Updated for 2016!
While there are many parents out there that don’t set vacation spending limit for their kids, I fall in the group that does. My children sure do wish I gave them unlimited funds! We asked our Cheapskate Princess Facebook Fans if they put their children on a budget while on a vacation, and although some said they had no budget, many, many of our readers said yes, that their kids definitely had a budget when they traveled to Disney World.
Ashley is an example of the typical budget-using mom, “Last year our kids were five and nine, and we went to Disney for a week. They got $125 each for the entire week. This included money for any souvenirs including ears, shirts, or toys, as well as expensive candies or souvenir cup/drinks. They both budgeted very well!”
But not only did parents say their kids have a budget, they also indicated their children spent money directly from Disney Gift Cards. Our Cheapskate Princess Facebook Fans told us why they suggested children benefit from traveling to Disney using gift cards.
LeeAnn, “My kids get Disney Gift Cards for use on souvenirs. When it’s gone, they’re done. This does not include shirts and ears, which we buy for all of us.”
Sharon, “We bought them each a gift card, when it was gone, it was gone. Even my 6-year-old understood that.”
Kim, “Budget. We give gift cards. When they are spent… That is it.”
Rachel, “We do a budget, usually in the form of a gift card, based on chores and grades. But that goes for mom and dad too – we take a set amount and that is it.”
So what’s so great about Disney Gift Cards? If this information is old news to you, then consider yourself an “expert.”
Gift Card Features
- Disney Gift Cards have no fees and they do not expire.
- They are available online in set amounts from $25 – $500.
- When purchased online, you receive FREE standard shipping.
- Disney Gift Cards can be reloaded at many locations at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, Disneyland Resort in California, and Disney Store locations in the US.
To get the card you want and have it shipped for FREE, well, that seems like a no brainer decision for a Cheapskate Princess.
Gift Card Personalization
- It’s easy to personalize your Disney Gift Card online order.
- After selecting your Disney designed card, you will select the “personalized card carrier” option.
- You will be able to select from several Disney themed carriers and add special messaging.
So what reasons did our Cheapskate Princess Facebook Fans have to use gift cards with their children?
No Begging, and No Means No
Erin, “We always go right around our kid’s birthdays, so we tell all our family and friends to give them Disney Gift Cards for presents. This way we really don’t have to say no. When the cards run out, their shopping stops!”
Julie, “I get all four of us fun Disney shirts before a trip, and then I give both of my daughters $50 each in Disney Gift Cards to spend however they’d like. When it’s gone, then that’s it!”
Sarah, “We purchased Disney gift cards for our kids. They were advised that was their money to spend, but that was all they would have to spend. It worked well for all three kids (13, 10, and 6), and they loved paying for their own items!”
Tammi, “I give them a $100.00 Visa card. They can get what they want, when they want. (9 day trip.)”
Kris, “I bought a Disney Gift Card for each one of my four kids. They felt so important using their own cards and when it was gone, it was gone!”
Chores First, Card Later
Jeff, “We have two girls, and they each get a $50 gift card. They also bring money that they have earned over the year from chores or doing yard work for their grandmother. Once the card is gone, that’s it. Snacks and candy are a plus, as my wife and I like them too.”
Judy, “We bought our daughter a reloadable gift card. Whatever money she earns from her chores goes on it, and that’s her spending money.”
Plan Purchases More Thoughtfully
Tammy, “We give our kids Disney Gift Cards. Then they know how much they have to spend, and it’s their money so they are more thoughtful about what they want to spend it on.”
Brea, “My son (age 10) gets a $100 gift card that he can use however he wants. We encourage him to look around for a day or two before he buys anything big, in case he sees something he likes more. He keeps track of his balance and determines if the purchase is worth it.”
Cathleen, “My kids each get a Disney gift card with a certain amount every trip. They learn how to make wise choices as well as budget their money. I do buy them a shirt every trip, that’s always been our tradition!”
And while Jan doesn’t use a budget, she still has the kids plan purchases out in advance.
Jan, “We started this on our very first trip. Write down what you THINK you want when you see it, include where, how much, etc (now we just take photos with our phone, lol). Then the last day of the trip go through that list and decide what you STILL want, and those are the souvenirs we get. The girls learned quickly that the desire to have something sometimes only lasts until it’s out of sight. This means we spend less, and what we do take home is something that they really want to own. This made a budget not necessary, really, because they were waiting and getting the one or two things that they REALLY wanted. Works with me too!”
Here is the 411 on Disney Gift Cards in general. Some of this information was news to me, and I thought I knew everything about gift carding.
Can a Disney Gift Card be used at the Magic of Disney and Disney’s Earport at the Orlando International Airport?
Yes, gift cards can be used at both locations.
Can I give my Disney Gift Card to someone else?
Yes. Disney Gift Cards can be used by anyone. It is recommended that you keep it in a safe place until you are ready to use it, since anyone who has the card will be able to make purchases with it.
Do you keep the cards when you are finished using them?
Yes. Your Disney Gift Card can be reloaded or kept as a souvenir.
You use Disney Gift Cards just like cash for items at the theme parks, resort hotels, cruises, as well as merchandise at Disney Store, DisneyStore.com, and at DisneyMusicStore.com.
Where can I use my Disney Gift Card?
The Disney Gift Card can be used for purchases at participating locations such as:
- Walt Disney World Resort
- Disneyland Resort
- Disney Store locations within the US
- Disney Cruise Line
- Aulani Resort & Spa in Ko Olina, Hawaiʻi
Where Can You Purchase Disney Gift Cards?
In addition to stores everywhere like Wal-mart, grocery stores, Walgreens, etc., Disney Gift Cards can be purchased at select locations at the Walt Disney World Resort, Disneyland Resort, Disney Store locations in the U.S., and DisneyStore.com. So you don’t have to purchase them on Disney property, but they are available if you decide to purchase one there.
You should allow 10-15 business days for delivery of Disney Gift Cards purchased online.
Can You Reload Disney Gift Cards?
Yes, your Disney Gift Cards can be reloaded for any amount between $5 and $1,000. Just reload them at any Disney location that sells the gift cards.
Online reloads are not currently available.
Does a Disney Gift Card expire?
No, the Disney Gift Card you purchased or received is valid for purchases until all remaining funds have been depleted from the card.
You will not be assessed a service fee for unused balances on your card.
How do you check the balance and transaction history on a Disney Gift Card?
You can check your balance using this link, which is just a web page always available on the Disney gift card website, or call the toll-free number on the back of the gift card.
What items cannot be purchased with a card?
Don’t use gift cards to purchase Disney on Ice and Disney Theatrical tickets, Disney Dollars, or anything outside of the United States.
It’s just a gift card. How can you make that more “Disney” magical?
- You can choose from a number of designs.
- Your card will arrive in a custom enclosure with your personal message, which means you have endless possibilities.
- You can use your own photo. This gift card template features a confetti and balloon covered border perfect for any celebration. You will select the “Buy Now” button and follow the prompts to personalize your card.
What if your Disney Gift Card is lost or stolen?
Call 1-877-650-4327 and report your card has been lost or stolen. Your card will then be “frozen” and the funds remaining on the card (at the time of the call) can be transferred onto a new card.
Please note that you will need an original proof of purchase receipt for the Disney Gift Card to transfer any funds onto a new card.
For more detailed information, use this link.
To shop for cards by character, use this link.
A Word of $Caution$
Because Disney Gift Cards can be used by anyone, you do run the risk of your children losing the cards. But this is probably no bigger risk than kids carrying cash. Many children are not ready for the responsibility of hanging onto their own money, be it in cash or card form, and that’s a decision you may have to help them make. Because if that card is lost, the money could be spent before your child remembers to tell you or even notices it’s gone.
But keeping up with money is a life skill, one that they will need as they grow older, so in small amounts, gift cards can be a great way to transition kids into vacation responsibility.
Thanks for stopping by, and we’ll see you shopping with the kids as they hand over their personalized gift cards!
Now let our vacation planner help you plan your trip, totally for FREE!
Use this link for a free no obligation vacation quote from Erin, our Disney Vacation Planner with Destinations in Florida travel. She offers promotions like Disney Trading Pin sets, autograph books, and free Mickey Mouse ear hats for kids under age 17. We know our readers love free…