Is a Disney Credit Card Right for You?

Is a Disney Credit Card Right for You?

An in-depth look at the Disney credit cards and their rewards programs.

Disney has two credit cards offering big savings to Disney park goers and store patrons alike. Both the and the feature a variety of perks with the main difference between them being rewards rates and fees. However, the questions that have been on many people’s minds are: Do I need a Disney credit card? Are they worth it?
To answer that, we will need to explore these cards and their offerings, as well as the cost of a Disney trip and who would benefit the most from a Disney credit card.

Disney credit card breakdown

With the , you can earn 1% in Disney Rewards Dollars for everyday purchases. There’s also no annual fee, unlike the ($49). However, the hikes the rewards rate to 2% on purchases at gas stations, restaurants, supermarkets, and most Disney locations.
The real draw to these cards, though, seems to be the plethora of perks they provide. Some of these include:

Vacation Perks
Free Disney Character Experience (with photos) at Disneyland and Walt Disney World resorts
10% off select dining locations most days at Disneyland and Walt Disney World resorts
10% off select merchandise purchases of $50 or more at theme parks and at Disney Store
15% off the non-discounted price of select guided tours at the Disneyland and Walt Disney World resorts
Store Perks
10% off select merchandise on purchases of $50 or more at Disney Store and DisneyStore.com.
Exclusive cardmember events at Disney Store
Entertainment Perks
Exclusive VIP Package with purchase of premium tickets to Aladdin or The Lion King on Broadway

And those are just some of the perks that come with owning one of these cards. Next, we’ll look at the estimated cost of going on Disney vacation with a family of four.

The cost of a Disney vacation

Going on a Disney vacation can be expensive. This is especially true if you are a family of four or more. And while children ages 3-9 can qualify for child admission, that doesn’t put much of a dent in the overall costs of transportation and lodging. When Time put together a breakdown of these costs, the numbers looked a little something like this:

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Cost level Hotel Transportation Admission Food Souvenirs Total
Average Disney Vacation $1,746 $1,400 $1,660 $1,154 $400 $6,360
Cheaper Disney Vacation $672 $1,400 $1,660 $953 $200 $4,885
Low-End Disney Vacation $269 $1,600 $1,120 $425 $150 $3,564
Deluxe Disney Vacation $4,278 $1,400 $1,740 $1,563 $800 $9,781

As you can see, even a low-end Disney vacation can cost a couple of thousand. That being said, cardholders could redeem their Rewards Dollars at many of the Disney hotel locations and restaurants, offsetting some of those costs. However, they would need a lot of Disney Rewards Dollars to even make a dent in some of those numbers.

Using the Disney credit cards

There are lots of Disney-specific perks when it comes to these credit card rewards. However, these perks are mostly park and franchise-specific. Will you be able to make the most of these cards in your daily life? In order to answer this question, we need to examine the two most common user types: the Disney fanatic and the casual Disney fan.

Disney fanatics

In this case, we’re referring to people who might visit a Disney resort once or twice annually and the Disney store even more. They could be locals in Anaheim or Floridians in Orlando, or even people who can afford the trip every year. These are the people who eat, sleep, and breathe all things Disney and would probably snap this card up by virtue of it being a Disney credit card alone!

How they can use it

  • Using any one of these cards on everyday purchases to earn Rewards Dollars.
  • Redeeming Rewards Dollars for statement credit on airline travel (Premier cardmembers).
  • Taking advantage of on-site perks like: 10% off select merchandise at Disney Store (purchases of $50 or more), 10% off select resort dining locations, Disney Character Experience.

But consider this…

You can earn 2% back in Disney Rewards Dollars when you use the at gas stations, restaurants, supermarkets, and Disney Stores (1% on all other purchases). While that sounds like a sweet deal, you’re limited in how you can redeem these Rewards Dollars. This means you can only redeem these rewards on Disney purchases and for statement credits on travel expenses.

In our rundown of the best rewards credit cards of 2017, we covered a variety of credit card rewards programs. For example, the Chase Freedom® card offers 5% cash back on purchases in bonus categories like gas stations and drug stores. Unlike the , you aren’t limited to redeeming those rewards at Disney locations and, furthermore, there is no annual fee.

Our verdict

If you are a Disney fanatic and you want to have all things Disney, then you might appreciate this card. It’s easy to earn Rewards Dollars with the , but remember that you can only redeem these rewards at Disney Stores, parks, and restaurants. This can limit how you use these rewards to only Disney-relevant items, which can be good or bad depending on your Disney devotion. You can get more options with a cash back credit card.

Casual Disney fans

These are the people who have a passing interest in Disney but don’t go out of their way to purchase all things pertaining to the Disney franchise. They may only go to Disney World once every 3-5 years (if that) and don’t frequent the Disney Store for official merchandise. Because of this, it’s easy for them to take the time and save their Rewards Dollars for one big trip.

How they can use it

  • Use the to earn 1% Rewards Dollars on all purchases.
  • Save up Rewards Dollars for one big, all-out trip to Disney World.
  • Splurge every once in a while at the Disney Store and get 10% off (purchases of $50 or more).

But consider this…

Disney Rewards Dollars will expire 5 years from the date they are posted to your account. This means that if you’re trying to save them up for a few years for an all-out trip, you have the time. However, cards like the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card let you earn 2x miles per dollar spent. Furthermore, you earn 40,000 miles with the signup bonus (spend $3,000 within first 3 months). Plus, the miles don’t expire.

Our verdict

If you recall our cost breakdown from before, travel tends to be the consistent high-cost factor in the Disney experience. Second, of course, to the price of admission and – depending on the lodging – hotel costs. While you can take your time earning Rewards Dollars with the , just remember that booking travel with these cards is still paid upfront. You can redeem your Rewards Dollars for a travel statement credit.

Do I need a Disney credit card?

That depends on how often you frequent Disney resorts and their stores. If you go to Disney resorts every year and spend over $50 regularly at the Disney Store, then there’s plenty to appreciate. However, the rewards program, as it currently exists, limits how you spend your rewards and that might be a deal breaker. It’s a good companion card, but it shouldn’t be your only rewards card.

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