A Disneyland spokesperson confirmed that May 14 will be the final day that Disney sells "Disney Dollars" — the paper currency featuring Disney characters that can be spent like cash in any U.S. Disney theme park. Former Disneyland President Jack Lindquist came up with the idea for Disney Dollars, whose popularity has waned along with regular currency as more customers switch to using cards and even tap-to-pay systems, including Walt Disney World's MagicBands.
Lindquist talked about the creation of Disney Dollars in a 2013 interview with Theme Park Insider:
This was not some cheap promotion thing. I wanted a real currency. So we went to the Secret Service and we built in all the safeguards for counterfeiting. It was an expensive project, but we printed the money, and we introduced it in May 1985. I think we had 40 or 50 people standing in line, overnight, at the box office to be the first people to purchase Disney Dollars. One man, the first morning, bought $10,000 worth.
Disney Dollars were a huge financial success for the company, as fans bought tens of millions of dollars of the currency as souvenirs, never spending them in the parks. Even though Disney will no longer sell Disney Dollars after Saturday, it will continue to honor Disney Dollars when used as cash in the Disney theme parks going forward.
Of course, with the supply of Disney Dollars capped after Saturday, it's likely that their souvenir value to collectors soon will exceed their face value as cash in the parks, so there will be even less incentive for people to spend them. Among the many things at which Disney fans excel, a big one is hoarding Disney souvenirs to flip them for profit. Expect a run on the remaining Disney Dollars today and tomorrow, and the real possibility that Disney sells out its remaining supply before Saturday.
After all, as convenient as cards, cell phones and even MagicBands can be to pay for stuff in the parks, none of them are as much fun to look at as a dollar bill with a big grinning Mickey Mouse on the front.
"It's a testimony to the enthusiasm and heart of Disney guests and collectors that Disney Dollars remain collectible today," a Disneyland spokesperson said in a statement. "We continue to offer many ways to collect cherished Disney memories in tangible ways."
The father of the Disney Dollar — Lindquist, a Disney Legend and member of the theme park industry Hall of Fame — passed away in February at the age of 88.
Update: (Friday) Got this via Facebook this afternoon from a friend and former fellow cast member: "MK & Disney Springs were sold out by 2pm today. Collectors were immediately putting them on eBay @ twice the cost." So... yeah.
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I respond: So basically this is free money for the comnpany. Nice!
An Aquabats ride in Fantasyland would be awesome though!
There's a great quote in the Lindquist interview where he says that, as of 1996 (20 years ago!), Disney had sold $135 million in Disney Dollars that guests had not spent in the parks. Jack said, "Good, [with that] I just built Indiana Jones at Disneyland!"
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