As a mom, having something "Disney" in the house is a given. Some days, I feel like my son was born with a little Disney microchip, pre-programmed to love Cars and Monsters, Inc. (I'm sure some Disney exec has a wide smile after reading that line!) So it’s inevitable that I buy the occasional Disney movie for our at-home collection.

Last year, I discovered I could actually get rewarded for the purchases I would make anyway. Just taking a few minutes each time I buy a movie to go online to my Disney Movie Rewards account has netted some fun, free merchandise delivered to my home and inbox.

If you have a Disney house and would like to learn more, here's what you need to know to get started — and to make the most of your online points.

What is Disney Movie Rewards?

Disney Movie Rewards is a free online customer loyalty program that allows users (after a quick, no-commitment signup) to enter alpha-numeric codes they find printed on inserts in Disney DVDs, Blu-rays and CDs, as well as codes printed on movie ticket stubs from certain in-theater films. For example, a DVD may contain a code for 100 points, and those points accumulate electronically for Disney-branded merchandise, gift cards, more movies and other items.

Taking advantage of bonus points

In addition to earning points through dollars spent on merchandise, Disney Rewards offers routine free points, sometimes as part of the monthly member e-newsletter and other times in conjunction with holidays or special events. Surveys also become available to members periodically, with points awarded on completion. So even without buying Disney movies, your account balance can grow!

Other ways to get codes

Ask family, friends, co-workers, and neighbors to save codes from their movies — some people just don't like to take the time to save and enter them. You can also ask your local library about codes in the packaging of the new movies they get for their collection. If these codes are being tossed, workers there might be happy to pass them along to someone who could benefit from them!

Log in for rewards

Hundreds of rewards — some which "cost" points and others which are available exclusively to members at no point cost — can be searched online. Here is a sample of some popular offers:

  • 5 points for printable Disney stickers
  • 300 points for a 30-print 4×6 coupon code to Snapfish
  • 500 points for a $5 Starbucks gift card
  • 750 points for the Story of Robin Hood DVD
  • 1000 points for a Frankenweenie glow-in-the-dark watch
  • 6000 points for a Panasonic Blu-ray player

Don't worry if a popular reward (like the Starbucks card) is temporarily out of stock — it will come back. Rewards also change when new movies premier and other get released from the famed Disney Vault, so check back routinely to see what's new.

Net free merchandise just for being a member

In the latest Disney Movie Rewards newsletter, members were offered a BOGO free Snapfish photobook (still available through May 31). Click here and enter code JUST4MOM to redeem. Also, lots of sweepstakes are available year-round. Members get a free entry to some sweepstakes like this one for Monsters University, with the option to use points to "buy" additional entries. Rolling promotions for free mobiles games and apps, electronic books, and discounted merchandise also keep me routinely logging in. Additionally, I can print free activity pages and download digital stories through an account. To do so, click on the "Rewards" tab at the top of the page after log-in, and sort rewards available in the "0 points" category.

So even if Disney movies are something you buy infrequently, it pays to join the rewards program for free to get year-round benefits!

Have you earned a fun reward from your Disney Movie Rewards account lately? Brag about it in the "Comments" section below.