Whether it’s Walt Disney World Resort or Disneyland Paris, Disneyland Resort or Tokyo Disney Resort, a trip to any of the Disney Parks, regardless of the destination, is a vacation of a lifetime for most.
Unfortunately, in a tragic set of circumstances, one grieving brother was left fighting for a refund from Disney and train travel company, Eurostar, after his sister died from cancer.
For many Disney fans based in the United Kingdom, one way to experience the magic of a Disney Park is to travel the relatively short — at least compared to the transatlantic travel for Walt Disney World or Disneyland Resort — distance to Disneyland Paris. Park visitors can choose to fly to Paris but many opt for the Eurostar service which transports Disney Guests via the Channel Tunnel from England to France. Disneyland Paris will be celebrating its 30th anniversary this year beginning March 6.
Recently, one family was left heartbroken after 26-year-old mother, Sophie Collins, tragically died just weeks before her “bucket list” Disney vacation to Disneyland Paris. The trip to the French theme park destination came after thousands of pounds were donated to help Collins and her family, including two daughters, experience the magic of Disney before she passed away.
Kent Online reports that Collins was diagnosed with cancer while pregnant with her second child. The disease became increasingly aggressive, and the mother of two sadly passed away in January 2022. The report states:
After spending just over £4,000 on the holiday, but realising they couldn’t go after Sophie’s death, brother Matthew contacted Hays Travel in Maidstone, who the holiday was booked with, to try and get a refund from Disney and Eurostar.
The family were refunded just under £3,500 for park tickets and accommodation, but were denied the £700 cost for the train tickets.
While Disney theme park and Eurostar tickets can be purchased separately, in this case, Collins’ family had purchased a package from Disneyland Paris through their chosen travel operator, in this case, Hays Travel. The article continues:
An angered Matthew said: “Disney and Eurostar have enraged me. We booked the package with Disney, and I don’t like being taken advantage of.”
The family was meant to visit Disneyland Paris during the first week of February, however, Collins tragically passed on January 19 with her funeral scheduled for February 2, 2022. Collins’ brother Michael goes on to add:
“We were told we could either move the date or request a refund, but I don’t think we would want to move the date.”
The refund refusal for this aspect of the Disneyland Paris package was eventually resolved by Hays Travel with Michael going on to say how “helpful” they have been.
“The travel agent met Sophie and knew that this holiday would be her last and something she had on her bucket list. She tried her hardest for us to get a refund, but they kept saying no. I’m so grateful for what they’ve done, they went the extra mile from the start to make sure Sophie got the holiday she wanted. This holiday meant the world to my sister and because of the fundraising she was able to get that opportunity to do it without compromising.”
Michael said that he “expected more from Disney”. Furthering his comment by adding: “The money to come back is small change compared to what they make.”
Kent Online managed to reach a spokesperson for Eurostar who “explained a refund wouldn’t be issued by them as the package was purchased through Disney and they hadn’t received any of the money for the transaction yet.” Eurostar extended their reply, clarifying that the tickets were booked by a third party, in this case seemingly via Disney and that the refund has to come from the company directly. They issued their condolences to Michael and Sophie Collins’ family which includes her three-year-old and eight-month-old daughters.
Kent Online reached out to Disney for comment, but the company has not yet responded.
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Disneyland Paris is the home of both Disneyland Park and Walt Disney Park and features a number of popular rides such as Phantom Manor, Big Thunder Mountain, and the Star Tours: The Adventure Continues attraction. Disneyland Park also hosts the Disney Illuminations fireworks spectacular over Sleeping Beauty Castle while this summer will see Avengers Campus open at Walt Disney Studios Park.