Eurostar with autistic 5 year old?

(11 Posts)
NoMoreParades Sun 01-May-16 22:25:05

Has anyone had experience of taking their Special needs child on Eurostar? Thinking about Paris before xmas but the whole thing just fills me with dread! Flying I can handle, is Eurostar much the same?

wizzywig Sun 01-May-16 22:28:39

How odd. We were thinking the same thing with our 5yr old asd son. There is free wifi but i think we will either fly or not bother. 2.5 hours can feel a very long time

IsItMeOr Sun 01-May-16 22:29:22

We're the opposite to you - we braved Eurostar before we could face a plane grin.

We took a tablet loaded with films and headphones for DS, and he was fine. I think he would have been just 6 when we went.

The only thing I would say is to check that you are seated together when making your booking. It never occurred to me that we wouldn't be together. We had seats all spread out on the way back, which was eventually resolved by train staff, but stressful until that point.

Any tips for our first plane flight at the end of the month? smile

Toffeelatteplease Sun 01-May-16 22:41:09

Yep very much the same. Easier in some respects more challenging in others.

The special assistance isnt really as developed. We've done gatwick and special assistance has been slick and automatic, all designed to get you through the airport as quickly as possible. But if you do find yourself in need (train was delayed in DLP and there was a crowd)and you insist you can get help.

That said in many ways the whole process is already simpler. Your pinch points are getting through security (do it early) and getting on the train (I've found going towards the end of the pack works quite well).

Do think about your luggage and how much you need and who is maneuvering it. Having a suitcase on four wheels that can stand up on its own (if suddenly abandoned in favour of an extra pair of hands) is worth its weight in gold. Being realistic about the number of adult support you might need to keep you hands free is quite important also.

Toffeelatteplease Sun 01-May-16 22:42:13

Oh yes always book through Eurostar to be able to pick your seats!!

ScreamingNotWaving Sun 01-May-16 22:46:59

Phone the contact centre, explain your concerns, they will make sure you're seated together, near the logos, cafe etc. It's a much better experience for the whole family than flying.

ScreamingNotWaving Sun 01-May-16 22:47:30

*loos

IsItMeOr Sun 01-May-16 22:55:00

We liked that we were able to drive to the station and park right outside.

NoMoreParades Sun 01-May-16 23:02:47

All really useful thank you, I don't know why I'm so fearful of it in comparison to flying. The wifi on board is a major plus, never thought of that!
Isitme, just the same advice you've given me tbh, but make sure the tablet has a flight mode and absolutely book special assistance! Good luck.

Dungandbother Mon 02-May-16 08:41:19

There isn't wifi on board.
Only one or two of the new trains have wifi and not the whole rolling stock.

If it helps....
Every day there is a Disney train. It goes from London, stops at Ebbsfleet and Ashford to the park direct.

It's full of children. All noisy and running about and excited.
That may help or it may be a total trigger.
If you stay in a Disney hotel, then your case is loaded by staff and taken to your hotel. Really helpful but delays you a little especially on the return to queue to get it back at the station.

Security (to board and clear in France) on the Disney train was awful. Took about an hour, long wait and lots of noise.

Oh and the station toilet has a guard dog like woman insisting you pay to use them. All in loud French of course. She'd upset you whilst you're dealing with DS. Have loads of Euro change at the ready!

Other trains go to Paris central, you would change and use the metro to get to the station to commuter train you out to Disney.
Longer, and very different. But quieter trains. More likely to be a wifi train. Business and Paris tourists. Far less children. Easier quiet security.

Can you board at Ashford or Ebbsfleet (regardless of train)?
Parking is a bit steep but the getting through security bit is a total breeze and so quiet. Really easy and stress free. Still make sure your seats are pre booked and together.
They have lots of tables of fours. And then pairs of twos in rows.

I think your pinch points would be getting in and out the station at Disney / St P and perhaps the buses in and out of the resort hotels.

IsItMeOr Mon 02-May-16 09:04:35

Are you going to Disneyland, or Paris proper?

If it's Disney, we threw money at the problem, and booked the Disneyland Hotel - easy to carry your own luggage from the train to the hotel (avoiding the return queue that Dung mentions) and you're at the entrance to the park, so less distance to cover if you need to make a swift exit to your hotel room.

We didn't cope with the eating side very well. DS found it very stressful, as there are a lot of buffet restaurants. We thought that having lots of choice he could see would help - it didn't! Best for us was Planet Hollywood where he could choose what he wanted and got exactly what he was expecting.

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