After more than a year of closed borders, you can once again travel to Disney World from Canada. But getting there isn’t as easy as it seems. Here’s what Canadians need for a successful trip to Walt Disney World.
On July 5, the Canadian government modified travel restrictions for fully vaccinated Canadians looking to travel to and from the US.
Now, fully vaccinated Canadians are able to travel to the US without having to pay for and undergo a mandatory hotel quarantine period. But there are still a number of hurdles to leap over that might stop your travel in its tracks.
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In fact, there are so many hurdles that some folks might even question if a trip south of the border is worth the effort. Not us Disney fans though. We’ll jump through all kinds of hoops if it means a trip to our happy place.
So join me on a little hoop-jumping adventure, as I share my experience of traveling to Disney World as a fully vaccinated Canadian.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED PRE-DEPARTURE
- A negative COVID-19 test result within 72 hours of your departure flight.
- A printed and signed copy of this attestation form.
- Your proof of vaccination (both doses).
To make it into the US from Canada, you can get the PCR or Antigen test. I was able to book mine at a local pharmacy.
You’ll need to print and sign this form, as airport staff will collect the physical form from you before you even go through security.
This form declares that you have received a negative COVID-19 test within the last 72 hours. No one actually asked to see proof of my test, but they certainly can, so be prepared.
The Vaccination Proof
This can be the digital receipt that was emailed to you after each of your vaccinations. Just make sure you bookmark the emails in case you need to show them to anyone. They’ll come in handy upon your arrival back in Canada.
Once through security, you’ll hit the customs officers. This is where they’ll ask you what the purpose of your visit is (going to Disney; is there any other reason to travel?), where you’re going, and how long you’ll be there.
The only documents I needed to present to my customs agent were my boarding pass and passport. They didn’t ask for anything else.
While “non-essential” travel between Canada and the US is discouraged, it isn’t banned altogether. I told my customs agent that I would be visiting family and friends, but I overheard several other travelers say they were going for work.
TO DISNEY WORLD FROM CANADA
I boarded my Air Canada flight to the US without issue. They again at this point did not ask for anything more than my passport and boarding pass.
A mask was required throughout the entire journey through the airport and on my flight, but that was really the only difference I experienced.
PRIOR TO YOUR RETURN
This is where things got a little messy for me. In order to return to Canada, you need a negative PCR COVID-19 test within 72 hours prior to your flight.
A PCR test is not the same as an Antigen test, which is the “quick test” offered at most drug stores and clinics. The PCR test takes longer to return results to you and is more expensive.
I went to an Advent Health clinic near Walt Disney World the night before I was scheduled to return. When I got there, the receptionist said they could not give me a PCR test within the window of time before my next-day flight.
She instead directed me to get a quick-test at MCO a couple of hours before my flight the next morning, where walk-in tests are available.
I showed up to the MCO walk-in clinic 4 hours before my flight. Unfortunately, even though their website does say that walk-in tests are accepted, they did not accept a single walk-in from the time they opened at 7 AM until noon when I finally gave up.
I actually spoke to the people at the very front of the line, who said they had been waiting there since 6 AM. Not a single walk-in got a test while the appointment line moved through.
There were also no appointments available for the next several days, so if you plan to use this MCO walk-in testing site, book your appointment as early as you can.
By noon, it was clear that I would not be getting my test in time to board my flight. Luckily, I found another clinic that would give me a PCR test with same-day results.
Fast Test Now has several Florida clinics, including one very close to Universal Studios, with a multitude of testing options and appointment time slots. I was able to book a test for that same day, paid online to secure my spot, and hopped in an Uber.
The clinic itself is on the second floor, in this off-the-beaten-path building. I ended up arriving 30 minutes early and was given my test immediately.
The same-day PCR test was $250, and they did also have a $300 option that would deliver your results within the hour, if you need it.
I did end up having to rebook my flight to the following day, but this time I showed up to the airport with a negative COVID-19 result in my email inbox and passed through security easily.
I had done online check-in and did not even speak to an Air Canada representative until I was at my boarding gate. However, I did hear from fellow passengers who did not check in online that the agents checking them in asked to see their negative test results.
THE ARRIVECAN APP
The night before my flight, I downloaded the ArriveCan app on my phone and filled out the air travel arrival form.
This form will ask you to upload your passport information, flight information, and images of your vaccination receipts. You can either screenshot your vaccination receipts from your email or take photos of the printed versions.
You’ll also declare that you have had a negative COVID-19 test within the last 72 hours inside the app.
Once the app form is filled out, you’ll receive a confirmation code. Keep this handy as you’ll need to show it to your customs officer upon your arrival in Canada.
BOARDING MY FLIGHT HOME
As I boarded my Air Canada flight home, I was asked to present my passport and boarding pass as per usual, but I was also asked to present my negative COVID-19 test results.
The Air Canada agent was careful to check that it had been done within the last 72 hours and was a PCR test. Make sure you get those two things right, or you’ll be denied boarding!
BACK IN CANADA
After disembarking from the plane, I headed toward customs. This process wasn’t very different from how it usually is, except for the fact that they’ll ask to see your completed ArriveCan confirmation code.
I flashed my ArriveCan app with its code, and the officer waved me on through.
I passed through the luggage claim section and into the exit area, where I was stopped once more to be given a small box by a worker in what was basically a blue hazmat suit.
She told me this would be my at-home COVID-19 arrival test and that it needed to be filled out within 24 hours of my arrival. Instructions were inside.
The next morning, I opened up my COVID-19 test box and was instructed to visit the Switch Health portal. I did it on my phone, but you can use a computer if you prefer.
The portal will put you in line to chat with a live person, who will guide you through how to use the self-testing kit.
Fifteen minutes later, my test was completed and ready to be picked up by Purolator.
Over the next few days, you’ll receive push notifications to your phone from Switch Health asking you to do a symptom check. It’s as easy as clicking two buttons on your phone
And that’s it!
Now go forth and travel to Disney World from Canada once again, my Canadian friends! Adventure awaits.