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The History of Disney Dollars

The most complete and up to date price guide that exists.

The History of Disney Notes

Here is a short video covering the history and evolution of notes endorsed and produced by Disney over the years

The Disney Dollar

1987 -2014

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Disney Dollars were first issued in 1987 from the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida and Disneyland California. Disney Dollars were legal tender issued by the Walt Disney Company, which were accepted in Walt Disney World, Disneyland California, Disney Stores, Disney Cruise ships and in parts of Castaway Cay. They are a currency that can be used at Disney resorts and shops still today. 

Launched as an official currency with a U.S. dollar equivalent, they were discontinued in 2016 and are no longer available for purchase. They were made in denominations of $1, $5, $10 and $50 and remain quite collectible. Featured over the years were various Disney characters, such as Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald, Simba and Goofy. Since Disney Dollars could be used across Disney property, they actually had numerous anti-counterfeiting measures built-in to the design. They were printed on 100% cotton paper and Scrooge McDuck was the signing treasurer.

The Early Years

1933 - 1936 "Cone Dollars"

In the early to mid-1930s, Disney, with the help of merchandising executive Herman “Kay” Kamen, offered an item called Mickey Mouse Cones which were paper bills used in exchange for ice cream. This was at a time when Walt was looking for ways to promote the Disney brand. Several years later bills that resembled dollar bills were produced by Southern Dairies, which was another Disney licensee. They were produced in several versions of red, green, orange, and blue and came in denominations of 1, 5, and 10 cents.

The first "Mickey Mouse Cone Bills" were issued in 1933 by Kay Kamen so ice cream cones could be awarded at the Mickey Mouse Club theatre meetings on Saturday afternoons. Originally, the bills were awarded at the theater Mickey Mouse Club meetings on Saturday afternoons as part of a promotion to give away 1 million ice cream cones.

The 4 colors these dollars came in each were more collectible than the prior. When researching these bills, you may run into some items that hold similarities to the Disney Dollars that we know today. Promotion beginning in 1933 that offered a "Mickey Mouse Cones" bill so children could get ice cream at their local Mickey Mouse Clubs, thus promoting Mickey Mouse and Southern Dairies Ice Cream. There exist, what appears to be, red/purple/magenta, blue/green and orange. There were denominations of $ 1 , $ 5 , and $ 10 .

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The four colors of Mickey Mouse Cone Dollars

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Southern Dairies version of the cone dollars 

From 1957-2000, Disney had a free employee benefits program known as the Magic Kingdom Club. Members of the Club received special benefits as well as discounts at Disney and the affiliated companies.  At its peak, there were over 6 Million members from over 30,000 affiliated companies.

Operation MOUSE was an exclusive promotion run in 1968 and 1969 for Magic Kingdom Club Members. MOUSE, an acronym for Month Of Unusual Savings in Entertainment, was only available in the month of January each year. The purchase of a discounted Magic Key Ticket, came with two free Mouse Monies.

What is Mouse Money? "Mouse Money's good for 50c in Food or Merchandise or Admission to any attraction in Disneyland... During the Month of January!"

These were printed in a variety of colors on "Castles & Stars" watermarked paper. This was Walt's design, printed on "Twilight Ticket" books from 1965-1968 by the Globe Ticket Company, who printed all of the theme park tickets. The Mouse Money was issued in Series A and Series B.

Operation M.O.U.S.E. 

1957 - 2000

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Above are both sides of the Operation M.O.U.S.E notes in a variety of colors

Recreation Coupon

1971 - 1972

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As time passed Disney created a recreation coupon more like an actual dollar, as each had a unique serial number and the printed signature of the Chairman of the Board of Disney Roy O. Disney but were nonrefundable. They were issued to celebrate the opening of Walt Disney World in Orlando Florida in October 1971.  Many argue these to be the first Disney Dollars even though they had no actual cash value and were unable to be redeemed for cash.  They were produced in 1971 and 1972 but their use was limited to the Walt Disney World resort in Florida and mostly given to park guests and VIP’s. These coupons had limits as they were not valid in the Magic Kingdom section of the park.

Walt Disney World opened in 1971 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. Guests at the Contemporary Resort were given a bonus of Recreation Coupons. These were not redeemable for cash, nor were they valid inside the Magic Kingdom. The monorail was free and there was little that these could be used for at the time. These coupons were the predecessor to the Disney Dollar of today. First issue of the first currency issued by Disney. This was 16 years before current Disney dollars test marketing the concept for VIP's and special guests.

In depth information on all these area's including up to date pricing can be found in our price guide.

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