Hundreds of European Parliament members and their staff were in for a surprise during their train journey from Brussels to Strasbourg when their train unexpectedly diverted to Disneyland Paris due to a signaling error. This special monthly charter train is used to transport MEPs between the European Parliament’s locations in Brussels and Strasbourg.
The brief diversion gave them an unexpected view of rollercoasters, prompting one MEP to humorously remark, “We are NOT a Mickey Mouse parliament.” While some made light of the mix-up, others saw it as an opportunity to discuss the practicality of conducting parliamentary business in Belgium rather than traveling to the northeastern French city of Strasbourg.
Pelle Geertsen, a press aide to a Danish MEP, even questioned whether the European Parliament should permanently settle in Brussels, jokingly suggesting that the Strasbourg buildings could be repurposed into a new Disneyland.
Fortunately, the stopover at Disneyland Paris was not long enough for the MEPs and their aides to enjoy the amusement park’s rides, as the delay lasted only 45 minutes. The French railway company SNCF attributed the incident to a track signaling error that caused the train to miss its intended interconnecting line as it approached the greater Paris region. Eventually, the train was corrected and continued on its journey to Strasbourg.