Saving Money on Your Disney Vacation…Using Gift Cards!

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Hey all! Pretty soon, I will be heading to the most magical place in the world and as lifetime Disney lover, I can not wait! They only downside about a Disney vacation?? … The cost!!

As any Disney goer knows, anything Disney is not cheap! I am no gazillionaire so deciding to go on a Disney vacation is a big deal and requires a lot of thought and planning. Saving money on my Disney vacation is a big plus! Over the next few weeks I thought I would share any tips and tricks I have done or are aware of that can save you money on your Disney vacation.

The topic today… Disney Gift Cards!

Disney gift cards can be applied pretty much to anything Disney. You can use them to pay for your room, tickets, souvenirs, food in the park, etc.

Did you know you can save on purchasing Disney Gift Cards?

Some websites offer discounted gift cards like and eBay. Lots of grocery stores sell Disney gift cards as well. These can often be combined with a gas promo from that grocery store. Now, even using all of these ways you are not going to save tons of money. We are only talking on average of about 5-10% savings.

But if you are spending the money regardless why not save a few bucks?! I have never personally bought gift cards from the places listed above however I always like to keep an eye out on eBay for a good deal.

Our topic today is Disney gift cards from Target! All the gift cards I bought from Target and used them towards the balance for my room and tickets totaled $600 worth of gift cards but I only paid $560 for them!

How did I do this? I used my Target debit card! For those who don’t know Target offers a in-store credit card but also offers a debit card as well! Both will save you 5% off every purchase.

I am not for store credit cards but love that they offer a debit card! It is linked to your checking account and takes out just as your debit card would. There are no fees or commitments like there usually are with in-store credit cards. Simply a debit card which works great for me because if I did not have the Target debit card I would just be using my debit card or cash at Target anyway, so I mind as well get 5% back!

This 5% discount also applies to the Disney gift cards sold at Target. Target views them as “entertainment” and not as gift cards. So just by using your Target Debit or Target Credit Card you will save 5%… one $50 gift card will cost you $47.50. Like I said not a huge savings but I am never one to pass up saving even a couple dollars!

Another great thing about Target is that they frequently run promotions that Disney gift cards are included in and result in saving you more money. A few weeks ago Target had a “Black Friday in September” special online. Basically if you spent $75 online you got a $10 gift card for free. This promotion included Disney gift cards! A lot of other people must of known about it because most of the day the cards were sold out. I however was able to buy 2 $50 gift cards (wahooo!).

To break it down: I ordered 2 $50 gift cards. I purchased them with my Target card, received a 5% discount ($5) and free shipping. I paid $95 out of pocket for $100 worth of gift cards, but when I received my cards in the mail a $10 Target gift card was also included which I then used in store towards my next Disney gift card purchase :)… So in effect with this deal it cost $85 for $100 worth of gift cards… which I would consider a nice savings!

This is the only other additional promotion I have so far been able to take advantage of but have seen many other similar deals in the past. Also with the holidays coming up I know there will most likely be more deals in the future.

For example, I know the past 2 years around the holidays Target has offered a printable coupon that gave you a $10 gift card with any $50 purchase in-store. At the times these were offered I had no Disney trip planned but I know for a fact they worked with Disney gift cards. So if this were to be offered again you could buy a $50 Disney gift card for $47.50 using your Target card, then you would receive a $10 gift card as well. Pretty much making it $37.50 for a $50 Disney gift card…pretty sweet!

I highly suggest keeping an eye peeled for Target deals! I have already paid my balance to Disney for my room and tickets, but I still plan on buying more gift cards from Target to bring with us on our trip. I am hoping there will be more promotions I can use but if not at least I will save 5%! Even if you can’t score other promotions 5% is still great. Lets say your Disney vacation cost $3000… even just 5% saves you $150 which in my case almost equals 1 of our round trip plane tickets!

Also I should mention that the Disney gift cards are very simple to use! If they were a hassle it could be argued that the 5% savings would not be worth it but in my opinion it definitely is! It is very simple to apply a gift card to your balance before your trip online and over the phone. Also while at Disney it is also a lot easier to use the gift cards then you would think.

As some of you may or may not know when staying at a Disney hotel you have the option to associate a credit card with your Disney account. During your stay your room key for example can be activated with charging privileges and act as your credit card in parks and everything you purchase on Disney property. All purchases will just be added to your account you set up at check in. Much like staying at a hotel and adding a card for incidentals. Disney will not charge your credit card on file until a day before your trip ends or your balance of charges reaches $500, which ever comes first. People like to do this, us included, because it means less stuff we have to carry around at the parks. No need for tons of cash or our personal debit or credit card, you only need our Key To the World or in our upcoming trips case, Magic Bands to make a purchase.

What some people don’t know is that you can use Disney gift cards to pay down your outstanding balance from purchases during your trip before it charges your credit card! So those that are staying at a Disney hotel, associate a credit card with your account and use Magic Bands for your purchases can just pay down your balance at guest services in your hotel with Disney gift cards. At some point during your trip go down to guest services in your hotel before the last day of your trip or your balance reaches $500 and hand over your gift cards and ask them to apply it to your outstanding balance. That easy! This makes it so there is no need to carry around a bunch of gift cards to the parks with you and worry about which ones have what balance. Just stop by guest services every now and then and they will apply them right there!

For those not staying on Disney property and therefore don’t have a “Disney account” to charge to or those who simply rather not charge to their Disney account and “pay as you go” in the parks, Disney gift cards are still a great option for you! Disney gift cards are accepted at almost every restaurant and store on Disney property. So using them as you go is a great option too!

As you can see, there are ways to purchase Disney gift cards for less then the actual value. Which can add up quickly to saving some money on your Disney Vacation! The gift cards are very easy to use to apply to your balance whether it is before your trip or during it. So far I have saved $40 off my vacation and I plan on purchasing more discounted cards towards my trip! Either way I need to spend the money to pay for the trip, mind as well do it in a way that saves us a few bucks 🙂

Happy Saving!
-Leigh from Life as Leigh


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5 thoughts on “Saving Money on Your Disney Vacation…Using Gift Cards!

  1. I just came from Target…bought (10) $50 cards (thats all they had) used my Redcard, received the 5% off, no tax…stopped at another Target on the way home to buy the rest of what I needed to pay off my hotel (7) $100 and (4) $50, using my Redcard again to receive the 5% off and my purchase was declined on my Redcard. Very embarrasing…the guy behind me says maybe you don’t have enough money to buy those…I politely said yes I do. (in my head I’m thinking you idot I know I have more than enough $$ to pay for them…anyway the manager that came over said he’d go ahead and give me the 5% off since the Redcard was declined…so I used my Chase Disney card to pay for those…not only did I get the 5% off the cards, I earned 1% back on my Disney card! I assume it was declined because of the quantity I was trying to buy at one time…IDK but I’ll be emailing them to complain

  2. I just did it less than a month ago so I could book my trip for September 2015. It worked fine. I hope it continues as I still have $2000 left to pay.

  3. If you fill prescriptions at Target they give you a 5% off a day of shopping after filling 5. You can use this in combination with your red card for a total of 10% your Disney gift cards. We saved $400 this way for a family of 8. We also buy extra to bring on the trip for the kids spending money, paying for food and tips, and everything else.

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