Saturday, June 28, 2014

Getting Your Money's Worth

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.

Disney 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?  

I 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 foreign currency. 

When 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 Currency Used 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 

As 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. 

Disney 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.

When I asked where the money could be exchanged, I was told that the Concierge desk at the resorts could handle this in most instances. 

 My 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 guess.

I 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. 

So, 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 coins. 

It really is a Small World.


  1. Interesting exchange of information.

  2. Very interesting story..............indeed a Small World after all....

  3. Interesting that is is Value resorts that exchange the most.

    1. Thought the same thing Amber. When I asked why, it was explained that since the Value resorts offer the most for the least amount of money, most will opt to stay there (especially for a first timer).

  4. Save that Canadian penny - they don't make the anymore! I haven't seen one in quite awhile and didn't bother to save any of them when they were still in use here.
    Here in Canada if you wanted to use US money to buy 1 Canadian dollar it would be about .93 cents to exchange it so the $1.25 is really expensive.

    1. Wow, Gaylin, had no idea. We have tons of Canadian pennies as well as several bills from living and working in Alaska and traveling the AlCan highway. Just never spent them. Guess we will save them for sure.

  5. i love learning all these tidbits of information


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