Earlier this week on April 12, Disneyland Paris (originally “EuroDisney”) celebrated 25 years since its opening. Some friends of mine were there amidst the bustle and festivities. Along with various merchandise offerings, there was a grand promenade of 25 rare characters including those from more obscure films like Treasure Planet and Meet the Robinsons. Special appearances also included Jessica Rabbit, Pleakley from Lilo & Stitch, and – most exciting to me – the Cheshire Cat and March Hare!
And yet impressive as this was, given the opportunity, Disneyland Paris would still be lower on the list of global/non-U.S. mainland Disney locations that I’d most like to visit.
I’ve previously shared my “Disney Do” list of Disney experiences I’d like to someday have, but today I’m going to share my global Disney Parks & Resorts list of where I would go if I won the lottery or if someone magically said “you can go anywhere in the world today – where would you like to go?” (Because of course my answer would be somewhere Disney!)
- To be honest, I have very little interest in visiting Aulani as it seems to be too much of a hybrid – it’s Hawaii by Disney and therefore, to me, seems to be not enough Hawaii if I was looking for that authentic experience and not enough Disney if I was looking for that magical experience. It is lowest on my Disney priorities, however, if I really did win the lottery and could visit EVERY Disney location in the world, I’d certainly stop here, too. The resort looks lovely and the lazy river looks very relaxing. If I was doing a global tour, this would be my final stop to just slow down and rest at the end of it all.
4. Disneyland Paris
- The home of the first Alice in Wonderland maze attraction (this one dedicated to the original animated version of the film) also has a unique Ratatouille-themed area in its Walt Disney Studios Park. While I’d start with those two attractions, I’d also be interested in seeing their parades and lights and fireworks spectaculars, along with the Paris-exclusive live shows such as Forest of Enchantment and Mickey and the Magician. I also like that their interpretation of Tomorrowland – called Discoveryland – has a steampunk vibe to it, and of course visiting their Phantom Manor attraction (their variation on the Haunted Mansion) and seeing the dragon that lies beneath their castle would be musts, too!
3. Shanghai Disneyland
- The decision for second and third place was very tough for me, but ultimately, I put Shanghai Disneyland – for now – in third place of “want to visit”. The three attractions there that I want to experience, I REALLY want to experience, however, I expect Shanghai Disneyland will continue to grow and expand over the next several years and become a higher priority overall down the road. That said, if I could visit it today, I’d RUN to their version of Pirates of the Caribbean – called Battle for the Sunken Treasure – which from videos and pictures I’ve seen posted online looks like the most sophisticated use of technology in a park attraction ever! After that, I’d run for their TRON attraction – TRON Lightcycle Power Run. I get motion sickness, so I cannot go on rides with drops, spins, flips or screens that simulate such things. However, having watched a ride-through video of this attraction – and being a major TRON fan – I think I’d have to try this at least once. While it looks like there is some good speed and curves, it doesn’t seem like there’s anything that would too badly trigger my vertigo with this one! After that, I’d be off to check out their Alice in Wonderland maze – this one themed to the Tim Burton version of the tale. Beyond that, there’s not too much else calling my name there yet. Although they do have that live Tarzan stage show… and it might be really cool to see The Lion King performed in Mandarin in their downtown area called Disneytown!
2. Hong Kong Disneyland
- In my contemplations and calculations, however, Hong Kong Disneyland beat Shanghai to the second spot on my list – as this resort which not too long ago celebrated its 10th anniversary is a park where I’d like to spend some time just enjoying the ambience of this much smaller, but more established park. Plus, on a practical note, I think it’s easier to get to Hong Kong as a visitor than Shanghai (which may require a visa as well as a passport for traveling purposes). As a fan of Pixar’s UP, I would of course want to stay at the new Disney Explorers Lodge, and go check out the Kevin Garden. But once I headed into the park, I’d aim directly for Mystic Manor – their equivalent of a Haunted Mansion minus the ghosts – to enjoy the trackless attraction amongst the relics of famed explorer, Lord Henry Mystic, and see what his mischievous monkey friend, Albert, is up to! Then I’d go over to look at (but not ride due to my motion sensitivity) the Iron Man Experience. After that, I’d just want to wander around this charming park and appreciate its Anaheim-inspired castle before it is upgraded to its forthcoming newer, larger iteration. I’d like to see some of their other Hong Kong-only attractions such as the Fairy Tale Forest and Grizzly Gulch area. Hong Kong Disneyland may not be as big and fancy as Shanghai, but it holds a definitely appeal for me to visit! I just wish I could have visited there this past “Haunted Halloween” when they had an Alice in Wonderland-themed segment in their “Nightmare Experiment” haunted house activity!
1. Tokyo Disneyland / DisneySea
- But as likely to be expected, my number one choice if I could go anywhere in the world would be to go to Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea. The crown jewel and most exotic of all Disney Parks & Resorts is a place I’d need at least a week to appreciate, although first you’d have to pry me out of the Alice in Wonderland-themed room I’d want to stay in at the Tokyo Disneyland Hotel! I’m afraid that once I went inside, I’d never want to leave! One of several character-themed rooms available at this resort (including Tinker Bell, Beauty and the Beast, and Cinderella), these gorgeous abodes are destinations unto themselves! But if you could convince me to leave the room, my first priorities would be to take in all of the amazing shows and parades that can only be found at Tokyo Disneyland Resort! Frankly, there are simply too many there to mention that I would want to see! Once I had my fill of all of the shows and parades, however, it might be time to get in line (yes, there are long lines for this!) to get some of that legendary flavored popcorn that is offered in their creative popcorn buckets! (See the picture at the top of this feature for an example!) But I’d absolutely have to have my first meal at the Wonderland-themed Queen of Hearts Banquet Hall! Once entertained and fed, my next focus would be shopping as there is simply an insane amount of adorable merchandise available here – with lots of Alice and Cheshire Cat items I’d find irresistible! After I’d completely spent all of my money on merchandise, THEN I’d take the time to enjoy all of the incredible attractions offered – both the familiar and new. Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea both feature some different takes on rides I know – such as the very popular trackless Pooh’s Hunny Hunt and the (non-Twilight Zone) Tower of Terror – the latter of which I’d love to walk through the themed parts of to learn about the story of adventurer Harrison Hightower without actually going on the elevator drop itself! But it’s Tokyo DisneySea’s original attractions that I’m most intrigued by – from the Aquatopia lake ride (a non-water version of which was supposedly adapted to create Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters at Disney California Adventure) to the dual-level Caravan Carousel to Sinbad’s Storybook Voyage boat ride to the Journey to the Center of the Earth thrill ride (which I may not be able to go on but sure want to admire from the outside!). There is SO much to see and do at the Tokyo Disneyland Resort that it is definitely my number one most wanted to visit spot in the whole world!
If you could go to any Disney-themed location in the world, where would you go? And what would you want to do first?