ll be honest: of all the lands at Disneyland Paris, Frontierland was always my least favourite. I always had trouble “getting” it. SO, imagine my surprise when I learned that there is actually one full cohesive narrative that binds together different elements of the land like the Phantom Manor and the Thunder Mountain rollercoaster!
It’s kind of an extensive story, so much that the Phantom Manor even has its own unofficial fansite here, but I’ll try to quickly sum it up.
The (fictional) backstory of Frontierland goes like this: Once upon a time, in the American West, there was a beautiful valley known as Big Thunder Mountain. According to legends, this mountain was protected by a great deity known as the Thunderbird, who would punish anyone who dared disrupt the precious mountain.
All was well until settlers arrived and began drilling into the mountain in search of minerals and gold, which they soon found. The discovery turned Thunder Mesa into a thriving gold rush town, with Henry Ravenswood (owner of the mine) creating the Big Thunder Mining Company and becoming filthy rich because of it.
Yes, that’s Ravenswood… as in the same Ravenswoods of Haunted Manor!
With all his riches, Henry built a beautiful manor overlooking Thunder Mesa, where he lived with his family and (most notably) his beautiful daughter, Melanie. The town continued to thrive and develop, with businesses opening up (seen around Frontierland as the Silver Spur Steakhouse, the Lucky Nugget Saloon, the various shops, etc.)
And as Melanie grew up, she attracted the attention of many suitors. As is the nightmare of any parent, she soon became engaged much to the chagrin of her father, who fought hard to prevent the wedding…
But something far more terrible than a controlling father was soon to hit Melanie’s life. In 1860, a giant earthquake struck Thunder Mesa (work of the angry Thunderbird perhaps?!), killing both Henry and his wife (AKA Melanie’s mother and father).
I mean, that’s sad and all, but the silver lining was that with Henry out of the picture, Melanie’s wedding could continue.
Tragically however, on the day of Melanie’s wedding, her fiancé never showed up. She waited, and waited, as days, weeks and years passed, still wearing her dress, overwhelmed by grief but still holding onto hope that one day her love would return. Little did she know, a mysterious phantom had appeared in the manor on the day of her wedding, killing her fiancé and haunting the halls thereafter. The ghost of Henry Ravenswood perhaps? *cue eerie music* Thus tying into the whole storyline at Phantom Manor!
Anyways, because I’m a sucker for stories, I now see Frontierland with new eyes. Keep this story and history in mind as you explore this section and I promise you’ll enjoy it so much more!
27. Take the hidden covered walkway to Peter Pan
Less of hidden gem, and more of a fun shortcut/convenience thing, but if you want a nice, undercover way to get to the Peter Pan ride from Main Street USA, go through the Liberty Arcade then turn left as you exit and follow this path! It’s a great way to dodge the rain or searing heat, and just a cool ninja way to navigate the park.
28. Meet the dead residents of Boot Hill Cemetery
The attention to detail at the Phantom Manor in Disneyland Paris is (in my opinion) what makes it one of the coolest attractions in the park… and while the ride itself is good fun, many visitors miss an additional easter egg before they leave the area: Boot Hill Cemetery, the final resting place of the Ravenswoodseseseses (I’m always bad at pluralizing last names) and many other residents of Thunder Mesa.
So, after visiting the Phantom Manor, don’t forget to explore the Boot Hill Cemetery right next door for a variety of fun grave names and epitaphs…. Some say you might even be able to hear a heartbeat coming from one of the stones. Melanie’s, perhaps? *evil cackle*
No but seriously, go check out the epitaphs. They’re hilarious.
Other hidden gems around Disneyland Paris
Last but not least, it’s worth noting that there are other parts of Disneyland Paris outside of these lands. Specifically, Disney Village is a cool place to hang out after the park closes, as several of the shops are open a bit later than the park. Here are some secret spots to check out:
29. Admire famous Disney scenes made of LEGO
The LEGO Store in Disney Village is such a fun treat for those who love LEGO as much as they love Disney! Here, you can gawk at awesome Disney scenes constructed out of LEGO, and even take home some fun kits for yourself, although I don’t think my pudgy thumbs would be capable of this kind of LEGO sorcery:
30. Make it rain at the famous Disney Gallery
Last but not least, if you haven’t depleted your savings account enough, be sure to make a final stop at the Disney Gallery, a paradise for collectors and Disney megafans alike. Don’t miss the chance to visit and marvel at collectible items and artwork that will have you emptying your pockets while happily sobbing…!
In all seriousness though, if you’re feeling especially swishy, this is a great place to grab a souvenir to take home.
Here’s a great video tour of what the Disney Gallery has to offer:
Did I miss any of your favourite Disneyland Paris hidden gems?
Let me know in the comments! I hope you enjoyed this guide to secret spots around Disneyland Paris and that my nerding out didn’t freak you out too much. Have a magical trip, and safe travels!
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