Even in this economic downturn families will take their kids in droves to Disneyland and Walt Disney World in this coming year. I am a fan of Mickey Mouse (Amateur Traveler Episode 25 – Disneyland – why I learned to love the mouse) but I want to propose that there are reasons also to take the kids to Europe when they are still young. To make the point I want to point out 7 ways that Paris France is better than Disneyland.
- Shopping – Downtown Disney vs Galeries Lafayette ParisI am always surprised the amount of time some families spend shopping on their Disney trip, but if you really want incredible shopping Paris offers the well known Champs Elysees, but for my money I think that the Galeries Lafayette is an incomparable shopping experience. The building itself is like a cathedral to commercialism and the shopping is also good.
- Getting Around – Monorail vs MetroThe monorail is a very cool looking method of transportation. The problem is that it does not really go anywhere. The metro may be less futuristic but it is a great way to get around the city in comfort. Just look for the art deco Metro signs.
- FoodThis is one category where there is no competition. Even for kids the hot dog in tomorrow land is no competition for le “hot dog” which is made with a baguette, two hot dogs end to end and grilled cheese. Better yet while your kids are eating that you can be trying the escargot. (You can try the escargot but I will be having the mutton stew or whatever is the prix fixe menu).
- Sleeping Beauty’s Castle vs the Eiffel TowerBoth Paris and Disneyland have a center that people are drawn to and are photographed in front of. Disneyland recently reopened Sleeping Beauty’s castle to tours but frankly most people who visit the park won’t tour it. By contrast 200,000,000 people have visited the Eiffel tower. It was the tallest tower for 41 years after its construction and still captivates the imagination with its design.
Spectacle – Fantasmic vs Saint Chapelle
Disneyland offers the loud crash of fireworks, the colorful spectacle and the magic of storytelling at Fantasmic. Families camp out on the River of America for hours to try and find a spot where they can rest they weary kids and see the show. Paris offers a quieter spectacle that still tells a story, but without all the noise, in the stain glass of its cathedrals. In my opinion the lesser known Saint Chapelle offers even more beauty than the better known Notre Dame.
- Thrill Ride – Roller coasters vs Driving in ParisI love Space Mountain, Indiana Jones and Big Thunder Mountain, but nothing is quite as scary as driving in Paris. The first time we drove into the city it caught us by surprise when all the lines in the road went away. How many lanes should we form? A friend from Paris said the answer is “however many you need”.
- Adventure – Pirates vs PickpocketsAt Disneyland you will be menaced by pirates on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride but no matter how many times you ride the ride you will still come out with all your valuables. These pirates are all talk and no plunder. Paris offers real adventure because you actually need to keep a watch on your valuables. OK… maybe there are 6 reasons why Paris is better than Disneyland.