Disney Gift Cards

How to Budget With Gift Cards During a Walt Disney World Vacation

Did you know that Disney gift cards can help you budget and save money on your Walt Disney World vacation? Whether you use them to budget the kids’ souvenir spending, dining costs, or are simply saving based on the cost of the cards themselves, there are lots of reasons to take advantage of Disney gift cards during your next trip.

Cinderella Castle in the MAgic kingdom

Credit: Disney

RELATED: Hack Your Dining Budget at Disney World

Where to purchase Disney gift cards

Before we talk about the benefits of using a Disney gift card in the theme parks and Resorts, let’s go over where to purchase them (because not all stores have the same benefits when it comes to Disney gift cards!) Of course, you can find gift cards in several major chain stores like CVS, Walgreens, most grocery stores, Walmart, and more.

Certain locations actually offer discounts on Disney gift cards, though, so if you are planning on using gift cards for the bulk of your vacation cost, you may want to look into some of these options.

If you use your Target REDcard to purchase Disney gift cards, you’re entitled to the same 5% savings you receive on most other items in the store. This might not seem like much, but if you are planning on paying for nearly every aspect of your trip with a Disney gift card this could add up. For instance, $2,000 worth of Disney gift cards purchased with your red card would cost $1,900.

An Assortment of Different Disney Gift Cards

Credit: Disney

RELATED: The Secret Budget-Friendly Alternatives to Disney Fairytale Weddings

Target is the tried and true spot for discounted Disney gift cards, but other retailers occasionally offer deals, too, like BJ’s, Kroger, and Sam’s Club. On top of these possible savings, you may want to look into cash-back apps. There are several apps that can score you cash back, but my favorite is Rakuten. It uses a Google Chrome extension to add up your cash back dollars when you shop online, and depending on where you purchase your Disney gift card, this method could save you more than Target’s 5%.

Last but certainly not least, you can always purchase Disney gift cards at the Disney Store (if you are lucky enough to have one local to you) or any Disney locations at the Parks and Resorts. They are also available on, which can be a great deal when coupled with the cash-back apps.


Credit: Disney

RELATED: The Best Snacks to Pack for a Budget-Friendly Day in Disney Parks

Tips for using Disney gift cards at Walt Disney World

Combine gift card balances on before you leave for vacation. You can transfer gift card balances with each card able to hold up to $1,000. Doing this can make it easier to manage actually using the cards during your trip as opposed to using several cards with smaller amounts on them.

Save gift card numbers and pins. Gift cards effectively function like cash, but if you lose a gift card and transfer the balance before someone else spends it, you’ll be safe.

Add a gift card as a form of payment in the My Disney Experience app. By doing this, you’ll be able to use your gift card balance for things like mobile orders and Genie+/Individual Lightning Lane purchases.

Instead of carrying gift cards, keep them in the safe at your Disney Resort and use your MagicBand to charge purchases to your room account. Then, at the end of each day, or before you check out, use your gift cards to pay off the balance.

If you are visiting EPCOT during one of its annual festivals, you can purchase a gift card that’s attached to a bracelet to wear in the Park. This option allows you to use a gift card easily at all of the outdoor kitchens.

MagicBand+ Spaceship Earth

Credit: Disney

RELATED: Disney World on a Budget: 5 Tips You May Not Have Considered

Remember to tip in cash or with your MagicBand. You can use a gift card at any Disney-operated location, including most table-service restaurants. Just remember if you go this route, you’ll need to bring cash to tip or use your MagicBand to pay for your meal and pay off the balance with the card as noted above.

Following that last tip, there are some instances where you may be tipping without using a gift card or MagicBand, so having some extra cash regardless helps (think rideshare drivers, housekeeping, bell services, etc…)

You can also use Disney gift cards to book your vacation, purchase park tickets, or make payments on room reservations or packages.

Will you be purchasing gift cards for your next trip to “The Most Magical Place on Earth”?

About Brittany DiCologero

Brittany is a New England-based writer focused on the history of the Walt Disney World Resort. She is the author of "Red, White, and Disney: The Myths and Reality of American History at the Walt Disney World Resort," and "Brittany Earns Her Ears."