In theory, the idea behind souvenirs is that we buy them to remember a particular place and time that we enjoyed. The word comes directly from the French language; souvenir means “to remember.” When it comes to Walt Disney World, I have no trouble remembering my trips, and yet I still come home with souvenirs every time. Over time, I’ve tried to be a more discerning shopper. I’ve come up with some guidelines for myself that I use when trying to decide if I should “buy the thing” or not, so I thought I’d share those with my fellow Disney Fanatics.
There are a few questions that you may want to ask yourself as you shop for Disney merchandise on vacation. I’m not talking about “Do I need this?”, because the answer to that questions is almost always no. “Is it cute?” is another one to skip, as the answer is always yes. The issues I try to consider are practicality, price, and size. If it’s expensive or huge, it better really be something I’m going to hold dear! And, believe it or not, there are lots of very reasonable souvenir choices!
Here are some of my favorite souvenir picks in the parks!
Here’s a small, lightweight, and free souvenir idea: celebration buttons! If you’re celebrating a birthday or other occasion, ask for one at a gift shop or your resort lobby. You can also find them at any Disney Guest Services. It’s always fun to be congratulated or wished a “happy birthday” from other Guests and Cast Members when you wear one, too!
A Christmas ornament is my all-time favorite Disney souvenir to bring home. Every time we take out the ornament boxes and unwrap one we got on vacation, it brings back happy memories. What better way to ring in the holidays than with happiness and laughter? If you’re a fan of ornaments, I highly recommend heading over to the Disney’s Days of Christmas store at Disney Springs for a huge selection. Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe in the Magic Kingdom is another great spot for finding ornaments, and they have a nice array of Halloween decor when it is in season, too. An ornament is also a wonderful gift!
A Disney pin is another small souvenir that you can easily transport home. Whether you want to get into pin trading or not, it’s a fun collection for a family to get started with. There are places to buy pins all over the Walt Disney World Resort, and it’s fun to search for seasonal and special events pins to commemorate your Disney vacation. If you’re really creative, come up with a fun way to display the pins at home. There are tons of ideas on Etsy and Pinterest!
My favorite way to select a pin is to choose one that represents a specific trip memory. For instance, if it’s the first time your child is tall enough to ride a particular theme park ride, a pin of that attraction is a great choice. We picked more than one pins at Epcot after our first time on Test Track! Choosing attraction-specific pins is easy; there are pins in almost every gift shop. You may also decide to start a collection of pins featuring your favorite Disney character.
Clothing and Accessories
A really “loud” Disney shirt might have limited appeal once you’re home, but there are lots of apparel souvenirs that can be worked into your daily wardrobe. Likewise, I love a Minnie ear headband and even collect them, but they’re pretty expensive for what they are and not at all useful in daily life. There are other choices that might be more practical and equally fun.
Disney has come a long way in selling souvenir clothing that is actually cute and practical for daily wear. Depending on your work environment, a Disney printed dress or collared shirt can be a useful and fun item. Accessories like socks, scarves, and ties can also be welcome additions to your closet. Even a hooded sweatshirt, though not inexpensive, is a good staple piece for anyone who lives in an area that experiences all four seasons! As a New Jersey resident, I live in sweatshirts for half the year and have many beautiful ones from Walt Disney World. Choose one with your favorite character on it so you’ll get lots of wear out of it. If it doesn’t fit in your luggage, wear it home on the plane!
Jewelry makes a great souvenir! It’s small, doesn’t have to be pricey, and you’ll get plenty of wear out of it in everyday life. Jewelry and accessories also make thoughtful Disney gifts for friends and family. You can certainly splurge on something special, but you can also find plenty of very cute options for smaller budgets!
You may not need another coffee mug, but drinking coffee from a Disney mug makes mornings more tolerable! If you’re not looking for a mug, consider another useful item like a tumbler or water bottle. Other easy to pack items, like towels, measuring spoons, and other small kitchen and dining items are widely available. Even a fun magnet for your fridge is a cute and simple idea- use them to hang vacation photos or your child’s artwork!
EPCOT Scavenger Hunt Prizes
If you’ve been to EPCOT during a festival, you’ve probably seen the scavenger hunt cards available for purchase. For around $8, you can purchase a scavenger hunt map and complete it for a small prize. The prize, as well as your scavenger hunt card, make cute small souvenirs for children. The bonus here is that the scavenger hunts take place in the World Showcase, giving your kiddos something to do while you enjoy some drinks and snacks! They aren’t always simple, though, so plan more time than you might expect to complete them!
Break All the Rules: Get Something from Galaxy’s Edge
If you’re headed over to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, I have some contrary advice for you. Star Wars fans should not hesitate to go souvenir shopping in Galaxy’s Edge. I know I suggested considering price, size, and practicality in your purchasing decisions, and that’s pretty hard in this particular area as far as Walt Disney World souvenir shopping goes. Lightsabers at Savi’s workshop are both large in size and expensive, at over $200 a pop. Droids are large and fairly impractical, although they are quite fun to play with at home. Alien creatures are also a bit pricey and don’t have a lot of utility at home. That said, these are just a few of the many unique and special items you’ll find there, so if you’ve found yourself on a Disney trip with a mega Star Wars fan, you might want to break a few rules here because the items are so unique.
Are you prone to overbuying souvenirs? I’d love to hear what your guilty pleasure is along with your go-to picks! With so many great places to shop at Walt Disney World there’s no shortage of options!