An American Mouseketeer In Disneyland Paris

My family and I have celebrated many life events at the domestic Disney parks. What was it like to visit Mickey’s European outpost?

Carl J. Petersen
7 min readNov 30, 2022


In Tokyo, Disney built a replica of the Cinderella Castle found at Walt Disney World in Florida. In Paris, the Imagineers realized that beautiful castles could simply be found down the road, and subsequently the castle in the park needed to be especially different.

- Ryan Simmons

A sign in Alice’s Curious Labyrinth

My frustration level grew as I hit another darkened dead end. Disneyland Paris’ closing time was quickly approaching and I was trying to find the Indiana Jones et le Temple du Péril roller coaster for the last ride of the night before finding a spot to watch the Friday night fireworks show. I know the layout of the original Disneyland like the back of my hand but in Paris this familiarity was proving to be a hindrance as paths that should have brought me to my destination turned out to lead me absolutely nowhere.

In desperation, I reached out for help to a father and son who were also staring at the map on their phone. They were from Spain and did not speak English, but it was easy to ascertain that they were as lost as I was. Together we overcame the poor park design and the language barrier and found our intended destination.

Frontierland from the entrance of Mystic Manor

It was not until Sunday morning that I realized that the problem was not with the Imagineers who had laid out the confusing pathways but with my approach to experiencing their park. In seeking out a ride in Indiana Jones’ temple I was putting the reward in front of the journey. To fully appreciate the park I had to leave adult expectations at the gate and let the kid inside out.

This epiphany came as I explored a network of caves in the Adventure Isle part of the park. This section is a much larger version of Tom Sawyer’s…



Carl J. Petersen

Parent, special education advocate and former LAUSD School Board candidate. Still fighting for the children.