Many of us would love nothing more than to commemorate our Disney vacation with the perfect souvenir. It can start getting tricky, however, the minute you step foot inside one of their many shops and see the gobs of merchandise taking up every square foot of wall and shelf space. With all these options, trying to choose the perfect souvenir might start to feel like a daunting and overwhelming task. There is literally a souvenir for every imaginable purpose and for every price point. There are snow globes, iPhone covers, zipper pulls and sandwich cutters…beach towels and light sabers and bath toys. You can find character pencils for a dollar or two and Disney artwork for a thousand dollars or two. You name it, they got it. And thanks to the grabby designs and displays, it’s so very easy to get lassoed into wanting to buy a little bit of everything. Before you know it, you’ll find yourself holding a Mickey pot holder wondering how you ever survived without one. And while we love our Mickey pot holders (who doesn’t?!), chocolate Mickey coins and light-up, spinning character toys, we’ve come up with our favorite 8 tried and true purchases that either include an experience and/or promise sentimental value for the long haul. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll never look down my nose at any Disney souvenir as the real value belongs to the person who purchased it, but if you are at a loss for souvenir ideas then why not consider one of these great options?
For 51 cents this is, bar none, the cheapest souvenir (not including freebies) you’ll find on Disney property. What’s so special about a pressed penny, you ask? Well, first of all, these vintage-looking machines give you an inside look on how your souvenir is made as two steel rollers flatten your inserted coin with 2,500 pounds of pressure, all the while engraving a unique Disney-themed image on the recently smoothed surface. The machines are all over Disney property giving you plenty of image variety (and they are constantly rotating out new designs), some even flattening dimes and quarters (you’ll pay more than 51 cents for these!). The end product is certain to delight you or your little ones, but what you do with the elongated coins after you collect them is what makes this souvenir so compelling. There’s always the standard coin book where you can insert your varied pressed pennies as you would pictures inside a photo album. I’ve seen people make artwork out of their pressed pennies (hello Mickey ears!) and hang these behind a glass frame on their home wall. My favorite pressed penny project would be the one-of-a-kind jewelry one can make out of them. By drilling a small hole in the top, the ability to turn these into unique necklaces, earrings and charms (for bracelets or keychains) is rather simple, not to mention wholly creative! What will you do with your pressed pennies?
If you are a Disney fanatic, you probably have rows of Disney-themed coffee mugs lining your kitchen cabinet. I know I do, and nothing says “Good Morning!” quite like sipping my wakey juice (a.k.a. coffee) out of a Disney character mug as they jubilantly remind me of the most magical place on earth! The great thing about this souvenir is that most anyone can appreciate them (they make GREAT gifts!) and they are constantly coming out with new designs!
6. Mickey Ears/Headband
Go ahead, get yourself a pair of Mickey (or Minnie!) ears…you know you want to! With the hundreds of designs now available, these little guys are hard to resist! They come designed in practically every Disney character and can even be personalized. Is this truly a worthwhile purchase, you ask? We think so! Just make sure you then proceed to snap photos of you (and/or your family) wearing them in all the most picturesque places around the park! You’ll always have a photo memory, even if somewhere down the line you no longer have the Ears.
This is one of my favorite Disney purchases! You will always have the option to buy Disney Christmas ornaments no matter the time of year you visit. These too come in a wide variety of designs and themes and can commemorate your Disney trip wonderfully. You can get them personalized with your family name and the year you visited the Parks, always provoking a memory of that vacation each Christmas you hang it on the tree. How about making a tradition out of selecting a Disney ornament every time you visit Disney? You and your family will love selecting the perfect ornament together!
Don’t just buy a Disney postcard and stuff it into your bag for the trip home…mail it to yourself (or a loved one!) from INSIDE the theme park! Yes, every Disney Resort and Park has a fully functioning mailbox located within the doors/gates for your convenience. Write yourself a note about how much fun you are having or jot down a specific magical moment from that day so you will always have a written memory of it. Stamps can also be purchased on Disney grounds too. It will be postmarked from “Walt Disney World” and is guaranteed to make you smile as you pull it out of your mailbox. Make this souvenir even more magical by having a Disney character or princess sign it for you!
If you haven’t been introduced into the world of pin collecting/trading at Disney, you might just be missing out. You will always find a lanyard-wearing park guest when you visit the Parks, and can witness them eagerly trading with Cast Members all over the property. This particular souvenir comes with an experience as it gives you and/or your children something truly exciting to look forward to each and every visit. There are thousands of pins to choose from (character pins, Disney movie pins, theme park/resort pins, special event pins, you name it!) and they have starter kits available at every Resort/Park.
A fun way to capture a moment in time is to have a talented Disney Cast Member paper-cut a silhouette for you (or your family) on Disney property. These Victorian-esque images are impressive and serve as wonderful wall-art for your home. You can purchase a beautiful black oval frame with your silhouette and generally spend around $20 for the entire souvenir (prices are always subject to change). Currently, you can get these done at Magic Kingdom and Downtown Disney. A neat option would be to get one made of your children each time you visit, starting a collection of always-changing profiles as they age. You can even get them done as babies!
1. Memory Maker
Disney is now offering a pre-purchased photo package that allows LIMITLESS digital images taken by Disney Cast Members throughout their Parks. It is rather pricey at $149 (advanced purchase) or $199 (immediate purchase), but when you take into consideration the individual photo-rights price of $15 per downloaded image and the convenience of not having to lug your camera with you inside the parks, it is well worth it to some. I don’t know that I’d recommend this option if you are only going for a day trip, but if you are spending several days on vacation this might just be a bargain for you. And it doesn’t only include ALL photos taken by Cast Members, it also includes every attraction photo experience as well (i.e. Splash Mountain plummet photo). Need more incentive? This package ALSO includes your on-board VIDEO from the Tower of Terror attraction. In time, Disney will also make available other attraction videos as well, exclusive only to Memory Maker package holders. This souvenir offers a lifetime of memories. No more having to choose between the hundreds of photos taken of you and your loved ones. They are all yours with this package!
Did your favorite souvenir make the cut? If not, share it with us in the comments and tell us why you love it!
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