By Beth Skarp
It happens to the best of us. You make a purchase in cash, and your
change is given to you. Now, who really pays close attention to the
small change as it is presented to you? Chances are, you are like many
of us, myself included, who just quickly scans the coins presented to me
before dumping them in either my purse or pocketing my change. It
isn't until later, while I am either making another purchase or just
putting my change in my Disney Vacation jar that I notice, hey, this
coin looks funny. Sure enough, a coin from some other country has
managed to find it's way into my wallet. While most of the change is
not spendable here in the United States, it is always fun to see where
the coins originated from and what their current value may be.
deals with not only foreign change, but with foreign currency on an
almost daily basis. Since visitors to Disney hail from all over the
Globe, literally, is it any wonder that a few bills or coins get
“incorporated” into the Disney money drawers?
had the opportunity to chat with a supervisor at the Guest Relations
counter in Epcot recently. I was curious as to if or how Disney handles
I asked if there was a limit to how much money could be exchanged, I
was told “it depends”. When I pressed for a more definitive answers, I
was told what really matters is not only the type of currency that is being
exchanged, but also the exchange rate for the currency. While
exchanging Canadian money into American money is common and easy to do,
changing something from, say, the Middle East is a little bit harder.
Again, it has nothing to do with where the country of origin for the
currency is, but rather the exchange rate. He gave me the following
examples. As of this writing, the Canadian dollar is just a few pennies
off from the American dollar, so the exchange rate is fairly easy. He
showed me the following table:
Country of Origin
Amount needed to exchange to equal $1:
Canada - Canadian Dollar - 1.25
Israel - New Shekel - 4
South Africa - Rand - 11
Mexico - Peso - 13
Bangledesh - Taka - 76
Japan - Yen - 100
Indonesia - Rupiah - 12,063
you can see from the table, exchanging from Israel, South Africa or
Mexico would be fairly easy. Bangledesh and Japan would be harder but
still doable. Indonesia....well.....that would be a little bit more
complicated for obvious reasons.
has no set amount for what they will exchange, but is not comfortable with exchanging over $200 in American money
for a country like Indonesia, but it can be done.
The process is fairly simple actually, but can be time consuming. The
foreign currency is surrendered by the guest, counted by the cashier and
the guest presenting the foreign currency, and the current exchange
rate is applied. I am told that Disney has a special site they use to
make the exchange rate, as exchange rates can and do fluctuate daily.
The money is then wrapped up and a special form is inserted into the
envelope and signed by the cashier noting the guests name and where they
are staying on Disney property. The money is then put into the
cashier's drawer and turned in at the end of the day.
I asked where the money could be exchanged, I was told that the
Concierge desk at the resorts could handle this in most instances.
next question was a fun one. Which resort or area was most often asked
to exchange foreign currency? Do you know......Go ahead and take a
was pleasantly surprised to find that the Value resorts, most
specifically the All Star Resorts, were the ones asked to exchange
currency most often, although every level of resorts has been asked at
one time or another to make an exchange of foreign currency. As far as
other places on property, Epcot seemed to be the favorite Park for
making an exchange, with Magic Kingdom running a very close second.
the next time you receive some foreign coins in your handful of change,
stop and think about what it might have cost that person to save for
their visit Disney. Oh, and if you don't want to be bothered with
figuring out how to “spend” your foreign coins, just make a wish and
drop them into the ride at Small World or into Cinderella's Wishing
Well. These are the next areas that receive the most amount of foreign
It really is a Small World.