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Thursday, January 2, 2014

Disney Vacation Savings Account--A New Service From Disney

In the last few days, Disney announced a new service:  Disney Vacation Account.  The service allows you to create an on-line account, set a savings goal, deposit money via credit card or debit card into the account, track your progress, and then book your Disney Vacation either on-line or via phone with Disney Reservations.  Click here to get started.

When I first saw this service, I was skeptical, but intrigued.  There are perks—a $20 Disney Gift Card for every $1,000 deposited (and used) for a Disney Vacation that has been in the account for at least 120 days.  This is better than any interest bearing account.  The tracking system is full of visual reminders, if you need to see the progress.  You can also customize the account to make regular deposits with reminders, or one-time-only deposits of amounts that you determine.

The first step is to estimate your savings goal.  This has links to the various sites—Walt Disney World, Disney Cruise Line, Aulani Resort, even Adventures by Disney, so that you can determine how much your vacation will cost.  It even breaks down various parts of your total budget including transportation to your destination.

Creating your plan is next.  You can name your vacation, determine the time-line for your vacation, and start saving.

Then, over time, you can track your progress and book your vacation.

Sounds like a dream and makes shopping for a Disney Vacation a one-stop-shop, which is part of what we love about Disney.

The questions came next.  What about those of us who use travel agents that are authorized Disney travel specialists but not a part of Disney Reservations?  Can we use the Disney Vacation Account to make a payment on a reservation not made directly with Disney?  The answer is “yes” though it would require an extra step by contacting Disney and asking them to apply a payment from your Disney Vacation Account to your reservation.

Someone on-line was under the impression that when booking with an independent travel agent, you had to pay for your entire vacation up-front.  Nope.  We make the appropriate deposit, depending on whether we are planning a land or sea Disney vacation, then pay off our vacation by the deadline.  With the Disney Vacation Account, it makes it seem as if you have to have all of your money saved before making the reservation. 

What about various pay-off deadlines depending on your type of vacation?  The Disney Vacation Account does set the default end goal 2 months prior to when you want to take your vacation.  This works for all Walt Disney World and Disneyland vacations, but does not for Disney Cruise Line which has a minimum 75 day prior to sail date paid in full deadline.  Also, Adventures by Disney does require a paid in full when making the reservation. 

If you plan your Disney Vacation Account, which also budgets for transportation, do you also make your air reservations through Disney?  Well, you certainly can.  Disney is happy to make your airline reservations for you, though you may pay more, use various carriers for multiple legs of your trip, and not have flights at convenient times for you and your travel party. (We did this once and that is exactly what happened.)  So, you could deposit your funds for transportation into the Disney Vacation Account, and then withdraw them to pay for your transportation when you are ready.  This, sounds like extra steps to me. 

Will we be using the Disney Vacation Account?  Not yet.  One reason being is that our next Disney Vacation requires pay-off within the 120 day mark, so we will leave our money in our savings account rather than transfer it. 

If you decide to give the new service of Disney Vacation Account a try, let us know how it works for you.

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