To be honest, this is not only my biggest, but the ONLY mistake that has the potential to haunt me for the rest of my life.
I share it with you, so hopefully you don’t end up like me, waking up in the middle of the night, drenched in sweat, yelling “NOOOOOOOO!” Ok, it’s not that bad. But it still gives me shivers when I think about it.
When you stay in a Walt Disney World Resort, your room key card is your Key to the World. Meaning, it’s also conveniently your park tickets, your dining plan, and a room charge card.
Yes, that’s right, you can charge all of that shiny Disney merchandise & food directly to your room. No longer do you have to carry your wallet to the parks, you can charge it to your room and have your purchases delivered back to your resort at the end of the day. So easy! Too easy.
The first time I took a trip to Disney World without my family, I was overly excited. I was calling all the shots. I could do whatever I wanted, eat where ever I wanted, buy whatever I wanted. There was no one to tell me ‘No!’ Using that Key to the World card blew my budget right out of the water faster than the Pirates of the Caribbean ride.
By the end of my week-long visit, I had managed to rack up a three-thousand dollar bill, presented to me with a smile at check-out. Yes, my friends, $3000.
Now, I am not telling you not to use that card! Like I mentioned before, it’s very convienent. However, please keep these nuggets of thought in mind:
1. Resorts now have an automatic spending limit on your room account. You have to settle this amount before you can charge again. For example, deluxe resorts have a limit of $1,500.
2. You can set your own limit on your room account by contacting the front desk. You can pay your room charges in cash or by credit card at any time. You can also have the front desk create an account for you based on the cash you give them up front, and use your Key to the World card like a debit card.
3. Your account balance is available to you at any time at the front desk. If you have a habit of random shopping like me, check this balance every day!
4. Anyone who has a room key card can make charges unless you tell the front desk otherwise! If you have a tight grip on your budget, or don’t quite trust your 13-year old, make sure yours is the only key that will take room charges.
5. If you want to use a gift card on your room account balance, do it the night before you check-out at the front desk. Many of the room accounts are settled the night before so check-out goes quickly. If you wait until the last minute, your credit card will probably already be charged.
Keep these savvy tips in mind so that you & your budget will get along great on your next Disney vacation!