MEPs Criticise Disneyland Paris Pricing Policy
FAMILIES in Wales are “unfairly” missing out on a Disneyland Paris discount offered through its French website, but not available on its UK site, three MEPs have said.
The cost of a day ticket to visit one of the two linked theme parks east of the French capital is £48 for an adult and £44 for a child if bought through the organisation’s UK English- language website.
However, a single park ticket bought at least five days in advance from Disneyland Paris’ French-language website costs 41 (about £36) for an adult or a child. The same advance offer does not appear in the equivalent drop-down list of tickets on the UK website.
For a family of two adults and two children, day tickets bought through the UK website would cost £184, while buying tickets from the French website would cost 164 (about £142) – or nearly 25% less.
Three of the four MEPs who represent the whole of Wales criticised the price difference.
Labour Euro MEP Derek Vaughan said: “It is very worrying that Welsh and UK families seem to be losing out under this practice.
“Life is expensive enough these days for parents, but to be made to pay extra to take their children to Disneyland Paris just because of where they live is outrageous.”
He added: “I am sure that the European Commission would be interested to hear about this apparent gap in prices, which in my opinion is highly questionable under EU law. It is something that I will be drawing their attention to and asking them to investigate the unfairness of such a scheme.”
Opened nearly 20 years ago, the park is a popular destination with Welsh families, and with those throughout Europe.
Latest figures showed the resort’s Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Studios Park attract more than 15 million visitors a year, making it Europe’s most visited tourist attraction. It also hosts an annual Welsh-themed St David’s Day celebration.
Plaid Cymru MEP Jill Evans said: “This is not the only example of different prices being charged on different websites of the same company.
“It is unfair that some parents pay more than others as a result and I am pleased that questions are being asked. We all live in the single market which was designed to provide a level playing field for consumers as well as businesses.
“Unfortunately the consum- ers are the ones who often lose out. Many families from Wales visit Disneyland to celebrate special occasions and it can be a very expensive trip.
“In these difficult economic times we should make sure they are not paying even more than they should.”
Ukip MEP John Bufton said: “It strikes me as incredibly unfair that tickets to Disneyland Paris are cheaper in France than for families in the UK who would already have to spend extra on travel costs and would pump valuable tourist cash into the French economy during their visit.
“Compare this to the London Olympics, which is costing the UK taxpayer tens of millions of pounds to host, and we see that British access to tickets for London 2012 is limited because of European Union competition law.”
He added: “As per usual it’s one rule for Europe, and a slap in the face for Britain.”
The fourth MEP who represents Wales, the Conservative MEP Kay Swinburne, is recovering following a minor accident and was not available for comment.
Disneyland Paris confirmed that the cheaper offer was not available on the UK website.
A spokesman said: “The two different ticket prices you are looking at are actually for two different offers. The offer on the UK site is a one-day ticket that gives access to a park any day within a one-year period.
“The other (billet Plutôt) is a constrained ticket: internet only and it must be purchased at least five days before your visit. It is valid only between the date you have chosen for your visit and April 5, 2011.”
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