Disney plays ambassador to waft snowbirds across border

The spectre of stricter passport control at the Canadian/US border has prompted Disney to don diplomatic duds and educate Canadians about new travel requirements to the US.

Between Jan. 15-22, Disney will march its team of uniformed ambassadors to major public centres across Canada, where they will hand out copies of a booklet entitled Passport to Dreams. Targeting wannabe snowbirds, the booklet provides info on discount deals at Walt Disney World in Florida, along with passport application forms.

‘There’s over two million Canadians who travel to Florida every year,’ says Orlando-based Bruno Jauernig, Disney director of marketing strategy (US & Canada). ‘Disney is a top tourist attraction.’

While Canadians have always had a high percentage of passport ownership, there’s a lot of confusion about a new law which requires everyone to have a valid passport when entering the US by air, says Jauernig. ‘We pride ourselves on our great guest services and we don’t want people to start (their vacations) on a bad note.’

Some of the discounts and offers include major savings on a week-long Walt Disney World dream vacation, special airfares through WestJet and Air Transat, and free ticket upgrades within the parks between the end of April and June.

This is the first time Disney has offered a sweepstakes program in Canada. The lucky grand prize winner will win an all-expenses-paid trip to Walt Disney World.

The sweepstakes program will be promoted through a print and radio campaign until mid-May and offered online at disneyparks.ca. Toronto-based Solutions & Impact designed the passport booklet, and Starcom Mediavest Group Canada is handling the radio, print and online components.