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Dark Rides at Disneyland Paris

Attractions in an amusement park that lead through themed scenes and are located in a closed, mostly dark enviroment are referred to as a dark ride. At Disneyland Paris there are a number of themed rides in the two theme parks, Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios Park.
There are currently nine Dark Rides in Disneyland, seven of which are in Disneyland Park, the other two are in Walt Disney Studios Park.

Each of these rides revolve around its own scenario. In Disneyland, the Dark Rides are usually based on a well-known Disney film such as "Finding Nemo" or "Toy Story".
A special exception is the Dark Ride Pirates of the Caribbean, because the story was exactly the opposite. First there was the themed ride, which opened in 1967 at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim and quickly became a guest favourite. This attraction was gradually built in the other Disney theme parks around the world. In 2003 the film "Pirates of the Caribbean" appeared in the cinema, the beginning of a multi-part film series. In the meantime, work has started on adapting the Audi Animatonic characters of the Dark Ride to the film actors.

The classic ones of the theme rides at Disneyland include the two rides Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Les Voyages de Pinocchio, which are based on the respective Disney cartoon. The Ratatouille and Crush's Coaster themed rides, which are based on the films "Ratatouille" and "Finding Nemo", are far newer and more modern.
There are also some dark rides at Disneyland Paris that have no cinematic background, such as Phantom Manor and It's a Small World.

The ride systems of the attractions are also very different. From boats to gondolas, single wagons and omnimovers to trackless rides, everything is represented, so the driving pleasure is also enriched by these diverse variants.

Disney Dark Rides

the very special thrill for theme park enthusiasts

In theme parks like Disneyland Paris, dark rides are more or less the headliners of the attractions. They combine thrills and fun by embedding a ride into a story. The motto "higher & faster" comes last for rides of this kind. Of course, the guests should be offered a certain amount of driving pleasure, but this is more the result of the interplay of various components, in which loops and other high-thrill elements play a rather subordinate role. The design of the Dark Ride is much more important, the storyline that sweeps you away and puts you as deep as possible into the story that is being told.

Some themed rides now go so far that they no longer only incorporate the scenery and sounds to offer the most intense experience possible, but also use smells and other sensor elements, such as drizzle, drafts, and so on.

Interactive dark rides are also becoming increasingly popular. Here you are not only a passive passenger who drives through the attraction, but you can actively participate. A good example is Buzz Lightyear's Laserblast, where you use a laser blaster to shoot targets to collect as many points as possible.

Typically, dark rides are designed to provide fun and entertainment for all ages. At Disneyland Paris, the themed rides are all family-friendly. In the two rides Pinocchio and Snow White there is one or the other scene that small children are afraid of. It is up to you to assess your child correctly and weigh up whether the attraction is suitable or if you might want to wait a few years.
Also worth mentioning is Crush's Coaster, which already occupies a special position among the themed rides. The first part of the ride is relatively quiet and takes you through a beautiful underwater world, the second part of the roller coaster is really wild and almost completely in the dark. Again, you should consider whether your children can already enjoy this experience or rather wait a little longer.

Buzz Lighyear Laser Blast

Enemy and vehicle scenery in Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast

This interactive dark ride is based on the film "Toy Story". Help Buzz Lightyear save the world from the evil Zurg and shoot with the help of your laserblast gun. Do you have what it takes to be a Space Ranger?

Crush's Coaster

Angel's Cove booth with seagulls in the queue for Crush's Coaster

A spinning coaster in the Toon Studios. Crush is looking for Nemo and takes you into the world of the ocean. But be careful: it is turbulent! The turtle shell turns in the dark and shoots down again and again.

It's a Small World

 It's a Small World final scene in Disneyland Paris

One of the classics of all Disney Parks is the It's a Small World themed ride. This ride takes you on a happy boat trip around the world.
By the way, you might have a song stuck in your head afterwards...

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Les Voyages de Pinocchio

Lampwick turns into a donkey

In the heart of Fantasyland is this Dark Ride, which is based on the Disney film classic "Pinocchio". The beautifully designed train scares mainly small children, but also some older visitors.

Peter Pan's Flight

Peter sails to freedom with Wendy in the Dark Ride Peter Pan's Flight

The movie "Peter Pan" provides the background for this family-friendly themed ride, which has been very popular with young and old guests for many years.

Phantom Manor

Phantom Manor seen from in front of the property

Do you have the courage to explore the abandoned mansion? Caution, it is haunted! 999 ghosts are up to mischief in and around Phantom Manor. So be careful...

Pirates of the Caribbean

Pirate with jug at Pirates of the Caribbean

The attraction to the film? No! The Pirates of the Caribbean themed ride was there long before the "Pirates of the Caribbean" films. Go on a great pirate adventure that inspires many again and again.

Ratatouille - The Adventure

Billboard with Gusteau shaping Mickey ears with pans in the waiting area of Ratatouile - the Adventure

Shrink to the size of a rat and accompany chef Rémy on a culinary adventure trip. Disneyland Paris' newest attraction is fun for the whole family.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Five of the seven dwarfs from Snow White

Who doesn't know the fairy tale of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and the corresponding Disney film? In this dark ride you can experience the popular story up close.

A look at the history of dark rides and themed rides

Incidentally, dark rides were not invented by the modern theme park industry, but have existed since the late 19th century. At that time, the first so-called tunnels of love came into fashion. It is a boat trip in the dark that had either a romantic or a creepy background. Walkthrough attractions were also becoming increasingly popular in the area of themed rides.
In the late 1920s, dark rides were set up with electric cars.

These attractions were primarily used at fare festivals and markets. Over the time, there were also pavilions at the world exhibition that housed a dark ride and generally developed into a favorite of the visitors.
It's a Small World and Pirates of the Caribbean are classics in the selection of themed rides in Disney Parks. Both attractions were created in the 1960s.
The oldest Disney Dark Rides include Peter Pan's Flight and Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, both of which opened in Disneyland Anaheim in 1955.

In the meantime, the technology has come to the point that there are hardly any limits to the Imagineers when developing a themed ride. Whether interactive elements, 3D projections or sensory stimuli - all of this is now possible.