We travelled to Disneyland Paris from Ebbsfleet International Train Station in Kent, via Eurostar. And even though we were going on an indirect service I will always say this is the best way to get there (regardless of your starting station); driving is stressful and relies on ferries, or getting the shuttle – why sit in a car, on a train, and then have to drive again afterwards? Air travel means having to deal with airport security and they are just mental and packed and ugh! Not to mention baggage reclaim etc. But Eurostar, the security seems a lot less stressful, I am not sure what it is exactly, but the atmosphere is just so much less tense and pressured – like it actually has an air of customer service about it (if that makes any sense).
Well anyhow, we arrived to Ebbsfleet super early, knowing that we wanted breakfast in departures. We had booked Premier Parking – it’s literally next to the station and for the sake of £10-20 extra, the ease of being able to just get out of the car and into the station and vice versa is more than worth it. We went to the ticket office to collect the tickets (we didn’t have e-tickets, or delivered tickets as we had booked directly through Walt Disney Holidays). Tickets printed very quickly and within minutes we found ourselves, not only through the check in gates, but at security, which although less stressed was still done efficiently.
So there we were, in departures, which is actually in part of the building suspended over the tracks with floor to ceiling windows meaning, for keen train enthusiasts, a view of the standard domestic and high speed services passing through, and by. The lounge itself was clean and airy, and has a good range of seating (although, I know from personal experience that at peak times it can get mighty cramped in there). And there’s a small newsagent stand and cafe to get the little bits you may need whilst waiting, or on the train.
The toilets were ok, but felt there could be more, even whilst we were there (at an off peak time) there was queuing and they could do with updating, though clean they just felt a bit grubby (but I couldn’t explain why).
There was a little section of toys in some boxes, a few books and a bead table which had been rather cutely named “Petite Place” and so that gave the children something to be interested in.
The arrivals and deartures are clearly signed and there are station announcements, ahead of time, to get you on to the platform ready for your swift embarking (you only have a couple of minutes). There are staff about helping and directing at all times during this transition to make it as smooth as poosible.
Then we were on the Eurostar – dedicated seats – so there’s no rush when getting on board to get a good spot… you are where you are allocated and that’s that. The train itself was clean and comfortable, and the buffet cart postion was announced over the tannoy. Announcements were clear and in advance, and in both English and French.
As previously mentioned, the train we had taken was indirect – our change was at Lille Europe. The station is quite small so the transfer is easy. You literally go up to the main concourse, check which platform your train departs from… then down on your platform is a train map, so you can see which letter you should stand at in order to be at the correct carriage, for your allocated seating. Again this all ran smoothly for us.
Once you get into Marne La Vallee, you are at Disney. So if you have booked the Disney Express Service – drop off your bags, pick up your stuff and away you go. If not, head to your hotel, leave your luggage, check in (which may only be picking up your tickets until the room is ready) and away you go.
The only issue we had was a massive delay on the TGV side coming back from Disney to Lille. This meant we would not only miss our check in time, but actually be late for the departure – it was a busy departure, and the last train back to Ebbsfleet from Lille. Knowing that it was a busy connection, Eurostar did the “correct” thing and delayed our train in order to ensure we could all connect – much to the bemusement of the passengers on board – but hey, having been in their situation I know I am only too happy to sit for a little while longer knowing people aren’t being left stranded.
All in all, thumbs up, definitely the way to travel for me.