Most people when travelling from London to Disneyland Paris tend to use the direct Eurostar service to Marne-la-Vallée station which is situated next to the park. However this train does not run everyday during off-peak times and it does sell out leaving you to find an alternative route to get there.
I visited Disneyland Paris for a few days in December and as I have done many times before, I took the Eurostar to Gare du Nord in the centre of Paris before using the RER train to travel out to the Disneyland Resort. I prefer this way of travelling due to the wider choice of train times as well as on the return journey, being able to avoid the utter chaos that is involved with departing Marne-la-Vallée station by Eurostar. I also prefer clearing UK Immigration at Gare du Nord on the journey back as opposed to the direct train which has to clear immigration at St Pancras – the one time I took the direct train back from Marne-la-Vallée we waited 50 minutes at St Pancras as there was only two officers checking the passports for an entire train.
The journey from Gare du Nord to Marne-la-Vallée is very easy as is the process of buying the tickets for the RER.
After arriving at Gare du Nord, make your way along the platform to the main area of the station where you will see many signs for the RER and the Metro. After taking the escalator down one level (sorry I have no idea if there is an elevator), keep following the signs for the RER and ignore the first ticket machines that you see as there are always long queues for them – the machines further on rarely have any lines.
Near the entrance to the RER platforms are a ticket office as well as many green ticket machines. The machines will only accept coins and credit/debit cards so if you have notes you will need to visit the ticket office which can get very busy. The single adult fare from Gare du Nord to Marne-la-Vallée is €7.30.
Edit (December 2014) The one way adult fare from Gare du Nord to Marne-la-Vallée is now €7.50.
The machines are incredibly easy to use and if you do not speak French then you are able to change to language to English as well as Spanish. After selecting the language you need, to buy tickets you will need to:
Select “To buy tickets, books of tickets, season tickets”
Select “Ile de France tickets”
Use the keypad to start typing Marne-la-Vallée and select the station name when it appears on the screen
Select if you would like to purchase either single or return tickets
Select how many tickets you need
Select whether the tickets are full price or for a child
The final step is payment<
After purchasing your tickets, you will need to take either of these two trains to Châtelet Les Halles:
RER B in the direction of Robinson / Saint-Rémy-lés-Chevreuse
RER D in the direction of Malesherbes / Melun
I would recommend taking the RER B train as the connection at Châtelet Les Halles is much simpler. Once on the platform the television screens display all the stops that the next train will be making – Châtelet Les Halles is the next station after Gare du Nord so every RER train will make this stop.
Once on the train you will see that Châtelet Les Halles is lit up as the next stop.
The transfer to the RER A train at Châtelet Les Halles from the RER B train could not be easier as you simply walk the few steps across to the other side of the platform.
As the RER A train has two different destinations, you will need to check the displays above the platform to ensure that you board the correct train. Once again the display shows the information for the next train to arrive at the station so as long as Marne-la-Vallée is lit up on the display as it is in the photo below, then the next train will be the one you need. The trains run on average one every ten to fifteen minutes.
The journey takes just over half an hour and you do not need to worry about missing your stop as Marne-la-Vallée is at the end of the line.
The buses to the Disney Hotels are right outside the station but if you are staying at the Hotel New York as we were, then it is much quicker to walk as you will probably be there before a bus arrives as it is such a short distance.
When taking the RER back to Gare du Nord, the process is exactly the same. You will need to change once again at Châtelet Les Halles to the RER B train in the direction of Aéroport Charles de Gaulle / Mitry-Claye. Once back at Gare du Nord the Eurostar is clearly signposted.