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Five bargains and money-saving tips for Canadians going to Walt Disney World

Cinderella’s Castle at the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World. (Candace Lindemann/ Flickr)

If you’re planning a trip to Disney World Orlando in 2017, there are a few bargains to consider. If you have already started doing Disney research you probably know about FastPass+ (free reservations made in advance so guests join the faster line and therefore go on more rides) and Extra Magic Hours (additional park entrance hours in the early morning or at night only for guests staying at select Disney resorts, such as the Swan and Dolphin Resort). Keep reading for five additional ways to save money at the happiest place on earth.

1. Canadian residents save 25 per cent

Until the end of February, Canadian residents will save 25 per cent on 4-day or longer tickets and experience all four Walt Disney World theme parks, and with four theme parks to explore, you will definitely want at least four days to experience the magic of Mickey and friends. These special savings are for multi-day tickets and upgrades to Park Hopper options. This offer is valid for advance purchases only and the tickets are sold as exchange certificates. You need to present a valid Canadian passport or proof of Canadian residency at the main entrance ticket window upon arrival. Your discounted tickets can be used any time you want because they will never expire.

 

Pluto gets some love from visitors at the Garden Grove. (Miriam Porter)

2. Enjoy character dining outside the main park gates
Who doesn’t love eating a meal with Disney friends? But character dining at restaurants inside the park (Ex. Fantasyland’s Royal Table) can be extremely pricey. If you want to save some money and still feast with Disney characters you can dine outside the park but still on resort property at the Garden Grove located inside the Swan Resort. Pluto and Goofy happily visit each table at dinner nightly or for weekend breakfasts.

 

Some inquisitive young travellers (like my son) may ask; “How did Goofy get here so fast since we saw him working at the castle before?” You can rationally explain, “They also get hungry and are here on a break from Magic Kingdom duties to eat and hang out with us”.

A group of visitors to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween party are dressed as the Seven Dwarves. (Melissa Hillier/ Flickr)

3. Bring your own costumes
Dressing up at Disneyworld does not just occur on Halloween. Throughout the year you will see excited children dressed up as their favourite characters. Sure, you can go to Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique inside Cinderella’s Castle for a magical makeover at an enchanted beauty salon. But a Frozen makeover will run you approximately $100. So if you want to save money,  purchase your costumes at home, or even better, make them yourself (Don’t forget glitter). Choose costumes that pack easily and don’t take up a lot of space. Then when October 31st rolls around you will be all set for Halloween.

Due to Disney rules, only guests under the age of 14 are permitted to wear costumes during most times of year. Adults can dress up for special events like Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, or can try their hand at Disney bounding at the Dapper Day events held throughout the year.

Lunch at Chef Mickey’s (Ashley/ Flickr)

4. Have your photo taken for free
Throughout the parks there are kind and patient Disney PhotoPass photographers available to take your photo with characters or at iconic locations, and these are stored on memory cards. Of course they are there to sell professional photos (their photos are truly magnificent) but they are also happy to snap a cell phone image on your own phone if you ask nicely. Even inside the Town Square Theatre where guests meet Mickey Mouse, the Cast Members (staff) will be more than happy to take your photo with your camera in addition to theirs. But hang onto your memory cards in case, as you have 30 days to purchase your professional photos if you change your mind once you get home. Or if you know you want the Memory Maker photos, purchase them in advance ($149.00) and save $20 dollars.

The Kidcot Fun Stop inside the UK pavilion at Epcot. (Sam Howzit/ Flickr)

5. Collect free souvenirs
Disney souvenirs can be pricey so if you are trying to stay within budget plan your souvenirs accordingly. Celebration Buttons are totally free and available inside stores and throughout the parks. Any cast member will personalize a special Disney button for you to mark a major event, such as a birthday, anniversary, or your first visit. Disney Transportation Trading Cards, while a bit harder to come by, are also free and available from cast members. There are 18 cards in total based on various modes of transportation throughout the parks. So if you take the monorail, request the monorail card from the operator, and bus drivers should have the bus cards. You can also collect free park maps for your scrapbook, some rides will give certificates to first-time riders if you ask (think Pirates and Jedis), and cast members give out free Disney stickers. If you visit Epcot there are 11 Kidcot World Showcase craft stations where kiddies can create their own personal souvenirs such as cardboard Duffy Disney Bears they can also get stamped from Epcot countries they visit – it’s the perfect free souvenir to remember a magical day.

For more information on planning your trip to Orlando, you can sign up for a free Vacation Planning Kit and check out their current deals online.