Guide Tour of Discoveryland, Disneyland Paris, France

Discoveryland is themed after the visions of famed European thinkers and explorers such as Leonardo da Vinci, HG Wells, or Jules Verne. The present is the future of the past. For future theme parks, how to grasp the design direction and keep in the trend and not be outdated so quickly has always been a difficult problem for this type of design.

Step into the retro future world of Discoveryland, the Force is strong in this corner of the Disneyland Park galaxy. Blast off into orbit on Star Wars: Hyperspace Mountain, battle with the Rebel Alliance against the evil Empire on Star Tours, or fans of Toy Story can join an intrepid crew to defeat Zurg in Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast.

The two basic principles of Discoveryland were first of all to put an end to the need to regularly update its themes as in the other Tomorrowlands, and this by presenting above all dreams of the future rather than technologies which quickly became obsolete, and then to bring American futurist ideas closer to their European sources, namely the great inventors, explorers and visionaries.

It was about showing a future imagined by personalities from a bygone era. The Imagineers chose to pay homage to Leonardo da Vinci, HG Wells and especially Jules Verne. The architecture was to serve as an introduction to the attractions and plunge the visitor into the worlds of these visionaries.

Thus, the decor was made up of futuristic elements, but from the beginning of the industrial era of the 19th century. Iron, steam and nascent electricity were used as in the works of Verne: new tools in the hands of man to brave indomitable nature. Rough rocks and geysers remind us of this feature of nature. Each attraction paid tribute to specific visionaries. Interesting detail: the science fiction author Ray Bradbury gave some advice on the atmosphere to develop.

The main entrance is from Central Plaza, in a setting of rocks emerging from basins with fountains, these rocks are representations of volcanic basalt. They are there to give kinetic energy and thus encourage the visitor to continue on their way. However, you can also enter Discoveryland by rail thanks to the Disneyland Railroad, stopping at Discoveryland Station.

The first building to the left of the entrance houses a shop and an attraction. The attraction was from 1992 to 2004 Le Visionarium, a 360° cinema evoking the great visionaries and among others meeting Jules Verne and HG Wells at the Universal Exhibition in Paris in 1900. This attraction closed its doors to make way for Buzz Lightyear’s Laser Blast in 2006, an interactive Toy Story -themed Omnimover scenic ride. Then the path leads to a plaza, where the Orbitron attraction sits, a rocket carousel surmounted by a huge mobile simulating planets.

To the left of the square, there is the building of Videopolis, it is composed of a performance hall, the Videopolis Theater and a fast-food type restaurant offering a view of the stage of the Videopolis Theater, the Café Hyperion. The main entrance is impressive since it has an airship named Hyperion embedded above it, it is inspired by the 1974 film, The Island on the Top of the World. The Videopolis Theater offers films, cartoons or shows throughout the day in a 19th century industrial setting.century. The second entrance leads to the performance hall through a central hall, this hall includes a room on each side, the Arcade Alpha and the Arcade Beta. Arcade Alpha on the left as you enter offers charging stations for mobile phones, while Arcade Beta is a food court. Previously, these two rooms served as a place of technological exhibition (sponsored by Philips) until 1998, then as arcade rooms offering paying games.

To the right of the square, the Autopia attraction spreads out its roads that can be traveled by miniature car in a retro-futuristic style. Next to Autopia, a lagoon is home to Les Mystères du Nautilus, a reproduction of the Nautilus released from Disney ‘s 1954 adaptation of Jules Verne ‘s novel Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.

At the far end of the square, behind the Orbitron, rises the imposing edifice of Space Mountain, the attraction’s first theme was from 1995 to 2005, From the Earth to the Moon. This first theme echoed the Visionarium, inspired by the novel From the Earth to the Moon by Jules Verne, then it was replaced by Space Mountain: Mission 2, its aim was to show the universe to its limits.. In 2017, the attraction changes theme for a third time to become Hyperspace Mountain, visitors this time entering theby Disney.

Behind Space Mountain and Videopolis, the “Vernien” theme changes to be more “current”, we discover a pavilion in black, gray and blue colors on which is an imposing X-Wing, this pavilion hosts the meeting point with the Star Wars characters, Starport, in which Darth Vader is notably found. Behind Starport, an imposing building offers the attraction Star Tours: The Adventures Continue,the entrance consists of a porch surmounted by a futuristic spire. Further, on the left, at the foot of the porch, a ramp added at the end of 1992, makes it possible to reach the station of Discoveryland Station of the Disneyland Railroad.

To the right of Starport, there is the 3D movie Mickey and his PhilharMagic Orchestra, originally the attraction was called Captain Eo, it offered a 3D movie where we found Michael Jackson as a spaceship captain. Captain Eo was replaced in 1999 by Honey, I Shrunk the Audience, also featured the Imagination Institute, an imaginary organization hosting the Inventor of the Year ceremony and presenting the attraction. However, in tribute to Michael Jackson after his death, the Captain Eo attraction has reopened theJune 12, 2010untilApril 12, 2015.

This attraction then became a brand new space, the Discoveryland Theatre, it first offered Ant-Man Sneak Peak, a fifteen-minute VO extract from the film Ant-Man, then the Disney & Pixar Short Movie Festival which offered for 20 minutes three Disney and Pixar short films which usually appeared in the cinema before certain films. Further to the right was a pizzeria based on the Toy Story universe, Buzz Lightyear’s Pizza Planet, which has since closed. Then the path continues around Space Mountain and back to Nautilus Lagoon.

Astro Orbiter
The Astro Orbiter is a rocket-spinner attraction, vehicles traveling through space by spinning around a central monument. The land took on a retro-science-fiction style inspired by some of Europe’s greatest writers, such as Jules Verne and H. G. Wells. Orbitron’s central axis resembles a bronze 19th century rotating planetarium instead of a rocket like the other Disneyland.

Autopia is a race car track Disneyland attraction, in which patrons steer specially designed cars through an enclosed track. The name Autopia is a portmanteau of the words “automobile utopia.” The term was later popularized in academic circles by British architecture critic Reyner Banham to describe Los Angeles in his 1971 book Los Angeles: The Architecture of Four Ecologies.

In Disneyland Park in Paris, the attraction, which opened with Euro Disneyland on April 12, 1992, uses the original Disneyland name of Autopia, but has a unique sense of style and theming. The cars are more rounded to go with a 1920’s retro-futuristic theme. This is also the only Autopia style attraction to have a storyline. The story was that the guests drove their cars, called “Astrocoupes”, around a nearby city to Discoveryland, “Solaria”.

In 2012, the “Solaria” prop was removed from the attraction and all Discoveryland logos were removed from the fleet of cars. The original storyline was also removed, turning it into a simple driving track, just like its American and Asian counterparts.

Les Mystères du Nautilus
The Mysteries of the Nautilus is a walkthrough attraction at Disneyland Paris in France. It is an updated version of the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea walkthrough attraction, based upon the film of the same name. This attraction takes guests throughout the various rooms of Captain Nemo’s submarine, especially those seen in the film. The submarine is located in a lagoon near Star Wars Hyperspace Mountain. Guests enter what looks like a lighthouse, and proceed into the attraction through an underwater corridor. Six rooms are visited inside the Nautilus.

The Ballasts Compartment: This is a dimly lit room, with an open safe at the center. Inside the safe is the treasure Captain Nemo has gathered from his many underwater explorations. Ned Land’s guitar from the movie is visible among the coins. Captain Nemo’s Room: This cabin, complete with a bed and a bathroom, allows guests to have a look at the Captain’s belongings and his collections of books and paintings.

The Charts Room: This room is the hub of the Nautilus, with staircases ascending to the wheelhouse and the main deck above (although these cannot be visited). Several charts are displayed, including one representing Vulcania Island, Nemo’s lair in the movie. The Diving Chamber: In the center of this small chamber is a trap door leading to the bottom of the ocean underneath. Diving suits stand along the wall.

The Main Salon: This is the heart of the Nautilus. Books, artifacts, and numerous treasures of the sea are gathered here. The Captain’s organ stands on the far side and guests can see Nemo’s reflection when staring at the mirror just above the keys. One window opens on the ocean’s depths and allows guests to witness the attack of the giant squid. As it approaches, one can see its beak reach for the submarine. The creature is later repulsed by an electric zap. The Engine Room: The last room to be visited. Machines and engines powering the propellers can be found here, along with the power unit on the opposite wall. The scene also showcases smoke effects.

Mickey’s PhilharMagic
Mickey’s PhilharMagic is a 4D film attraction, a 12-minute-long show featuring 3D effects, scents, and water, as well as a number of characters from Disney movies. It is shown on the largest purpose-built 3D screen ever made, at 150 feet wide.

As the theater doors open, Mickey Mouse is performing with his PhilharMagic Orchestra at the Fantasyland Concert Hall (Orlando, Hong Kong, and Tokyo), Discoveryland Theatre (Paris), and Sunset Showcase Theater (Anaheim). There are posters advertising the Concert Hall’s past productions and performers, such as Hades from Hercules, Ariel from The Little Mermaid, Genie from Aladdin, Wheezy from Toy Story 2, Willie the Whale from Make Mine Music, The Three Caballeros, The Big Bad Wolf and The Three Little Pigs.

Upon entering the theater’s lobby, guests pick up their “opera glasses” (3D glasses). During their wait, guests hear orchestral music from Fantasia, Fantasia 2000, and other Disney animated films. Goofy, the Concert Hall’s stage manager, admits the guests into the main theater, where final preparations for the performance are underway. After accidentally disturbing a cat, Goofy lugs in an electrical cord and gets electrocuted. Minnie Mouse then tells the guests to put on their “opera glasses” after reminding them that, as a courtesy to the attraction, there should not be eating, drinking, smoking or flash photography during the show.

After this instruction, Minnie then realizes that Donald Duck has gone missing and goes to tell Mickey. Goofy then raises the curtains (despite Mickey protesting that they aren’t ready yet) to reveal that the stage is empty, except for a conductor’s podium and Donald, who is sleeping in a box. Mickey races onto the stage in a hurry, quickly telling Donald to unpack the instruments. Mickey places his famous Sorcerer’s hat on the podium, then dashes off the stage, ordering Donald, “Don’t forget the orchestra. And don’t touch my hat!”

After Donald wakes up, he unpacks all the instruments, including a grand piano, from the small box, he is then tempted to try on the Sorcerer’s Hat himself. He does so, disobeying Mickey’s orders, which causes the magical instruments to come to life and play an extremely unpleasant melody. Donald tells the instruments to “stop it” and the instruments stop, except for a small flute who messes with him and the instruments laugh at this antic. However, when Donald bullies the flute, the other instruments immediately shocked and angered, rise up and attack him, creating a whirlwind of magic and music as the “Mickey Mouse March” plays. Donald loses the hat in the storm and passes through scenes from different Disney animated features while trying to retrieve the hat.

After the whirlwind passes, Donald finds himself in the dark, which takes us inside the dining room of the Beast’s Castle in Beauty and the Beast with Lumière, who begins to sing “Be Our Guest”. Guests can smell the food, triggering hidden smell cannons in the theater, and when the champagne bottles pop, they feel a quick blast of wind in their faces surrounded by cakes, which triggers hidden air cannons in the back of the seats. The dark comes back for a second. When the light returns, we find ourselves in Fantasia.

The music from The Sorcerer’s Apprentice plays, as the Magic Brooms enter the room, splashing water on Donald and washing away the dirty dishes left behind from the previous scene. The audience also gets blasted with water. A broom smaller than Donald comes in, carrying a big bucket. Donald snatches the bucket away and laughs, but only gives it back when a gigantic broom comes in. The giant broom spills water on Donald, taking us underwater into The Little Mermaid, where Ariel is in her grotto with Flounder singing “Part of Your World”. At the end of the song, an electric eel shocks Donald when he tries to kiss Ariel.

Next, we fade to The Lion King, where Simba is singing “I Just Can’t Wait to Be King” amidst a menagerie of African plains animals rendered in a 3D paper cut-out style. Zazu also appears in this segment. After this scene, the orange feathers burst out and we go into the Land of the Dead in Coco, where Miguel is singing “Un Poco Loco” alongside Héctor while skeletons dance to the music. During the concert, Dante places the hat on Donald’s head, who then starts to dance with Miguel and Héctor, but Pepita then steals the hat while Donald holds onto her tail.

Then, we enter a starry night sky in London from Peter Pan, where the chorus sings “You Can Fly”. Peter Pan and Tinker Bell sprinkle pixie dust on Donald, giving him the ability to fly. Finally, we go into Agrabah in Aladdin, where Aladdin and Jasmine are singing “A Whole New World” while flying through the night sky on Carpet. Donald follows them on a magic carpet of his own. He eventually retrieves the hat again by Jasmine placing it on his head. Unfortunately, the hat gets knocked off of Donald’s head by Iago, and Donald jumps after it.

Donald falls back into the magical whirlwind from earlier. Donald gets sucked inside, finding himself back on stage, still in the whirlwind. Mickey returns, puts on the hat, and uses its powers to restore order. As Mickey finally conducts the orchestra, playing a reprise of the “Mickey Mouse March”, the flute that Donald bullied earlier knocks Donald into a tuba.

As a fitting end, the tuba launches Donald across the theater and into its back wall. Mickey takes a bow and signs off as the curtains close. Donald’s rear, appearing as an animatronic, is shown stuck in the back wall before eventually falling through the hole. This is not shown in the Paris version. Instead, extended applause is heard and Minnie thanks the guests for coming to the show.

Star Wars Hyperspace Mountain
Star Wars: Hyperspace Mountain is an indoor/outdoor steel roller coaster in Discoveryland at Disneyland Paris. Originally themed around Jules Verne’s classic 1865 novel From the Earth to the Moon, the attraction first opened on June 1, 1995, three years after the park’s debut in an attempt to draw more guests to the financially unstable European resort.

Unlike other Space Mountain attractions at Disney theme parks, the installation at Disneyland Paris had a steampunk-detailed appearance with a Columbiad Cannon and a plate-and-rivet exterior under its previous theme. It is the only Space Mountain to feature inversions, a launch, a section of track that exits and re-enters the interior, and a synchronized on-Board audio track. It is by far the largest Space Mountain installation at any Disney theme park.

The original Space Mountain: De la Terre à la Lune closed on January 15, 2005, and later reopened as Space Mountain: Mission 2. This version of the ride used the same track layout, but without the Jules Verne theme. A refurbishment took place in 2015 to improve the special effects and overall presentation. The newest renovation to the ride implements a Star Wars theme to celebrate the resort’s 25th Anniversary.

After entering the dome, guests are ushered into a long black corridor with pictures of X-Wings, TIE-Fighters and other spaceships. A video can be seen of a woman telling space travelers all about the safety restrictions before embarking on their mission. They then proceed into the hall of the Baltimore Gun Club, where blueprints of the mission’s propulsion device are shown. The device depicted is the columbiad, a fictional cannon designed to launch spacecraft into hyperspace at lightning speed.

Guests then enter the loading station, where they board blue, Victorian-style rocket trains designed by Vekoma, and prepare to be catapulted deep into space. The trains move into a tunnel as the iconic Star Wars theme music plays before entering the cannon. The score for the attraction uses a medley of John Williams’ Star Wars score, and it was recorded at Abbey Road Studios. After a brief lecture from Admiral Akbar, a command to launch is given and the Columbiad fires, propelling the trains forward, accelerating to 44 mph (71 km/h) and launching into Hyperspace from Earth.

Upon arrival at Jakku, a group of TIES quickly ambushes the train, as it bobs and weaves its way through the dogfight as laser fire is volleyed between spaceships. With the TIES destroyed, the Blue Squadron fires at a nearby Star Destroyer, striking a critical blow to its bridge. Another jump into hyperspace is made sending the trains back to the station.

Star Tours – The Adventures Continue
Star Tours – The Adventures Continue is set in the Star Wars universe, takes passengers on a turbulent trip across the galaxy, as droids C-3PO and R2-D2 attempt to safely return a spy to the Rebel Alliance. The Adventures Continue features locations and characters from Episode I – The Phantom Menace through Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker.

According to the opening crawl that preceded the attraction’s inaugural opening; after the Dark Times began, Captain Antilles had dispatched C-3PO and R2-D2, the series’ protagonist droids who were placed in the custody of Antilles by order of Bail Organa near the end of Revenge of the Sith, to assist in the inauguration of the spaceline. The seemingly close relationship between the Rebel Alliance and the Star Tours agency, caused the Galactic Empire to believe that both entities were in a partnership, and thus has monitored the agency’s actions over the years.

Similar to the functionality of the previous Star Tours attraction, The Adventures Continue places guests in the role of space tourists en route to a predetermined destination. The queue is designed to resemble a spaceport terminal: posters advertise voyages to different planets, and a large LCD screen informs riders of flight statuses, planetary weather forecasts, and advertisements promoting the benefits of booking flights with Star Tours. The screen displays information in spoken basic language and Aurebesh.

The queue is populated with Audio-Animatronic characters, including C-3PO, R2-D2, and two Mon Calamari officers, that interact with one another and to guests. Entering the cargo bay, Captain Rex from the original attraction can be found, who in accordance with the timeline has not been used yet, and is therefore being sent back to a factory as defective. He occasionally has a power surge and delivers a line from the original attraction. Two G2 droids interact with guests as they conduct their tasks.

The more outspoken droid processing the passengers’ luggage on a scanning system reveals the luggages’ contents to the guests waiting in the queue. Many references, gags, and in-jokes relating to Star Wars, Disney, and Pixar films are made via the contents of this luggage. Guests then retrieve their 3-D “flight glasses” and are directed by a flight agent to 4 gates in Disneyland and 6 gates in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Tokyo Disneyland and Disneyland Paris where they wait to board.

Television monitors show C-3PO, who has been assigned to maintenance on the StarSpeeder 1000 that guests are about to board, inadvertently getting trapped in the cockpit after the ship’s captain leaves. Following this, Aly San San presents safety instructions to the guests. Once the doors to the StarSpeeder 1000 open, guests enter one of several ride simulators. After the doors close, C-3PO complains to R2-D2 (who is stationed on top of the ship) about the misunderstanding, but is ignored when the StarSpeeder 1000 begins to take flight with C-3PO in it.

The ride sequence is randomized; guests riding Star Tours will experience four out of 21 different segments during each journey. This gives Star Tours the advantage of being both highly repeatable and constantly surprising. Even though guests can experience different journeys, the main priority is always delivering a Rebel spy to safety. The “rebel spy” is chosen from the guests on the ride vehicle and whose photo is displayed to all the riders, with the dialogue in the ride accommodating to their sex or gender identity.

There are 21 random segments of the film: four opening segments, five primary destination segments, seven hologram message segments, and five ending destination segments. Combined, they allow for 700 different possible ride experiences. Locations and characters from the original and prequel trilogy do not mix with those from the sequel trilogy.

Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast
Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast is an interactive shooting dark ride attraction located in the Walt Disney Studios Parkarea of the Disneyland Paris. Designed by Walt Disney Imagineering and inspired by Disney/Pixar’s movie Toy Story. This attraction combines a carnival game and a third-generation Omnimover system. At Disneyland Paris, Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast replaced the Circle-Vision 360° production Le Visionarium, which closed in 2004.

The ride begins in the robot attack scene with The Box-O-Bot, The Gigantobot (who have changed positions and coloring as in WDW’s version, The Box-O-Bot was neon orange and was on the left side of the track and the Gigantobot was dark blue and purple and was on the right side of the track. Now-Box O-Bot is just orange and is on the right and the Gigantobot has a red body and red ears). The Dogbot (who now has a brown color) and the Batterybot (who is now red and has a target on his nose.

There is also a mini Space Ranger in what looks like an X Wing. The Guests enter Zurg’s Dreadnought down a hallway shooting batteries until you reach his laboratory. Zurg is shooting his “Zurgatronic Ion Blaster” (he dubbed it this in BLoSC). He is standing behind his now damaged Secret Weapon. Guests are about to transition into the next room which is completely dark while robots are being electrocuted trying to land the Dreadnought.

The Guests enter Planet Z (In the French Version of the ride Buzz Lightyear says “Attention Space Rangers, you’ve landed on Planet Z! Be ready for anything”). Guests can shoot to aliens including a call back to the pterodactyl that belongs to Sid Phillips in the First Toy Story Film. Before leaving Planet Z, Zurg is laughing in when he thinks he has triumphed because he is about to shoot Green Planet. Guests then enter a light tunnel with Zs around it.

The next room is similar to Space Ranger Spin. Buzz Lightyear is using his Astro Blaster to take down Zurg’s Secret Weapon. The Green Squadron are helping Buzz take down the ship. The final room has the LGMs signing the receipt to return Zurg to Al’s Toys Barn. Zurg promises revenge as the Green Squadron thank the guests. Buzz Lightyear then thanks the guests. He tells them to put the Blasters where they belong and to check the score board. Guests exit the ride to Little Green Men’s Store command.

Disneyland Railroad
The Disneyland Railroad (DRR), originally the Euro Disneyland Railroad (EDRR), is a 3-foot (914 mm) narrow gauge heritage railroad. Its route is 7,150 feet (2,180 m) in length and is used by park guests for transportation to other areas of the park, or simply for the experience of The Grand Circle Tour.

In the Discoveryland section, the train stops above the Star Tours – The Adventures Continue and Mickey’s PhilharMagic attraction at Discoveryland Station. The journey comes to an end while returning to Main Street.

Disneyland Park
Disneyland Paris is an entertainment resort in Chessy, France, 32 km (20 mi) east of Paris. It encompasses two theme parks, resort hotels, Disney Nature Resorts, a shopping, dining and entertainment complex, and a golf course.

Disneyland Park is the original theme park of the complex, opening in 1992. Be transported to a world that inspires the imagination, where wonder and enchantment fill the air all year round. With Sleeping Beauty Castle at the heart of this fairy-tale setting, the attractions, shows, parades and restaurants will immerse you in the Disney magic you know and love.