Back in November 2013 I experienced one of the best family vacations I’ve ever had. That experience took place on the Disney Dream cruise line and I have a blog post that you can review in my archives that tells you all about that experience and offers some helpful tips. The cruise was so much fun for our family that we plan on taking another one!
So just like with any other family vacation, costs and affordability are always a concern and very much a REAL concern when trying to book anything Disney. Well a very good friend of mine brought to my attention a great way to financially plan for a Disney cruise or resort visit and I have to say it is truly one of the best things I have stumbled upon to help plan my next Disney family getaway. The site is disneyvacationaccount.com. Disney Vacation Account is an online program operated by Walt Disney Travel Co., Inc. that was launched in 2013 that lets you create a personalized budget and savings plan for the following Disney vacation destinations:
•Walt Disney World® Resort in Florida
•Disneyland® Resort in California
•Disney Cruise Line®
•Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa in Ko Olina, Hawai`i
•Adventures by Disney®
Once you sign up, you can set up an easy and flexible savings plan to fit your needs and the online program helps you estimate the cost with helpful tools to get started. Once you have your vacation estimate, you then create your savings plan and start saving at your own pace, up to 5 years in advance of your vacation date and only a $10 minimum is required. You will be able to make automatic contributions using your debit or credit card, and you can schedule contributions to take place every week, every month or every 2 weeks. You can also make instant contributions at any time. There are no fees to set up and maintain your account, and you can withdraw the money you’ve contributed and have it fully refunded at any time. Once you reach your goal you can then use your Disney Vacation Account savings to book your vacation online or over the phone through Disney. Basically this affordable savings plan gives you the ability to just set it and forget it, which is a big win for a budget conscious traveler.
Pros of this plan:
- Provides an easy way to save for a future Disney vacation
- You can pay into the plan the dollar amount you can afford that can be easily adjusted when good times or hard times hit you
- Provides $20 Disney Gift Card for every $1000 you spend on qualified vacation purchases with your Disney Vacation Account prior to December 31, 2015 (date subject to extension), up to a total $500 in Disney Gift Card(s) per household
Cons of this plan:
- According to a great blog post on Disney Vacation Account by Jennifer Marx of passporter.com, if you use a travel planner (aka travel agent), they can’t use your account to pay for your vacation — but they can still make the reservation for you, and then you need to call the Disney Reservation Center yourself to apply the payment. This is just one additional step on your behalf but not necessarily a con.
- I also read in one comment section from a traveler that the refund process isn’t necessarily easy breezy and can take up to 10 days to get your money back. But they did receive their funds back and that comment was made in May 2014. So hopefully this process has been updated, but just in case a little patience may be needed in getting your refund if you need one.
In the end, I feel strongly the benefit of this program really outweighs any of the cons! Your Disney vacation dream can become a real deal reality and can be within your reach sooner than you think.
For a full rundown on the process, a fillable PDF worksheet for a 52-week savings plan for your Disney vacation or to receive an awesome example of the Account Budget Estimator that is on the Disney Vacation Account website, please check out Jennifer Marx of passporter.com blog post here. She really gives you great details on how to utilize the Disney Vacation Account website fully and was truly a wealth of information for me.
Good luck with your planning and as per the great Walt Disney ” I hope anything your heart desires will come to you”. Make sure you visit disneyvacationaccount.com.