Last month a family went viral when they posted on TikTok that they had accidentally spent $10,000 on the wrong kind of Disney gift cards. Now after being one of the more talked about stories on social media, and being the butt of more than a few jokes, we’ve learned what happened to all those offending gift cards. And while it wasn’t very environmentally friendly, it was probably quite cathartic.
The Coston family became accidentally famous when Andie Coston posted a TikTok video revealing that her parents, in preparation for a planned Walt Disney World vacation, had purchased $10,000 worth of gift cards for the Disney+ streaming service, that were unusable in the parks, though they would make them Disney+ subscribers for something like 70 years. The video went viral, which had the desired effect of getting the family in touch with somebody who could transfer the funds to standard Disney gift cards. But in a follow-up TikTok post, we learned that the grandparents spent the new year putting the old story behind them, by lighting the offending gift cards on fire.
I don’t know what plastic gift cards are actually made of, so I have no idea what sort of stuff you’re releasing into the air burning 100 of them. But I also can’t necessarily blame somebody for doing this. And the impact on the environment is probably minor as long as don't all start burning gift cards in the backyard. While everything ultimately turned out ok, those gift cards were likely a significant source of stress for quite some time, having spent so much money on something that was largely useless. It would make anybody feel sick.
The TikTok video that went viral connected the family with somebody at Disney who was able to help. Although even that process took work. They apparently had to send images of the back of all 100 cards via email, and due to file limitations in email, even that took significant time.
It has to be said that it is a little weird that there are Disney gift cards, which can be used for anything related to Disney, from theme park tickets to online merchandise to Disney+, and there are also Disney+ gift cards, that can only be used for the streaming service and nothing else. I’m sure there’s an accounting reason such things exist, but it’s not shocking that 70-year-old grandparents made such a mistake.
It sounds like the Disney World trip the family went on was good, though some apparently ended up with the flu, a common side effect of visiting crowded places. They got to see everything new at Walt Disney World, as well as everything new to them, and the holiday season is usually a good time for avoiding closed rides at Disney World. It’s a magical Disney ending to the story, even if it ended in a literal blaze of glory.