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Different ways to Disney

February 14, 2019 | 2:51 pm

I wrote these notes in the last couple of months of 2018, and put them up live on Instagram as we traveled. I thought it might be worth compiling them into one blog post, because we constitute asked – what is the best way to get to Disney?

So, with apologies for the erratic nature of the posts, I hope this helps in your research!


Day 1 – DLP by plane!

Over the next few months, as part of Nikki’s birthday celebrations, we will be going to Disneyland Paris at least three times!

One of the interesting aspects of this (amongst many) will be to work out which is the BEST way to get there from where we live in South Yorkshire! Fancy coming along for the ride…?

The two key things to compare will be cost (obviously) and speed! How quickly and cheaply get we get a dose of the Mouse…?!?

Trip one is this weekend and we are flying from Doncaster to Paris, then transferring to DisneyLand Paris (DLP) via TGV (Train Grand Vittesse) – gotta love a TLA – Three Letter Acronym ! ????

The flights were booked just a couple of weeks before we flew and cost £160 return. The train transfer will be £35 return, so the cost of travel for this weekend is £195 each.

If the flights and transfers are on time, we will get to DLP for 1015, however this is very tight! The plane is scheduled to land at 0930 at Paris Charles de Gaulle and the TGV departs (from where on the airport, I’m currently unsure) at 0958 – so that’s a pretty tight connection. We’d never make it if we had to wait for luggage from the hold, but we’ll see how it goes with just hand luggage! Otherwise, the next train is 1120, which gets us to the park about 1135.

Either way, we’ll be in Disney before lunch! Something we’ve never managed before, as we’ve almost always driven.

Reflections on Day 1

Reflecting on our first Adults only weekend at Disneyland Paris and I’m struck by a few things when considering transport.

Flying to DLP from Doncaster is really easy and really quick! We left our house at 5.15am and arrived at the park at 11.40am local time – 5hrs 25 mins of travelling and an extra hour due to the time zone change! Boom – very quick!

Our next experience of transportation was entirely the opposite!!! ???? We left the parks at about 6.30pm and headed towards the station to make our way to Val D’Europe and our AirBnB. The station by the parks is actually located under the entrance area, between the parks and most of the hotels, and is called Marne-La-Vallée station. Train or bus…? Took the wrong option completely. The bus number 34 from Marne-La-Vallée to Val D’Europe is NOT a direct route, going all the way around literally every suburb surrounding the parks, before getting to the station at Val D’Europe. 55 minutes, and stop/start all the way!

We did the return back to the parks the following morning from the same start and end points in less than 10 minutes! Train….! Take the train! Who’s idea was the bus? Mine, to be fair and Nikki won’t let me hear the end of it.

The cost of both choices was the same – €2 per adult each way. You can save a few centimes by buying a return but it won’t get you an extra coffee so don’t worry too much about it! Marne-la-Vallée is also the end of the line which makes it easier when choosing platforms and heading in the correct direction. All trains from Val D’Europe go to Marne- la-Vallée – it’s the next and last stop down the line. When leaving the parks, just make sure you select a train that is stopping at Val D’Europe and isn’t a direct train to Paris or the airport!!! ????

We spent all day in the park on Sunday, from 8.30am when the park opened for Extra Magic Hours (Annual Pass holder benefits ????) until 10.30pm after the fireworks finished! Phew! Before and after this whole period, there are plenty of trains running to and from Val D’Europe so you will never worry about missing an early start or having to leave early to catch the last train!

The same applies for our return to Doncaster on Monday morning. We bought advanced TGV tickets from Marne-la-Vallée to Paris Charles de Gaulle when we landed in Paris on the Friday, so had the tickets already and they cost €19 each. The first TGV from Marne-la-Vallée leaves at 0748 arriving 10 minutes later at the airport. Our flight wasn’t until 1020, so this allowed us over 2 hours to get through security and to the gate, but I was still worried whether this would be enough as I’ve heard horror stories about massive queues and we were going through first thing on Monday morning – primary business flight and commuter time! We’d also checked in online but I’d read that they don’t allow digital Boarding passes at Paris CDG, so we were going to have to find somewhere to print ours!

What was I worried about? The whole process was smooth, seamless and really quick! As we got off the TGV and headed to our terminal (2K), we found a row of Air France check in terminals, all of them ready and none in use! ???? We scanned our passport and printed two boarding cards in less than 5 minutes – Boom! No problems! The walk to the gate going through passport control and security took probably 20 minutes, was really relaxed and quite calm – no Monday morning rush hour panics here!! We were at the gate and queuing for a spot of breakfast by 8.30am, having left our AirBnB apartment at 6.45am – that’s pretty good in my books!

The flight was slightly delayed by the time we’d got Air traffic control clearance but we made the time up in the air and landed on time in Doncaster at 10.50am local time! My son picked us up and we were home by 11.30. Door to door that’s 5hr45 minutes travelling (again taking into account the change in time zones) – almost exactly the same as coming out on Friday!

It will be very interesting to compare this travel time to our next weekend back at DLP in a couple of weeks time, as the next instalment of Nikki’s birthday celebrations will be entirely by train – all the way from Doncaster to the Parks and back!

Just to summarise the cost

The overall cost of travel this weekend was about £218 per person which covered 1 return flight, 1 return TGV and 1 return transfer to our accommodation.

Things I’d do different

Allow more than 25 minutes to get from the plane to the TGV on the way out! We were trying to cut it too tight, although if we’d have TGV tickets ready and printed we would have made the earlier train, and cut an hour off the journey! The challenge there is risking that your flight is on time because the cheap TGV tickets are not transferable if you are delayed! You have to have a printed ticket to board the TGV, and this is not a 2 minute process when running from the plane to the platform. We ended up buying the tickets on our phone, then printing them off on a ticket machine by the SNCF office because the queue to buy from a person was HUGE! Having said that, if we had been delayed we’d still pay the same as we did in the end. It might be worth looking at the cost of advance tickets vs flexible tickets…. Food for thought!


Day 2 – By train

Different ways to Disney Part 2

For those of you who are still interested, this is our second trip to Disneyland Paris and this time we are letting the train take the strain! We left home at the much more civilised hour of 0645 to get the 0717 train from Doncaster. No delays into London and starlight through passport control at 0938 for the 1014 direct to Disneyland Paris!

Cost of tickets – Eurostar £264 + LNER £89 for a total of £353 or £176.50 per person. This is £18.50 each cheaper than the cost of flying!

Whilst it costs less, I’m immediately struck by the fact it feels more civilised! I am a sucker for a train journey so confess a little bias when comparing, but the ‘overheads’ of taking a flight (check-in, security, etc) is all very staccato. Despite the fact we change at Kings Cross to St Pancras station and do some of the overheads at Eurostar departures, the whole process is much easier, and more relaxed! Well, it has been so far as everything has been on time – so far!!! Both the Hull trains service from Doncaster to London KX and Eurostar direct to Disneyland Paris have been half full, which definitely adds to the laid back feeling!

Cheaper and better. Probably.

Faster, well, no…. assuming everything goes to schedule. By plane, we arrived at the Parks before noon, but this train is scheduled to arrive at 1403 local time, so 2.5 hours later. Having said that, we left home over an hour later this morning, so overall from South Yorkshire to Disneyland, your talking about 6 hours by train and 5 hours by plane – roughly!

The civilised nature of the train travel fitted entirely with our excuse for hitting DLP this time – we were heading there for Dapper Day!


Different ways to Disney Part 3

Concluding our series of comparing the ways to get to Disneyland Paris, this morning we are travelling from South Yorkshire by car! When there are SIX of you, this is by far the cheapest way to do it!

The crossing cost £80 each way and two tanks of diesel will get us there and back, so just throw in some motorway tolls and you’re done! £350 about covers it which means it’s less than £60 per person return! FAR cheaper than air or train!

We left our village at 6am this morning and will get to our AirBnB at Serris, just by Disneyland Paris at about 3pm – this isn’t quite as quick as the train or the plane (see my previous posts for those details) but it’s the way we usually go, to keep the costs down!

Posted by Gareth

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