Disney World Kids and Money Tips

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Another idea to control the "I wants" from your kids. My daughter earned money before going on our trips. Sometimes she collected cans to recycle, sometimes she did chores around the house. She was much more selective about her choices and valued her souvenirs much more. - Suzanne P.
Categories: Souvenirs, Kids and Money, Souvenirs
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I just returned from nine days in Disney with two grandsons, aged 14 & 11. Before I left I went to the local Disney store and purchased Disney gift cards for them to use for their spending money. They were very responsible in their purchases and "the bank of Grammy" did not have to keep giving money. They understood that when the dollars were gone, their spending was over. OK, Grammy did buy them a few things; how could I refuse? But the Disney gift cards were a great idea. - Marjorie Degnan
Categories: Kids and Money
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Here's a money-saving tip: One year I made a point of packing every Disney shirt my kids owned when we headed to Disney World for vacation. My intention was that they would wear them just for fun in the parks. An unexpected benefit was that neither of them asked to buy a new Disney shirt as a souvenir! - Cathy
Categories: Packing, Kids and Money, Packing
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Stroller rental prices have become outrageous at WDW, and they are way too small for bigger kids! Our solution was to purchase a new stroller that fit our family here at home and sell it when we returned. Our actual spending was only around $25 rather than almost $200 for our 6 night stay. - Joy Clevenger
Categories: Kids, Kids, Kids and Money
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As United Kingdom visitors we are not used to adding sales tax to the cost of purchases (and then we've got to work out the exchange rate as well) so to make it easier for the kids to work what their souvenirs are costing in UK pounds I make a little conversion chart for them once I have our currency. I add the sales tax and apply the exchange rate to amounts from 10 cents to $1 (in 10 cent increments), $1 to $10 (in $1 increments) and $20 and $30. They are about credit card sized, so I laminate them and they keep them in their own wallets. Then in a shop they only have to look at the ticket price and the chart tells them what this is in pounds, the only math they have to do is add the $10 amount to the $2 amount to get $12. As there are three of them this saves me spending my shopping time doing sums! We also give them their own money to spend but only $10 a day so if they want to make small purchases they can without constantly asking for cash. For bigger purchases they still have to come and negotiate with me or Dad. We did both of these on our last visit in 2003 and it was a great success so we'll be doing it again this year. - Juli
Categories: Kids and Money
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Regarding James Steele's tip about using Monopoly money for children's WDW spending money, I may have another idea. Some parents I have spoken with have created a checking account with the "Bank of Mom and Dad." Purchases are written in the checkbook and register just like adult checks, and the child has to reconcile the checking account like we all do. For those whose children are of an age where addition and subtraction skills are good, this has several advantages. First, the child finally sees a real world use for all that "boring math." Second, learning how to handle a checking account at an early age makes use of the real thing later in life a breeze. And Mom and Dad have the "checks" to check the accuracy and math and allows recovery if a loss of the "checkbook" happens. It might even work to have a "deposit slip" available before the trip so that children can add to the balance from their own piggy bank or allowance prior to the trip. - Randy Berbaum
Categories: Kids and Money
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A few years ago I had my niece and nephews decorate canning jars with stickers and their names. Now, for Valentine's Day and other holidays, we give the kids money to put in their WDW jars. They do not need more candy and toys, which is what they would usually get, and they love having money to put into their vacation jars. When we take our annual trip, they have their own money to spend and they love it! - Sheryl from Connecticut
Categories: Kids and Money
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My wife and I struggled to find a responsible way to allow our children (10 and 6) to have spending money, but not carry actual negotiable currency. The problem with the Gift Cards is that if they are lost or stolen, the money is gone. We as parents don't carry significant amounts of cash because of the very same risk; why have a different message for the kids? The final solution? Monopoly money. The kids were given their predetermined spending money in fake cash, which they carried. When they wanted to buy something they would have to pay Dad with their money, and Dad would stick it on the room charge or credit card, etc. The kids could see how much money they had left and decided how badly they wanted a particular item. We used this on our recent 12-day trip and it worked beautifully. The kids spread their spending carefully across the entire trip and we didn't worry about the cash when my daughter left her purse, which we recovered several hours later, at a Kidcot stop. - James Steele
Categories: Kids and Money
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I have a spending money tip geared to teenagers that is easier for them to manage than cash and easier for me than handing out cash. On our March spring break trip to WDW, I surprised my two teenagers with Disney Gift Cards that I purchased at the World of Disney Store at Disney Springs. They each liked having their own card and not juggling change. I learned the card is usable at Disney owned and operated merchandise, dining and recreation locations where credit cards are accepted, including the Disney shops in the Orlando Airport and Disney Cruise Line onboard the ship. (Some carts and outdoor vendors at the parks do not accept the card.) The balance prints on the receipt after each transaction, has no expiration, can be used with other forms of payment to complete a purchase, is reloadable ($5-$1500!), and can be kept as a souvenir. It's a cool card with Mickey on the front. Now that I know about the card, I plan to reload them for my daughter's high school band trip to Disney World next week. Purchase and use details can be found at DisneyGiftCard.com. - Sandy Marks
Categories: Kids and Money
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I took my 8-1/2-year-old nephew to Disney for 12 nights. I gave him his own spending money in fake dollar bills. I made $200 in play money with Disney stickers, and I was his banker -- he would trade in the play money for actual dollars when ready to purchase something. It was a chance for him to have his own money to buy what he wanted (mostly pins, cars, and stuffed animals) and he had the chance to learn to manage his own money. At first I saw him anxious to buy whatever he wanted, but very soon he was saying no to a lot of stuff because it was too expensive. It also controlled what I would spend on him. - lin1234
Categories: Kids and Money
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We are going to Disney soon and since our last trip 2 years ago, my daughter has been asking to go to "see Mickey Mouse in Florida." Since she is only 3 and doesn't really understand the concept of time yet, we found an easier way for her to get ready (sort of). We bought her a medium-size piggybank and told her that when she filled it up, we would go to Disney World. She gets so excited now for any little amount of change that it seems like the magic of Disney has already started! We have already booked our trip, but haven't told her yet. Our plan is to try to get her bank filled a day or two before we leave so that she really thinks she made it! And, of course, all the money from her bank will be hers to spend on our vacation! - Liz Weimann
Categories: Countdown, Kids and Money, Countdown
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This year I bought the travel BINGO cards at a store before we left for Disney World. I gave each of my children a card when we got in the car. The first round of BINGO was postage stamp, the next round was horizontal, etc. Each time one of the kids won, they would receive a Disney Dollar. The final round was a $10 Disney Dollar. Of course, no one wants to leave Disney World, so on the way home they played BINGO again. This time, while we were there, I had picked up a few pins, pens, an ornament, keychains, and a cup for the prizes. The grand prize was another $10 Disney Dollar to save for the next trip. - K. Watson
Categories: Planning, Kids and Money, Planning
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Last year, the day before we were leaving for Disney World, I remembered my daughter had received some Disney Gift Cards over the years that were never used. I put them in a separate envelope for her and stuck them in my purse. When I pulled them out at WDW, she was so excited to be able to spend her own money. It seemed to make her feel so grown up and she actually took the time to decide what souvenirs she REALLY wanted, rather than asking me to buy her everything she saw. - Marissapg5
Categories: Kids and Money
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We just returned from another great trip to our favorite place on earth... Disney World! We homeschool, so since we have a more flexible schedule, we have taken several trips there this year. The only problem we've encountered is that our three children (7, 9, and 13) never seem to get tired of souvenir shopping, or those yummy Mickey ice creams, and let's face it... Mickey ice cream isn't cheap. So, to save tears and money out of Mom and Dad's wallet, we've implemented a pretty workable plan. All three children are responsible for earning their own spending money, or saving their gift money for our Disney vacations. We provide breakfast, lunch, and dinner... anything else the children pay for themselves. Not only do they enjoy freedom from the words, "No, you can't have that," but they are learning how to handle and manage money at the same time. Who would have thought... Disney, three kids, and no tears! - Evelyn Horton
Categories: Kids and Money
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Not being a mom myself but a very dedicated aunt, I have given each niece and nephew a set amount of money to use as their own spending money on our big family trips, usually in Disney dollars (until they were discontinued). This is for them to spend on the things they want that their parents say no to. This time, though, I thought it would be fun for me if they all had to "work" for their money. I made up a game for them where they each have to call me every Sunday. If they call up and say "I love you" and "Mickey Mouse," they get $1.00 in their fund. However, if they are creative and make up a story incorporating those two lines, they get $1.50. This is fun for them and fun for me. And I feel like they are "earning" their spending money. - Sue Kohlert
Categories: Kids and Money
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