Seeing Disneyland Paris under a white blanket of snow might have been awfully pretty, but analysts are expecting the tumultuous weather conditions experienced in this corner of Europe over the past three months to have a negative effect on revenues for Euro Disney SCA, the resort’s operating company, which announces its First Quarter results tomorrow. The heavy snow and icy conditions across northern France will have likely deterred some short-notice visitors from making the trip, whilst others may have had to cancel longer-planned reservations, during one of the key seasons for Disneyland Paris.
Despite this, revenues are still apparently expected to improve from the disappointing results for the First Quarter of the 2010 financial year, which saw revenues for the three months drop by 10.5%. It became the first set of negative results in a bad year, with revenues dropping overall by 7%. Tomorrow’s results will cover the period from 1st October to 31st December 2010.
From 5th January 2010, the direct morning service from London St Pancras International and Ashford International will no longer run on Tuesdays or Saturdays except during school holidays, industry journal Travel Weekly has reported.
Eurostar blames the impending cut-back on the need to cut costs due to the recession.
“It’s a reflection of the prevailing economic conditions and particularly a reflection of demand from the UK,” said Eurostar spokeswoman Lesley Retallack. “The exchange rate doesn’t help, and families are having to look at their budgets. Eurostar has to ensure it uses its capacity efficiently and if it can make savings it will. This is very much about being sensible and practising good housekeeping.”
Eurostar added that the services could be reinstated if demand increased again. According to the report, a spokesperson for Disneyland Paris declined to comment on the basis that the cut-backs were decided by Eurostar. Nevertheless, senior vice-president sales and distribution Norbert Stiekema said: “It is due to lack of demand from the UK market, which prefers to use the Friday service.”
The demand may not be there currently, but hopefully Eurostar will be ready to react as soon as the market changes. With the continuing Euro/Sterling currency problems, there are enough barriers already for guests looking to book from the UK. Other (later) trains are of course available, with a change at Lille, but this swift 2 hour 30 minute service has become a key selling point for the European resort.
Eurostar, which acts only as a “customer” to the Eurotunnel tracks and tunnels, has this morning released an official statement regarding services this weekend, for the first time mentioning the daily direct service to Disneyland Resort Paris:
EUROSTAR PRESS STATEMENT – RESTRICTED SERVICES ON SATURDAY 13 SEPTEMBER AND SUNDAY 14 SEPTEMBER
Eurostar is operating a restricted, temporary timetable through the Channel Tunnel, using the single tunnel that is unaffected by fire. Travellers should check in as normal for the train times given on their tickets, and we will seek to carry them on the first available train.
However, travellers should expect significant delays before boarding their trains, and crowded departure lounges. Journey times will also be longer than normal.
Tomorrow (Sun 14 September) Eurostar expects to run up to 10 trains each way on London-Paris, up to five trains each way on London-Brussels, and the daily service each way between London and Disneyland Resort Paris. Trains will also call at Ashford International, Ebbsfleet International, Lille and Calais.
Travellers holding tickets for travel between 13 and 16 September who have non-essential journeys are able to exchange their tickets for a later date, or get a full refund.
There will be continuing alterations to the timetable, as Eurostar adjusts its services to manage high levels of demand and the reduced tunnel capacity. In the meantime, Eurostar thanks travellers for their continuing patience and understanding.
The morning (~8.53am) outbound service to Disneyland Resort Paris and the evening (~19.37pm) return service to London will therefore resume from tomorrow, Sunday 14th September 2008. In total, only two outbound trains and three return trains to the resort have been cancelled as a result of the serious fire in the South Running Tunnel.
The daily service from London to Marne-la-Vallée is one of Eurostar’s most popular trains. Over Summer 2008, the rail operator trialled a new, later departure and earlier return service to allow visitors from beyond the London region to use the daily route.
It was at 14:55 BST today that the alarm was raised as a Eurotunnel shuttle service travelling between Coquelles near Calais, France and Folkestone in Kent, England was forced to make an emergency stop inside the 50.5 kilometre tunnel due to a fire on-board, 11 kilometres from the French opening.
It is believed the fire, which took hold on a lorry carrying the chemical “phenol”, began when a brake on the truck overheated, causing a tire to explode. In total, is it reported that 32 were on board the train and all were led to safety through one of the many access points into the middle “Service” tunnel. Of those involved, 14 are being treated in hospital for injuries including smoke inhalation.
The fire has closed the tunnel completely in both directions, cancelling countless Eurostar passenger services and Eurotunnel motor vehicle shuttles. Though the fire is now contained, the latest reports state that it is still burning, having spread to other lorries on the shuttle. The tunnel’s freight services use large drive-on wagons, open on all sides but covered by a large metal roof cage to prevent trucks from tipping. Drivers ride in a separate passenger carriage at the front of the train.
The Channel Tunnel is actually three separate tunnels, two Running Tunnels with high speed rail lines, and a third, smaller Service Tunnel between them which has two in-built guide rails for the tunnel’s custom built firefighting, medical and security vehicles to reach the scene of any incident quickly. In today’s incident, it is reported that 70 firefighters from both sides of the Channel helped to tackle the blaze.
So, with vehicle shuttle services closed and Eurostar services between London, Paris, Brussels – and Disneyland Resort Paris – cancelled, one of North West Europe’s most vital transportation links has been brought to a standstill. News reports state thousands are stranded at stations on both sides of the channel. Whilst Eurostar passengers will have to wait it out or travel to airports to complete their journeys, Eurotunnel travellers are being given vouchers and directions for the Dover-Calais ferry.
Motorists are warned, however, that tailbacks of lorries and other vehicles outside each terminal are causing severe disruption to traffic, especially on the M20 in the UK.
Tonight’s 18.27 Eurostar service from Marne-la-Vallée/Chessy (the station at the gates of Disneyland) to Ashford International, Ebbsfleet International and London St Pancras International was cancelled, and the same service will also not be running tomorrow evening.
In addition, tomorrow morning’s direct train to the resort from London will be cancelled along with all trains between London and Lille, now a popular destination for Disney travellers to change to TGV services, allowing for more convenient departure times than the once-daily direct services.
It is currently unknown when the Channel Tunnel will be ready to open for regular service. If you’re due to use Eurostar or Eurotunnel to visit Disneyland Resort Paris from the UK, we advise you keep up with the latest news via Sky News, BBC News and the official Eurostar website.
— News details sourced via Sky News and BBC News. Neither Eurostar or Disneyland Resort Paris have yet mentioned or made a statement about the effect of the train cancellations on passengers using Marne-la-Vallée/Chessy station.
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.
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’.
(**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.
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.
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