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Disney Rewards Visa: Special Vacation Financing May Not Be Worth the Hassle

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The Disney Rewards® Visa® Card touts itself as the card for Disney fans. It offers special financing options on Disney vacation packages and carries fringe benefits like free access to the Character Meet ‘n’ Greet. At those events, you and up to 6 people may have your photo taken with your favorite Disney character and receive a complimentary 5×7 photo.

After that, though, the perks wear thin. While the card rewards you for spending on all things Disney, it offers discounts on just some things Disney. See where I’m going with this? Vacation financing aside, Disney tries to make this card a very one-sided deal, with a host of restrictions.

Restrictions galore

On its face, the rewards program is fairly simple: Earn 1 point for every $1 spent anywhere, and redeem at Disney stores, and at Disney theme parks.

The card also touts discounts of 10% on Disney merchandise and experiences, but this perk isn’t quite as simple. For example, when you buy Cinderella on DVD or Blu-ray, you can indeed apply your rewards points toward that purchase, but you won’t earn the 10% merchandise discount. Nor will you earn the discount on books, gift cards, park admission or arcade games. And you must spend $50 or more in a single transaction for it to be eligible.

When you do find items eligible for the card-member discount, it’s still not that easy: you “must mention the offer” to receive your merchandise discount. Not even all Disney stores offer the discount anyway—check the website for a full list. Credit should be about ease, not hassle.

The headaches continue when you’re out to dinner. The card takes 10% off dining, but booze is excluded—a crime after a long day with the kids—and there is a “meal period restriction,” which presumably means that you’ll only receive the discount at certain hours.

Fringe benefits

If you’re still with me, now we finally arrive at the card’s perks. And there are several neat benefits, although they may not be worth all the pain.

The Disney card has a variety of perks, too, like a $50 gift card after you use your account for the first time—not just your first purchase but your first balance transfer or check, too. You’ll get 20% off guided tours, and there’s no annual fee, as is the case with most store- or franchise-branded cards.

Those perks are great, but you may be a masochist if you’re still willing to suffer through all the restrictions. We recommend you pick another card instead. If you’re really interested in vacation financing, we can suggest a travel card. The Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card, for example, gives back 2% on all purchases, assuming you’re redeeming for travel. Speaking of which,  you can use it to redeem for airfare, including those trips to Orlando.