From a time when I was younger, my parents would take me to the theaters and let me watch some movies, and some of my most favorite films from way back are from a long-time studio famously known as Disney. The Walt Disney Studios is now home to a lot of movie studios that we adored growing up: Disney, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Pixar Animation Studios, Lucasfilm, Marvel Studios, Searchlight Pictures, and 20th Century Studios and a lot more!
With all these amazing films and stories being produced continuously, of course I also wanted to experience them firsthand and to see the magic happen right before my eyes. Lucky for me, the Walt Disney Company started creating theme parks and entertainment resorts, based on the films that they have released, way back since 1955.
It all started with Walt Disney’s entry into the theme park and travel resort business, the Disneyland Resort located in Anaheim, California. It was a huge success, opening with five themed “lands” that contained eighteen attractions with double the expected guests!
Now, there are six different Disney resorts found in different locations worldwide, with a total of twelve parks. The New York Times has noted that “the sun never sets on a Disney theme park”. They are:
- Disneyland Resort (California) (Disneyland, California Adventure)
- Walt Disney World Resort (Florida) (Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, Epcot, Animal Kingdom)
- Tokyo Disney Resort (Tokyo Disneyland, Tokyo DisneySea)
- Disneyland Paris (Disneyland Paris, Walt Disney Studios Park)
- Hong Kong Disneyland Resort (Hong Kong Disneyland)
- Shanghai Disney Resort (Shanghai Disneyland)
The Disneyland theme parks are filled with the wishes and dreams of every child all over the world but each are unique in their own special way: the design, the attractions, the characters, and the whole experience itself. That is why I recommend travelers and tourists to try and visit as many as possible, so they can experience the magic of each park, to infinity and beyond.
It’s the moment you’ve all been waiting for: here is a list of each of the parks outside U.S.A. that we can enjoy right now, from better to best since every park is amazing in its own way. Well actually, ranking between all these parks is going to be definitely tough. It should go without saying that this list is subjective but you might see below the key differences of each parks. I am also going to give a brief description of each resort while we go through doing all that. Be sure to read through everything so that you don’t miss out. Now come one, come all and let us discover where your “Happiest Place on Earth” is!
Hong Kong Disneyland – Lantau Island, Hong Kong
Firstly, let us start off with the smallest Disney park in the world, the Hong Kong Disneyland theme park, spanning only 68 acres in size and is located in Disney’s fifth resort and its second one in Asia, Hong Kong Disneyland Resort which also includes Inspiration Lake, three hotels with different themes and styles, and several retail, dining and entertainment facilities covering 320 acres of the island. This is owned and operated by Hong Kong International Theme Parks, an incorporated company jointly owned by The Walt Disney Company and the Government of Hong Kong.
Hong Kong Disneyland theme park currently has seven themed lands which includes: Main Street, U.S.A., Fantasyland, Tomorrowland, Toy Story Land, Grizzly Gulch, and Mystic Point. If you are looking for a reason why you would visit this specific theme park out of all the others, the latter two are themed lands which can only be found here at Hong Kong Disneyland. A future resort expansion will soon feature two new exciting themed lands, the chilling Arendelle: The World of Frozen and the marvelous Stark Expo, so you’ll definitely experience a whole lot as you visit Hong Kong Disneyland Resort.
In 2020, out of all the Disney Parks in the world, Hong Kong was the very first to receive a brand new castle, called the Castle of Magical Dreams, which replaced a much smaller castle similar to the Sleeping Beauty Castle in California.
Oh and did I mention that it also has its own commuter rail line connected to a main MTR line from the city centre? The world’s first metro line designed to service a Disney theme park. Existing M-Trains were also retrofitted specifically for this very line including bronze statues of well-known Disney characters, and windows shaped like Mickey Mouse’s head. The design of the station found at Disneyland Resort was made in Victorian architecture, while Sunny Bay was designed to be modern. This contrast was purposely done to make the visitors feel like they are travelling through space and time between the fantasy world of Walt Disney and the rest of the city.
Disneyland Paris-Chessy, France
For the next one, we will be flying all the way into the heart, okay maybe a little bit to the east, of the famous City of Love, Disneyland Paris. Disney’s second international resort complex, and the largest resort outside the United States. This resort features two theme parks, Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios Park, six Disney resort hotels, Nature Resorts, a shopping, dining and entertainment complex, and a golf course. It is the only resort outside the United States fully owned and operated by The Walt Disney Company. It is also the only Disney Resort found in Europe.
Disneyland Park, first of the two parks built at the resort and the second largest Disney park based on the original, currently has five themed lands which includes: Main Street , U.S.A., Frontierland, Adventureland, Fantasyland, Discoveryland. This park is dedicated to fairy tales and Disney original characters.
Walt Disney Studios Park, second of the two theme parks built at the resort, currently is divided into five studio lots: Front Lot, Toon Studio, Worlds of Pixar, Production Courtyard, and Marvel Avengers Campus. The park will be expanded in the near future with two new areas based on Frozen and Star Wars, the expansion will also include a new lake, which will be the focal point for entertainment experiences and will also connect each of the new park areas.
Some of the key attractions found in this resort are the extensive reimaginings of Pirates of the Caribbean and Phantom Manor, the latter of which is France’s unique take on Haunted Mansion. It also has the best Disney castle out of all the parks in the world, a truly enchanting experience. If you are one with people who prefer theme parks that excel or focus on themed spaces, rather than collections of rides and attractions, then Disneyland Paris is the best pick for you!
Tokyo Disney Resort, Urayasu, Japan
Here we are finally, the best of them all (yes even if we include the two original ones), let us take a closer look at Tokyo Disney Resort! The theme park and vacation resort is located in Urayasu, Chiba, Japan, just east of Tokyo. This resort is the only Disney resort not fully owned by the Walt Disney Company, fully owned and operated by The Oriental Land Company under a license from The Walt Disney Company.
Tokyo Disney resort features two parks, Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo Disney Sea, six Disney hotels and Ikspairi, a shopping, dining and entertainment complex
Tokyo Disneyland is the first theme park built at the resort, which opened in 1983. Since it is mostly based on its sister castle parks from the U.S.A., it features the same attractions found in those theme parks, with a few exceptions. This theme park includes: World Bazaar, Adventureland, Westernland, Critter Country, Fantasyland, Toontown, Tomorrowland
Tokyo Disney Sea, the second theme park at Tokyo Disney Resort, is something really special! A theme park that is considered Disney’s best theme park anywhere in the world. This was reinforced in 2002 as Tokyo Disney Sea won a Thea Award from the Themed Entertainment Association for the theme park’s concept, design and construction.
You will feel like you are entering a different country, or even a different world, when visiting Tokyo Disney Sea. That is how amazing the immersion of the themed lands of Disney parks are, and here we have the best examples of these. From the time you walk through Aquasphere Plaza until you leave at the end of the day, you are not in Tokyo, but in those magical worlds that Walt Disney imagined. Tokyo Disney Sea currently has seven themed lands, or “ports of call” as they thematically call it here. The entrance to the park is Mediterranean Harbor, which opens up to six more nautically themed ports: American Waterfront, Lost River Delta, Port Discovery, Mermaid Lagoon, Arabian Coast, and Mysterious Island. A future port of call named Fantasy Springs, which will feature three areas themed to the films of Frozen, Tangled and Peter Pan, is currently under construction, so we can look forward to more amazing attractions here in Tokyo Disney Sea.
For tourists looking to buy some souvenirs to take home or give to friends, there is a shopping complex called Ikspairi. Another shop that you can visit is located right next to the subway station, Bon Voyage, which is the resort’s biggest flagship store, so do not forget to check out these stores before leaving Tokyo Disney Resort.
There we have it, every Disney Resort (outside U.S.A.) detailed and ranked. All subjective of course. So, is visiting a Disney Resort part of your travel bucket list? Which one is your favorite? Are you spending your holiday visiting one? If you want more info about where to spend your well-earned vacations go and check spingenie.ca out to gather more info and get some recommendations. I hope you found your “Happiest Place on Earth”!