Let’s start this article with a fun fact that many of you may not know – I’m Canadian!
After years of travelling to and from Orlando, the tips and tricks that I’ve learned has made me into a fun guy to plan vacations with. In fact, for a number of years, I actually worked as a travel agent up here in Toronto, specializing in a number of areas. I’m a graduate of the College of Disney Knowledge, Commadore Status with Princess and Cunard Cruise lines and someone who absolutely loves travelling!
Since leaving my role as a travel agent and starting this website, my goal has gone from the object of “selling” travel and into the idea of sharing experiences and making sure that you get the most memorable vacation possible.
Here are a few Insider Tips that I’ve learned from travelling to Orlando from Canada
THINGS THAT CANADIANS AREN’T ELIGIBLE FOR FROM A DISNEY VACATION
- Magical Express Luggage Pickup
- MagicBand Home Delivery
- Access to the ShopDisney app from home
- Disney Subscription Services don’t deliver to Canada
- Haunted Mansion Box
- Pin Subscription Boxes
- Free Shipping from DisneyStore.com
THINGS THAT YOU MAY NOT KNOW UNTIL YOU GET TO ORLANDO
- You can get Starbucks while paying with your Starbucks Canada App, with the exchange rate updated daily
- Ridesharing (like Uber and Lyft) are significantly cheaper in Orlando than in Canada. You’re able to go online and do a fare estimate from anywhere in the world, so check it out.
- You won’t find a Tim Hortons anywhere! Why? Because ‘Merica runs on Dunkin’ Donuts
SHOULD YOU GET A RENTAL CAR?
We’ve never got a rental car in the years of travelling down there, but that’s because we’re either staying on-property or we’re at the Disney Springs Resorts and able to be within walking distance, bus transportation, or a short uber ride to our destinations.
This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t get a rental car, but with the exchange rate AND the going cost of parking at Disney & Universal…sometimes a shuttle or personal uber is more cost efficient and less stressful (remember you’re on vacation!)
The other thing to remember, is that Disney has introduced the Minnie Van service recently. It’s not 100% rolled-out, but if you’re staying at a resort that accessible for the service, you may want to look at that as an option.
HOW DO WE GET TO THE AIRPORT?
In Toronto, we usually take an Uber to the airport and public transportation (GO Bus or TTC) back to the city.
This is because we’re typically on the 8am flight down to Florida and the 9pm flight back to Toronto…so things like the UP Express aren’t running at those hours.
When I was living in Vancouver, the airport is connected via the Canada Line…so bonus there!
If you register for Magical Express before your trip (and you should if you’re staying on property because it’s FREE), you’ll receive an envelope with your luggage tags & itinerary in advance. Ignore EVERYTHING about pre-checking your baggage because it doesn’t apply to Canada.
Once you’ve landed, you’ll go to the luggage carousel to pick up your baggage. This requires you going from the arrivals terminal to the main terminal (via monorail) and then following the signs. Remember to check out the Disney & Universal Stores at MCO during the time you’re waiting for your bags!
To catch the Magical Express, you’ll need to follow your itinerary to check in with the Cast Members and they’ll assign you to a line which corresponds with your resort. Depending on the time that you arrive…you may be waiting a while!
The other thing with Magical Express is that you’re travelling Internationally, which will add more time on your departure trip to the Orlando International Airport.
Let’s be frank, Americans can use their dollars when they visit Canada…but if you try to use Canadian currency ANYWHERE in the USA….they’ll laugh at you. It’s honestly a response that I’ve gotten before (more than once).
We recommend taking a USD budget down with you in order to cover the basics of Tips and small purchases. If you set up a credit card (or Visa Debit) on your MyDisneyExperience account, you’ll be able to take advantage of things like Mobile Ordering and purchasing using your MagicBand.
Shop around when you’re buying US Currency in Canada, as you’ll be able to take advantage of different rates if you’re planning ahead and not forced to wait until the last minute.
CANADIAN PAVILION AT EPCOT
So this is my favourite part of the trip, because nothing makes you feel at home more than the sights of flannel and smell of poutine. The pavilion has a few hidden gems that you should take note of:
- O Canada is a 360 circle vision movie starring Martin Short and will make you wonder (often out loud) if this is what Americans actually think Canada’s like. No joke…you’ll actually shake your head and verbalize (at one point or another) that you don’t live in Igloos!
- The Northwest Mercantaile is home to various products that you really don’t notice unless you spend your time in random tourist traps. Seriously, when’s the last time you saw “Bear Breath Soap” in your local store?
- Le Ceillier is the Signature restaurant in EPCOT, with a feature on Steak and a variety of wines and good eats. Remember, you can’t pay in Canadian dollars, so do the exchange in your head before you make a reservation.
Say hi to the Canadian cast members, as they are ACTUALLY from Canada! It’s a program called the Disney International Program or Cultural Representative Program.
Hope that you enjoyed this article! If you need additional help, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me through our Facebook Page