Thursday, April 6, 2017

Ways We Saved for Our 2017 Walt Disney World Vacation

Walt Disney World is my family's favorite vacation destination.  We try to get there on a regular basis, which for us has been about once every year and a half.  As Walt Disney World prices have increased over the years and our family has grown we've had to be meticulous when it comes to saving for our trips.  On our most recent trip in February we were able to use several methods that helped us save hundreds of dollars for our vacation.  I'm going to share some of our favorite ways with you in this post.

First, if you have over 120 days until your Disney vacation I highly recommend opening a Disney Vacation Savings Account.  You can open the savings account with as little as $10 and do not have to make regular contributions to the account if you don't want to.  You are able to add Disney gift cards to your Disney Vacation account. With every $1000 you spend on a Disney vacation using your vacation savings you can request a $20 bonus Disney gift card.  So if you use your account to pay $5000 on your Disney vacation you can request a bonus of a $100 Disney gift card.

Next if you don't have a Disney Visa card from Chase I highly recommend you sign up for the card.  They often have offers for new card members to earn a FREE $200 Disney gift card when you use your credit card to make $500 in purchases within the first 3 months the account is open.  I did this offer for our trip in 2015 and received the $200 gift card.  For our February 2017 trip I was able to refer my husband to get his own Disney credit card and he received the $200 Disney gift card that we were able to use toward our trip by depositing in our vacation savings account.  Plus you will earn 1% rewards on most purchases that can be used on your Disney vacation.  You can also use your card to pay for your Disney vacation.  Qualifying trips will be eligible for a six month no payment and no interest option.  If you are interested in getting a Disney Visa card with the $200 bonus gift card offer contact me and I would be happy to send you an invitation.

One of our biggest savings this trip came from our local Hy-Vee grocery store. They weren't selling Disney gift cards in 2015 for our trip, but sometime within the following year they started selling them at our local stores.  Hy-Vee offers fuel saving rewards with every gift card purchase.  When we bought our gift cards we earned 5 cents off per gallon for every $25 gift card.  So for every $500 in Disney gift cards we bought we earned $1.00 off per gallon of gas up to 20 gallons.  This saved us $20 for every $500 worth of gift cards.  If you spend $5000 on gift cards that is another $200 saved on your future purchase of gas.

Since we were able to buy Disney gift cards at our local grocery store we were also able to earn credit card rewards on those purchases.  For groceries my favorite credit card is the American Express Blue Cash card.  Once you have used your card for $6000 in purchases in a calendar year you will earn 5% cash back on gas, drug stores and grocery stores.  Before the $6000 amount you'll earn 1%.  We bought most of our gift cards during the 5% cash back time period so another $50 was rewarded with every $1000 in Disney gift cards bought.  If you buy $5000 in Disney gift cards that is another $250 to use toward your trip.  Obviously if you aren't able to pay your credit card balance in full I would not recommend this as the rewards you would earn would not offset the interest you would pay.

If your grocery store doesn't offer fuel saving rewards you do have other ways to save when buying Disney gift cards.  You can buy them using your Target Red Card and save 5% on them directly that way.  If you are a Sam's Club member (we are not) you can purchase $150 worth of gift cards for $144.98.

I also earned FREE gift cards for our trip using Swagbucks.  Swagbucks allows you to redeem your points or swagbucks earned for gift cards.  You can use those gift cards earned to places like Best Buy and Walmart to buy Disney gift cards for your trip.

Now that Starbucks is in all of the Disney parks I also collect Starbucks gift cards before traveling.  My favorite site to reward myself with Starbucks gift cards is Kellogg's Family Rewards.  I also love it when Groupon offers discount Starbucks gift card deals.

Finally, I also save my Disney Movie Rewards points until I have enough to cash out for Disney gift cards.  I usually get $5 gift cards which are too low in denomination for the Disney Savings Account but can still be used on your trip either when in the parks or at your hotel to pay for your charges.

I hope that this post is helpful to you if you are planning your Disney vacation or dreaming of one.  If you have questions I would be happy to answer them as best as I can.  I know that I'm not using every method available for saving for my Disney trips so if you have a favorite way to save for Disney I would love to hear it.  Leave me a comment and let me know.

Have you entered the $500 Disney Gift Card Giveaway? Get a jump start on your Disney vacation savings if you win! The giveaway ends tomorrow, April 7th!


  1. I always buy my gift cards at a local grocery store for gas savings, it's great! THe Disney credit card and savings account is a great tip!

  2. I have never been to Walt Disney world before!

  3. I only recently learned that you can use gift cards to pay for your hotel. I have a Target Red Card and I have a Sam's Club membership, so I will be taking advantage of the savings to buy some gift cards.

  4. Looks like you had an amazing time! :)


  5. Great ideas. I use a lot of them too. Little rewards really do add up to big savings.

  6. It is very expensive. I used to work at WDW.

  7. I have a steady stream of gift cards from Swagbucks. Very good.

    slehan at juno dot com

  8. Thank you for all the helpful tips! My sister periodically takes her brood to Disneyworld, and this will help.

  9. That's awesome! I have never been before. Hopefully someday!