The ‘Disneyland Direct’ services of Channel Tunnel passenger train operator Eurostar have traditionally been something only enjoyed only by those within the M25 or willing to stay overnight in the capital. With the completion of St Pancras International’s stunning refurbishment, the new timetables only made the situation worse for anyone living elsewhere in England, Wales or Scotland, with 9:37am service now departing the new London high-speed terminus even earlier at 8:53am.
St Pancras International [Photo: Swamibu, Flickr]
Meanwhile, Disneylanders wishing to take this more environmentally-friendly route across the English Channel have been gradually overrunning the midday and afternoon indirect services to and from Marne-la-Vallée/Chessy respectively, taking a Brussels train to Lille and changing for a TGV heading South. Businessmen and French holidaymakers have quickly become outnumbered by eager Brits with their bright blue Disneyland shopping bags, whilst all tickets for the morning ‘Disneyland Direct’ train frequently sell out.
It’s time for Disneyland Direct #2, then — a new midday service to finally allow Disney fans from Birmingham, Manchester and beyond to enjoy a direct high-speed service from London. Eurostar made the surprise announcement just a few days ago:
As if by magic … Eurostar introduces extra direct services to Disneyland resort paris for the summer
‘¢ Eurostar direct services to Disneyland Resort Paris grow in popularity
‘¢ 33,000 extra Eurostar seats
‘¢ Departure times and through fares ideal for travellers from UK regions
‘¢ Tickets go on sale on Tuesday 18 March 2008
Eurostar, the high-speed passenger train service linking the UK with mainland Europe, will introduce for the summer extra new services between St Pancras International/Ashford International and Disneyland Resort Paris, starting on Thursday 18 July 2008. These extra trains will provide an additional 33,000 seats to and from the resort and tickets go on sale on 18 March 2008.
The daily direct services to Disneyland Resort Paris have always been popular and the demand has increased further with the opening of St Pancras International and the launch of High Speed 1, the UK’s first 186 mph line, last November.
The extra direct trains will run on Monday, Tuesday, Friday and Saturday from London St Pancras International/Ashford International and on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from Disneyland Resort Paris.
To celebrate the introduction of the extra services Eurostar is hosting a Disney extravaganza at its Bluewater store over the Easter weekend. The Disney jazz band will be on hand to entertain shoppers and there will be competitions and giveaways for children.
Eurostar’s Director of Communications, Simon Montague, commented: ‘These extra services will make it even easier for families and friends to visit Europe’s leading tourist attraction during the summer holidays. The midday departure times are ideal for travellers living in towns and cities beyond London, who can buy through fares and use domestic rail to St Pancras International, King’s Cross and Euston to connect with Eurostar high-speed trains’.
The timetable will be as follows:
St Pancras Intl [ 12h49 ] >> Ashford Intl [ 13h24 ] >> Marne-la-Vallée [ 16h17 ]
Marne-la-Vallée [ 14h40 ] >> Ashford Intl [ 15h36 ] >> St Pancras Intl [ 16h11 ] **
(**Return times may differ on certain dates, check when booking)
Disneyland Resort Paris is 2 hours and a half away from London and two hours from Ashford International. The station Marne la Vallée Chessy is only a few steps away from the gates of the two theme parks Disneyland and Walt Disney Studios.
Fares on the direct services start from Â£59 return and children under the age of 4 travel for free. Tickets are available from Eurostar.com or 08705 186 186.
St Pancras International [Photo: ADevlin Photography, Flickr]
When the ‘Disneyland Direct’ train was first introduced, it ran only on selected days during high season, before eventually becoming a reagular, daily, year-round service just a couple of years ago.
These new services on certain days over the Summer 2008 season will, we can hope, prove popular enough for them to also become a regular fixture, allowing more people to take an easier and more environmentally-friendly route to the magic.