I know how it is. You’re in the parks and all you smell is the delightful aroma of cotton candy and popcorn being misted into the air (yes, thats actually what’s going on here) and you cave. First expense: A $10 snack only minutes after you’ve walked through the gates. THEN, you convince your kids, “Okay, no more spending until we ride at least three rides. THAT’S what we’re here for after all!” EHHH, wrong. You exit almost every ride into a gift shop, and guess what? EACH gift shop sells entirely different, equally awesome stuff that your kid is guaranteed to be drooling over! To keep from a melt down, and because you’re equally as excited to be a kid again in this magical world, you cave for a second time.
Next, ohhhhh next, the smell of a turkey leg (which, by the way actually isn’t turkey?!) passes over you via a vendor cart less than ten feet away and has the shortest line you’ve seen all day so, what the hell?! Let’s get a turkey leg, 2 Mickey ice cream bars, and toss in one of those awesome souvenir popcorn bins too!
By the time you wrap up the day, you’ve stopped for two, maybe three meals, 6 water bottles, more snacks than you can count, 4 Mickey Bars, have a stroller with 3 (probably more like 6) of those beautiful blue Walt Disney World bags with the castle on it (you know the one), and a wallet drier than a 5 year drought. Where did all that money go?! (You know, the money you brought JUST IN CASE but, promised yourself you wouldn’t actually spend.) Come to think of it, where did all these receipts come from?! And where’s my credit card? Not this one, that other one. Where did I use it last? GAH, the ferry back to the monorail is so quiet right now but, I’m too exhausted to even look for that card and I’m sure it’s here somewhere…At least I hope it is.
Does that sound like you? Maybe even a little?
Here’s the thing: Can you imagine yourself not having to juggle wads of cash, several credit cards mixed in with your hotel room key, receipts, and everything else stacked in your wallet while juggling kids, lines, and melting ice cream bars?! I can! And I HAVE!
Are you ready for it?!
My one and only tip to limiting unplanned spending in the park while foregoing the constant juggle of your bottomless wallet!
I know, right? SO SIMPLE yet, so incredibly life changing when it comes to spending in the parks!
Before your next Disney Vacation, head to Target (5% off with Red Card. YEP Even on Disney GC!)) or Shop Disney online and grab a gift card (increments of $25-500).
Your gift card can be used for almost everything on Disney owned property and will make your life SO MUCH EASIER when it comes to juggling the many ways you can empty your bank account AND will help eliminate the extra unplanned spending in the parks!
Want to know how we use our gift card to it’s full potential?
- Set a spending limit for each child. Sometimes, rather than purchasing one single gift card and keeping track of the total as we spend, I’ll get a gift card for each boy and write each boys’ name on their cards in permanent marker! It makes things easier if we’ve split up or when one kid wants something at one store and the other spends somewhere else!
- Utilize the Disney Dining plan! UH-MAY-ZING! I know this is totally separate from a Disney Gift Card BUT, with the Disney Dining plan you don’t need to spend inside the park on snacks, drinks, and meals! One less reason to pull out your credit card or swipe a gift card!
- Pre-plan cash purchases, if any. Street vendors who sell light-up toys, balloons, and some food vendors/carts only take cash. If you’re utilizing the Disney Dining Plan, snacks shouldn’t be a worry here (including Mickey Bars, Pretzels, Dole Whip, and more!) but, if you think a light up toy or Mickey balloon is a must, plan for that expense prior to entering the park and keep that cash in a separate, designanted envelope! (Light up toys average between $12-25 & Balloons are $10-15)
- Make it your only option. Don’t bring any other form of spending into the park except one EMERGENCY card, and your small amount of pre-planned, designated cash.
- Securely separate your gift cards from other necessary items. Keep from juggling too many items in your wallet by putting your hotel room key, ID, and other necessary items in a separate but, equally accessible wallet or baggy! I like to keep our room keys, designated cash envelope, paperwork for tickets, etc. in the internal zipper pouch of our backpack and, would be lying if I didn’t admit that I own and use a fanny pack to easily access our gift cards!
That’s it! My single, incredibly simple yet, totally useful tip for less juggling and even less spending in the parks!
Let me know below if you use this little tip during your next Disney vacation!