Help and Tips for Canada Trip To Canada's Wonderland, Marineland, and Falls Area.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008 2:38 PM
This is going to be our (my son and I) first trip into Canada in many years since before 9-11 happened. I have been to the Falls in recent years but have not gone to the Canadian side. We do not have passports and was looking for help in what all is needed to cross the border and of course get back into the USA. It is my understanding that passports are not needed yet. I plan on taking birth certificates, my drivers license, my sons school ID and custody papers (Yes I have custody of the boy). Is there anything else I should take?

Any good ideas on hotels close to Canada's Wonderland. I have never been there before but plan on using my CP platinum pass. We plan on one day at Darian Lake, one day at Marineland, and 2 1/2 days at Wonderland and of course some time at the falls.
Can I use my credit card to book a hotel and pay and use in Canada? Does it automatically transfer USA funds to Canadian funds?? I assume it does but want to make sure! I was thinking about a hotel in the Buffalo area, but if I do that I have to cross the border everyday. I think it would be better to stay in Canada.

Any helpful tips and suggestions would be appreciated! Thanks!

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Wednesday, July 30, 2008 3:12 PM
Well, if you're heading to CW, you'd be MUCH closer to Toronto than Buffalo. As for the credit card, I belive most cards do that automatically, but there may be a small fee involved ($1.00-$2.00 per transaction, depending on the card.)

When you cross the boarder, just make sure you have a driver's license (or non-driver ID) and birth certificate (a cerfified copy would work as well if you don't want to take your origional), and a current registration and insurance document for your car.

BTW, when crossing the boarder, just be polite and courtous to the officers on both sides. If they suspect ANYTHING, they will not hesitate to search your car and tear it apart.

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Wednesday, July 30, 2008 3:21 PM
Is there anything else I should take?

It sounds like you have everything. Perhaps a letter from your wife, notorized, giving you permission to travel with your son and take him into Canada is something worth looking into?

Any good ideas on hotels close to Canada's Wonderland.

Can't help ya there. I used Priceline and stayed downtown in a 5-star hotel for $75 a night. Have you checked the park's website for suggestions? I'd think most of the major reputable chains have properties nearby.

Can I use my credit card to book a hotel and pay and use in Canada? Does it automatically transfer USA funds to Canadian funds?

Yes.

Any helpful tips and suggestions would be appreciated! Thanks!

You didn't mention how old your son was but here are some other parks and sites you might consider:

Centreville Park (on Centerville Island, near downtown Toronto. You have to take a ferry there. It's geared towards kids and families...no thrill rides.

Martin's Fantasy Island (Grand Island, NY). Medium sized park with a wooden coaster, crazy mouse, flume, flats. Not far from Niagara Falls. 1/2-Day is sufficient.

Seabreeze (in Rochester NY, about an hour east of Darien Lake). Awesome classic woodie, unique bobsled coaster, Mauer-Sohne spinner and some fun flats. The best park of my recent Toronto-Buffalo trip.

Niagara Falls - the best viewing is from the Canadian side. Try parking at the casino, it's right at the falls. Bring good walking shoes!!!

FYI, 2 1/2 days at Wonderland may be a bit overkill. Other than Behemoth and Vortex there isn't anything worth riding more than once.

Unless you plan on seeing a lot of shows a full day at Marineland may also be overkill. Other than Dragon Mountain, the S&S tower and a few flats there's not much else other than animal shows. Bring good walking shoes...you'll do A TON of walking!

Discounts - try buying tickets online in advance, you'll save some money.

Driving - there was quite a bit of highway construction in Canada between Niagara and Toronto. Plan in advance...have a good map or atlas. A quick google search for "Ontario Highway Traffic Conditions" should get you to a website with construction and live traffic.

Laptop - if you have one, bring it!

Have fun :)

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Wednesday, July 30, 2008 3:21 PM
You're all good on the crossing-the-border.

All you need is your original birth certificate (well, certified copy is considered original), a license, and your son's birth certificate... and even better with the school ID or other info is the merrier to increase your chances of an easy crossing. It all depends on what prick you get. It's all a game to them... give them the right answers, and they let you pass Go... slip up, and you're stuck in immigration in their interrogation room! ;)

You can use your CC to book whatever you want in Canada... but be forewarned... the exchange rate will be affected at the time of the transaction, and usually blows. I booked a hotel in Toronto via CC, and I think I got 99 cents on the dollar when the original exchange rate at the time was 1.03. That makes a difference after several hundred dollars are spent.

You won't be able to kill a whole day @ Marineland... not just because the hours, but because there's only so much to do... you can hit the whole falls district & Marineland in one shot (granted, of course, you plan on visiting the night-life that is Clifton Hill)...

Hotels on the Canadian Falls border CAN be pricey, but the motels & Inns can also be very reasonable (even B&B's)... best to just stay where you're closest to and shop around. There is trashy, but there is classy at cheap prices, too... always internet-search.

Not sure about the Wonderland thing, though... never stayed near there. Only downtown Toronto (which has a lot of selections).

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Wednesday, July 30, 2008 4:12 PM
If it's a nice day, check out the CN Tower in downtown Toronto. At just over 1,800 feet, you can see for MILES!!!!

http://www.cntower.ca/portal/

Here's a link to some other stff in the area:

http://www.torontotourism.com/Summer2008/

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Wednesday, July 30, 2008 4:49 PM
You'll only need one full day at Wonderland unless your doign the waterpark as well.

Save a day and do this and increase your fun and parks

Visit Martins Fantasy Island while your there. You won't need a full day. Id split a day between Martins and Marine Land.

Go out to Rochester and visit Seabreeze. One great traditional park and take a front seat ride in the Jack Rabbit for me :)

When crossing the border you'll find it much more difficult returning to the U.S. They'll try to trip you up. Just answer each question factually no matter how silly it may seem and you'll eventually get the Welcome Home.

Chuck, who got asked where I work and if they knew I was gone??????/ Go figure. I said yeah. Im on vacation :) *** Edited 7/30/2008 8:51:03 PM UTC by Charles Nungester***

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Wednesday, July 30, 2008 5:13 PM
Moosh, did you take the QEW to get to the Falls? I had no construction driving from the CN Tower to the border??

As for the CC, my bank charged 3% on all transactions...however, at a Canadian casino I exchanged all my USD$ for CAD$ free of charge (the exchange at the time was 1-1), and never had to use any cards.

Btw, have you considered the cell phone situation in Canada?? I had my work BlackBerry so I was fine, but for my g/f it was like $0.15 a minute to even have the phone on!! (but she has a BB as well and is always getting data)

If you stay in Buffalo, stay at the Days (Inn) Hotel right across from the airport (literally, you could walk to the airport!), but it's brand new and for that reason super nice for only $30 per night with Priceline!!

Also, in Canada I drove through some express photo toll and allegedly it's like $10 to use and they send you a bill, which I haven't received yet, but I'm guessing I'll have to pay sooner or later.

As for the Canadian hotels, for me it was completely all over the place where I stayed using Priceline, with some places super nice and some kind of dumpy, one place my girlfriend and I left and just sprung for a better hotel and took the $30 Priceline hit.

Honestly, I was kind of disappointed with the Toronto suburbs as I found them kind of dumpy, except for the Ontario Mills exit...while I never stayed downtown, I actually really thought it was nice in the area I was in around Rogers Stadium and the CN Tower, and would try staying there for sure!!

I don't have any other advice except the glass floor in the CN Tower was awesome, gas is more expensive in Canada so avoid filling up there, I never went faster than 120 kph on their highways, and lastly, they have tons of good candy you can't find in the US like Bounty bars, and their Nestle bottled water still comes from Canada while in the US it's local tap, so at Walmart I got about 20 cases and am still sipping such goodness as we speak!! Best of luck.

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Wednesday, July 30, 2008 6:00 PM
I crossed into Canada at Port Erie and took the QEW to our hotel in Hamilton. From Hamilton to Wonderland I took other freeways (403 to 401 to 400). According to the construction webpage I found the QEW had construction from Hamilton to downtown Toronto, all along the waterfront...and it did on my drive south from Centreville Park to Hamilton on my way back to the states.

EDIT - because I'm feeling generous:

http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/traveller/compass/

*** Edited 7/30/2008 10:04:34 PM UTC by Mamoosh***

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Wednesday, July 30, 2008 6:41 PM
"As for the CC, my bank charged 3% on all transactions...however, at a Canadian casino I exchanged all my USD$ for CAD$ free of charge (the exchange at the time was 1-1), and never had to use any cards."

Check with your bank about this one. Lots are charging "conversion fees" which can add up. My Capital One card doesn't but my B of A Visa does. Also B of A has a partnership with ScotiaBank in Canada that allows you to use their ATMs without any fees which is helpful as well.

"Also, in Canada I drove through some express photo toll and allegedly it's like $10 to use and they send you a bill, which I haven't received yet, but I'm guessing I'll have to pay sooner or later."

This is The 407 that connects 404 and 400. It says all will be charged but I've never heard of anyone with US plates actually getting the bill in the mail. A sligtly slower alternative that can have brutal traffic at rush hour is Highway 7. This runs next to 407, has traffic lights throughout, but no charge.

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Wednesday, July 30, 2008 6:49 PM
Thanks for all the helpful tips and advise! IT is funny that a couple of you suggested Seabreeze as I have family living in Rochester and am seeing them on Sunday for a little family reunion for the first day of our trip. My cousin who lives there is taking us there on Sunday when we visit. Monday is Darien Lake, Tuesday is Marineland and the falls, Wednesday - Friday is set aside for Wonderland. We are also driving home Friday. I am not sure about some of the smaller parks as we like the big thrill rides, but might check out martins fantasy island. FYI my son is a know it all, 17 year old teenager! I think we will check out the CN Tower in downtown Toronto. I can't wait to ride Behemoth, and looking forward to riding Superman again at DL as it has been 3 years since we have been there and it is in my top 5 favorite coasters! And yes I know it is called just Ride of Steel now (stupid name) but I will always call it Superman! And yes we are taking the lap top! :)
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Wednesday, July 30, 2008 7:33 PM
FYI my son is a know it all, 17 year old teenager!

You'll want to skip Centreville Amusement Park, lol.

A tip for Wonderland: avoid the temptation to go right to Behemoth at park opening. Instead hit The Fly (mouse), The Crypt (Zamperla flyer), and the Boomerang. Not only are these are all low-capacity coasters but you won't want more than one ride on each.

Behemoth is a cool name but Cedar Fair could have easily called it One-Eyed & Purple...because it's a people eater, lol. The line moves at a very brisk pace and a 30-45 min wait doesn't feel that long at all. If you want a front seat ride opt for queue row #2 (the two outside seats of the front car) as its usually a walk-on.

Have fun ;)

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Wednesday, July 30, 2008 7:56 PM
We stayed at a Residence Inn in Missisauga, ON, which was about 20 minutes from CW. It was very nice and had a lot of very nice amenities. However, the drive to the park is a little confusing - I'd recommend a GPS. :)
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Wednesday, July 30, 2008 8:39 PM
That's where the the international airport is. The drive from there was confusing? It should be a straight shot down the 401 to the 400.
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Wednesday, July 30, 2008 9:29 PM
I will be taking a GPS and will also have mapquest papers on standby incase GPS goes down.
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Wednesday, July 30, 2008 11:21 PM
http://www.montecarloinns.com/vaughansuites.html

A brand new hotel that just opened very close to the park. Of the ones nearby, it's by far the nicest. It's just south of Vaughan Mills mall, and maybe a 5 minute drive to the park.

A few notes for the Americans: With the exception of Hwy 407, which is privately owned and operated as a for-profit business, there are no tolls paid on any highways or bridges. In exchange for this, we pay a higher gas tax that subsizes road building and maintenance. Depending on where you drive and how much, no tolls, but slightly higher gas works out to be a wash. With metric converted, you'd pay 4.61 per gallon of gas in Ontario today (1.22 per litre) with the dollar basically at par.

Have a great time at Wonderland, it's a beautiful park!

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Wednesday, July 30, 2008 11:59 PM
I live in central New York and went up to CW for the Behemoth media day. On the way back, thanks to heavy traffic and some confusing signage, I ended up on the 407. I did receive a bill in the mail about a month later. It cost me about $7.50.

By the way, don't just focus on the coasters at CW, they have a great selection of flat rides as well.

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Thursday, July 31, 2008 3:29 AM
I went to Canada's Wonderland in June and I got the Sheraton Four Points Mississauga Meadowdale for 75$ canadian a night. Really cheap, with a fridge and microwave. I then grabbed the 407 (really close to the hotel) and 400 to the park. It was a 20 miles drive to the park.
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Thursday, July 31, 2008 6:27 AM
Oh, if you check out the CN Tower, if you're a baseball fan, the Rogers Center (new name for the Skydome) is litery right next door, if you want to see a Blue Jays game.

Here's a link to the 'Jays site.

http://toronto.bluejays.mlb.com/index.jsp?c_id=tor

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Thursday, July 31, 2008 10:35 AM
Yes I love baseball, but sad to say I am a lifetime Pirates fan!
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Thursday, July 31, 2008 2:46 PM
get some pizza from PizzaPizza!! They are awesome! I brought like 10 of them back with me. They are really good, it is buy one get one like Little Caesars, but sooo much better!!! HTey are all over Ontario and easy to find.
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