Disney Parks creates Disney Vacation Account program to help visitors save money for Disney vacation

Edited: September 28, 2015, 7:05 AM

Last night I started seeing ads in my web browsing for Disney Vacation Account, a program from Disney Parks and Resorts to help visitors save money for a future trip to Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, or Aulani.

There is a Budget Estimator tool to help calculate the total cost of your vacation (the fine print says the costs of a Disney vacation are not fixed and may rise after you set up your account), and then you start a savings plan where your make regular or one-time deposits using a debit card, credit card, or Disney gift card into a non-interest earning account (initially Disney will use Chase bank) up to 5 years in advance of your vacation date. Once you have enough money in the account, you can book your vacation reservation.

They give a couple of incentives. For every $1000 you save on your vacation plan, you get a $20 Disney gift card to use on your vacation, up to $500 in gift cards per household. There are no fees (but no interest earned, either), and you can take the money out of the account at any time.

On one hand, this sounds like a great way for families and individuals to save the money for a theme park vacation without going into debt by budgeting and paying for their vacation in advance. At the same time, it would be a lucrative way for Disney to make more profit through interest on the money from thousands of individual accounts in one financial institution. It would be interesting to see if enough people sign up for this program to make it viable for Disney to continue this for the long-term.


Replies (4)

September 28, 2015, 8:56 AM

I wrote about this a few months ago, analyzing the good, the bad, and the ugly of the plan: Disney Offers a Layaway-style Payment Plan with Disney Vacation Accounts.

September 28, 2015, 9:06 PM

Sorry, I wasn't reading the website so carefully when you wrote the article.

Saw the ad on my web browser yesterday, and thought, I haven't heard of this before. I saw the discussion after the article in May, and it covered pretty much the whole issue.

Would have been interesting to hear from one or two people who signed up for the program and gotten their perspectives, though. I assume the program is still running, and Disney is signing up new customers all the time.

Edited: September 29, 2015, 11:28 AM

The article and the comments did a good job, but it's nice that these kind of things are brought up every once and a while. To me I think the program highlights how expensive a Disney vacation has become. Adjusted for inflation, the $12 all day ticket to Disneyland in 1982 would equal to about $30 today. I realize the cost to operate the park has risen at a higher rate than inflation, but not triple. For a more recent compassion, the price was $42 at the end of 2000, adjusted for inflation is only about $58. Disneyland costs $40 than it did 15 years ago with inflation.

I have no problem with up charge experiences, but Disney has gotten ridiculous with its admission prices, even with multi day discounts. I think the only way this is ever going to stop if people vote with their dollars and stay home, or go somewhere else. This goes for Universal is well. Other theme parks have been better, but they too have become too expensive. The program is fine for people who want to save up for their Disney vacation, but it's very existence shows how Disney has decided to make it harder save. Some people say crowding would be worse if prices were lower, and I agree. But Disney could figure out ways to handle that, including opening more parks. Disney can charge whatever it wants because there are still a record number of people willing to pay for it, and I'm okay with that, as much as I think they should be lower. People can rave about Universal all they want, but even with all the great things they've added, they too charge too much. I have and will always love Disney, but my alliance is with their entertainment, not their shareholders. I like making money as much as anybody, but I think they could make almost as much by charging a little less, limiting capicity, and adding other options to do when the parks are full. To me the program is just a way to tie yourself to Disney. I don't think the program itself is bad, but it would be totally unnecessary if prices were just 15% lower.

October 2, 2015, 1:01 PM

I agree with your "vote with your feet" statement.. In the past 10 or so years me and the family, wife and two girls, have been to disney ONCE and that was on employees free passes..

now we have been to universal 4-5 times along with Bush Gardens and Seaworld a couple to times. To take a family of four to florida, with gas, food, place to stay and then to pay disney ticket prices it dam near impossible. But every day thousand of people use the already maxed out credit cards to do this, WHY you ask. because every kid should visit WD world at least once it appears.

When i retire in 5-6 yrs I will get residency in florida and then can get local rate which is real cheap as my wife want to do epcot during oktoberfest and eat and drink her way around the world.

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