Is the Disney Visa worth it?
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If you want to find the most affordable way to go to Disney World, Disneyland or on a Disney Cruise, you’ve probably wondered if the Disney Visa is worth it. It earns Disney Rewards Dollars that you can use to pay for most things Disney, including trips to the parks. But the answer on whether or not the card is worth it is a little more complicated than a simple yes or no answer. We’ll break down how the Disney Visa works and when it is — and isn’t — worth it faster than a wait for a ride around It’s a Small World.
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Disney Visa sign-up bonus
There are actually two different Disney Visa credit card products.
There’s the actual Disney Visa and there’s the Disney Visa Premier. The Disney Visa is the entry-level product that has no annual fee and typically awards a $50 bonus after the first purchase in the first three months. The Disney Visa Premier has a $49 annual fee, but usually awards a $200 or $250 statement credit after $500 in spending in the first three months. Both are issued by Chase and thus would be subject to Chase 5/24 rules.
I’m not one to turn down $50 to $250 in statement credits, but keep in mind, for perspective, that some credit cards have sign-up bonuses worth $1,000 or more. Also note that how many cards you have in total matters, so you have to pick and choose wisely as to which ones will be the most beneficial for your situation.
The information for the Disney Visa and Disney Premier has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
Disney Visa rewards
The two Disney credit cards earn rewards at different rates — the no-annual-fee Disney Visa earns 1% back on all card purchases in the form of Disney Rewards Dollars you can use at Disney. The Disney Visa Premier earns 2% back in Rewards Dollars on purchases at gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants and most Disney locations, 1% back in Rewards Dollars elsewhere.
Earning 2% back in Disney Dollars in some spending categories isn’t bad. But just for perspective, there are many credit cards out there that provide a better return for everyday spending than either of the Disney cards.
For example, the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card earns 2 miles per dollar spent on all purchases. That card does have a higher annual fee at $95 per year. Some credit cards award up to 4 or 5 points per dollar at places such as grocery stores, on gas purchases, travel purchases, etc.
And, if you want to keep things very simple, the Citi® Double Cash Card has no annual fee and earns a total of 2% cash back on all purchases — 1% when you make a purchase and an additional 1% when you pay for it on your statement. That alone is actually a better overall earning proposition than the Disney Visa cards.
In other words, you can do better that earning 1 – 2% back in Disney Reward Dollars with your everyday purchases via a wide variety of credit cards.
Related: Best cash back credit cards
Disney Visa perks
The unique perks are where the Disney Visa products get more interesting for those looking to vacation with Mickey Mouse.
First, you can save 10% on some Disney merchandise purchases of $50+ and 10% on select dining locations on eligible dates at Disneyland and Disney World. Some eligible spots include: Rose & Crown Dining Room (lunch only), Kona Cafe at the Polynesian Village Resort, the Hollywood Brown Derby at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Storytellers Café at the Grand Californian at Disneyland (I highly recommend the breakfast with characters at Storytellers).
Related: Best restaurants at Disney World
Those who need to spread out the cost of a Disney trip, can get 0% APR for six months on eligible Disney vacation packages with the Disney Visa cards (then a variable APR of 15.99% applies). That 0% includes not only eligible resort trips to the Disney theme parks, but also to Disney Aulani in Hawaii, the Disney Cruise Line, Adventures by Disney, etc.
You must book your trip directly with the Walt Disney Travel Company, Disney Cruise Line, etc. using your Disney Visa.
Finally, Disney card members also get some exclusive photo meet and greets with Disney or Star Wars characters at Disneyland and Disney World. This perk can save you time in line or wasting a FastPass, both of which have real value while at the Disney parks.
Why the Disney debit card may be better
We aren’t huge fans of using debit cards for everyday purchases as you typically don’t earn rewards or have the same level of built-in protections as with credit cards, but the Disney debit card may make sense if what you are after are the Disney perks. Having the debit card won’t go against Chase 5/24 status and carries no annual fee. You do need to have a Chase Checking account to access this debit card option.
The Disney debit card doesn’t earn rewards (so you don’t need to really use it much), but it gets you access to many of the same character photo opps, discounts on Disney merchandise, dining, cruise expenses, park tours, etc. as the Disney Visa credit cards. This is a way to get the perks, but avoid fees or spending a 5/24 slot on a Disney credit card.
Related: Why you should use debit cards
Why the Disney Visa isn’t always the best choice
I’m a bit of a Disney fanatic, so I get the appeal of having a Disney Visa — the cards are cute with the different available Disney design options. If the built-in perks, such as the in-park character photo opps, discounts and especially the 0% APR for six months on eligible Disney vacations sound intriguing, then a Disney Visa might be right for you since those are perks not really replicated on other cards.
However, if your main goal is to get a credit card that will rack up rewards you can use toward a Disney vacation, you can probably do better both in terms of a larger welcome bonus, better everyday earning rates and even on rewards you can use at Disney. Here are my favorite credit cards for families who want to use perks to travel.
Related: How to use points for Disney tickets
If you spend a lot of money at Disney, and want to earn as many points or cash back as possible on these expenses, the Disney Visa Premier is a good choice, but not the best choice. Two other potentially better options include the previously mentioned Citi Premier® Card that gives 2 points per dollar on entertainment expenses (such as Disney tickets) or the Capital One®
Savor® Cash Rewards Credit Card that awards 4% back on entertainment charges.
For eating out in the Disney parks, those charges will often code as dining. This means you could earn 4 points per dollar with the American Express® Gold Card or 4% with the Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card. On your Disney resort stays or Disney Cruise Line bookings, you can earn 3 points per dollar by paying with the Chase Sapphire Reserve.
The information for the Capital One Savor Cash Rewards card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
Related: Best credit cards for theme parks
The Disney Visa credit cards themselves aren’t slam dunks for Disney enthusiasts looking to earn or use rewards for a Disney vacation, but they are fun, happy cards that some Disney enthusiasts enjoy having in their wallets. In terms of rewards, they are better than paying for things with checks or debit cards, but they often aren’t the best credit cards on the market if your goal is to use points for your next Disney trip.
However, if you want six months of 0% APR on eligible Disney vacations, access to character meet-and-greets and some merchandise or dining discounts, then a Disney Visa might be worth the wallet slot for true enthusiasts. Otherwise, you can replicate many of the same perks with the Disney debit card.
All images by author except where indicated.
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