Discovery Arcade

Walkway to the future past.

A more industrial walkway, Discovery Arcade is dedicated to the great inventors and visionaries of the early twentieth century, lined with startling artworks and surprising inventions...

The arcade can be reached via entrances at either end or by Main Street Marketplace on Market Street. Disney Clothiers Ltd., Market House Deli, Cable Car Bake Shop, Harrington's and Victoria's Home-Style Restaurant link directly onto the walkway, which is also the home of The Coffee Grinder and The Ice Cream Company.

Discovery Arcade

Through the heavy wooden doors on Town Square or the open walkway from Plaza Gardens, you step into Discovery Arcade and a time of great ideas and great inventions. The boom of the turn-of-the-century gave those of the time a feeling that anything "can, and will" be achieved by man. Discovery Arcade pays homage to these great minds, from their ingenious yet humble patents to their wildest dreams of futuristic cities.

As you stroll along the warm, gas-lit arcade of wooden features and striking green ironwork, large, startling posters depict cities 100 years into the future, whilst in contrast, display cases house inventions and ideas from the most local, small-town turn-of-the-century visionaries.

The central area of Discovery Arcade is a break from the style of the two walkways either side. Here the optimistic warmth turns to a more industrial brickwork style and the faintly gothic features show Main Street's youthful optimism growing up and moving on, to the dramatic worlds of Discoveryland which lie beyond...

  • Don't miss this!

Covered walkway behind boutiques on West Main Street, with Statue of Liberty tableau and exhibition.

  • Opening Date

    12th April 1992

  • Attraction Type

    Covered arcade

  • Duration

    Around 10 minutes to explore

  • Suitablility
    • Children 3-7
    • Children 8-12
    • Young Adults
    • Adults
    • Seniors


  • The models of inventions in the Discovery Arcade display cases are all authentic patent applications from between 1790 and 1880. To be granted a patent in America between 1790 and 1880, were required to submit a working model of their invention to the U.S. Patent office. Models were usually limited to no larger than 12 square inches and were accompanied with paperwork and diagrams explaining the invention's purpose, construction and operation. More than 200,000 models were submitted during this time. However, fires at the patent office in 1863 and 1877 destroyed tens of thousands of these, and eventually the agency ran out of space with Congress ordering the remaining patent models be sold in 1925. American millionaire Cliff Peterson bought close to 40,000 of the models and much of their paperwork, his collection then being sold to enthusiast Alan Rothschild in the early 1990s, when it numbered 4,000 pieces. Today, examples from Rothschild's collection can be seen only in two places — the Trademark Office in Alexandria, Virginia and here at Discovery Arcade in Disneyland Paris, where fifty-two authentic proposals are on display.
  • The metalwork supports lining the arcade are decorated with silhouettes of Leonardo da Vinci's Vitruvian Man, the famous drawing depicting the ideal proportions of man.
  • The much-celebrated posters depicting cities of the future at the turn of the next century which line the walls of Discovery Arcade infact date back no earlier than the late 1980s! They were all designed, drawn and painted exclusively for the park by Jim Michaelson, Maureen Johnston and R. Ziscis in the style of 19th Century French artist Albert Robida.
  • Discovery Arcade is completely unique to Disneyland Park in Paris — never designed or built for any Disney park before or after. Following the decision to build two arcades on either side of Main Street rather than a roof over the entire area, the Imagineers, led by Main Street show producer Eddie Sotto, set about finding themes for the two walkways. Though Liberty Arcade took inspiration from the late 1950s plan for a Liberty Street extension to Main Street in California, it was again only by chance that this second arcade would finally bring a second unrealised idea to life — Edison Square. Edison Square was planned as a new cul-de-sac "land" between Main Street, U.S.A. and Tomorrowland in the original Californian park, a place where guests could experience the buzz and excitement the boom in inventions spread across America after the introduction of patents and intellectual property rights. Though the land never became a reality, the Euro Disney project had the perfect opportunity to resurrect the idea, with Discoveryland was replacing Tomorrowland as a land based more on inventions and futuristic ideas of the past. The arcade could then serving as a neat segue to this futuristic past.
  • Like many of the invetions and patents on display in Discovery Arcade itself, some of the ideas for the arcade never become a reality, either. The most mythical is without doubt the Elevated Electric Railway. This unique means of transporation would have spanned the length of the arcade, at an elevated level, running from a station where the Main Street Transportation building now sits to near Plaza Gardens Restaurant, and possibly into Discoveryland. The idea was part of a wider project to transform the classic turn-of-the-century Main Street, U.S.A. into a street set in the "more exciting" 1920s era, with electric lighting, commercialisation, motor cars, jazz music and gangsters. Budgets were eventually scaled back on the overhead railway and the 1920s theme thrown out when Walt Disney Company management decided it was not as welcoming and homely, taking particular concern with the gangster element. As Main Street, U.S.A. moved back in time to its turn-of-the-century roots, the eletric trolleycar was, ironically, replaced by its predecessor — the Horse-Drawn Streetcars, now even housed in the Transportation building on the exact spot of the proposed electric railway terminus.
  • Another unrealised idea from Eddie Sotto involved an Automata Exhibition in the arcade, allowing guests to play with antique mechanical toys in a set-up similar to Disneyland's original Penny Arcade. It is likely this would have sat near the middle of the arcade, in symmetry with the Statue of Liberty Tableau in Liberty Arcade.
  • A new display was added to the arcade in 2009, featuring a comparison between Gustave Eiffel and George Washington Gale Ferris Jr, featuring a scale model of the original Ferris Wheel from the 1893 Chicago World's Columbian Exhibition.

Turn-of-the-century New York inspired the patterns of Main Street's 580,000 bricks


  • The beauty of Main Street's two arcades shines brighter than ever at night. No, not because they're lavishly detailed, but because they both provide a wonderful "escape route" after big events such as fireworks. Rather than ambling along with the sluggish crowds down Main Street, you can rush out through the arcades and reach the park exit in record time.


  • Fully accessible.