Money? Oh, don’t worry about money. You’ve got your credit card linked to your MagicBands and pre-loaded Disney Gift Cards for the kids’ souvenirs. You don’t need cash. Do you?
In a word: YES.
Even at Disney World, there are some things you can only get with cold, hard cash. So how much should you bring? Well, that depends. Let’s take a look at the factors.
Are You Declining Mousekeeping?
At the Value and Moderate resorts, there is the option to decline Mousekeeping. You get a gift card for the amount of $10 per night of your stay for doing so, but you also don’t have someone taking out your trash for you. If you’re on a short trip or are a highly responsible person who loves to take out trash, this is a great option for you. If you’re at a Deluxe resort, or don’t want to clean on vacation, that means you will be using Mousekeeping, and it is customary to tip. We like to leave $1 per person per night, so for out family of 5 if would be $5 a day. For a vacation of 5 nights, we would need $25 in cash.
Are You Bringing Your Luggage on the Magical Express?
This is a two-fer! So, first up, if you check your luggage and Disney brings it to your room, we like to tip the cast member who handles our bags. We do $1 per bag, so $5 for the five bags we (usually) have. Sometimes, by the time we get to our room, our luggage is already safely inside and we won’t have to tip. But I like to be prepared to do so. The Cast Members we’ve encountered who drop off the luggage usually have great tips about the resorts and the best ways to take advantage of amenities. That kind of knowledge deserves a thank you!
This goes for the trip home, too. If a cast member is bringing our bags to bell check so that we can enjoy our morning while Magical Express takes care of the grunt work, same tipping rules apply for us. So that’s $10 total, for the arrival and return trip.
But wait, what if I get my own bags from baggage claim and bring them to the Magical Express? Should I tip then? This is a matter of personal preference, but I do. If the bus driver has to manage your bags, I give him $1 per bag he has to handle. When we were rocking the double stroller, I gave him $2 for that because our double stroller needed its own zip code.
Photo Courtesy of Disney Parks
Are you Using the Disney Dining Plan?
With the Disney Dining Plan, your table service meals are already paid for, but gratuities are not included. While you can charge gratuities to your room with the Magic Band, or use a Credit Card or Disney Gift card, we like to leave cash. We plan on leaving 20% at any table meal we go to. In order to calculate how much that is, we look up the menu on the Disney website that gives us the price range. Remember, prices change at Disney during peak times and holidays, so we always plan to the high end of the range. if we are under budget, no problem. We can use that surplus for an exceptional server, or take it home and stick it in the Fund for the next trip.
Do You Want a Balloon?
Admittedly, it’s now pretty rare that cart vendors who deal in light up parade accessories and bubble wands don’t take cash or Disney Gift Cards. However, for a long time those iconic balloons you see with Mickey’s silhouette in a clear balloon have been cash only. As of this writing (August 2019) they still are! If your child is a big fan of balloons, it’s worth it to have $20 in cash on you, just in case.
Photo Courtesy of Disney Parks Blogs
Like all things with Disney vacation planning, the answer to the question of whether you need cash is going to depend on your family. While we love the freedom the Magic Bands offer and the structure of putting souvenir spending money Disney Gift Cards, we like to have cash on hand. Whether it’s to tip the cast members who go the extra mile to make our trip special or because the MagicBand system is down and our Frying Pan MUST have a Dole While NOW, it’s always a good idea to keep some dollars on you.
How much cash do you normally bring with you to Disney World? What do you usually use it for?
Kristen B. is wife to the best Prince around, mama to the spunkiest little princesses, and lover of all things Disney. She started her savings journey five years ago and is now dedicated to making her family’s wishes come true one coupon at a time. She is so excited to take her love of saving to the next level and share her journey with you! Click here to catch up on Kristen’s Savings and join in on your own savings adventure!