If you’re planning a trip to Disneyland, it will often be quicker and easier to travel by train than to fly or drive. We look at the benefits of getting the train, as well as offering some tips about how to make the most out of your journey and your time at the park.
Travelling by train to Disneyland Paris? We’ve done the groundwork so you don’t have to
Where do the trains depart?
There is one direct service most days in each direction to Marne-la-Vallée, a two-minute walk from Disneyland, Paris. Direct trains do not run on Tuesdays or Saturdays except in school holidays. The train departs from London St. Pancras, calling at Ashford International and Ebbsfleet International, and the journey time’s less than three hours from London, or just over two hours from Ashford. There are also several indirect trains to the park each day, where you would need to change at Lille. Another alternative, especially if you’d like to combine your Disneyland trip with a visit to Paris, is to take one of the many daily Eurostar services to Gare du Nord and take the 45-minute RER service to Marne-la-Vallée.
What are the advantages of getting the train?
Getting the train instead of flying means a shorter check-in time (just 30 minutes) and fewer luggage restrictions (each person can take two bags or suitcases and a piece of hand baggage – much more than you are likely to need for a short stay). If you book early enough you can request to sit around a table as a family rather than ‘airline style’. Your kids can get up and walk about more easily than on a plane, as well as having more room to play with their toys while seated. Food and drink is available – in Standard Premier class it will even be served at your seat. If you’re staying in a Disney hotel, you will usually be able to use the Disney Express service at the station, which will take your luggage directly to your hotel – allowing you to head straight to the park and spend more time on the rides.
How can I book tickets?
Tickets can be booked via Eurostar’s website or by calling 03432 186 186. You can simply book tickets and arrange your own hotel, or book an entire package to include accommodation (this can also be done via other tour operators). Train tickets go on sale around nine months in advance, and you’re likely to find a better deal pricewise the sooner you can book. Kids under four years old travel free of charge, and children aged 12 years old or over pay adult prices.
What should I take for the journey?
It doesn’t take long to reach Disneyland, so really you don’t need much at all. For parents, the usual travel items to keep children occupied will work well – colouring books, portable games, tablets with movies loaded onto them, among others, are advisable. While food and drink will be available from the on-board buffet, if you’re keen on something more homemade, then packed lunches and snacks will keep hunger pangs at bay – for all.
Minnie and Mickey Mouse pictured in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland Paris
What should I pack for our stay?
Bear in mind that the weather in northern France is changeable, so keep an eye on the forecast and prepare for all eventualities. Let’s face it, your kids are likely to want to try out the water rides, so it can be a good idea to take a change of clothes in a backpack, as sometimes you’ll be soaked through. Remember that there’s quite a lot of walking involved so make sure everyone has comfortable, well worn-in shoes. You may find that younger children, even those who no longer normally use a buggy, might get very tired before the end of the day and it can be worth considering taking a buggy with you, or they can be hired near the entrance to the park.
Any tips for getting the most from our stay?
Disneyland Paris is an exciting experience for anyone but it can also be very tiring for small children. Be realistic and try not to cram too much in. It can be worth looking at the website in advance (your kids will be excited about the trip and want to do this anyway) and planning which are your ‘must-do’ rides. Take advantage of the excellent, free Fastpass system which lets you visit a ride and take a timed entry ticket, allowing you to come back later and jump the main ride queue. If you are staying in a Disney hotel, you’ll get to enter the park an hour earlier. The parades are fantastic and well worth seeing – but queues are also shorter during parades so if you’re staying more than one day, it’s a good idea to keep this in mind.