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Disney shuts down its vacation savings program

Disney shuts down its vacation savings program
Walt Disney Co. headquarters in Burbank. (Reed Saxon / Associated Press)

Walt Disney Co. plans to shut down its vacation savings program because of low participation.

The Disney Vacation Account program, which started in 2013, allowed travelers to store money in an account to save up for a Disney vacation. Disney granted users a $20 bonus for every $1,000 stored in the account — the equivalent of a 2% interest rate.

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Users have until Sept. 27 to book Disney vacation activities or ask for a refund. In the meantime, no new accounts or contributions are being accepted.

The entertainment giant is offering to add 5% onto account holders' totals should they choose to put their balances onto a Disney gift card, up to $10,000. Should travelers opt in, they can earn up to $500, which they can use toward any Disney-related expenses such as theme park tickets, Disney resort hotel rooms and Disney cruises.

For savers who don't make a choice, Disney will automatically send a full refund to the users' original form of payment and also tack on a 2% bonus of the closing balance or $5, whichever is greater.

"We continually evaluate our offerings and, from time to time, make changes," a Disney spokeswoman said. "We're providing Disney Vacation Account holders with multiple options to redeem their remaining account balance that best meets their needs."

The Disney Savings Account program functioned similarly to standard savings accounts offered by banks and credit unions. Users could put the balance toward vacation expenses or get a full refund at any time.

Vacation planners can still visit Disneyplanning.com to map out ticket packages and options.

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