Let’s get down to the nitty gritty of paying for your vacation. I never want to pay full price for anything. It goes against my core belief, or at least that is what I tell myself.
A few wholesale stores will sell gift cards at a reduced price. Sams Club and BJs are two that I have used over the years. You have to pay close attention to how much they are charging for the card and if there are any shipping fees. Deals come and go, so your calculator will be very helpful in figuring out how much of a discount you are receiving. In the past, I have bought 3 packs of $50 gift cards for $143. The $7 saving works out to approximately 5% savings. Imagine buying $3000 in gift cards (which is not difficult to do!). While you are “only” saving 5%, that is still $140. I have seen $500 gift cards with only 3% savings and I have seen them for 6% off. Never trust that your math from your last purchase will hold over for the next purchase.
If you are making a payment on the Disney website, they will only accept payment from one gift card. There are a few ways to get around this. First of all, on the back of every gift card is the website disneygiftcard.com where you can combine smaller cards into $500 maximum cards. You can also maintain a wallet of 5 cards with the ability to watch their balances.
Secondly, calling Disney circumvents the 1 card limit. I have sat on the phone with an unlucky Cast Member, reading number after number, making small chitchat along the way. I believe the most cards I have ever called has been in the 30 range, prior to disneygiftcard.com. Thankfully, Disney customer service is second to none and they never showed how annoyed they were with another of those crazy discount ladies.
In another direction, let’s talk about the Disney Visa card. There are two types of Disney Visa. The first is the Disney Premier Visa card with an annual fee of $49/ year, but it earns rewards at a higher rate of 2% on gas, groceries, restaurants, and most Disney purchases. It earns 1% on everything else. The second, the Disney Visa, has no annual fee, but earns rewards relatively slowly at a rate of 1% on all transactions.
If you have read my post on credit cards, you know that I already have a few cards I love. The Disney Visa does not top that list as a daily use card, so I chose the card with no annual fee for it’s amazing benefits. On a rare occasion, Disney Visa members are allowed early access to special room or package deals, which we have never used. There are two benefits we have started to really use it for, though. The first is for 10% off select restaurants throughout the property. These include, but are in no way limited to, Boma, Whispering Canyon Cafe, and the Wave, of which we have reviews on and really enjoy. Secondly, you can receive 10% off purchases over $50 at many of the stores throughout the WDW property. While this goes against my typical plan of “precalculate all costs and have that on a gift card in advance” philosophy, saving 10% is pretty amazing. I still do precalculate everying, I just have it mentally set aside in a bank account to pay off my balance.
It is important to note that if you are planning on booking your vacation through unconventional means, for example Priceline, you will not be able to pay your vacation off with gift cards. This is where the Visa benefits really come in to play. But that is a topic for another post.
If you would like more help planning your Disney vacation, contact our friend Audra, a travel agent with Travelmation LLC, which is an Authorized Disney Travel Planner. She can help you plan the vacation of your dreams at no cost to you!