UPDATE: The Disney Vacation Account program is closing September 27, 2017. You can no longer make new deposits.
In our series on discounted Disney gift cards, we featured the Disney Vacation Account. It was very popular and we had a lot of readers sign up. If you’re not familiar with the Disney Vacation Account, it’s essentially an online savings for Disney vacations. We’ve booked two vacations using our DVA and found it easy to use and a convenient place to save for a trip.
For every $1,000 you spend through your DVA, you get a $20 Disney gift card. This is a pretty great little perk! We also really like the Disney Vacation Account because you can use it to consolidate Disney gift cards. We love buying discounted Disney gift cards as part of our savings strategy. This gives us a great place to combine them.
Since a lot of our readers expressed interest in a Disney Vacation Account, we’re taking an in-depth look to explain everything you need to know.
Disney Vacation Account Explained
The purpose of the Disney Vacation Account (disneyvacationaccount.disney.go.com) is to help you meet your vacation goals by creating a financial plan. The site includes some basic tools to help determine a budget and timeline for your trip. As you save, you’ll see a timeline graph charting your progress.
To spend the money you’ve saved, you can use your Disney Vacation Account number when you purchase any Disney vacation online. You simply use your 16-digit account number in the Disney Gift Card or Disney Vacation Account payment section. You can also call the Disney Reservations Call Center and book by phone at (407) 939-7734.
The account has no fees but also earns no interest (other than Disney gift cards you can earn). You can also get a full or partial refund of your money if for some reason your plans fall through. If you save more than you need, you can also get a refund for the difference or get them in a Disney gift card.
When you sign up for an account, they will ask where you plan to go, when, how often you plan to contribute, and how much. You can open an account with as little as $10. This is probably a good place to start until you get comfortable using your account.
NOTE – The questions about how often you want to contribute and how much are NOT a simple exercise. The next screen asks for your credit card information. They will start your savings plan however you answered those questions. This is another reason why we recommend the one-time $10 contribution to get started.
$20 Gift Card Bonus
We’ve already mentioned you can get $20 Disney gift cards for every $1,000 you spend through a Disney Vacation Account. So, what are the stipulations?
First, the account needs to be open for 120 days or longer before the money is spent on a vacation to qualify. For example, you can open an account for as little as $10 today. That’s the minimum to amount to open an account. Add more money or don’t over the next 120 days, it just needs to be open. After 120 days has passed, you could add $990 and immediately spend it on a vacation and qualify for the $20 Disney gift card.
Tip: Keep using the same Disney Vacation Account for each future trip. You won’t have to worry about the 120 day rule down the road. Also, if you spend $2,500 on this trip, the extra $500 you spent, that you didn’t get a gift card for, can count toward the next vacation.
Second, if you have $2,000 in your DVA and your vacation only costs $1,900, you can get a refund or you can get Disney gift cards for the difference. However, getting Disney gift cards doesn’t push you up to $2k. You’ll still only get one $20 gift card. And, they won’t let you add a DVA account to your room to cover incidentals, so you can’t cross the finish line that way either.
Disney allows you to earn up to up to $500 in Disney gift cards total. In order to earn that many gift cards, it would mean you spent $25,000 through your account. This is a pretty safe limit for most of us. If you think you’ll exceed this, please invite me on your vacation.
How do you request your bonus gift cards? When you’re signed in, under “Manage Your Account” you’ll see “Request My Bonus” if you’ve qualified.
Consolidating Disney Gift Cards
This is one of our other favorite features. A Disney Vacation Account is essentially a savings account (Disney uses JPMorgan Chase to hold your money). But, it accepts Disney gift cards for making deposits. Try that at your local bank. We love this because buying discounted Disney gift cards is one of the important ways we save on our vacations.
There is one important rule stated in the website’s FAQs that affects consolidating Disney gift cards. It says you can only make a maximum of five contributions per day. So, if you bought a bunch of Disney gift cards or you’ve been accumulating them at birthdays and Christmas, you may have to space out when you deposit them. You can see from the screenshot of our deposits below, I added eight in one day and didn’t have a problem. But, the FAQ says a limit of five, so I wanted to at least include the warning in case they start enforcing it.
Should You Get a Disney Vacation Account?
It should be noted that this is not Disney’s most user-friendly product. It can be a bit clunky at points. But, we recommend opening an account with the minimum deposit and using it as a pass-through for your vacations at the very least. You’re going to give Disney the money, you might as well earn the extra gift cards. You can sign up for a Disney Vacation Account HERE.
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