Disney World Is Changing Forever in January, Now Targeting Canada

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Characters welcoming guests at Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World

Background Image Credit: paxsarah, Flickr

In just under two months, the Walt Disney World theme parks will change forever, ushering in a new era for the prime Disney destination. As the deadline nears, the House of Mouse has their sights firmly set on Canada.

Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse in front of Cinderella Castle at Disney World
Credit: Disney

Found across thousands of acres in Orlando, Central Florida, the Walt Disney World Resort was the second Disney park location not only in the United States of America but worldwide. It was born from Walt Disney’s vision to spread magic across the globe and the success of Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, Southern California, paving the way for decades of magic in the Sunshine State.

Since its opening in 1971 with just Magic Kingdom and a handful of hotels such as Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Disney World has expanded significantly. In 2023, the Disney resort consists of four theme parks — Magic Kingdom Park, EPCOT, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom — and two water parks, Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park and Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park.

A crowd of people on Main Street, U.S.A., watching the flag ceremony in front of Cinderella Castle at Walt Disney World.
Credit: Disney Parks Blog

The Walt Disney theme parks are some of the most visited destinations worldwide for Disney enthusiasts, bringing a century of storytelling into the real world. Magic Kingdom alone welcomes close to 20 million visitors each year, and even if there have been complaints in recent years, the parks in Orlando are still held very dear by many.

Since the pandemic era, Disney World, and by extension the Disney Parks brand, has been under increasing scrutiny for its rising costs, heavy crowds, and difficulty to navigate. The theme park reservation system is a widely contested issue, as is the Disney Genie+ offering at the resort.

Guests walking down Main Street, U.S.A. in Walt Disney World Resort
Credit: Lee (myfrozenlife), Flickr

For a variable cost per guest per day, Disney Genie+ unlocks the Lightning Lane for most attractions. However, when looking at the usage by, let’s say, a family of four, costs for the Disney vacation can quickly skyrocket. Team that with the rise in ticket costs and accommodation and a lot of guests are fearful of being priced out of the Walt Disney World theme parks. And asking families to cough up what may be $100 per day is a hard ask when the previous incarnation of the service, the FastPass+ service, was free.

Of course, guests don’t have to use the Disney Genie+ offering, but they may face long wait times for some of the more popular attractions, which adds to the decreasing value of a vacation to the parks.

A couple of Guests using Disney Genie+ in front of Cinderella Castle at Disney World
Credit: Disney

Related: Disney World Is “Stressful,” Problematic Park Service Deemed “Highway Robbery”

Another point of contention has been the theme park reservation system, with guests expected to book a reservation for one of the four Disney World theme parks in addition to having a valid ticket. But, come January 9, 2024, this divisive system will vanish for most ticketholders from Disney World, changing the resort forever.

And to tie into this removal of the theme park reservation system, Disney World is now targeting Canada with a huge offer. It’s clear that in the last couple of quarters, attendance at Disney World has dropped, and it seems that the leading Disney resort is hoping discounted rates will draw in more guests from far and wide.

Cast Member dressed as Mickey Mouse at a Disney Park
Credit: Disney

“With this offer, Canada residents can buy more days for less — even during Canadian March Breaks. A 5-day base ticket is less than the price of a 4-day Non-discounted base ticket during the offer period,” Travel Week writes. “The offer is valid for ticket start dates as early as Jan. 11, 2024, and until Sept. 28, 2024. This is a date-based ticket that requires visitors to select a start date at purchase. The ticket is valid for admission beginning on the selected start date and must be used within a limited number of days, depending on ticket length and type.”

Disney targeting Canadian residents comes amid an ever-changing political landscape in Florida. Last year, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed the so-called “Don’t Say Gay” bill into law and sparked a political and cultural shift in the Sunshine State between the government and the House of Mouse.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis with the Magic Kingdom Disney World Park in the background.
Credit: Inside The Magic

Related: Former Disney Strategist Reveals Plans to Follow Universal Into Texas, Theme Park Set to Open in 2026

During the back and forth, as DeSantis waged war against Disney World and Chief Executive Officer Bob Iger, multiple other states called for Disney to relocate their massive theme park to new land. From North Carolina to Texas, Disney’s offers were plenty. Of course, no such offers were taken up, and Disney remains a powerful stronghold in Central Florida.

Will you be using this offer for cheaper tickets to the Walt Disney World theme parks? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments down below!

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