Everything You Need to Know About Paying for Your Disney Vacation with Gift Cards

Looking for a way to save a bit more on your next trip to Disney? Using Disney gift cards to pay just may be the way to go, but here’s some things you first should know. (Ohhh sounds ominous, right?)

So you saw someone mention gift cards in a Facebook group and are wondering; Huh? Why? How? Magic!

In that specific order of course. It’s not magic, but it can have some magical results. When done correctly you can save 5% (or more) off of your Disney vacation.

Which may not seem like much, but if you consider a Disney World trip will cost around $5,000 the savings comes out to $250. That’s not chump change.

That’s $250 you can use for snacks, souvenirs, luggage, or a freaking Dooney and Bourke purse! (which you totally deserve, because hey you’ve planned this whole trip)

How it Works

Saving these big bucks on your Disney trip with Disney gift cards is actually pretty straightforward. Purchase Disney gift cards at a discounted price, pay for your trip with the gift cards.

Easy peasy.  But finding those discounts is where it starts to get a little bit complicated. There are stores that offer direct discounts, there are ways to purchase discounted store gift cards and then use those to buy Disney gift cards. Credit card points, reward cash programs, loyalty programs.

There’s a lot of ways to get the job done. But being the wonder woman you are, you certainly don’t have time to sit and wade through hours of researching to find them all. Let alone which will work best for you. So here’s the skinny.

The Best Deals

First and foremost allow me to set the record straight on one popular issue: no, you cannot use gift cards to buy gift cards. I’ve heard that this is actually a law enacted to fight money laundering, but haven’t been able to find a definitive online.

All the stores mentioned below follow this policy. Some report that newer clerks have let it slide because they didn’t know better, but it’s hit or miss and let’s be honest it’s not very cool to get someone else in trouble to save a few dollars.

However, you can still stack several discounts on top of each other and save a ton. Generally, you should be able to stack 1 of each from the lists below, to create a higher discount for yourself.

  1. Research, apply for and obtain 1 of the recommended credit cards
  2. Register the credit card with one (or more) of the cashback programs we recommend
  3. Purchase your gift cards on sale using the cash back program (either online or with an app in person)
  4. Pay off your credit card immediately to avoid any interest fees eating into your savings.

Store Sales and Promotions

Since I’m guessing you have been to a store of some kind before, chances are you’ve seen or bought something that was on sale. Gift cards actually go on sale just like any other item! Some sales offer you a percentage off, some offer you a reward after the purchase. But either way here’s are favorite stores to look for great deals!

Target – Sales on Disney gift cards at Target are rare, because they already offer 5% off to RedCard holders. But they do happen usually for an additional 5% off.

Sam’s Club – Disney gift cards are on sale at Sam’s Club all. The. time. They’re routinely discounted 5%, but I’ve heard of others seeing as much as 7% off.

Costco – At Costco you can also expect a savings of approximately 5% on Disney gift cards, and that happens pretty often.

BJ’s – Yet another wholesale type store that often offers a 5% discount on Disney gift cards

Kruger/Vons/Albertson’s – The grocery chains doesn’t often offer a discount directly, but they do offer gas reward points 1 for every dollar spent. The best time to take full advantage of this is during a yearly promotion when they offer 4x rewards points. You then can redeem 1,000 points at a time for $1 off up to 35 gallons of gas.

They do also have sales on the gift cards themselves periodically, so look out for those.

eBay** – You totally forgot about eBay, didn’t you? I did too, how could you not when Amazon practically delivers things before you realize you need them. But eBay is still thriving and it can be a great place to purchase gift cards – with caution

Raise.com** – This is a site devoted entirely to 2nd hand sales and purchases of gift cards. On any given day you can find a selection of Disney gift cards from 2-10% off their value. They go fast though, so you have to watch closely.

**There are amazing deals to be found on Disney gift cards online. However, my mama taught me some things are too good to be true. Just be careful when purchasing any kind of gift card online from anyone, it’s very easy to get scammed.

Cashback Credit Cards

You can also find savings with cashback and reward offers from select credit cards. Of course, this comes at a risk. It’s always in your best interest to pay the balance of your credit card at the end of every month, but even more so when you’re using the card to receive a discount.

Most credit card APR’s will be higher or close to these discounts. Meaning that if you are only paying the minimum each month and allowing a balance to carry over, you could end up paying MORE for your trip than if you’d simply used cash.

Here’s our favorite credit card offers to rack up some additional savings for your trip!

Target RedCard – Save 5% off Disney gift cards when you use your Target RedCard to purchase. You can sign-up for the RedCard as a credit card or have it link directly to your savings account.

Discover it Cash Back – With the Discover it Cash Back card you can earn 5% cash back, up to $6,000 per year, on any two categories of your choosing. Pick wholesale and grocery as your 2 categories for the best opportunities to save on Disney gift cards.

Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa – Earn a respectable 1.5% cash back with the Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa, and an additional .08% if you enable and use mobile wallet pay. That brings you up to nearly 2%!

Capital One Quick Silver – While it’s not the highest cashback deal here, it is consistent. Save 1.5% on all your purchases with the Capital One Quick Silver card, including Disney gift cards.

Chase Freedom – Across the board you can earn 1% cash back from the Chase Freedom card at any time. But you can save even more thanks to rotating cashback opportunities, up to 5%!

Citi Double Cash Back – Paying off your card each months offers a sweet bonus with the Citi Double Case Back card. Earn 1% on all purchases and an additional 1% when your balance is paid in full each month.

Blue Cash Preferred AmEx – If you plan to purchase your Disney gift cards at any of the aforementioned grocery stores, the Blue Cash Prefered AmEx is what you’ll want to get. Earn a whopping 6% cashback on grocery store purchases, up to $4,000 per year!

U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature – Like the Discover it Cash Back card, you can earn 5% cashback on any 2 categories of your choosing with the U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature!

Alliant Cash Back Visa Signature – During your first year with the Alliant Cash Back Visa Signature you can earn 3% across the board on all purchase! After the first year you’ll still earn 2.5%!

Disney Visa – Using the Disney Visa card you can earn a 1% cash back bonus on Disney gift cards, and all other purchases.

Cash Back Reward Apps

The last piece of the puzzle is linking your credit card to one (or more) cash back reward apps. Honestly, if you’re not already using these you absolutely should be. They’re an easy way to save a few dollars on the shopping you do every day anyway.

I’m obsessed with this full list of cashback and reward programs from DiaryofaSoCalMama.com – this chick really knows her stuff! And she’s got an even more comprehensive breakdown for you.

Offers through these programs vary and rotate. When you’re ready to make a gift card purchase, check the website or app for each to make sure you’re getting the best deal possible.

Dosh – You may not have heard of this one yet, but it’s easily the best deal when it comes to Disney gift cards. You can earn 2% cash back at Sam’s Club and up to 5% at select grocery chains!

eBates – Probably one of the most well-known rebate programs, eBates gets you anywhere from 1% to 3.5% cashback. Grab my free printable cheat sheet for a detailed breakdown and our favorite stacked discounts.

SwagBucks – And lastly (for now at least) Swagbucks will earn you anywhere between 1% and 2% at select stores. But they do have rotating promotions as well that can earn you up to 5% at select stores.

Tips + Tricks

Now that you know the best ways to save on Disney gift cards, I’m sure you’re putting pants on and are ready to run out of your house and buy them all! (because seriously who wears pants at home?)

Put down the car keys and stick with me for a minute more.

Don’t Buy More than $500 at a Time

Truth be told there’s no rule at any of the stores mentioned in this list that sets a gift card purchase cap. However, when you’re using discounts (and stacking discounts) clerks and managers at the store have a tendency to raise their eyebrows.

Some may even try to tell you that you cannot purchase above a certain amount in a single transaction. Can you stand there and argue and demand they show the policy?

Sure, but why would you want to?

You’re best bet is to stick to smaller purchases, to avoid any potential for confrontation. You can probably get by with purchases about $500, but I wouldn’t suggest more than $1,000 for sure.

If there’s an amazing deal going on that saves you exorbitant amounts of money – walk out and back in and find another cashier. Bring your husband or friend and have them run a transaction (or 2) for you.

Combining Gift Cards

Since you really shouldn’t be buying Disney gift cards more than $500-$1,000 dollars chances are you’ll end up with at least a few. Yes, you can use them all to pay online, 1 transaction at a time.

But if you’d like to make your life a little bit easier and your travel agent’s if you are using one (like me!), you can consolidate the balances onto a single card.

Budget in Park with Gift Cards

You don’t have to use Disney gift cards just to pay for your trip, and there’s a few reasons why you may not want to either. Using the cards while on your trip is a great way to set and keep to a budget while utilizing those extra savings you racked up.

Reasons to Rethink Paying Off your Trip in Disney Gift Cards

Travel Agent May not Accept

Your travel agent can accept and pay off your trip with a gazillion gift cards if that’s what you have. But I’ve heard horror stories of agents who wouldn’t and told their clients it wasn’t possible.

Ask what the max number of gift cards are allowed for payment before moving forward and booking with anyone. The last thing you want is to be stuck with $5,000 in Disney gift cards you can’t use (until your next vacation. Hey, maybe that’s a good excuse!)

Refunds Will go Back to the Cards

Speaking of not wanting excess money held up in gift cards. Please understand that Disney will always process refunds back to the original form of purpose.

If you paid for your trip 100% in gift cards and have to cancel any refund you are owed will be credited back to the gift card(s). Something to keep in mind as you plug them in to pay for your trip one by one.

!! DO NOT THROW AWAY YOUR DISNEY GIFT CARDS !!

You don’t know what you don’t know and your trip could be canceled tomorrow. If you threw out the cards you’ve thrown out your refund.

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