Eurostar to axe direct Disneyland Paris trains, partly blaming Brexit

Exclusive: ‘This appears to be another example of the fallout from leaving the EU for travelling Brits’ – Julia Lo Bue-Said, CEO, Advantage Travel Partnership

Simon Calder
Travel Correspondent
Tuesday 30 August 2022 09:36 BST
London to Paris by Eurostar train

The latest travel casualty of Brexit is the direct “Disneyland Express” from the UK to the Magic Kingdom, east of Paris.

For the past 26 years – with a brief interruption for Covid – Eurostar has been running high-speed trains from London to Disneyland Paris.

The service is extremely popular with British families. It takes less than two-and-a-half hours from St Pancras International to Marne-la-Vallée, the station outside Disneyland Paris.

But the Channel Tunnel train operator will abandon the route from 6 June 2023. Eurostar blames difficult economic circumstances plus the logistical implications of Brexit and said it was concentrating on the core cities it serves in France, Belgium and the Netherlands.

In 2023 more complex rules are due to come in for visitors to the European Union. The new Entry Exit System (EES) involves a new database for registering travellers from outside the EU and Schengen area as they arrive and depart.

The UK government negotiated for British passport holders to become subject to EES after leaving the EU.

A Eurostar spokesperson said: “Whilst we continue to recover financially from the pandemic and monitor developments in the proposed EU Entry Exit System, we need to focus on our core routes.”

Julia Lo Bue-Said, chief executive of the Advantage Travel Partnership, said: “This is such disappointing news. I have used the service many times over the years with my own children, as have many millions of British families.

“However, this appears to be another example of the fallout from Brexit for travelling Brits, and possibly the pandemic, but I remain hopeful that given the UK is a key source market to Disneyland Paris some pragmatic thinking and practical solutions will prevail.”

Ben Bradshaw, the former Labour cabinet minister who is a member of the Transport Select Committee, said: “The enormous costs and inconveniences of the Tories’ Brexit deal are clearer by the day.

“Yet both of the contenders for prime minister are in complete denial, thrashing around blaming foreigners rather than facing the reality of the deal they voted for.”

A government spokesperson said: “The Entry and Exit System will help to protect and strengthen the security of our borders by registering the entry, exit and any refused entries of third-country citizens crossing into Europe.

“We are working closely with port authorities, operators and the French government to make sure passengers are prepared and do not experience unnecessary delays at the border due to new entry and exit system checks being introduced next year.”

Last week, Eurostar blamed the same factors – the post-Covid economic environment and additional post-Brexit checks – for its decision not to serve either of its stations in Kent until 2025 at the earliest.

Passengers from London will be able to travel by rail to Disneyland Paris with a change of train at Lille. The Eurostar spokesperson said: “We will revisit options for 2024 during the course of the next year. “

Other theme parks easily accessible by rail from London include Chessington World of Adventures (34 minutes) and Blackpool Pleasure Beach (3 hours 5 minutes).

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