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Author: Canadian Diva

When planning our first trip to Walt Disney World, we wanted to stretch our (Canadian) Dollar as far we could. We were going “loonie” with the high prices since we were near the end of peak summer season (2nd last week of August).

At the time, the cheapest flights out of Toronto Pearson International Airport,was over $500 per person, return trip to and from the Orlando International Airport. Then we came across a great tip that many Canadians have been doing for years… driving to and then flying out of Buffalo. We checked it out. It was $600, for a one way ticket from the Buffalo Niagara International Airport (BNIA) to the Orlando International Airport for…. 3 ADULTS AND 1 CHILD!! And a one way ticket back from Orlando to Buffalo, about $700, again for 3 ADULTS and 1 CHILD. That is almost a 50% savings.

(Note: during off season the airfares are up to 70% less, however during peak season in the USA especially during American holidays, airfares may be higher in price from Buffalo.)

Why does it cost so much less? When flying out of Buffalo to Walt Disney World or Disneyland, it is a DOMESTIC flight, while flying out of any airport in Canada, it’s obviously an International Flight. Bottom line: domestic flights are cheaper. Pearson International Airport is also one of the most expensive airports with extra costs and taxes added. The Buffalo Niagara International Airport is also much smaller and easier to find your way around.

With our savings, we wanted to maximize our trip. As per WDW Diva’s suggests in Step 3 here, get to Walt Disney World very early on your first day! HOW do you do this if you have to commute an almost 2 hour drive to the Canada/US border? With the money we saved, Canadian Diva’s family booked a hotel room in Buffalo close to the Airport and then had the earliest flight out of Buffalo to Orlando the very next day! Most hotels near the BNIA know that more and more Canadians are choosing this route, so they offer specials like parking packages where you park your car while on your trip if you stay for one night (the hotel we stayed at offered $7 per night to park our car while we were at WDW, hotels may offer better prices during the off season).

Hotels also provide a shuttle bus service to the Buffalo Niagara International Airport in time for your early flight. (Canadian Diva’s family was well rested and was at the airport via hotel shuttle bus, which literally took 2 minutes to the airport – choose a hotel close to the BNIA. We caught an early flight and was able to enjoy almost a full day at Walt Disney World)

If your hotel doesn’t offer a parking package or if you don’t want to stay in Buffalo overnight, (for those in Southern Ontario who live closer to the border), the Buffalo Niagara International Airport also offers parking, see here for current rates.

If you fly out of Buffalo (or any domestic flight in the US), you can turn to a Disney Travel Specialist, who can plan your trip, accommodations and itinerary with all your budget and needs in mind. A Disney Travel Specialist, like Diva Planner Megan, of Glass Slipper Concierge , can also shop around for the best prices in domestic airfare for you, along with the best Disney Package for your family (she can also book dining reservations and other perks, as details such as, where to get a Fastpass for rides on your itinerary). All of this is included as long as it is a Disney package at NO extra cost on your part.

Don’t forget your passport because all Canadians, adults and children, need a passport to go to the United States, see here (link) for passport information. When the Canadian Diva family went, we crossed the border at the Lewiston/Queenston bridge, however check the Niagra Falls Bridge Commission for current traffic controls at each bridge and which one is best to cross on the day you travel. (I know you will be excited to go, but do Canadian Diva a favour and make several bathroom stops along the way, before reaching Niagara, and then again in Niagara if you can, especially if you have children. Depending on when you go, you could be waiting a long time at the border)

At the Orlando International Airport
One more great reason to drive to Buffalo and fly out on a domestic flight…

Once you reach the border crossing in Niagara and get cleared by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) , you don’t need to get clearance again at the Orlando International Airport since you are flying domestic. This means, as soon as your plane lands, you’re off to enjoy your vacation and “Let the Memories Begin”. Have a Magical Time!