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Home Vacation This Illinois family purchased $10K in gift cards for their Disney vacation — only to realize they’re for Disney+. Here’s how to avoid disastrous gift card mistakes

This Illinois family purchased $10K in gift cards for their Disney vacation — only to realize they’re for Disney+. Here’s how to avoid disastrous gift card mistakes

by Staff

‘My mom is distraught’: This Illinois family purchased $10K in gift cards for their Disney vacation — only to realize they’re for Disney+. Here’s how to avoid disastrous gift card mistakes

Gift cards may be convenient, but they can sometimes cause more trouble than they’re worth.

That’s what happened to Andrea, a 41-year-old mother from Illinois, who had long planned a Disney vacation in Orlando over the holidays with her 16 family members. The social worker took to TikTok to tell the tale of how her 78-year-old parents accidentally purchased $10,000 worth of Disney+ streaming gift cards instead of Disney theme park gift cards.

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It was only when the older couple tried to use the cards for their tickets and reservations and they didn’t work that Andrea says they realized they’d inadvertently bought the equivalent of more than 70 years of Disney+.

“My Mom is distraught, Dad frustrated, and the kids worried we won’t get to get into Disney,” says the text in the TikTok that received 4 million views.

But it is a small world, after all: Andrea’s parents are far from the only ones who make gift card mistakes.

It’s not uncommon

Andrea heard from many people who saw her viral video and empathized with her.

“Their parents experienced the same thing,” she says in a follow-up video. “So I know that it’s not just us. We just, for some reason, were the people to have done it to the tune of $10,000.”

Michael Ryan, a financial expert who lives a few hours south of Disney in Florida, tells Newsweek that this is far from uncommon. In fact, his own cousin had a similar gift card mixup.

But hakuna matata: Ryan assures consumers that mixups like these can usually be resolved.

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How to avoid gift card mistakes

Just like every princess film, Andrea and her family did get their happily ever after. They got in touch with Disney, which then transferred their $10,000 in Disney+ credits to Disney theme park credits. Fortunately, the group was able to make it to Magic Kingdom for the holidays.

Ryan tells Newsweek that if you find yourself in the same situation, the first thing you should do is go to customer service and try to get it resolved. It’s typically the “easiest” way to resolve gift card gaffs, he says.

But if customer service won’t help you fix your mistake, Ryan adds you do have other options to recoup your funds — albeit in a back channel way. If all else fails, reselling your gift card on Facebook Marketplace or eBay might not get you all your money back, but you can still recoup a good chunk.

Of course, to save yourself the trouble, Ryan recommends avoiding gift card mixups in the first place. Always read the fine print, terms and conditions and, of course, the label of the gift card to make sure it’s the right company is key to making sure your money goes on the right card.

So next time you get yourself a gift card, don’t forget to run through the “bare necessities” of gift card buying.

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This article provides information only and should not be construed as advice. It is provided without warranty of any kind.

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