5 Iconic Disney Parks Attractions That Are Very Different Than The Versions At Disneyland Or Disney World

Mystic Manor at night
(Image credit: Hong Kong Disneyland)

Disneyland and Walt Disney World are two of the most popular vacation destinations in the world, and if you’re a fan of theme parks based in the U.S. then you’ve almost certainly been to both places at one time or another. However, even if you’ve visited Disneyland and/or Disney World many times, you’ve only been to less than half of the Disney theme parks in the world.

Between Disneyland Paris, the Tokyo Disney Resort, and the Disneyland parks in Hong Kong and Shanghai, there are six more parks, and while each of them has attractions that are, more or less, carbon copies of what you’ll find stateside, there are also unique attractions, that might have a name you recognize, but are otherwise completely unique. And if we’re being honest, they're also better than the versions we have in California and Florida.

Mystic Manor at Hong Kong DIsneyland

(Image credit: Hong Kong DIsneyland)

Mystic Manor – Hong Kong Disneyland

Most Disney movies and characters easily cross cultural boundaries, so Disney Park's attractions can easily do the same, but sometimes it takes some modifications to make an idea work in a new place. There is no Haunted Mansion attraction at the parks in China or Hong Kong because cultural sensitivities regarding spirits are very different, but that opened the door to a unique version of the ride at Disneyland in Hong King

Mystic Manor introduces a pair of original characters. Lord Henry Mystic is a member of the Disney Parks’ Society of Explorers and Adventurers and a collector of mysterious objects. His pet monkey, Albert, opens an enchanted music box (with music courtesy of Danny Elfman), and it brings the manor house to life. Unlike the traditional Haunted Mansion, Mystic Manor uses a trackless system, allowing ride vehicles to move more freely through the space.

Star Wars: Hyperspace Mountain

(Image credit: Disneyland Paris)

Star Wars Hyperspace Mountain – Disneyland Paris 

Regular visitors to Disneyland will likely be familiar with Hyperspace Mountain. Every now and then, often in conjunction with a major Star Wars movie release, Space Mountain will get an overlay where projections of X-Wings and TIE fighters are added to the ride and John Williams’ classic score is added to onboard audio.

While the story of the Disneyland Paris version of Star Wars: Hyperspace Mountain is essentially the same, everything else is quite different. Paris Space Mountain started life as the Jules Verne-inspired Space Mountain: From the Earth to The Moon, and was a very different ride. The Paris version of the attraction uses a magnetic launch and is the only version of Space Mountain in the world that has inversions, making this the most thrilling Space Mountain there is.  

Phantom Manor at Disneyland Paris

(Image credit: Disneyland Paris)

Phantom Manor – Disneyland Paris 

The Haunted Mansion is one of the most popular attractions at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World, there's a reason they're taking a second shot at a Haunted Mansion movie. While the attraction is largely the same at both places on the inside, the exterior of each is different because they are located in very different places: New Orleans Square at Disneyland and Liberty Square at Magic Kingdom.

Disneyland Paris’ version of the Haunted Mansion is different inside and out. First, because the American “Old West” is popular in Europe, Phantom Manor is located in a version of Frontierland much bigger than what you'll find in the US parks. The Western theme continues throughout the attraction as it tells the story of a prospector and railway tycoon who haunts his former residence while trying to prevent his daughter from marrying and leaving home.  

Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle for the Sunken Treasure at Shanghai Disneyland

(Image credit: Shanghai Disney Resort)

Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle for the Sunken Treasure – Shanghai Disneyland 

Pirates of the Caribbean is one of the all-time classic Disney attractions. It not only spawned a successful movie franchise, but it brought things full circle when both the Disneyland and Magic Kingdom versions of the ride added Jack Sparrow and other elements from the films into the ride itself. But ultimately Pirates of the Caribbean is a showcase for what were, in the 1960s, cutting-edge audio-animatronics. 

The version of Pirates of the Caribbean found at Shanghai Disney Resort is something almost entirely divorced from the original attraction, though its technology is no less cutting edge. The ride is based specifically on the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, telling an original story that includes Jack Sparrow and Davy Jones as key characters. It also uses remarkable computer-generated effects, making it, in the eyes of many, the most impressive attraction at any Disney park in the world.

Tower of Terror at Tokyo DisneySea

(Image credit: Tokyo DIsney Resort)

Tower of Terror - Tokyo DisneySea

The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror is still one of the most popular attractions at Disney's Hollywood Studios, and while the version at Disney California Adventure has since been rethemed into a Guardians of the Galaxy ride, there is still a second version of the ride at Disneyland Paris. The version at Tokyo DisneySea, however, was never themed after The Twilight Zone because it turns out that the Japanese have never been big Rod Serling fans.

So instead, the Tower of Terror found at Tokyo Disney Resort is based on an original story with an original character. The tower is the property of Harrison Hightower III, and it’s where he keeps the various cultural antiquities he procures through occasionally questionable methods. However, Hightower disappears from an elevator in his own tower after obtaining the Shiriki Utundu idol from a recent African expedition. When guests get in the same elevator, things happen.

Few Disney Parks attractions are truly identical to each other, but most of the rides and shows with the same name are close enough. But sometimes changes need to be made. Whether it's the advent of new technology or the fact that an old story doesn't translate into another language, circumstances cause us to need attractions that are inspired by what we know, but become something very new and different.

Most of us probably won't be able to travel the world to every Disney Park across the globe in order to experience every version of these rides, but if you happen to find yourself overseas, be sure to check them out. Just because you know the name doesn't mean you've had the experience before.

Dirk Libbey
Content Producer/Theme Park Beat

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian, Dirk began writing for CinemaBlend as a freelancer in 2015 before joining the site full-time in 2018. He has previously held positions as a Staff Writer and Games Editor, but has more recently transformed his true passion into his job as the head of the site's Theme Park section. He has previously done freelance work for various gaming and technology sites. Prior to starting his second career as a writer he worked for 12 years in sales for various companies within the consumer electronics industry. He has a degree in political science from the University of California, Davis.  Is an armchair Imagineer, Epcot Stan, Future Club 33 Member.