by Military Diva
Gift cards! Gift cards! Stacks and stacks of gift cards.
If you are fortunate to live in a region where retailers offer rewards or discounts on gift card purchases, than you might know what I’m talking about. Many families like ours pay for Disney vacations through the use of Disney gift cards.
Several of our regional retailers offer a fuel savings program while Target offers a 5% discount on purchases made with a Target Debit or Credit card. When talking about a vacation costing thousands of dollars, that 5% savings adds up quickly.
The downside to this method is that our local stores only offer Disney gift cards in $50 denominations. Anyone care to do the math on just how many $50 gift cards it takes to fund a Disney vacation for a family of six? It’s HUGE! Along the lines of two decks of cards HUGE!
Now most of these cards are called in to Disney to pay for our trip in advance. But we always travel with both the cards and the receipts just in case there would be a problem at check-in. That’s the easy part.
We also use gift cards to pay for our meals and souvenirs in the parks. Some days just trying to remember which receipt and which balance matches each card gives me a headache. Recently I have begun to wonder whether the discount is worth the work that goes into using these gift cards.
Thankfully, Disney has recognized the issue and developed their own solution. There are now two options available to consumers to help manage your Disney Gift Cards: Disney gift card manager and the Disney Vacation Account.
Disney Gift Card Manager
The first option is a consolidation of cards through www.disneygiftcard.com. The idea and the limitations are simple…consolidate as many gift cards as you would like into one card, up to $1000. This can be done five times. So essentially you can have $5000 in gift cards consolidated into 5 -$1000 cards. (Tip: you choose one of your current cards as the consolidated card. Disney does not issue a new card.)
No more large stacks of cards to carry. No stacks of receipts folded around each individual card. Thank you Disney!
The following information will help you consolidate your own bundle of Disney Gift Cards.
1.Head over to www.disneygiftcard.com
2.Register for your new account by entering name, email and password. You will then be taken to a verification page.
3. Watch your email for a verification code from disneygiftcard.com.
4. Submit the verification code on the Disney gift card site.
5. On the top tabs click MANAGE, MY CARDS, ADD A CARD.
6. Once added click MANAGE, TRANSFER.
Easily transfer all your balances onto one card (again up to $1000 per one of 5 cards) and use that card as you would any Disney Gift Card. No need to carry anything but the consolidated card(s) and maybe your original receipts.
Disney Vacation Account
The second option for managing your Disney Gift Cards is through the use of a Disney Vacation Account. This savings plan, managed by the Walt Disney Travel Co., is a true budgeting and planning tool with an attached savings account. There are many useful ways to apply this account to your trip, but I would like to focus on the advantages to gift card users. While the idea is a bit more complicated, it is still a great option. And one that offers a bonus. Once your account has been active for 120 days, Disney will reward you with a $20 gift card for every $1000 you have put into savings. (You must request the gift card 4-6 weeks prior to your vacation.)
1. Head to www.disneyvacationaccount.com.
2. SIGN UP
3. Follow prompts to finalize your account. (A one time initial contribution of at least $10 must be made via debit or credit card to establish account.)
Return to the home page to begin adding gift cards.
1. YOUR ACCOUNT
2. MANAGE YOUR ACCOUNT
3. MAKE A ONE TIME CONTRIBUTION
4. Add a gift card with any amount between $10 and $1000.
5. All amounts in your account are now eligible to be applied to your Disney Vacation.
Using your Disney Vacation Account number, payments can be made through the official Disney Website (Select Disney gift card and enter your 16 digit vacation account number) , through the Disney Reservation Call Center (407-939-7734) or through your personal travel agent.
One major point to note is that the Disney Vacation Account can only be used for rooms, tickets and packages through Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, Disneyland in California, Disney Cruise Line, Aulani A Disney Spa & Resort in Ko Olina, Hawaii, and Adventures by Disney. Flights and ground transportation made through Disney are also eligible. But once funds have been added to your account, although fully refundable, they CANNOT be used for in-park or on-ship purchases.
So there you have it! Once again Disney is working hard to provide their guests with helpful ways to manage and pay for their Disney Vacation. Take a look at the options available for your next trip and let me know how they work for your family. You never know, you might just save enough for a second (or third) trip!