Disclosure: We get a commission for links on the blog. You don’t have to use our links, but we’re very grateful when you do. American Express, Barclaycard, Capital One, Chase and US Bank are Million Mile Secrets advertising partners. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or endorsed by our partners. Here’s our Advertiser Disclosure.
Update: One or more card offers in this post are no longer available. Check our Hot Deals for the latest offers.
But many folks still need to save for theme park tickets, souvenirs, meals, and incidentals. And there’s a tool that can help.
You can open a Disney Vacation Account to plan and save money for vacation expenses. It can be a good motivator to put aside cash each month for your trip.
But is it a good idea? Let’s have a look!
What’s the Deal?
Link: Disney Vacation Account
The Disney Vacation Account site will help you plan, budget, and save for your trip.
1. Budget Estimator
You can estimate how much your vacation will cost by factoring in expenses like Disney resort hotels, theme park tickets, airfare, food and drink, and shopping & entertainment.
Once you have an idea how much you need to save, you can set up an account and start contributing.
2. Sign-Up for an Account
Like an online savings account, you can make automatic contributions on a 1-time, weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly basis.
And you can load the account using a debit or credit card. Or using a Disney gift card.
Disney gift cards are a great idea because you can buy them at some office supply stores. And earn 5X points or 5% cash back with cards like:
- AMEX SimplyCash – 5% cash back at US office supply stores
- Chase Ink Bold (no longer available) – 5X Chase Ultimate Rewards points (5% back) at office supply stores
- Chase Ink Cash – 5X Chase Ultimate Rewards points (5% back) at office supply stores
- Chase Ink Plus – 5X Chase Ultimate Rewards points (5% back) at office supply stores
Note: These appear to only come in $50 denominations at Target, so it could take some time to load to your Disney Vacation Account!
And if you buy online, you could 1st go through a shopping portal to earn more cash back, miles, or points.
3. Track Your Progress
You can track your progress online by signing-in to your Disney Vacation Account. Some folks find this useful because it helps them visualize how close they are to meeting their goal.
This could be a good motivator!
4. Use Your Savings for Disney Tickets, Hotels, and More
The funds in your Disney Vacation Account can be applied to vacation bookings (including tickets and hotels) made through Disney only.
So you can NOT to use the money to book discounted Disney tickets through other websites. Or pay for hotels other than Disney on-site resorts.
And for every $1,000 you spend on qualified vacation purchases from your Disney Vacation Account, you’ll receive a $20 Disney gift card.
Note: To receive the Disney Gift Card bonus, your Disney Vacation Account must be open for at least 120 days.
The maximum you can earn is $500 in Disney gift cards.
But the great news is, you can receive a full refund and get your money back at any time!
So if you have to cancel your Disney plans, you can get your money with no penalty. Disney says they’ll try to refund your original form of payment 1st, but if required they’ll issue you a check.
Are There Drawbacks?
Yes. I wouldn’t use the Disney Vacation Account to save money for a Disney vacation, because you will NOT earn interest on the funds!
You will earn a $20 Disney gift card for every $1,000 you spend from the account. So it might be worth it for folks who know they’ll definitely use the money for eligible Disney purchases. Or if you’ll be using the money soon.
But if you won’t go on your Disney vacation for a few years, you might do better opening a regular fee-free savings account. Or putting your money into a short-term investment.
That said, some folks might appreciate the easy vacation savings. Setting up an account with automatic contributions could be good for those who don’t have the discipline to add funds to a savings account regularly.
And if you need your money back, you can get a refund. But Disney prefers to refund your original form of payment (debit, credit, or Disney gift card). However, the terms say they could issue you a check.
Folks who want to save for a Disney vacation can automatically set money aside by setting up a Disney Vacation Account.
You can contribute using a debit, credit, or Disney gift card. And if you’re not able to use the funds, you can get a full refund at any time.
When you spend $1,000 from your account on eligible Disney vacation purchases, you’ll get a $20 Disney gift card.
This could be good for folks who need help budgeting and saving. But for most, it’s not a good idea, because you won’t earn interest on the money.
Remember, there are other ways to save money on your Disney vacation. But my favorite tip is how you can earn 5 hotel nights and 2 flights to Disney World from 2 credit card bonuses.